hodgieRN 643 Posts Specializes in ER trauma, ICU - trauma, neuro surgical. Has 10 years experience. Nov 1, 2012 A long sleeve won't spread infection to other pts. A forearm would be just as "contaminated" b/c no one washes their forearms unless you are scrubbing in for surgery. You can't tell me people wearing lab coats or a docs wearing ties (that hang all over the bed) are cleaner than long sleeves. Our hands are the worst carriers of infection..even with washing. It's crap to tell someone they should remove their tattoos b/c long sleeves are dripping with bacteria. In that case, no one should be allowed to wear to ties, or give pt care without always wearing a mask, or allow family members to touch anything in the hospital. There are a hundred other things that are worse at carrying infection then my long sleeves. The OR is only place where long sleeves could be argued. And in the OR, there are no ties, everyone wears masks, and there are no family members.