Hospital floors, yet another source of Hospital-Acquired Infections

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.

Source : 
https://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/environmental-hygiene/shoe-sole-and-floor-contamination-new-consideration-environmental-hygiene

How to Prevent Cross-Contamination

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.

Source: Flickr

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:

  • Red: sanitary appliances, restroom floors, toilets, urinals
  • Yellow: restroom surfaces – sinks, towel dispensers, hand dryers, soap dispensers
  • 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 🙂

http://www.lalema.com/search?q=microfiber

Source:
https://www.cmmonline.com/articles/preventing-cross-contamination-is-as-easy-as-1-2-3?utm_medium=email&utm_source=cmm&utm_campaign=CM+e-News+Daily&omid=


How Janitors contribute to cross-contamination

Source: Wikimedia Commons

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

Cellphones: One of the dirtiest things that you touch every day

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.

Source: Pexels

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):

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

Source:
https://info.debgroup.com/blog/bid/290652/your-mobile-phone-is-dirtier-than-you-think

http://time.com/4908654/cell-phone-bacteria/

Handwashing really is important…

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:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap and apply soap.
  2. 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.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  4. Rinse your hands well, under clean, running water.
  5. 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 🙂

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/shortcuts/2019/feb/12/hands-hadnt-washed-10-years-peter-hegseth

https://www.sandoz.com/stories/access-medical-information/washing-hands-saving-lives-surprising-health-benefits-clean-hands

https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/television/opinion/2019/02/11/fox-news-host-pete-hegseth-shouldve-kept-his-dirty-secret-to-himself.html

https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/index.html

Will “good” viruses replace antibiotics in the future?

A major health concern for the future

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:

 

SOURCES:

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/9kdbqa/bacteriophages-phage-therapy-antibiotic-resistant-bacteria?utm_source=mbfb

http://www.lemonde.fr/sciences/article/2012/06/14/les-phages-des-virus-guerisseurs_1718745_1650684.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antibiotics

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=54928#.WnikApM-cWo

Will Quebec experience a higher than usual number of influenza cases again this year?

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%!

Source: PxHere

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:

  1. Frequently wash your hands with an antibacterial soap.
  2. If you do not have soap or water, use an antibacterial wipe to clean your hands.
  3. Disinfect high-touch surfaces with a disinfectant.
  4. Finally, avoid touching your face if possible; apparently we touch our faces about 5000 times per day, which is not only gross, but can make us sick!

Source: http://publications.msss.gouv.qc.ca/msss/document-001973/ (Volume 8, numĂ©ro 3).

Are hospitals disappearing?

Hospitals have always had ups and downs, according to the New York Times (2018). During the 19th century, wealthier people preferred being treated by doctors in their homes and hospitals were seen as a place for poorer people. Hospitals were not known for having good conditions. However, research led hospitals to learn some of the best practices and new technologies, such as anesthesia, which allowed hospitals to give better treatment than at home.

These new pratices and technologies caused more people to start going to hospitals. But now, people are once again shifting towards medical assistance at home or choosing to go to small clinics rather than going to hospitals. Why are these changes happening and what has been the implications for healthcare facilities?

hospitals

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Why are hospitals shutting down?

According to the New York Times (2018), the maximum number of hospitalizations in the US was over 39 million, in 1981. Even though the population has increased, hospitalizations have decreased by 10 percent! (New York Times, 2018). There are many different reasons explaining these numbers.

Aside from less patient admissions, the number of days a patient spends in a hospital is much shorter than before. Previously, a patient who had surgery could spend a week or longer in the hospital. However, now patients who have surgery sometimes stay only one day! This is one of the reasons for the reduction of hospital beds. According to Modern Healthcare (2015), new technologies and better medications can either reduce the length of the stay of a patient, or receive the necessary treatment outside of a hospital.

Second, one of the biggest problems that hospitals face today are hospital-acquired infections and trying to control the spread of infection. Hospital-acquired infections are becoming an increasingly serious problem, especially with the rise of drug-resistant suberbugs.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2002, there were 1.7 million cases of HAIs, and that number has only been increasing. Controlling the spread of bacteria in hospitals has become increasingly challenging and, as you have seen on this blog, researchers are constantly finding new sources of infection. As people are becoming more aware of this risk, they are opting for either smaller healthcare facilities with less risk or at-home care.

One of the biggest causes for hospital closures is lack of funding; some hospitals simply cannot sustain themselves. In the US especially, this is in part due to patients being unable to pay hospital fees or having complications with insurance companies and, therefore, postponing their treatments. Hospitals are now scrambling to cut costs, however, this does not always work and has led to many closures.

The costs of shutting down hospitals

The majority of hospitals being shut down are in rural and small town areas, where people are far from cities. These closures can lead to many problems for these people. Doctors may lose their jobs or have to relocate to other cities to practice. Similarly, patients no longer have the option of having a regular, family doctor and need to relocate themselves in order to seek medical attention. They will also incur higher costs to reach the hospital, since they have to travel to hospitals. They lose time travelling, which may even be deadly in some cases. Finally, in the video example below, we see that the loss of jobs from a hospital closure can be detrimental to a small town’s economy, leading to the closure of other companies.

What does the future for hospitals look like?

So what is going to happen to hospitals? Will they eventually all disappear? Although a total disappearance is highly unlikely, it seems that hospital closures are becoming unavoidable, due to the risks associated with hospital-acquired infections, changing consumer preferences and lack of funds to maintain hospitals. There has already been a signifcant number that have been closed since 1981; in 1981, the US had 6933 hospitals and by 2017 this number had dropped to 5534 (New York Times, 2018). And this trend is expected to continue in Western countries. We’ll just have to wait and see what the outcome will be…

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/michelle-cohen/ontario-rural-hospitals_b_16290384.html

http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20150221/MAGAZINE/302219988

Water, a source of hospital-acquired infections?

Hospital-acquired infections are a serious threat in healthcare facilities today and researchers keep finding new sources of these infections. We know that sources of HAIs include surfaces, high-touch objects, hands and medical devices, but did you know that these infections can also occur due to the water and plumbing systems in healthcare facilities?

Source: Public Domain Pictures

According to Infection Control Today (2018), “Potable and utility water systems in healthcare settings are reservoirs and vectors of Hospital-acquired infections, resulting in pneumonias, bacteremias, skin infections, surgical site infections, eye infections and others.”

Hospitals are major users of potable water, whether it be for drinking, bathing, hand-washing or rinsing medical devices. It is therefore important that healthcare facilities realize that the water entering their facilities is not considered sterile.

Why is the water in plumbing systems infected? The design of and water use patterns in premise plumbing creates biofilms, which provide shelter and food for harmful bacterias. According to Infection Control Today (2018), “Biofilms in premise plumbing systems are complex ecosystems, and it is within these biofilms that bacteria, fungi and amoeba find the food, water and shelter they need.” Many bacteria develop in the biofilms, such as Legionella, Ancinetobacter aumanniii, Aspergillus flavus, etc.

Legionella – what is it and how does it affect patients in a healthcare setting?

Legionella colonies

Hospital-acquired infections

       Source: Wikimedia Commons

Legionella is one example of a bacteria that is found naturally in water. This bacteria is known for causing Legionnaires’ disease: a severe form of pneumonia. This disease is one of the most significant waterborne infections. Legionnaires normally has a mortality rate of only 10%, however, if acquired in a hospital, this rate goes up to anywhere between 25-50% (Infection Control Today, 2018)! Hospitals experience the highest number of outbreaks of Legionnaires disease (compared to other types of buildings) due to having a large number of patients with weakened immune systems or that have chronic diseases. It is important to note that the majority of Legionnaires cases in hospitals are due to the drinking water system.

How to reduce the risk of wHAIs: education and water management programs

So now that we are aware of waterborne hospital acquired infections (wHAIs), is there a way to reduce the risk that potable water poses to healthcare facilities? Infection Control Today (2018) suggests both education and water management programs as possible solutions to reducing the wHAI risk. Firstly, through education, it is important that healthcare workers know that potable water does carry bacteria and does cause an increase in HAIs. Second, once this idea of water carrying bacteria is understood, it will be important to implement water management programs. There can be no standardized water management programs, as all facilities differ in factors such as age of establishment and system, overall design of plumbing system, populations served, etc. Some hospitals have already tried different methods of water disinfection. Examples of these methods used to reduce risk include the use of sterile water in high-risk patient areas, engineering controls and point-of-use water filters.

To summarize, healthcare facilities must realize the risk that water and plumbing systems pose to their patients and employees. Hospital-acquired infections are one of the leading causes of death in North America and it is therefore crucial that hospitals take action against any source that could spread these infections. Education and water management programs are the best ways to help reduce the risk of wHAIs, according to Infection Control Today (2018).

Learn more about Hospital-acquired infections in this free webinar

Source: Infection Control Today. Vol. 22. No. 2. February 2018. 

Medical hygiene monitoring badges: how new technology is helping to prevent the spread of microorganisms

Hygiene and cleanliness are already monitored closely in hospitals and healthcare facilities. Hand sanitation is a crucial hygiene practice for both medical professionals’ well-being, as well as their patients. However, according to TrendHunter (2014), hand hygiene compliance in US hospitals is only achieved 50% of the time. And this is only an example of hand hygiene in the US. Studies would probably show similar, if not worse, percentages in countries across the globe. That is why Biovigil invented a medical hygiene monitoring badge.

Source: Pixabay

The Biovigil monitoring badge is specifically made for hand sanitation. The badge can be clipped on to a scrub or lab coat. It reminds healthcare workers to clean their hands when they leave or enter a patient’s room. It also works by telling either healthcare professionals or patients if their hands have been properly sanitized by turning green when the worker places their hand over the monitor. The badge also collects data on hand sanitation and sends it to be analyzed. While these badges are not heavily used yet, they could prove to be very efficient in eliminating the spread of hospital-aqcuired infections.

It is not, then, unreasonable to ask what other sort of technology could be developed in order to better monitor hygiene and sanitation in healthcare facilities. With the technological resources we have today, it is highly possible to create new products such as this. For now, most hygiene monitoring technologies revolve around hand sanitation. But as we’ve seen in other posts, there are way more sources of contamination and spread of bacteria than just hands; hospital bed mattresses, marked medical instruments, surface damages on medical equipment, etc. Why not create a technology that monitors the hygiene of these things as well? Similarly to the hand sanitation monitor, there could be monitors for other medical equipments that alert healthcare cleaners to check if they are clean and safe to use.

 

Source: https://www.trendhunter.com/trends/biovigil

Global Market for antiseptics and disinfectants: Rapid Growth Expected

With the number of hospitals and healthcare facilities on the rise around the globe, more institutions and individuals are realizing the importance of antiseptics and disinfectants. According to Zion Market Research’s forecast, the global antiseptic and disinfectant market is expected to reach USD 8.1 billion by 2021 (market value of 5.55 billion in 2015), and is expected a rapid growth rate of about 6.7% yearly between 2016 and 2021.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ANTISEPTICS AND DISINFECTANTS?

Antiseptics and disinfectants are both fundamentally used for the same purpose: eliminating disease-causing organisms. How they differ, however, is based on the surface they are used on. Antiseptics are used to kill microorganisms on or in the skin. Disinfectants are used to get rid of microorganisms on the surface of objects or surfaces. (Livestrong, 2014).

WHY ARE THEY SO IMPORTANT?

Antiseptics and disinfectants are essential to preventing infection. Hospital acquired infections, caused by the spread of microorganisms, is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and is the fourth leading cause of death in Canada. Antiseptics and disinfectants are especially necessary in a healthcare setting, as preventing hospital-acquired infections can save lives, reduce a patient’s hospital stay time and save hospitals a lot of costs associated with these infections. With an increase in advanced healthcare facilities and medical professionals/researchers worldwide, antiseptics and disinfectants are increasingly in demand. It is also important to note that, as developing countries are modernizing their healthcare facilities, demand is increasingly high in these regions. Institutions make up the biggest segment of the demand for these products (50% of market), hospitals and schools being major consumers.

To conclude, increase in advanced technologies, research and healthcare facilities has contributed to a higher awareness (both institutionally and domestically) of the danger that bacteria poses if left on skin or surfaces. This increase in awareness is what is driving the market for antiseptics and disinfectants and leading to its rapid growth, which is expected to continue.

 

SOURCE: https://www.zionmarketresearch.com/news/global-antiseptics-and-disinfectants-market

https://www.livestrong.com/article/291472-antiseptic-vs-disinfectant/

How certain medical instrument marking methods can enable the growth of microorganisms – and what to do about it

In order to make it easier to identify a medical instrument, many doctors use different marking systems.The methods in which medical instruments can be marked are quite strict, in order to prevent the spread of bacteria. For example, instruments cannot be engraved because bacteria can get stuck in the small holes and grow. The article “Instrument Marking Methods Must be Maintained Properly”, by Nancy Chobin, describes three different methods of marking medical instruments and how these methods still have disadvantages and need to be maintained.

medical instrument

Source: Wikimedia Commons

First method for marking a medical instrument

Firstly, instruments are often marked by different colored tapes, however, many healthcare professionals fail to realize that the tape on the instruments can harbour bacteria and must be very carefully maintained. The tape should be replaced as soon as it begins to chip, as those small tears in the tape could allow for microorganisms to grow. According to Chobin “All tape and adhesive residues should be completely removed and the instrument washed before it is re-taped.” It is also stressed that a sharp object should not be used to remove tape, as this could simply create small fissures on the instrument where bacteria could grow.

Two other methods for marking a medical instrument

There are two other methods for marking instruments that are considered “acceptable”; chemical etching and color-bonding. These methods also come with some disadvantages, such as color-bonded instruments also chipping sometimes, however, seem to be more “sanitary” than using tape.

Why is this important? The general goal of healthcare facilities is to improve the health of its patients, while at the same time controlling and preventing the spread of infections and contamination. This means that healthcare facilities should aim to prevent, at all costs, the growth of bacteria. In order to be able to do so effectively, healthcare workers must know where all sources of bacteria may come from.

Source: Infection Control Today. Vol. 21. No. 12. December 2017.

Infection control in schools

Every parent knows it: when kids are in school, they are way more likely to get sick than when they are not. From sharing toys, chairs, desks, computer keyboards, water fountains and door handles, kids are the most prone to getting sick. Elementary and preschool students are the most prone to getting sick at school, mostly because their immune system is not fully developed yet. On average, elementary students will have 12 colds per year (yikes!). And let’s not forget that many school staff also end up getting sick from their students. So what can be done to help stop the spread of infection among students and staff?

Source: Pixabay

Sure, you can remind kids to wash their hands, cover their mouths when they cough, etc, but how effective will it really be? Schools must play a very important role in the cleaning and disinfection within their buildings in order to protect both employees and students. The primary person responsible for the upkeep of the school building is the custodian, and, as such, he should be trained in infection control methods.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) makes the following recommendations on how to properly clean and disinfect schools and what procedures to follow:

  1. Knowing the difference between cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing
    The CDC stresses the difference between the three methods of “cleaning”. While cleaning involves the removal of dirt and germs, it does not necessarily kill the bacteria. Disinfection, on the other hand, uses chemicals to kill bacterias, and does not focus on a clean surface, but rather a bacteria-free one. Finally, sanitization is the process of lowering the number of bacteria to a safe level.
  2. Clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched often
    This point speaks for itself; many schools already have a specific procedure regarding what should be cleaned more often, such as desks, compared to something that does not have to be cleaned often.
  3. Do routine cleaning and disinfecting.
  4. Clean and disinfect correctly.
    It’s simple to say, however, many people and institutions are not trained to know exactly what “correctly” means. It is important to pay close attention to the detailed instructions provided on the label of product.
  5. Use products safely.
    Pay attention to warnings and hazards on the label of product. Make sure that proper equipment (gloves, masks, etc.) are used when necessary.
  6. Handle waste properly.
    Avoid touching tissues/napkins when emptying waste baskets. Wear gloves, if possible. Wash hands after handling waste.
  7. Learn more.
    CDC provides more follow up information on their website about disinfection and cleaning for schools.

Let’s prevent staff and students from getting unnecessary illnesses and work together for a more clean and safe learning environment!


SOURCES: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/school/cleaning.htm

http://www.standard.net/Health/2015/09/24/Everyone-gets-sick-when-school-starts

Surface Damage and its implications for healthcare facilities

Preventing and controlling the spread of contamination and infection is of very high importance for healthcare facilities, and it is safe to say that many measures have already been taken in order to reach these goals. However, like many things, there is still much room for improvement moreover when it is about surface damage.

medical equipment surface damage

Source: Shaw Air Force Base

Evidently healthcare facilities use a wide variety of equipment, from monitors to surgical instruments to cleaning tools, and over time, this equipment wears down. Sometimes, equipment will break completely and be unusable, however sometimes there will only be a few scratches or other small damage.  But what happens when these scratches or other forms of damage become shelters and areas of growth for microorganisms? This is an example of how surface damage may not only impede the prevention of bacteria growth, but also provide the microorganisms with a place to grow.

What is surface damage?

According to Infection Control Today, surface damage is defined as:

a quantifiable physical or chemical change from the original manufactured state of an object (surface or device).

While it is recognized that surface damage of medical equipment poses a potential threat in the spread of bacteria in healthcare facilities, there is no standardized method for healthcare workers to determine what is considered surface damage, and at what point the damage is likely to cause the spread of bacteria. In a later blog post, I will discuss the ideal surface damage testing protocol, proposed by Peter Teska et al. in “Infection Control Today.” In this article, the authors discuss ideal methods of avoiding the problems that surface damage presents.

Are your surfaces damaged?

At Lalema, when we talk about hygiene and cleanliness, we offer a wide range of technical and consulting services. Find out more.

You can also read this article about The complete guide for hospital cleanliness.

Source: Infection Control Today. Vol. 21. No. 12. January 2018.

Hospital bed mattresses: An overlooked healthcare hazard (Follow up)

As a follow-up to my previous blog post about the problem of hospital bed mattresses being contaminated, I would like to go into further detail the recommendations provided by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As previously mentioned, the FDA recommends that healthcare facilities take preventative measures against contamination of hospital bed mattresses in four simple steps: inspection, removal and replacement, maintenance and the development of an inspection plan.

Hospital bed matressesSource: Flickr

Inspection involves routinely checking the bed mattress cover for any signs of damage, stains or tears, as well as checking if the bed mattress cover is past its expiry date (Yes – bed covers do have a limited lifespan). It is also important to frequently remove the cover and check the inside surface, as well the mattress itself for these same conditions.

Next, it is important to replace any mattress covers with visible signs of damage or stains. Also, mattresses with damage or visible stains should be removed immediately.

For maintenance, it is important to clean and disinfect undamaged bed mattress covers. This can be done according to the bed cover cleaning guidelines given by the manufacturer.

Finally, FDA suggests that healthcare facilities develop an inspection plan that can be applied for all medical bed mattresses and covers. It is important to check the expected life of the bed mattress, as well as the cover.

 

Source: Infection Control Today. Vol. 22. No. 1. January 2018.

Hospital bed mattresses: An overlooked healthcare hazard

Hospital beds are composed of many different parts: the bed frame, which includes the bed side rails, as well as a mattress and a mattress cover. Once a patient is discharged from the hospital, normally, the room will go through a substantial amount of cleaning, including the bed. The rails and bed frame will be wiped down and the bed cover will be changed in order to prepare for the next patient. However, one factor is often dismissed: the hospital bed mattress.

hospital-bed-matresses

📷 pixabay.com

According to the ECRI Institute:

Bed and stretcher mattresses can remain contaminated after cleaning, putting patients and staff at risk of exposure to body fluids or microbiological contaminants. Reported incidents include patients lying on an apparently clean bed or stretcher when blood from a previous patient oozed out of the support surface onto the patient.

While hospital bed covers are changed regularly, many health care facilities fail to examine these bed covers for damages, heavy stains or tears. It is also important to note that mattress covers have an expected lifespan, and will become ineffective after this duration of time. All of these factors can lead to blood or any other body fluids leaking onto the hospital bed mattress, therefore leaving it contaminated.

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) makes several recommendations in order to overcome this healthcare hazard:

  • Inspect
  • Remove and Replace
  • Maintain
  • Develop an Inspection Plan

While companies who sell the mattress covers have the responsibility in properly explaining to healthcare facilities how to properly disinfect, clean and dispose of bed covers, it is crucial for healthcare facilities to use the necessary materials and procedures in order to clean and disinfect. Healthcare facilities must also regularly inspect both mattress covers and mattresses in order to prevent infection as much as possible.

Reference:

Infection Control Today. Vol. 22. No. 1. January 2018