Spotlight on microfiber!

Microfiber cloths
Wipeco multi-use microfiber cloths MFC-1414/10P

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:

  1. 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. »
  2. 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:

Myosan TB starter kit
Myosan TB starter kit

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.

Lalema has several microfiber products from leading brands.

Sources:
https://www.microfibrefrance.com/quest-ce-quune-microfibre.html
https://www.gralon.net/articles/materiel-et-consommables/materiels-industriels/article-la-microfibre—une-matiere-revolutionnaire-4549.htm
http://www.maboutiqueecolo.com/fr/menage-rapide
https://texasmicrofiber.com/blog/brief-history-microfiber/
https://www.parish-supply.com/microfiber-history.aspx

Places in your community that are high-risk for the spread of infection

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.

Source: DoD Live

Playgrounds

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.

Public Restrooms

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).

Grocery Stores

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.

Public Transportation

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.

Gyms

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:

  1. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water. And do it often.
  2. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use alcohol-based sanitizer.
  3. Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth until you wash your hands.
  4. Use a spare paper towel to grab the public restroom door handle as you leave.

Sources:

https://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/transmission-prevention/examining-ball-pits-playground-pathogenic-organisms

https://symptoms.webmd.com/cold-flu-map/germiest-places

https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/ss/slideshow-public-germs

Are technological devices a source of hospital-acquired infections?

Source: Air Force Medical Service

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.

Sources:

https://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/transmission-prevention/contaminated-mobile-technology-making-it-part-your-institutions-cleaning-and

https://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/transmission-prevention/mobile-technology-disinfection-contaminated-devices-pose-threat-patients

How to clean and dispose of a mask?

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.

Laundry machine

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.

Hand laundry kit

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.

Drying masks

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!

Visit Lalema for masks and soaps!

Sources:
https://quebec.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/voici-comment-laver-masques-tissu-faits-maison_qc_5e960ed6c5b6a7e383dfffca
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/prevention-risks/how-put-remove-clean-non-medical-masks-face-coverings.html
http://www.leparisien.fr/societe/coronavirus-comment-laver-et-entretenir-correctement-son-masque-en-tissu-30-04-2020-8308476.php
https://www.lesoleil.com/actualite/le-masque-en-tissu-doit-etre-desinfecte-apres-chaque-sortie-voici-comment-faire-video-1fcd1b8b27e5a48f580cb589d22273c5

Myosan TB, indirect claim against SARS-CoV-2

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 [1] [2] .

Myosan TB

MYOSAN TB

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 infos@lalema.com, or visit www.myosantb.com. Thank you.

SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19)

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.

VIRUCIDAL

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.

TUBERCULOSIS

A tuberculocidal agent is a real killer of tuberculous bacilli, tuberculosis creating an infection with the mycobacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

BACTERICIDE

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.

FUNGICIDE

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.

SPREAD THE INFO, NOT THE VIRUS


[1] https://www.canada.ca/fr/sante-canada/services/medicaments-produits-sante/desinfectants/covid-19.html

[2] https://www.canada.ca/fr/sante-canada/services/medicaments-produits-sante/medicaments/demandes-presentations/lignes-directrices/desinfectants/exigences-matiere-innocuite-efficacite-relatives-desinfectants -assimilate-drugs-hard-surfaces.html # b5

Coronavirus: 7 myths

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).

coronavirus

CODIV-19 CAN BE TRANSMITTED BY MOSQUITO BITES

FALSE

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

FALSE

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

FALSE

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

FALSE

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?

FALSE

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

FALSE

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

FALSE

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.

This is not a title

Take my COVID-19 online training course now (in french)

Sources:
https://www.who.int/fr/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters

COVID-19 and the preventive measures.

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.

Young woman with respiratory mask

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.

Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan

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:

  1. Early detection and source control
    – Encouraging health care workers and managers to have a high level of clinical suspicion
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. Administrative controls
    – Ensure sustainable infection prevention and control infrastructure and activities are in place
    – Provide training and education to health care workers and patients
  5. 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.

For more details on 2019-nCoV, see the following sources:
https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1482141/coronavirus-chine-questions-reponses
https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1486752/coronavirus-chine-villes-quarantaine-transports
https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1482961/coronavirus-virus-chine-asie
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/lab-biosafety-guidelines.html
https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200203-sitrep-14-ncov.pdf

The digitization of healthcare

Source: Wikimedia Commons

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.

(MedicineNet, 2018).

What are the benefits associated of digitizing healthcare?

There are many benefits that the digitization of healthcare will allow.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

For more information, see the video below:

Sources:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5MZP6dbhFI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cM4aep7VXb8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1-MFo7_n-Y

https://www.healthcaretechoutlook.com/news/the-problems-and-solutions-to-digitizing-healthcare-nid-652.html

The 12 Days of Christmas… Cleaning Edition!

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:

http://www.lalema.com/index_en

How to prepare for flu season

Source: Pixabay

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!

Sources:

https://www.pro.cascades.com/fr/nouvelle/quatre-conseils-pour-combattre-la-grippe-cet-hiver?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=2019_FR&utm_campaign=RB_January&oft_id=863729&oft_k=QDm96mJG&oft_lk=wvwso7&oft_d=636834086957300000

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/flu-influenza/health-professionals.html

Global Handwashing Day

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.

http://www.lalema.com/search?q=hand+soap

Sources:

https://globalhandwashing.org/

The Prevention of Waterborne Hospital-Acquired Infections

Source: Flickr

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.

Source:

Infection Control Today. Vol. 23. No. 3. March 2019.

Prevention: The New Focus in Healthcare

Source: FreeStockPhotos

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
  • Empowered people
  • 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:

Sources:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5MZP6dbhFI&t=1064s

https://drkevincampbellmd.wordpress.com/2017/02/13/changing-the-focus-of-healthcare-from-treatment-to-prevention/

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

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3185312/

Hospital Staff Cuts and its impact on hospital cleaning

Source: Pixabay

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:

Sources:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIOHKrfzJzI

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/27/venrocks-health-investors-make-predictions-for-2018.html

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/health-sciences-north-funding-meeting-1.4902836

Is Ultraviolet disinfection the new technology for reducing the risk of hospital-acquired infections?

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.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

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.

Sources:

https://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/environmental-hygiene/study-says-ultraviolet-disinfection-977-effective-eliminating-pathogens

https://purplesun.com/

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


One-wipe cleaning system in hospitals proven to be effective

Source: Flickr

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.

http://www.lalema.com/catalog/disinfecting-wipers-101

Source:

https://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/environmental-hygiene/simple-one-wipe-system-cleaning-nurses-effective-strategy-researchers-say

https://www.healthcarefacilitiestoday.com/posts/Study-says-one-wipe-cleaning-system-for-nurses-is-effective–20336

Hospital Privacy Curtains: A Harbour for Infectious Agents

Source: Wikimedia Commons

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.

Sources:

https://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/transmission-prevention/new-study-says-hospital-privacy-curtains-may-harbor-infectious-pathogens

https://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/transmission-prevention/hospital-privacy-curtains-and-bed-sheets-soft-surface-contamination-and

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

Candida auris : A new threat ?

Candida auris

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!

References:

 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

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, numéro 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/

Is Nipah Virus the Next Epidemic Crisis?

Nipah-Virus-Grey-Headed-Flying-Fox-Size

According to the CBC:

A rare virus spread by fruit bats, which can cause flu-like symptoms and brain damage, has killed 10 people in southern India, health officials said on Tuesday, with at least two more cases being monitored.

The virus was first detected in Malaysia in 1998, and India’s eastern state of West Bengal has suffered two outbreaks in the last decade, killing 50 people, the WHO has said.

There has been a another preivous outbreak in Bengladesh in 2004. It would be the third outbreak if confirmed.

Is there any risks in Canada?

The risk to Canadians is considered to be low as there are no species of fruit bats in Canada. However, people working with swine in Southeast Asia should be aware of the risk.

Mode of transmission of Nipah Virus

nipah virus

Public Health Canada states that:

The mechanism for the transmission of the virus from fruit-bats to animals is unknown, but may involve consumption of fruit contaminated with urine or saliva from infected bats. Transmission from animals to humans appears to occur by direct contact with contaminated tissues/body fluids of infected animals, especially pigs. Other infected animals, such as cats and dogs, may also be involved in spreading the virus. Human to human transmission is likely to occur by direct exposure to an infectious inoculum shed in the respiratory secretions of the infected individual, as well as by close physical interaction and frequent contact with the infected individual’s saliva.

Human-to-human transmission has been documented in several of the more recent outbreaks in Bangladesh, before which human-to-human transmission was considered to be a rare event

Sources:

Special Thanks: Remi Charlebois

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/india-nipah-virus-death-toll-1.4672446

http://www.who.int/csr/disease/nipah/en/

http://www.inspection.gc.ca/animals/terrestrial-animals/diseases/immediately-notifiable/nipah-virus/fact-sheet/eng/1303439340158/1306100144027

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/laboratory-biosafety-biosecurity/pathogen-safety-data-sheets-risk-assessment/nipah-virus.htm

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