Saturday, April 23, 2011

Why Are Scrubs Green?

The other day at the thrift store (bunch of great finds, by the way) the girl at the register was wearing a women's scrub shirt and not only did it look super comfy, but it also looked pretty cute!  I've always loved v-necks.  Anyway, it got me curious about medical scrubs.  Odd, I know but did you know that today's modern scrubs only became popular in the 1970's?!  Prior to that, the 1940's is the earliest that any kind of dressing gown for the operating room was really seen with any regularity.  Prior to *that*, in the early 1900's surgeons only wore a butcher's apron and a cotton gauze mask (collected from cotton mill sweepings) and that was to protect them from the patient!  I found all of this quite fascinating.  If you think about it, Louis Pasteur discovered his germ theory of disease in the mid-1800's, so why did it take so long for the medical profession to adopt an attitude of cleanliness?

I spent a little time browsing scrubs and found that there are tons of different fabric patterns available.  But I have to say that by far, the most favorite thing I found were the Pony Collection of Scrub Hats for Women at  They are really adorable and come in some really groovy fabrics.  I'm wondering if something like that might work to keep hair back & out of the way when working out...  

And, by the way, back when doctor's wore a butcher's apron and then when they started wearing dressing gowns, all of this apparel was white.  But in a modern operating room with the bright lights, this led to eye strain.  They abandoned the white for various shades of green which provided a high-contrast environment, reduced eye fatigue, and made bright red blood splashes less conspicuous.  This uniform was originally known as "surgical greens" because of its color, but came to be called "scrubs" because it was worn in a "scrubbed" environment.  Just in case you were curious. 

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