The hygiene and cleanliness staff represents a key element in the fight against infections in hospital environments. Often little valued, their role in the global strategy of surface cleaning is extremely important.
The hygiene that comes from the work of the cleaning staff requires a high performance level. In order to reach that, the executing staff and the managers need to master all the different elements representing this profession.
Cleaning products and equipment are undeniably crucial in order to ensure performance during the environment asepsis of any establishment. Therefore, it is important to associate the day-to-day actions of the cleaning staff with a range of products and equipment that favor the quality of their performance.
Since several years, partly due to the devotion and the involvement of many members in the healthcare system, we take into consideration new factors:
Establishment of an AEP hygiene and cleanliness in healthcare environments of 630 hours now offered by many school boards
Provincial day of hygiene and cleanliness
Having said this, the hygiene and cleanliness staff deserves our deepest gratitude. Thank you so much!
The next post is going to talk more in detail about one aspect of their profession: work organization.
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Hygiène et salubrité en milieux de soins – Démarche pour le développement de stratégies d’entretien des surfaces, MSSS, 2010, 52 pages.
Cleaning in hospitals allows reducing risks of infection among patients. This is not the only factor, of course: good personal hygiene habits such as washing hands and the use of protective equipment such as overalls, gloves, masks, or protective glasses are also important elements.
For this reason, interventions must be well coordinated in order to have a good surface maintenance plan. The manager of hygiene and cleanliness should therefore take into account:
The type of place associated to the level of risk
The tasks to perform
The required cleaning frequency
If well applied, a detailed estimate allows validating the cleaning performance.
The global approach is going to be determined by type of place:
Regular eradication (e.g.: operating rooms)
Keeping environmental effects as light as possible (e.g.: low infection risk such as individual office spaces)
Balance of microorganisms. This approach is based on the competition between good and bad microbes. The presence of good microbes guarantees less space for bad microbes to grow (e.g.: living environments)
Green cleaning. Approach that uses less toxic products
Review and improve arrangements and/or surfaces (during conception or renovation)
The next post of this series is going to talk about another key factor: the hygiene and cleanliness staff.
Le nettoyage dans les hôpitaux du 21e siècle by Dr. Stephanie J. Dancer, Medical, Microbiology, Hairmyres Hospital, UK appeared on the magazine Le Nettoyage professionnel, July/August 2012.
Hygiène et salubrité en milieux de soins – Démarche pour le développement de stratégies d’entretien des surfaces, MSSS, 2010, 52 pages.
For a long time, cleaning has been all about the look; fresh smell and the absence of stains or dirt were the criteria to determine that a place is clean. Today, these criteria are still generally accepted in environments such as offices and classrooms.
It’s common knowledge, however, that microbes (bacteria or viruses) invisible to the human eye represent a risk for spreading infections. Take the example of the influenza virus: it can survive for up to 48 hours on a hard surface!
Without cleaning and disinfection procedures or a quality check procedure, microbes can survive in hospital environments.
Three key elements have to be considered in order to perform an infective risk analysis:
Is the patient carrying a disease agent? Disease agents are classified based on their spreading capacity and their virulence. The choice of a disinfectant will be based on this.
Do the functional activities of a sector represent a risk of spreading infections from the environment? E.g.: food service, offices, Intensive Care, etc.
The intensity of contact is related to the traffic and the surfaces that are more likely to be touched. E.g.: bathroom fittings.
Have you already performed an infective risk analysis? The next post is going to explain how cleaning allows reducing risks of infection among patients.
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Le nettoyage dans les hôpitaux du 21e siècle by Dr. Stephanie J. Dancer, Medical, Microbiology, Hairmyres Hospital, UK appeared on the magazine Le Nettoyage professionnel, July/August 2012.
Hygiène et salubrité en milieux de soins – Démarche pour le développement de stratégies d’entretien des surfaces, MSSS, 2010, 52 pages.
Bleach has been studied for the first time by a French chemist named Claude Louis Berthollet in 1775. His factory was based in Paris in the district of… Javel! That is why the French are calling it: Eau de Javel (Javel Water).
JAVEL Undergroud Station in Paris. Photo courtesy of Google Street View
At first, bleach was used for laundry and as a fade. From 1820, a pharmacist named Antoine Germain Labarraque studied more deeply its disinfecting properties . In the XIX Century, it was commonly used as a disinfectant and water treatment. The NASA used bleach during the Apollo program to disinfect the Apollo XI rocket after its return, in order to avoid contaminating Earth with potential dangerous viruses!
What is Bleach?
Bleach is composed of sodium hypochlorite (NaClO). For chemistry fans, its chemical formula is as follows:
Cl2 + 2 NaOH → NaCl + NaClO + H2O.
For those who don’t like chemistry, well… the formula is the same!
What’s new with Bleach?
Nowadays, bleach is still used as a disinfectant. Stabilized formulas enable to combine the disinfecting ability of chlorine together with the cleaning ability of surfactants.
Other references: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bleach
How to obtain a more effective disinfection with Certiklör?
What is Certiklör? The name of a new chemical? A new government certification?
None of the above! Simply put, Certiklör technology is the insurance for you, your patients and all Canadians to achieve a better, more efficient and high quality disinfection. Certiklör is a proprietary technology developed by Lalema for you. This technology ensures that you have in the bottle, an effective stabilized hypochlorite, and here to stay!
How to safely perform cleaning and disinfection a surface soiled with bodily fluid and dispose of waste properly?
Here is some of the content from my exclusive training on Infection Prevention and Control in the Presence of Body Fluids. This training (in French with English documentation), presented in the form of short video clips (nearly forty), lasts approximately 2 hours and covers several exclusive and relevant content for hygiene and sanitation workers.
OVERVIEW OF THE CONTENT OF A TRAINING ON DISINFECTION TECHNIQUES
The main microbes to which sanitary maintenance workers can be exposed, the associated risks and the means of transmission
Basic concepts in sanitary maintenance for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces
The different body fluids (body fluids) and the associated risk factors
Products and accessories for cleaning and disinfection
Cleaning and disinfection have long been routine in any facility. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted these operations since SARS-CoV-2 can persist on various surface materials for hours or days. Facilities have sought to improve these cleaning and disinfection practices. Therefore, it is imperative that this process be orderly. Therefore, this article addresses the importance of cleaning before disinfecting. Cleaning and disinfection should be a 2-step process to reduce the risk of transmission of environmental infections.
Clean first! Why?
Primum nitidare – “D’abord nettoyer (Clean First)”. It is a book that my coworker, Gaétan Lanthier, wrote in 2019. It is to say that this is not a new subject!
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites: “cleaning is “the necessary first step of any sterilization or disinfection process” or, more simply, you must clean first before you can disinfect.”
The CDC adds: “Cleaning is the necessary first step of any sterilization or disinfection process. Cleaning is a form of decontamination that renders the environmental surface safe to handle or use by removing organic matters, salts, and visible soils, all of which interfere with microbial inactivation.”
It’s in the mechanical action (friction)
As the CDC mentions it: “The physical action of scrubbing with detergents and surfactants and rinsing with water removes large numbers of microorganisms from surfaces.”
Studies have shown that friction or mechanical action is at the heart of cleaning. This facilitates the effective removal of dirt, debris, microbes and soiling, making a surface ready for disinfection if necessary.
It’s a matter of interference
The CDC defines cleaning as the “necessary first step” in any disinfection process for “at least two” important reasons: it removes any barrier between the disinfectant and the target pathogen, and it removes materials that could potentially inactivate the disinfectant.
In order to effectively kill pathogens, disinfectant chemicals must have direct contact with the pathogen; however, soils, dirt, and debris can coat or protect microorganisms, essentially serving as a protective barrier between the chemical and the target.
The build-up to biofiolms
Another important reason to clean first before disinfecting has less to do with the immediate action of a disinfectant on a surface. Rather, it is in prevention of a future problem, namely the buildup to biofilms.
Biofilms are populations of microorganisms attached to a solid surface and protected by a “viscous layer”. This layer is an extracellular matrix of polysaccharides and non-cellular materials.
Biofilms can virtually form on any hard surface, from the countertop to the water pipe. They are involved in a range of infectious diseases.
What about touch-free technology?
Although research has shown that many of these systems, from ultraviolet light (UV-C) to hydrogen peroxide vapor (HPV) to electrostatic sprayers, can reduce microbial contamination, experts caution that they should be used as a complement to standard manual cleaning and disinfection rather than as a replacement.
Organic matters, dirt and grimes are a limiting factor for UV-C technology. A light or heavy organic load has a significant negative impact on the destructive efficiency of the devices.
In short, clean first with mechanical action (friction) to remove dirt, debris and microbes. The disinfection step is to be done when the interferences are removed by cleaning in order to kill microbes. This reduces the risk of transmission of environmental infections by keeping surfaces clean.
Loose translation of Rubbermaid TWO STEPS FOR A REASON: THE CASE FOR CLEANING PRIOR TO DISINFECTION https://www.rubbermaidcommercial.com/resource-center/1b113258af3968aaf3969ca67e744ff8/The_Case_for_Cleaning_Prior_to_Disinfection_White_Paper/
Disinfection using disinfectant cleaners with active ingredients including alcohol and quaternary ammonium has often been discussed. Another disinfection solution is to disinfect with steam and pressure. Cleaning with the power of steam is a proven method of disinfection. Dry saturated steam at high temperatures kills viruses, bacteria, germs and bedbugs! It is an environmentally friendly and practical way to clean all kinds of surfaces.
THE POWER OF STEAM
The power of steam is to dissolve and emulsify grease, mold, dirt by vaporizing and killing viruses, bacteria and germs.
WHAT ABOUT SARS-CoV-2?
Despite that the power of steam kills viruses, bacteria and germs, opinions vary and there may be a lack of evidence that it can kill SARS-CoV-2 virus. The list of approved disinfectants put out by The Environmental Protection Agency only includes chemicals.
Patty Olinger, the executive director of the Global Biorisk Advisory Council, a division of ISSA (a cleaning industry trade association), said that, based on current evidence, while steam can kill the virus, it needs a lengthier application time than some users may realize.
On the other hand, Heidi Wilcox, a microbiologist and commercial cleaning consultant, says that: “At this point during the pandemic I would not use steam at all.” She cites a lack of strong evidence.
Then again, industry representatives such as Wayne Delfino from Advanced Vapor Technologies of Everett, Washington, insist that dry steam vapor works. The company’s non-chemical, “Thermo Accelerated Nano Crystal Sanitation” technology, he wrote in an email, “has been tested and proven effective on harder-to-kill viruses and on a similar human coronavirus in seven seconds or less.”
SURFACES TO CLEAN
Steam cleaners can clean and disinfect all kinds of surfaces. With the right tools, they can concentrate the jets to properly clean specific surfaces and hard-to-reach areas. Here are some examples:
Seals (e.g. ceramic)
Mattresses and bedding
Grids and hoods
Steam machines are said to be environmentally friendly because they require no chemicals. Only water is needed to steam disinfect and clean thoroughly.
NEED STEAMER MACHINES?
Power Steamer Machine JS 1600C
The power of steam from JS1600C attacks grease, grime, hard water deposits and mold. It leaves surfaces clean and sanitized without the use of chemicals. Operator safety is assured by the 12V waterproof switches and controls, a pressure switch, a high-limit thermal shutoff and an LED display informing the operator when the water level is low. The Energy saving safety system also automatically shuts off the machine if it’s idle for 60 minutes.
The tank can be filled while the unit is running, allowing for continuous use
Excellent on grouted floors, showers, kitchens and any area where detail cleaning is a challenge
Very effective in all food preparation and processing areas, including stainless steel range hoods in kitchens
Ideal for hotel rooms – spot draperies, bedspreads and carpets, and even kill bed bugs and their eggs on mattresses
Clean floors with the optional “steam mop” and 33′ hose
The continuous flow system provides the necessary steam to remove dirt and built-up soil while leaving your floors and surfaces virtually dry
Ecological Vapor with Vacuum A2006
The Vapore A2006 acts as two machines in one unit. The vapor not only dissolves dirt and grime, but is scientifically certified to disinfect any surface, thoroughly eliminating bacteria and viruses in an ecological way without use of chemicals.
With the water filtration system of the vacuum, Vapore A2006 collects dirt and traps it in the water without the risk of spreading dust
Vapore A2006 also has a HEPA filtration system to ensure the cleanliness of the air is not compromised
Equipped with a cold water reservoir, the Vapore A2006 has a continuous fill feature which allows you to refill the vapor system with water at any time, without stopping
The machine comes with a variety of floor accessory and tools
There’s no proof that the power of steam can kill SARS-CoV-2, but the virus is known to be sensitive to the exposure of high-temperature. Could it be a question of exposure length or a question of chemicals? However, the power of steam can be useful for general disinfection.
We have seen that healthcare is starting to shift towards digitization, and many believe that the future of healthcare will be digital. But there are some who are hesitant to adopt technology when it comes to their health, and it is not without reason.
As we have already seen, there are many benefits to the digitization of healthcare, the main ones being (1) convenience, (2) low-cost, (3) improved patient experiences, (4) improved access to healthcare and (5) decreased risks of acquiring an HAI. These benefits are all significant, but how will it affect the people who aren’t as familiar with technology or aren’t as tech-savvy’s access to healthcare?
A recent article published by Forbes discusses the difficulties that people trying to access online health services may face. According to the article, many online healthcare platforms are needlessly complicated and confusing, which makes many people more hesitant and less inclined to use these services.
According to Dale Cook, CEO of Learn to Live, an online mental health company,
“When people are already struggling with mental fitness, it can create limitations in how much bandwidth they have for complications. Facing technical problems when they’re trying to get help is the last distraction that they need.”
Dale Cook, Retrieved from Forbes.com (2019)
Learn to Live is one of the few online healthcare services that has been successful in creating an easy-to-use digital interface. They have done a lot of primary research, through the use of focus groups, user experiences and commentaries, which has allowed them to ensure that their clients have a pleasant experience.
So what can be done to make digital healthcare more accessible to all?
Burger (2019) stresses the importance of simplicity and empathy when designing an online medical service.
With the majority of developed nations experiencing an ageing population, those who are 70 and over will continue to be the group of people who consult doctors the most frequently. One concern is that the older population is not tech-savvy, and will not be able to use these online services. However, most of these people are able to use technology; online platforms just need to simplified for them to use.
In terms of empathy, the article discusses how online medical companies need to attempt to understand what their clientele is experiencing. For example, Jeff Johnson, a computer science professor from the University of San Francisco states,
“We see age-related changes beginning at age 50. That’s when fonts become too small, speech-enabled technologies are too fast and click targets are too little to hit reliably.”
Jeff Johnson, Retrieved from Forbes.com
Online health service companies need to understand that the clients seeking their help are either not well or concerned about their personal health. Taking this into consideration, it is essential that companies make their online interfaces more accessible for their clients.
The future of digital healthcare
As digital healthcare continues to become more important, it will be essential that these online health companies ensure that their services are simple for users, and that they take into consideration what patients may be going through when seeking their services.
Since the start of the fall, Quebec, as well as Canada, has been dealing with the second wave of Covid-19, the virus that turned the world as we knew it upside down and forced us to change our way of living drastically. By now, I’m sure that we’re all tired of hearing about it, however it’s important to remember that we are not yet done with Covid-19 and we should therefore be taking every precaution necessary to keep ourselves and our family members safe. That being said, with all the new information about the virus that keeps being thrown at us every day, it can be difficult to keep up with the symptoms, measures put in place and everything else related to Covid-19.
What are the symptoms and when should you stay home?
By now you’ve probably heard A LOT about the symptoms of Covid-19. However, due to a vast amount of information and misinformation, there is a lot of confusion about what exactly are the symptoms of the virus. So what are the the symptoms of Covid-19 and when should you stay home? This section will clarify any confusion you may have had!
The first set of symptoms are known as “Group A”. “Group A” symptoms are the symptoms most commonly associated with the virus. In the case of Covid-19, “Group A” symptoms include:
1) Fever 2) New or worsening cough 3) Difficulty breathing 4) Sudden unexplained loss of taste or smell
If you have any one of the “Group A” symptoms, you should stay home and get tested for Covid-19.
The second set of symptoms are known as “Group B”. These symptoms are less commonly associated with the virus, however still do occur. In the case of Covid-19, these symptoms include:
1) Sore throat 2) Muscle/joint pain 3) Intense fatigue 4) Headaches 5) Nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea 6) Loss of appetite
In the case of “Group B”, you should stay home if you have two or more of these symptoms.
It is also important to note that you should also stay home if you have been in direct contact with someone who is Covid-19 positive, even if you do not present any symptoms.
While there is still some confusion about the symptoms of Covid-19 and when you should be staying home, the precautions are a bit more straightforward. The main precautions to take in order to keep yourself safe are the following:
1) Hand hygiene 2) Maintain a distance of 2 meters (social distancing) 3) Wearing a mask 4) Staying home if symptomatic or if you have been in direct contact with someone who is Covid-19 positive.
Hand hygiene is one of the most important things, even when we are not living through a pandemic, and is often done incorrectly or not taken seriously enough.
Since the start of Covid-19, the use of protective equipment has become extremely important (and even mandatory in the case of face masks). After you are done with your face mask, and you are ready to take it off, it is important that you wash your hands both before and after taking it off. If you are also using gloves, it is really important to remember that gloves are not substitute for hand hygiene. Make sure that you wash your hands immediately after taking off your gloves. Do not skip steps with handwashing; it is critical in order to avoid touching your face with infected hands!
We are all tired of Covid-19 and all of the inconveniences it has brought to our lives. However, we are not out of the woods yet and it is important to keep practicing all of the safety precautions necessary. Let’s get through this second wave safely, by wearing a face mask, keeping a 2 meter distance and washing your hands often!
The COVID-19 has led us to adopt new protocols to ensure patient and staff safety in healthcare facilities. Having said that, it is crucial to equip yourself with the right surface cleaning and disinfection products in healthcare facilities! What are the right products? How should you clean? Let’s explore them with the help from Rubbermaid Commercial Products, a world leader in the commercial cleaning industry! Of course, in these strange days, depending on the availability of some products, Lalema has suggestions as well ;)!
SURFACE CLEANING PRODUCTS
First of all, here are some products suggested by RCP for surface cleaning. Overall, most of them are available. Otherwise, we have replacements.
Hygen microfiber cloths – Rubbermaid Commercial Products’ all-purpose 16″ x 16″ HYGEN microfiber cloths remove 99.9% of the viruses and bacteria tested on surfaces.
Bowl Brush – This bowl brush has a plastic handle. The brush is made of polypropylene bristles. It is odor and stain resistant.
Toilet brush holder – This toilet brush holder is made of polypropylene. It is stain and odor resistant.
Second, as expectations for cleanliness and hygiene rise, facilities must ensure that they have an established surface cleaning and disinfection process. This includes regular cleaning of high-traffic areas. Below are the best surface cleaning practices used in hospitals around the world today.
Clean systematically, clockwise or counterclockwise – No surface is forgotten, this process saves time and is more ergonomic
Go from clean to dirty – This reduces the likelihood of the spread of infections and contaminants
Clean from the top to the bottom – Any dust or debris dislodged from the upper surface will naturally fall to the lower surfaces
Wipe in one direction (unidirectional wiping) – Unidirectional wiping ensures that the solution is applied over the entire surface, while circular wiping re-contaminates areas
Color Coding – Use single color wiping cloth for each zone. For example:
Red for high risk areas
Blue for mirrors
Yellow for baths and showers
8-SURFACE FOLDING METHODOLOGY
Finally, the 8-surface folding methodology! This is the 8-sided folding for microfiber cloths. It optimizes the use of the cloth while reducing the risk of cross-contamination during the cleaning process. Here are the steps:
8-surface folding methodology by Rubbermaid Commercial Products
Start by opening a clean microfiber cloth
Fold the microfiber cloth in half
Fold the microfiber cloth into four pieces
Clean surfaces with both sides of the cloth exposed
Open the microfiber cloth once to change the sides
Fold over to expose both clean cleaning surfaces
Fully open the microfiber cloth when all four sides have been used
Repeat steps 2 to 7 to use all eight sides
In short, these tips are only general since we could have gone deeper into the details or in further checklists. However, the importance is to set up a methodology for surface cleaning and disinfection and to be equipped with the right products. Don’t forget to wear personal safety equipment! Let’s save the subject of floor cleaning for another day!
Lalema would like to thank and salute all the staff in the healthcare facilities for their services!
As we all know, the cleaning and disinfection of premises and surfaces have never been more critical with the COVID-19 pandemic. We often talk about disinfectant cleaners, but this time the focus is on microfiber cleaning cloths and tools. Since its commercial introduction, microfiber has been part of everyday life because of its reliability and effectiveness in cleaning and wiping.
WHAT IS A MICROFIBER CLOTH?
Microfiber is a synthetic textile fiber (polyester, polyamide or a mixture) that is very fine and light with a denomination which is less than one decitex. The decitex is a unit of measurement: 1 decitex = 1 g / 10 km of yarn. In fact, the term “microfiber” is used when 10 km of yarn weighs less than one gram.
A microfiber (filament) is characterised by its small diameter, the nature of its fiber and its structure. Therefore, not all microfibers are the same or of the same quality.
This revolutionary material has quickly become a must in the hygiene, health and automotive sectors. See how it is made.
THE “STORIES” OF MICROFIBER
No one is entirely sure where and when microfiber was developed. However, here are two interesting stories/versions:
According to Texasmicrofiber: “In the late 1950s, various spinning techniques were used to produce ultra-fine fibers. At that time, experiments had resulted in random length pieces, and the first real success occurred in Japan in the 1960s.
Dr. Miyoshi Okamoto and Dr. Toyohiko Hikota worked on this project to finally find microfibers suitable for industrial use. Ultrasuede fiber was one of the first success stories, and reached the market in the following decade. This led to an explosion in the value of microfibers in the textile sector. »
According to Maboutiqueecolo: “It would have been invented by the Swede Rudolf Nordine in the 1980s. The invention of microfiber is said to have come about by chance during the manufacture of “towels” for hairdressing salons. These were so absorbent that they could suck out the dye from freshly dyed hair. Nordine was quick to file a patent to protect this discovery. He was awarded a prize at the Lépine competition in 1998 for this invention at the International Invention Salon in Paris. »
USE AND EFFECTIVENESS
Microfiber has the power to clean and dust different kinds of surfaces without necessarily adding a cleaning product. This is why it can be seen as an organic and ecological product.
Microfiber cloths can be used dry or wet. First, when used dry, they attract dust and trap it in its microfibers (micro-filaments). Then, when wet (with or without a cleaning product), they trap grease and dirt.
During a pandemic, it is used with a disinfectant cleaner to disinfect surfaces. Lalema also suggests using a microfiber cloth with a tuberculocidal disinfectant. This Myosan TB starter kit is an example:
There are several types of microfiber products for all kinds of surfaces: cloth, pad/mop, feather duster, towel, etc.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF THEM?
Microfibers are economical and environmentally friendly. They can be reused up to 500 times. “Avez-vous le pouce microfibre?” by Kim Beauregard is an article about the maintenance of microfibers. Unfortunately, it is in French only. But here are key elements:
Wash the microfibers separately from other textiles and items
Use a small amount of liquid laundry detergent while washing.
Do not use a softening agent
Wash them in cold or room water
Dry the microfibers at low temperature or without heat
So, microfiber is a revolutionary material in the world of cleaning. Whether it is used as a cloth, a pad/mop or a duster, it is the ultimate cleaning tool for cleaning and wiping in many sectors. Finally, microfiber cloths can replace disposable wipes. Use them with a disinfectant product to disinfect the surfaces in your environment.
I recently read an article on Infection Control Today, which was titled “Examining Ball Pits as a Playground for Pathogenic Organisms.” This article was surprising because, although it seems so obvious now, I would never have even thought about ball pits as a potential source of infection. And yet, ball pits are frequently filled with children, who are known to be more at risk for catching and transmitting infection, and are infrequently disinfected afterwards.
This led me to wonder which other places part of our every day lives are often overlooked as being a source of infection. After doing some more research on the subject, I’ve decided to share with you what I found out.
Similar to ball pits, it is no wonder that playgrounds are one of the germiest places in the community. Every day, many children go to the playground and make use of the equipment there. And as we all know, children are at high risk for catching and spreading infection. According to Web MD, the sandbox is one of the worst places in terms of contamination, since the sand absorbs bodily fluids like saliva or urine and there is no way to wipe it down after its been used.
It should come as no surprise that pubic restrooms appear on the list of high-risk places for germs. However, I’m not sure if people realize to what extent they are contaminated. You wouldn’t touch a toilet seat in a public restroom, but it turns out that faucets and door handles are also extremely contaminated. According to Web MD, even if you’ve washed your hands, you’re still at risk for contamination when you touch the door handle to leave the bathroom. This is because only 31% of men and 65% women actually wash their hands, meaning that the rest contaminate the door handles when they go to open it (Web MD, 2018).
You may have already heard that there are a lot of bacteria in grocery stores. The majority are found on shopping carts, where, for example, raw meat packages carrying salmonella are placed or babies are seated with dirty diapers. Most grocery stores have disinfectant wipes near the entrance with the carts, so it is advised that you use them.
Metros and buses are filled with germs! And it’s not surprising to see why. Thousands of people use public transportation each day, making seats, poles and handles high-touch areas. This makes public transport one of the biggest sources of harmful bacteria.
Similarly to all the other sources, gyms are filled with bacteria due to the high number of people who use equipment every day. According to Web MD, it was found that some free weights carried the same types of bacterias found in public restrooms (ick!). It is advised that you use the wipes provided at the gym both before and after using the equipment in order to protect yourself and prevent the spread of bacteria.
What can you do to protect yourself?
You may be wondering how on earth you’re supposed to protect yourself, when you’re surrounded by bacteria! While you can never avoid every germ, there are many ways to protect yourself and avoid getting sick. Web MD (2018) makes the following recommendations:
Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water. And do it often.
If you don’t have access to soap and water, use alcohol-based sanitizer.
Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth until you wash your hands.
Use a spare paper towel to grab the public restroom door handle as you leave.
You’ve already seen on this blog just how dirty cellphones can get, but did you know that cellphones and other electronics such as tablets and laptops can also cause contamination in a healthcare setting, potentially making them a source of HAIs? Hospital staff use technology throughout their workday, whether it be to enter patient information in a computer or for personal use on their breaks. If they don’t wash their hands before and after using the device, it can become contaminated causing those workers to spread the bacteria all throughout the hospital.
According to Kelly M. Pyrek (2019),
“A casual online poll of ICT readers shows that 83 percent of survey respondents use their personal mobile technology devices within the hospital, and just 68 percent said they clean/decontaminate these devices regularly. Fifty-seven percent of respondents indicated they use a hospital-issued mobile technology device in the course of their workday; 56 percent report cleaning the device themselves, while 7 percent let someone else clean the device.”
Kelly M. Pyrek, Infection Control Today, 2019
Many hospitals are now realizing that technological devices are a potential source of the spread of infection within a healthcare setting and some of them are beginning to implement protocols regarding the use and disinfection of electronics.
That being said, the cleaning and monitoring of technological devices can be complicated. As James Davis, MSN, RN, explains to Infection Control Today (2019), tech companies such as Apple only tell people to wipe down their devices with a damp cloth. However, that recommendation does not take into consideration the use of devices in a healthcare setting, where bacteria and infection are everywhere.
Some recommendations that Davis and Shivek, Phd, senior product engineer, give include:
Always washing your hands before and after using your device
Placing a layer between the device and the environment is key
Phone covers are becoming increasingly popular, however must be replaced frequently
Placing the mobile device in a ziploc bag is another option, especially if it’s being brought into an isolation room
No matter what, always wipe down the device before and after using it. Even if it was in ziploc bag or had a cover over it, wiping your device is key to ensuring that harmful bacteria are eliminated.
The cleaning and monitoring of technological devices is a daunting task for healthcare facilities, especially if it is an employee’s personal device. Davis (2019) stresses that because of this, employees should be personally responsible for the cleaning and disinfecting of their mobile devices. Although a complicated task, the recommendations provided by Infection Control Today allow us to understand how to better prevent the contamination of our mobile technology, which may in turn help prevent the spread of infection.
Wearing a mask has become our new habit during the pandemic situation. Therefore, let us explore how to clean and remove a mask or a face cover. In fact, there is more than one way to clean a mask including some additional precautions. So, let’s go over some methods!
CLEAN IN THE LAUNDRY
First, according to Health Canada, if you plan to rewear a reusable (non-medical cloth) mask, we suggest cleaning it by putting it directly in the laundry. It can be washed with other items using a hot water cycle. As for the cleaning product to use, regular laundry soap should be fairly effective, according to the New York Times. In addition, according to Le Parisien, washing with hot water should be at least 60° C for 30 minutes.
CLEAN BY HAND
Second, following what was shared in the New York Times, experts have said that hand washing face covers in a sink works as well. You should lather the soap and rub the mask for 20 seconds. It’s a similar process to hand washing.
SOAK WITH HOT SOAP
Third, soak the mask in warm soapy water. This method comes from Professor Golemi-Kotra, an expert in molecular biology in Toronto York University. She said the best way to clean a cloth mask would be to soak it in hot, soapy water for at least an hour.
DRY THE MASK
Afterwards, dry the mask completely in the dryer or by hanging it.
ELIMINATE A MASK
Finally, we dispose a mask that cannot be washed when it is wet, soiled or wrinkled. So just throw the mask properly in a lined trash can. It’s the same for a damaged reusable mask or a face cover at the end of its life span. Do not leave your mask lying anywhere else.
In short, these were ways to clean a face cover. Which method is right for you? Above all, do not forget to wash your hands properly before putting on a mask and also after removing it! Also, disinfect your surfaces as well!
Myosan TB is a ready-to-use disinfectant cleaner has a broad spectrum virucidal claim. In accordance with Health Canada’s recommendations, we are authorized to make an indirect claim against SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19  ,  .
Myosan TB can therefore be used as a disinfectant against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, since it is qualified as part of Health Canada’s approach to emerging viral pathogens for hard-to-use surface disinfectants. against SARS-CoV-2.
Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses, which means that they are among the easiest types of virus to kill with an appropriate disinfectant, when used according to the label directions for use.
To obtain Myosan TB, contact us at (514) 645-2753, or email@example.com, or visit www.myosantb.com. Thank you.
Coronavirus are enveloped viruses, which means that they are among the easiest types of virus to kill with an appropriate disinfectant, when used according to the label directions.
Said of a substance capable of destroying a virus. A virus is an organism made up of at least two things: genetic material (DNA) and proteins. Being dependent on another organism to reproduce, the virus must find a viable host to multiply.
A tuberculocidal agent is a real killer of tuberculous bacilli, tuberculosis creating an infection with the mycobacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Said of a substance having the capacity to kill bacteria. A bacterium is a single-celled living organism composed of a membrane, genetic material and cellular machinery. It differs from the virus in that it does not need a host to reproduce; the bacteria is an independent organism.
Said of a substance that destroys fungi. Fungi, commonly called fungi, are sometimes unicellular, sometimes complex multicellular organisms. Composed of a nucleus, a membrane and a cellular machinery, the fungus reproduces itself.
It’s very simple, all the subtitles of this post are false. Fortunately, we are helping you get the facts out about COVID-19 (coronavirus).
CODIV-19 CAN BE TRANSMITTED BY MOSQUITO BITES
The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus that spreads mainly through contact with an infected person, through respiratory droplets emitted when a person, for example, coughs or sneezes, or through saliva or secretion droplets nasal passages. To date, there is no information or evidence suggesting that 2019-nCov could be transmitted by mosquitoes. To protect yourself, avoid close contact with someone who has a fever or cough, and practice good hand and respiratory hygiene.
COLD WEATHER AND SNOW CAN KILL NEW CORONAVIRUS
The normal temperature of the human body remains around 36.5°C and 37°C, regardless of the outside temperature or weather. Therefore, there is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill the new coronavirus or other pathogens. The most effective way to protect yourself from 2019-nCoV is to wash your hands frequently with an alcohol-based product or with soap and water.
THE NEW CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) CAN PROJECT UP TO 8 METERS FROM A PERSON WHO IS TUSTING OR SNEAKING
Respiratory droplets project up to 1 meter from a person who coughs or sneezes.
When a person infected with COVID-19 coughs or sneezes, the virus is expelled into droplets that can travel a certain distance from that person. Therefore, to protect yourself from any respiratory virus, avoid close contact with someone who has a fever or cough, and wash your hands frequently with hydro alcohol or soap and water.
HAND DRYERS ARE EFFECTIVE IN KILLING COVID-19
Hand dryers are not effective in killing COVID-19. To protect yourself from the new coronavirus, you should frequently wash your hands with a water-based product or with soap and water. Once your hands are clean, you should dry them thoroughly with paper towels or a hot air dryer.
CAN EAT GARLIC HELP PREVENT NEW CORONAVIRUS INFECTION?
On one positive side, it may drive colleagues away. Garlic is a healthy food that may have certain antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence in the current epidemic that consuming garlic protects people from the new coronavirus.
DOMESTIC ANIMALS CAN SPREAD THE NEW CORONAVIRUS
There is currently no evidence that pets / pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus. However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. This protects you from various common bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella that can pass from pets to humans.
ANTIBIOTICS ARE EFFECTIVE IN PREVENTING AND TREATING NEW CORONAVIRUS INFECTION
Antibiotics do not work against viruses, but only against bacteria.
The new coronavirus (COVID-19) is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.
However, if you are hospitalized for COVID-19 infection, you may be given antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.
2019-nCoV is making the headlines these days. What is the 2019-nCoV and what are the preventive measures? Up to now, we don’t fully understand the pathogenic potential and transmission dynamics of this new 2019 coronavirus.
What is it?
In a nutshell, it is part of the coronavirus family. It presents “80% of similarities” with the SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome) which killed hundreds of people in 2003. This virus does not spread as well as influenza and doesn’t evolve very quickly. The symptoms are the same as most flu cases: fever, cough, muscle aches, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing.
Last December, the coronavirus appeared in Wuhan, a city in central China. The cities of Wuhan and Huanggang have been quarantined. So far, it has killed 490 people in China and thousands of people have been infected. The virus has also been detected in 23 other countries. In order to limit its spread, measures are being taken in several countries. The WHO (World Health Organization) has declared this virus as an international emergency.
What are the preventive measures?
Brief, here are some preventive measures for 2019-nCoV. As suggested by the WHO, the following are strategies for health care-associated infection prevention and control when a case of nCoV is suspected:
Early detection and source control – Encouraging health care workers and managers to have a high level of clinical suspicion
Application of standard precautions for all patients – Ensure that respiratory hygiene measures are taken by providing a medical mask in case of suspected nCoV infection for those who can tolerate it – Cover your nose and mouth by coughing or sneezing into a tissue or bent elbow – Wash hands after contact with respiratory secretions – Wear personal protective equipment – Follow environmental cleaning and disinfection procedures consistently and correctly
The implementation of empirical additional precautions – Wear a particulate respirator at least as protective as a NIOSH N95, EU FFP2 certified respirator or equivalent – Wear eye protection (goggles or face shield) – Use clean, non-sterile long-sleeved coveralls – Wear gloves and avoid contact with eyes, nose or mouth with potentially contaminated hands – Use disposable equipment or dedicated equipment to be disinfected after each use
Administrative controls – Ensure sustainable infection prevention and control infrastructure and activities are in place – Provide training and education to health care workers and patients
Environmental and technical controls – Ensure adequate ventilation and proper cleaning of the environment
So, do not hesitate to contact us for your needs and questions about our products or hygiene training.
In recent years, we have begun to see a new healthcare trend emerge: the digitization of healthcare and the creation of telemedicine. As we have already seen on this blog, many patients are beginning to once again turn to receiving healthcare in their homes. This is especially due to the introduction of telemedicine, which allows patients to seek medical diagnoses and treatments without having to go to clinics.
So what exactly does the digitization of healthcare and telemedicine mean? MedicineNet defines telemedicine as:
The use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications for the health and education of the patient or healthcare provider and for the purpose of improving patient care. Telemedicine includes consultative, diagnostic, and treatment services.
What are the benefits associated of digitizing healthcare?
There are many benefits that the digitization of healthcare will allow.
Decreased risks of hospital-acquired infections. One of the frequently covered topics on this blog are HAIs. If less people are visiting hospitals, and instead using telemedicine to get diagnosed and treated from home, there will be a reduction in the number of people getting HAIs.
Improved patient experiences. With the use of telemedicine, patients won’t have to spend time making appointments, travelling to hospitals or waiting to be seen by doctors. They simply will need to go online to consult a doctor, and can receive treatments and prescriptions within minutes.
Improved access to healthcare. As previously discussed on our post, Are Hospitals Disappearing?, many patients living in rural areas have to travel far to access healthcare. Telemedicine will allow people to be diagnosed and treated from almost anywhere in the world.
Reduced costs for patients. Patients will pay much less to consult doctors online than at a clinic. The PBS News video on telemedicine (see below) tells us that a consultation online costs only $40, compared to $100-300 at an actual hospital (in the United States).
What are the risks?
It’s important to note that while there may be many benefits to digitizing healthcare, there are still some risks that need to be taken into consideration.
One of the frequent concerns about telemedicine is that technology will replace doctors. While the digitization of healthcare will definitely have an impact on the way that doctors and patients interact with one another, doctors will always be necessary. First, they will still be needed to give the patient diagnosis and prescription, whether it be through video calls or in person. Second, doctors will also still be needed for more complex treatments and procedures.
Another major concern is related to patient data security. We all know that there are already various privacy and security issues with posting your information online, so it understandable then that there would be concerns related to patient medical history being hacked or frauded.
Finally, there is a concern of faulty diagnoses. Since doctors will not be able to physically examine patients and will be relying on webcams and phone cameras to see patients’ symptoms, many people have expressed concern that doctors may not be able to diagnose the problem properly.
The future of digitizing healthcare
We are living in a very interesting time for healthcare facilities. Many companies, such as Doctor on Demand, have already joined this healthcare “revolution.” Insurance companies have already begun partnering with telemedicine companies to cover internet consultations for their clients. There are many changes happening and many changes still needed to be made. It will be interesting to see what influences the digitization of healthcare will have on the future of the health industry.
Christmas is right around the corner and who isn’t excited? I mean, who doesn’t like relaxing, going to parties, eating A LOT of food and getting to sleep in?
But, as great as Christmas celebrations and parties are, they are usually synonymous with mess. Nobody likes the big clean up after Christmas holidays, and yet most people leave it to the last minute. Have no fear though, we are here to rescue you with a simple, 12 days of Christmas cleaning plan so that you can do a little bit of cleaning every day instead of at the end your vacation.
So without further-ado, let’s jump right into your 12 day cleaning plan!
12 Days of Christmas Cleaning Plan
Day 1) Start with the kitchen, more specifically any dishes that have been lying around in your kitchen for a while. Chances are, your kitchen will see a lot of action over the holidays, since food will be prepared and served in this room. Tidy up any dishes that you have been trying to avoid, and put them away once cleaned.
Day 2) Back in the kitchen for day 2! Today the focus will be on wiping all the counter tops and the stove and cleaning the kitchen table. Whether you have wine stains or cookie dough stuck on your counters, this day will make sure that your whole kitchen has been cleaned!
Day 3) You know when all those messy boots cover the floor at the front entrance of your house, and they drip snow and slush all over? Day 3 is reserved for you to clean that mess up! Depending on the type of floors in your house, you can either mop, wipe or vacuum.
Day 4) Day 4 is reserved for cleaning up any wrapping paper, gift bags or packaging that was left around your house. Depending on the condition of the wrapping, you can either throw it away or store used bags and leftover wrapping paper somewhere for next year.
Day 5) Clean the dining room. While the food was prepared and served in the kitchen, the eating probably took place in your dining room. If that was the case, Day 5 is to clean up your dining room. Wipe up any food or crumbs that may be on the table and mop or vacuum the floor.
Day 6) Tackle the bathrooms, or at least the bathroom that was the most used by your guests. Nobody likes to clean bathrooms, but it needs to be done, and even more so after the holidays when they have been used by many different people. Make sure that you sanitize the countertops and sinks, clean the toilets and mop the floor. And, as we have already seen on this blog, avoid cross-contamination by using different wipes and equipment for different parts of the bathrooms.
Day 7) Take this day to catch up on your laundry. You’ve attended a lot of parties and, therefore, probably wore a lot of clothes, so now it’s time to catch up on cleaning them! Also, don’t forget about washing linens, like sheets and pillow cases, especially if you had guests using your guest bedrooms.
Day 8) Up next is the living room. Whether you watched Holiday movies with your family or spent lazy days on the couch with your kids, chances are you spent a lot of time in your living room relaxing over the holidays. Now it’s time to pick up those popcorn crumbs and place those pillows!
Day 9) Clean your master bedroom. You’ve already done the linens and pillow cases on laundry day, so this step should be relatively easy. Pick up any trash lying on the ground, dust the wardrobes and night tables and try to store things away like clothes and books.
Day 10) If you have other bedrooms, Day 10 is to clean all the other rooms in your house. Same thing as for the master bedroom, you’ve already done the linens, so all you have to do is clean the rest of the room!
Day 11) It’s almost time to go back to work and most of the parties are over now. Check your fridge and see what leftover party food you can throw away. Wash any containers that were used, so that your sink doesn’t get cluttered!
Day 12) Put away your Christmas tree and decorations. Probably the saddest day out of our 12 day cleaning plan, because putting away the Christmas tree means that the holidays are officially over! But the earlier you put it away just means that you won’t have to do it in January once you’re back in the routine of work and school. Also, don’t forget to sweep up underneath where the tree was after everything is out of the way.
So there you have it, cleaning up after the holidays made simple! And if you think you’re missing any products that will be necessary for your holiday cleaning, we’re here for you! Feel free to consult our website and check out our product offerings:
It’s that dreaded time of year again: winter, a.k.a flu season. Each year, 10-25% of Canadians get the flu (Cascades Pro, 2019), and although a common occurrence during the winter time, if not treated properly, some flu cases can lead to severe consequences, such as hospitalization. The Canadian government’s public health page estimates that each year cases of influenza cause about 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths.
Cascades PRO (2019) suggests the following to avoid getting the flu this season
Get vaccinated! According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), getting vaccinated is the best way to avoid getting the flu, especially for people with weakened immune systems.
Wash your hands. It seems like basic knowledge that washing your hands will help you avoid getting sick, however many people either don’t know how to wash their hands properly or don’t take the time to do it. Take the time to look at proper hand-washing instruction posters, which are often posted in public restrooms, and follow those instructions in order to avoid the flu!
Clean and disinfect surfaces. Wherever you work, every surface (desks, chairs, etc.) has the potential of being contaminated, especially high-contact surfaces. Make sure to clean them often, using disinfectant materials such as wipes, rags, etc.
Stay home if you have the flu. If you contract influenza, you should stay home, as you don’t want to put others at risk. Take care of yourself and get some rest!
Last year’s flu season saw a higher-than-usual number of influenza cases in Canada and that same trend is predicted for this year’s season. Keep these tips in mind and take care of yourself this flu season!
In honour of today being Global Handwashing Day, this post will be dedicated to providing information about The Global Handwashing Partnership, founder of the day, as well as handwashing techniques.
The Global Handwashing Partnership is an organization dedicated to developing and sharing knowledge about handwashing, in order to strengthen the hygiene enabling environment around the world. Established in 2001, it has since then partnered with governments, corporations and NGOs all over the world to attain their mission. Global Handwashing Day, which takes place yearly on October 15, is one of their main initiatives.
As described on their website, Global Handwashing Day is,
“a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. Global Handwashing Day is an opportunity to design, test, and replicate creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands with soap at critical times.”
Global Handwashing Website
On this blog, we have already seen many times how crucial hand hygiene is to the prevention of the spread of harmful bacteria and infection. The Global Handwashing Partnership treats handwashing as having the same importance of a vaccine; necessary to prevent infection and disease.
Below is a video on proper handwashing steps using the World Health Organization (WHO)’s technique.
One of the integral parts of having good hand hygiene is having good hand soap. Feel free to consult our website and check out our wide variety of hand soaps, including antibacterial hand soaps.
On this blog, we have already learned that healthcare-associated infections can be spread through the water and plumbing systems of hospitals. There are many possible reservoirs for the growth and spread of harmful pathogens; including potable water, sinks, faucets, showers, bathtubs, toilets, etc. It is therefore crucial that healthcare facilities develop water-management programs, in order to reduce the risk of infection.
In a recent article from Infection Control Today 2019, it is stated that:
“facilities must develop and adhere to policies and procedures that inhibit microbial growth in building water systems that reduce the risk of growth and the spread of Legionella and other opportunistic pathogens in water.”
Kelly M. Pyrek, Infection Control Today, 2019
Infection Control Today (2019) discusses many different policies that should be adopted by healthcare facilities.
In terms of potable tap water and hospital water systems, recommendations include:
Hot water temperatures at the outlet should be at the highest temperature allowable, preferably >51C.
In the case of water disruptions, signs should be posted and the drinking of tap water should be prohibited.
Standards for potable water must be maintained (<1 coliform bacterium/100 mL).
Equipment should be rinsed first with either sterile water, filtered water or tap water and an alcohol rinse should follow.
Periodic monitoring of water samples should be done in order to test for Legionella growth.
In terms of sinks in hospitals, recommendations include:
The use of separate sinks for handwashing and disposal of contaminated fluids.
The decontamination or elimination of sinks if epidemic spread of gram-negative bacteria via sinks is suspected.
In terms of showers in hospitals, recommendations include:
Prohibit the use of showers in neutropenic patients.
Control Legionella colonization of potable water.
The article discusses many more recommendations for other water-related reservoirs that are potential sources of infection. For more information on these other reservoirs, please refer to Infection Control Today’s website.
In addition to this, it is recommended by Tim Keane, a consultant with Philadelphia-based Legionella Risk Management Inc, that healthcare facilities hire engineers that are “building water system expert(s) who specialize in risk management for building water systems” (Infection Control, 2019). This will provide healthcare facilities with the expertise needed to develop a concise water-management program.
Preventing the spread of infection is no easy task, especially when there are constantly new sources of HAIs in healthcare facilities. That being said, with the help of very specific programs and procedures, such as the recommendations described above, it is possible to reduce the risk of infection and the spread of bacteria.
Infection Control Today. Vol. 23. No. 3. March 2019.
Hospital-acquired infections and drug-resistant superbugs are some of the biggest concerns in healthcare right now. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that by 2050, more people will die from antibiotic-resistant bacteria than from cancer (2016). Furthermore, many of the diseases that cause people to be in the hospital in the first place, are preventable, such as heart disease and diabetes. This means that people are needlessly going to hospitals and subsequently risk being exposed to harmful infections. This is one of the reasons why a main priority right now in healthcare is shifting towards prevention and keeping people out of hospitals in the first place.
According to Nancy Brown, from the American Heart Association, “many of the things that bring people to the hospital can be prevented” (2019). In fact, during the World Economic Forum on the Future of Hospitals, which featured Brown as a speaker, it was discussed how 80% of health does not happen at the hospital, but rather, it happens at home, where individuals should consciously be making better decisions to be healthier.
Education about health should be a key priority for governments, hospitals and medical professionals, as it will reduce healthcare costs, prevent risks and occurrences of serious illnesses, and just make people more healthy in general. Brown stated that the way to doing this is to change people’s behaviours, either by inspiration, advocacy or even regulation. She also identified two key factors that are critical in influencing people’s unhealthy habits: environment and lifestyle. To quote her again,
“If you don’t have access to fresh foods, and the only thing you can have is processed and packaged food which is high in sodium and high in added sugar, why are we surprised that there’s an epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes?”
Nancy Brown, American Heart Association, 2019
Brown provides very interesting information about prevention, which is becoming more and more important in healthcare. According to Regina Benjamin, MD, it is crucial that disease prevention be intertwined into every aspect of our every day lives.
Benjamin lists 4 keys areas to improve in order to better prevent diseases:
Healthy and safe community environments
Clinical and community preventive services
Elimination of health disparities
People have the ability to prevent many diseases. With a good education about health, people can become more knowledgeable about how to take care of themselves and what diseases they are more prone to. This will lead to fewer hospitalizations and healthier people with a better quality of life. That is why this trend in healthcare is so important and it is great thing to move towards.
To watch the World Economic Forum discussion of The Future of Hospitals, see the video below:
Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are one of the biggest risks in healthcare today and Canada is no exception to this. In fact, Canada has one of the highest occurrences of HAIs out of all developed nations, with 200,000 cases per year and consequently, 8000 deaths (Statistics Canada, 2016). The spread of HAIs can be prevented, as we have seen on this blog, with proper handwashing techniques as well as proper disinfection protocols for equipment and patient rooms. The problem is that hospitals need A LOT of staff in order to properly disinfect, and control and prevent infection. And yet, Canada, as well as other countries, are seeing cuts in hospital staff.
According to a report prepared by Venrock (2018), one of the predictions for trends in healthcare for 2018 was the continuation of cutting and hiring less hospital staff. This is mostly due to hospitals working to balance their budgets. But at what costs does this balancing of budgets come at?
Although not a recent report, CBC’s Marketplace investigation of hospital cleanliness from 2012 does a good job at showing the consequences of hospital staff cuts (see video below). They interviewed nurses, doctors and hospital cleaners to find out more about staff cuts and its relation to infection control.
One hospital cleaner described the following:
“They’ve really cut staff, and we don’t have a lot of time to actually get done what we’re supposed to get done in a day. We used to have one person to one wing of the hospital to clean, but now we have three floors to clean.”
Anonymous, Hospital Cleaner (2012)
According to the report, in order to sufficiently clean a hospital room, it would take just over an hour. However, with the staff cuts being made, hospital cleaners are only getting on average 15 minutes for each room. This leads to a lot of uncleaned surfaces, leaving harmful pathogens in patient rooms. Furthermore, sometimes the harmful bacteria will even be spread from one room to another, since cleaners either don’t have the time to change cleaning materials or there aren’t enough cleaning materials. One example given in the report is that a cleaner will mop a patient’s room and then continue mopping into another room with the same water, simply because they don’t have the time to change the water.
Hospital staff cuts may save hospitals money, however, the potential risks that result from staff cuts are very significant and should not be overlooked. Leaving surfaces infected by pathogens can be detrimental to both patients and staff, and that is why it is essential to have an adequate number of educated staff to control the spread of infection.
To learn more about the consequences of hospital staff cuts, refer to this CBC Marketplace video:
According to a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control, the use of ultraviolet (UV) disinfection technology in an operating room eliminated up to 97.7% of pathogens (infectious agent), which otherwise could have caused hospital-acquired infections. The UV light technology that was used is by PurpleSun, a New York based company. PurpleSun’s UV technology can reach and clean multiple surfaces in several seconds, compared to traditional disinfecting methods which use chemicals and does not eliminate bacteria as well. Traditional methods also take longer, since it is normally humans cleaning with a disinfectant.
What is ultraviolet disinfection?
Ultraviolet disinfection is the use of UV light to disinfect. UV light is absorbed by the DNA and RNA of microorganisms, which in turn causes changes in the structure of the DNA and RNA. This makes the microorganisms incapable of replicating. According to Bolton (2008), “because they cannot multiply, they cannot cause disease, even though technically they are still metabolically alive.” Ultraviolet disinfection is more commonly used for the disinfection of water, however, it may soon become an effective method to eliminate bacteria causing hospital-acquired infections.
PurpleSun: pioneer in ultraviolet disinfection technologies?
PurpleSun is a New York based company, and is set to be the first company to launch ultraviolet-based technology as a disinfectant. Their mission, as stated on their website, is to reduce hospital-acquired infections, in order to save lives, reduce costs, and enhance safety in healthcare facilities.
On their website, they have identified 3 limitations with hospitals’ current disinfection process: 1) Everything is done by hand 2) There are thousands of surfaces, and not enough time to clean them all 3) There is no room for human error
PurpleSun’s light disinfectant will allow rooms to be cleaned within seconds, disinfect all the surfaces in the room and has been proven to be very effective in eliminating harmful pathogens.
Is ultraviolet technology the next step that healthcare facilities must take to reduce the risk of HAIs?
Light technology as a disinfectant is still in the process of experimentation in healthcare facilities. That being said, the study conducted produced highly favorable results. PurpleSun as a company has also been doing extremely well on a global scale, being named one of the 50 most promising companies in the world. Furthermore, many firms and organizations have been investing in and partnering with the company, demonstrating that the company has a lot of potential. The effectiveness of ultraviolet light as a disinfectant is undeniable, but for now, we will just have to wait and see what the future holds for it in healthcare facilities.
Bolton, James R. Cotton, Christine A.. (2008). Ultraviolet Disinfection Handbook (1st Edition). American Water Works Association (AWWA) . Retrieved from: https://app.knovel.com/hotlink/toc/id:kpUDHE0001/ultraviolet-disinfection/ultraviolet-disinfection
According to Infection Control Today (2018), a recent study carried out in a hospital in the UK has determined that a “one wipe” cleaning system was proven to be more effective than the traditional “two wipes” system in reducing the risk of MRSA in hospitals. Between 2013-2016, the hospital had been using a “two wipe” system, which consisted of first using a detergent wipe and then using an alcohol wipe as a disinfectant. In May 2016, a universal cleaning and disinfection wipe was introduced to the healthcare facility, and it made a significant difference.
According to Infection Control Today (2018),
“Using a Poisson model the researchers demonstrated that the average hospital acquisition rate of MRSA/100,000 patient bed days reduced by 6.3 percent per month after the introduction of the new universal wipe.”
Infection Control Today (2018)
These results were significant, and led to a big change in how this UK healthcare facility cleans its equipment. Not only did the universal disinfectant wipes lead to higher efficacy, but they also led to higher efficiency, since healthcare workers now only have to go over the equipment once and are assured that it will be clean.
Keeping this in mind, there are many different types of disinfectant wipes to choose from. If you would like to learn more about different types of disinfectant wipes, and how each of them work, feel free to visit our official website, and view our product offerings, or contact us directly by phone or email.
Click on the link below to view our product offerings for disinfectant wipes.
On this blog, we have already reviewed many of the sources of a major health problem: hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). And yet, every day, researchers seem to discover new sources of HAIs. One of the latest discoveries is that hospital privacy curtains in hospital rooms are extremely contaminated with pathogens. A study conducted in Winnipeg, Canada, revealed that freshly hung hospital curtains with minimal contamination became more contaminated each day that they hung in the hospital rooms. Furthermore, after 14 days of being in the room, 87.5% of the curtains were tested positive for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Kevin Shek (Bsc), the leader of the study on hospital privacy curtains carrying pathogens, writes,
“We know that privacy curtains pose a high risk for cross-contamination because they are frequently touched but infrequently changed.”
Kevin Shek (2018)
Healthcare facilities have been placing a great amount of effort in reducing the risk of HAIs in terms of hand-washing and the cleaning of equipment and high-touch surfaces, however, other things such as curtains, mattresses, and bedsheets have often been overlooked. A survey that was conducted to determine how hospital privacy curtains are cleaned/changed revealed frightening results. Only about half of the hospitals had a written policy which specified how often the curtains needed to be changed. 37% of respondents answered that hospital curtains were changed only when visibly soiled. 13% of respondents answered that the curtains were changed only once per year. Considering the results obtained from the Winnipeg hospital study, where curtains became increasingly more contaminated with each day that they remain in a patient’s room, the responses from the survey are alarming.
In terms of controlling the spread of infection, hospitals really need to consider that almost anything in the facility could be contaminated. Hospital cleaning is becoming increasingly complicated, as there are so many places where harmful pathogens can be found. It will be increasingly important that healthcare facilities develop new protocols and policies to prevent HAIs.
The list of potential areas of contamination in hospitals seems to keep growing, leading us to identify more sources of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) and making hospital cleaning continuously more complicated. To add to this, researchers are now finding that hospital floors are a significant source of hospital-acquired infections. Every day, hospital and clinic floors are flooded by thousands of people. Shoes soles, wheels from equipment, such as monitors or stretchers and bodily fluids all contribute to the contamination of hospital floors.
It seems so obvious; floors are dirty in general. Hospital floors must be even dirtier. However, as Koganti, et. al. (2016) describes,
“… hospital floors are often heavily contaminated but are not considered an important source for pathogen dissemination because they are rarely touched. However, floors are frequently contacted by objects that are subsequently touched by hands (e.g., shoes, socks, slippers). In addition, it is not uncommon for high-touch objects such as call buttons and blood pressure cuffs to be in contact with the floor.”
(Koganti, et. al. (2016).
In addition to this, shoe soles and wheels on equipment also frequently touch hospital floors. Shoes of healthcare professionals can lead to the spread of infection since these workers are visiting many different patient rooms. Similarly, equipment such as monitors, stretchers or infusion pumps all have wheels which touch the floors of multiple hospital rooms.
Now you might be thinking, ‘but surely hospital floors are routinely cleaned?’ While that is true, researchers are now finding that much of the floor cleaning that is done is relatively ineffective since the bacteria is able to reproduce so quickly. So, what can be done to help reduce the risk of hospital floor contamination?
A good hygiene program for hospital floors, to reduce the risk of contamination
The cleaning and the disinfection of floors are essential elements of an effective hygiene program for hospitals. Regular floor maintenance implies the systematic elimination of hidden bacterias, which can be achieved by using vacuums, mopping and other elimination processes.
A good floor disinfection program consists of using effective disinfectants/detergents and procedures that are notable for reducing the risk of contamination. It is also important that cleaning equipment be properly cleaned and maintained, so that bacteria doesn’t spread when cleaning.
Cleaning hospital floors seems like a daunting task, especially since bacteria has been able to reproduce and spread itself so quickly. Healthcare facilities will need to become more exigent with their floor cleaning programs, if they are going to seriously tackle the threat of hospital-acquired infections.
Our last post discussed how janitors may contribute to the cross-contamination of different environments. As a follow up, this post will discuss different methods for preventing cross-contamination.
Cross-contamination can happen so easily that many people do not even realize it. A simple example would be that a janitor cleans a toilet with a wipe, and then uses that same wipe to clean the bathroom sink. Whichever viruses were present on that toilet have now been transmitted to the sink. This is why it is crucial that organizations develop cleaning programs that will prevent cross-contamination from happening.
Steps for preventing cross-contamination
Cleaning and Maintenance Management (CMM) makes three simple recommendations for the prevention of cross-contamination: (1) color code and categorize, (2) upgrade your tools, (3) clean from top to bottom. (2017).
The first recommendation is to color code and categorize. Organization is crucial in preventing cross-contamination. CMM recommends the use of a color-coded system, more specifically, the use of microfibre cloths and mop heads which come in a minimum of four colors: red, green, blue and yellow. The British Institute of Cleaning Science recommends the following color chart for the cleaning of specific items and rooms:
Green: general food and bar cleanup in non-preparatory food areas, such as lunchrooms
Blue: areas of low-risk of contamination, such as hallways, offices and classrooms
Furthermore, it is recommended that cleaning tools are kept separate within the janitor’s closet. This is because if these items touch each other in the closet, then it defeats the purpose of having different colors for different areas and does not solve cross-contamination.
The second recommendation is to upgrade your tools. Having the best tools for cleaning will ensure that most of the bacteria is removed. Microfibre cloths and mops are highly recommended, since they are the best material for trapping dirt and bacteria. Once the dirt and bacteria are trapped in the microfibre, the particles will remain trapped in the material.
The third recommendation is to clean from top to bottom. Cleaning from top to bottom allows the cleaner to avoid missing any areas. By starting from the top, any dust or dirt that may fall to the bottom, or the floor, will be picked up afterwards, since the cleaner will then move on to the lower areas.
CMM provides the following methodological approach for top to bottom cleaning:
Wipe Down surfaces first. Make sure to wipe down surfaces before applying products.
Disinfect second. Spray disinfectant on areas that have been wiped down and let sit for 5-10 minutes before wiping it off.
Tackle the floor last. Mopping or vacuuming the floors last will ensure that anything that may have fallen onto it will be picked up.
Preventing cross-contamination may seem like a daunting task, but the steps recommended by CMM definitely help simplify it!
As you have read on this post, microfibre is one of the best cleaning tools that you can use because it has the ability to trap dust and dirt particles, and does not release them. Having microfibre cleaning products will provide you with optimal results in cleaning. Here at Lalema Inc, we offer all types of microfibre products. Feel free to consult our website for more details 🙂
Janitors are responsible for the cleanliness and maintenance of many types of establishments, including hospitals, schools and restaurants. In most places, there are procedures and regulations to be followed in order to achieve optimal cleanliness and, ultimately, prevent the spread of harmful bacteria.
But did you know that janitors can also spread infection through cross-contamination, if there aren’t proper cleaning protocols in place?
According to Infection Control Today (2019),
“Cross-contamination is defined as the spread of germs from one surface or object to another and frequently occurs when performing janitorial tasks.”
Robert Shor, Infection Control Today, 2019
Infection Control Today describes several possible causes of janitorial cross-contamination, which include mop heads, towels, and gloves. While it is known that these sources are associated with the spread of infection, there is one which is often overlooked: the gloves worn by the janitor. While cleaning many different rooms, and even different buildings, the janitor usually keeps the same gloves for the duration of the cleaning. When changing rooms and buildings, he is spreading the bacteria that are on his gloves.
Infection Control Today suggests the following protocol for janitors’ use of gloves:
Don gloves before performing cleaning tasks (use gloves that are appropriate for the task being performed).
Change gloves in the following situations:
When they become soiled, torn or punctured
After cleaning areas with high concentrations of germs (restrooms)
When going from building to building or floor to floor
After cleaning each classroom (room), restrooms, kitchen areas
Avoid contaminating your hands when removing gloves by following CDC guidelines.
Wash hands and/or use hand sanitizers after janitorial tasks are completed.
Janitors play a very important role when it comes to keeping establishments sanitary and safe. That is why it is crucial to develop protocols to ensure the highest quality of cleaning.
Source: Infection Control Today, Vol. 23, No. 3, March 2019
You have probably already heard that cellphones are some of the dirtiest things that you can touch. What you probably don’t know is just how bad they are. According to Patrick Boshell (2013), cellphones carry about 25,000 germs per square inch or, in other words, 10 times more bacteria than a toilet seat.
Cellphones come with us wherever we go, even the bathroom! So it’s no surprise that it is one of the dirtiest objects to come into contact with. Although a lot of the bacteria found on your phone won’t make you sick, studies have found that some pretty dangerous pathogens can be found on your phone, such as MRSA or E. Coli.
So, what can you do to protect yourself against the potentially harmful bacteria on your phone?
How to keep your cellphone clean
The following is a list of recommendations to help keep your cellphone bacteria-free (or as close to it as possible):
Wash your hands frequently and properly. It may seem obvious, but many people don’t pay attention to hand-washing guidelines, which results in hands that were not washed properly carrying bacterias that will touch and contaminate your phone. Hand-washing is probably the most important thing you can do to keep your phone clean, since the majority of the bacteria is transferred from your hands.
Keep your phone out of the bathroom. Bathrooms are some of the dirtiest places that you go to. Using your phone while you’re in the bathroom exposes it to the bacteria lurking in stalls.
Wipe down your phone. Time magazine recommends two options for cleaning your cellphones: (1) wipe the phone with a microfibre cloth or (2) for a deeper clean, combine water and alcohol and dip a cloth in the mix and wipe down your screen.
For more information, take a look at this video below:
February 2019. We have all learned time and time again about the importance of handwashing, and how it can reduce the risk for harmful infections and, ultimately, save lives. Then, along comes Pete Hegseth, co-host of Fox & Friends, with the statement that he has not washed his hands in 10 years. He stated the reason for this as being “germs are not a real thing – I can’t see them, therefore they’re not real.” Whether he was joking or not is still under debate, but one thing is for sure, his statement is far from being correct.
Hegseth’s statement no doubt created a lot of publicity, but many are now concerned that people will be influenced by him in not washing their hands. And they have every right to be.
The Guardian (2019) quotes Professor Val Curtis, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where she states that:
“Hands are the most important vector of infectious diseases.”
Val Curtis, 2019. Retrieved from the Guardian
She adds to this that not washing your hands or improper handwashing puts everyone at risk, and that it is a moral issue above all. If, for example, you go to the washroom and don’t wash your hands, everything you touch afterwards will be contaminated. Everyone who touches the same surfaces that you did will be touching the bacteria that you have spread, putting them at high risk for infection.
Even though the risks are significant from improper handwashing, many people rarely put in the extra little effort needed in order to reduce these risks. According to Sandoz (2019), 1 in 20 people fail to wash their hands properly after using the washroom. Also, the average time that people take to wash their hands is 7 seconds, which is far below the recommended 20 seconds (Sandoz, 2019).
How to properly wash your hands
So what is considered proper handwashing and how can we achieve it in order to prevent infection? The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides us with detailed steps in order to maintain ultimate hand hygiene. The steps are as follows:
Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap and apply soap.
Lather your hands by rubbing them together with soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
Rinse your hands well, under clean, running water.
Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them
Proper handwashing is necessary to prevent the spread of infection and to ultimately save lives. It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to do, and it can make all the difference. So do your part for yourself and society; wash your hands 🙂
After the coming of hospital’s contracted diseases such as C. difficile or MRSA (Methicilin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus), another difficult to treat bug seems to emerge. This time, it is a fungus: Candida auris.
This fungus or more precisely this yeast, has first been discovered by scientists in 1996. Then, a first infected human case has been reported in Japan in 2009. 1,2 To this date, Candida auris has been detected in hospitals of more than 20 countries such as the United States of America, England and many Europe countries. The first case in Canada has been reported in 20173.
Candida auris poses a specific threat because of the following characteristics4:
Infections by this microorganism have a high mortality rate.
The microorganism resists antifungal agents.
The microorganism is difficult to identify in clinical microbiology laboratories which results in wrong diagnostic. The identification is important in the choice of antifungal treatment.
The microorganism is known for its virulence.
The microorganism colonizes surfaces such as catheters used for healthcare.
Among recommended precautions by American and Canadian governments, disinfection of surfaces plays an important part. However, specific disinfectants are to avoid: this is notably the case for quaternary ammonium-based disinfectants which are ineffective5. The following procedure is rather recommended:
« Healthcare facilities that have patients with C. auris infection or colonization should ensure thorough daily and terminal cleaning and disinfection of these patient’s rooms with hospital-grade disinfectant effective against Clostridium difficile spores. »6
Sporicidal sodium hypochlorite-based disinfectant against C. difficile are for example great disinfectants to prevent and control contact transmission of Candida auris. In other words, scientists are only starting to understand and study this recently discovered microorganism. More studies will allow the discovery of effective treatment.
Until that time,in need of sporicidal products against C. Difficile to face Candidaauris new threat? Get our products right now!
1) Lee WG, Shin JH, Uh Y, Kang MG, Kim SH, Park KH, et al., (2011), First three reported cases of nosocomial fungemia caused by Candida auris. J Clin Microbiol, 49:3139-3142.
2) Satoh K,Makimura K, Hasumi Y, Nishiyama Y, Uchida K, Yamaguchi H., (2009), Candida auris sp. nov., a novel ascomycetous yeast isolated from the external ear canalof an inpatient in a Japanese hospital. Microbiol Immunol., 53:41-44.
3) Schwartz IS, Hammond GW., (2017), Premier cas de Candida auris multirésistant au Canada. Relevé des maladies transmissibles au Canada., 43(7/8):168-72.
4) Anuradha Chowdhary, Cheshta Sharma et Jacques F. Meis., (2017), Candida auris : A rapidly emerging cause of hospital-acquired multidrug-resistant fungal infections globally, PLoSPathogens, 13(5):e1006290
5) Institut National de Santé Publique du Québec, (Janvier 2018), Mesures de prévention et de contrôle dans les milieux se soins, Comité sur les infections nosocomiales du Québec, 2377 :1-11
6) Relevé des maladies transmissibles au Canada, (juillet 2017), Premier cas de Candida auris déclaré au Canada, Agence de santé publique du Canada, 43-7/8
Antibiotics have been around for almost 100 years now, and have proven to be very effective against fighting harmful bacterias. However, during this time, these bacteria had time to evolve and many of them are now becoming “drug-resistant”, meaning that these bacteria have developed a resistance to antibiotics. There are even some bacteria, known as “superbugs”, that have become resistant to nearly every existing antibiotic. If a person is infected with a “superbug”, this means they cannot seek treatment from antibiotics and will have to rely solely on their immune system to fight the disease. This could result in death by diseases that were once treatable. According to the United Nations World Health Organization, “By 2050, estimates indicate that more people could die from antibiotic resistant infections than those who currently die from cancer” (2016), making drug-resistant bacteria one of the most serious health concerns that we face.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
So if antibiotics are becoming ineffective, then what can be done? Researchers are now turning towards a “good virus” called a “bacteriophage”, or simply phage, that kills bacteria, which was previously overlooked by researchers and scientists.
Phages: The Virus that kills drug-resistant superbugs
First of all, what is a phage? Simply put, phages are viruses that infect specific bacteria (Motherboard, Vice). This means that bacteriophages do not infect human or animal cells. There are more phages on earth than any other living specimen, and they can be found almost anywhere. There are also many different kinds of phages, and each phage does not fight the same bacteria.
Phages kill bacteria by binding themselves to the membrane of the bacteria when they come in contact with it and then releasing an enzyme that drills a hole in the bacteria cell. The phage then injects its own DNA into the cell and reproduces more phages inside of it. This causes the bacteria cell to explode (Motherboard, Vice). Phages can therefore be used as a natural alternative to antibiotics, and may prove to be even more effective.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
In the early 1900s, phages were studied by many researchers and scientists all over the world, however, after the invention of antibiotics, Western countries became less interested in phages and any research about the viruses were put to a halt. The Soviet Union, on the other hand, kept investing in phage research and Russia, Georgia and Poland are among the only countries that use phage therapy today as a bacteria-fighting technique. Research scientist Benjamin Chan (Yale University) explains that the United States has been “hesitant to use bacteriophages because they’re a virus.” However, he goes on to explain that there are many types of viruses and virus does not always mean that there is a disease involved.
Will phages replace antibiotics in the future?
Maybe. It will take some time, as much research still needs to be done by Western countries. Many science researchers believe that they will begin to be used out of desperation. One thing is for sure though: our current antibiotics will no longer be a sustainable option and we need to find another alternative and fast!
For more information on the subject, watch the video below by Vice:
From December 2017 to February 2018, across all types of healthcare facilities in Quebec, the number of Influenza cases was much higher than anticipated. While the number of cases were high all across Canada, Quebec seems to have experienced the greatest number of flu cases. In Canada, in the week from Feb. 4 – Feb. 10, the overall percentage of positive tests for the flu went from 31% to 34%!
Influenza A and influenza B were the two types of flu viruses in circulation in Quebec. For A, the most common flu type in Quebec was A(H3N2), which made up about 95% of flu cases. As for B, the virus B/Phuket was the dominant one. While there were reported cases of both influenza A and B, the more shocking of the two was the elevated numbers of influenza B, which usually only starts to see an increase in cases during the month of March. This increase in B during the months of December to February is primarily responsible for the higher numbers of flu cases.
The former Quebec Minister of Health and Social services stresses that the number of flu cases are still very high. It is recommended by the government that people get the flu vaccine, especially if they have a weakened immune system.
In addition to this, we’d like to offer you some further advice on how to prevent the flu: