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Why you wear scrubs - A short history of the life saving uniform

These days, medical professionals all over the world wake up in the morning & don slight variations of the same uniform - scrubs.

But how did this uniform come about, & why is it so necessary?

Up until the 20th century, scrubs didn’t exist. Yes, nurses were dressed in the classic white dress, white cap apparel that you see in all the history books, but other medical professionals often had no uniform at all. In fact, until around 1940 surgeons would wear their own street clothes to perform surgeries, often covering up with a butchers apron to protect their clothing from blood stains.

Many soldiers wounded in WW1 died from infection as a result of this lack of hygiene & sterilisation. However, in the 1940’s, with the world once again at war, the lesson was learnt & medical professionals began to understand the importance of an entirely sterilised environment for reducing life threatening infections.

At this time, aseptic technique was employed in operating suites in an effort to reduce infections & pathogens from spreading. Everything was now white to convey this new found cleanliness. However, the combination of white walls, white garments & the bright lights of the operating theatre began to cause eye strain. Therefore, by the 1960’s the majority of scrubs were produced in shades of green.

Scrubs as a uniform for all manner of medical professionals didn’t become popular until around the 1970’s. People embraced the new style as scrubs were easy to clean, hygienic, comfortable & functional.

Scrubs nowadays come in a variety of colours & prints. They are also stacked with practical features to help busy medical professionals navigate their day with ease & do what they do best - take care of people & animals.