When you peer through the smear on the screen of your smartphone, thousands of tiny microbes are staring back at you, waiting to hitch a ride on your fingertips.
Harmful microbes lurk everywhere — doorknobs and faucets, locker rooms and hospitals. It's enough to make a germophobe afraid to touch anything.
A new antimicrobial coating on the verge of being commercialized by a research team at the University of Florida, however, could change the landscape for surface-to-skin microbe transmission.
Healthcare facilities, including hospitals and assisted living facilities in particular, could benefit. Patients and visitors pick up 2 million infections each year in healthcare settings, and 90,000 patients die, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Treating healthcare-acquired infections costs $4.5 billion a year, the CDC says.