Bleach has been studied for the first time by a French chemist named Claude Louis Berthollet in 1775. His factory was based in Paris in the district of… Javel! That is why the French are calling it: Eau de Javel (Javel Water).
JAVEL Undergroud Station in Paris. Photo courtesy of Google Street View
At first, bleach was used for laundry and as a fade. From 1820, a pharmacist named Antoine Germain Labarraque studied more deeply its disinfecting properties . In the XIX Century, it was commonly used as a disinfectant and water treatment. The NASA used bleach during the Apollo program to disinfect the Apollo XI rocket after its return, in order to avoid contaminating Earth with potential dangerous viruses!
What is Bleach?
Bleach is composed of sodium hypochlorite (NaClO). For chemistry fans, its chemical formula is as follows:
Cl2 + 2 NaOH → NaCl + NaClO + H2O.
For those who don’t like chemistry, well… the formula is the same!
What’s new with Bleach?
Nowadays, bleach is still used as a disinfectant. Stabilized formulas enable to combine the disinfecting ability of chlorine together with the cleaning ability of surfactants.
Other references: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bleach
How to obtain a more effective disinfection with Certiklör?
What is Certiklör? The name of a new chemical? A new government certification?
None of the above! Simply put, Certiklör technology is the insurance for you, your patients and all Canadians to achieve a better, more efficient and high quality disinfection. Certiklör is a proprietary technology developed by Lalema for you. This technology ensures that you have in the bottle, an effective stabilized hypochlorite, and here to stay!
I recently read an article on Infection Control Today, which was titled “Examining Ball Pits as a Playground for Pathogenic Organisms.” This article was surprising because, although it seems so obvious now, I would never have even thought about ball pits as a potential source of infection. And yet, ball pits are frequently filled with children, who are known to be more at risk for catching and transmitting infection, and are infrequently disinfected afterwards.
This led me to wonder which other places part of our every day lives are often overlooked as being a source of infection. After doing some more research on the subject, I’ve decided to share with you what I found out.
Similar to ball pits, it is no wonder that playgrounds are one of the germiest places in the community. Every day, many children go to the playground and make use of the equipment there. And as we all know, children are at high risk for catching and spreading infection. According to Web MD, the sandbox is one of the worst places in terms of contamination, since the sand absorbs bodily fluids like saliva or urine and there is no way to wipe it down after its been used.
It should come as no surprise that pubic restrooms appear on the list of high-risk places for germs. However, I’m not sure if people realize to what extent they are contaminated. You wouldn’t touch a toilet seat in a public restroom, but it turns out that faucets and door handles are also extremely contaminated. According to Web MD, even if you’ve washed your hands, you’re still at risk for contamination when you touch the door handle to leave the bathroom. This is because only 31% of men and 65% women actually wash their hands, meaning that the rest contaminate the door handles when they go to open it (Web MD, 2018).
You may have already heard that there are a lot of bacteria in grocery stores. The majority are found on shopping carts, where, for example, raw meat packages carrying salmonella are placed or babies are seated with dirty diapers. Most grocery stores have disinfectant wipes near the entrance with the carts, so it is advised that you use them.
Metros and buses are filled with germs! And it’s not surprising to see why. Thousands of people use public transportation each day, making seats, poles and handles high-touch areas. This makes public transport one of the biggest sources of harmful bacteria.
Similarly to all the other sources, gyms are filled with bacteria due to the high number of people who use equipment every day. According to Web MD, it was found that some free weights carried the same types of bacterias found in public restrooms (ick!). It is advised that you use the wipes provided at the gym both before and after using the equipment in order to protect yourself and prevent the spread of bacteria.
What can you do to protect yourself?
You may be wondering how on earth you’re supposed to protect yourself, when you’re surrounded by bacteria! While you can never avoid every germ, there are many ways to protect yourself and avoid getting sick. Web MD (2018) makes the following recommendations:
Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water. And do it often.
If you don’t have access to soap and water, use alcohol-based sanitizer.
Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth until you wash your hands.
Use a spare paper towel to grab the public restroom door handle as you leave.
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.
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:
Remove and Replace
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.
Infection Control Today. Vol. 22. No. 1. January 2018
Influenza is a stubborn virus. Moreover, every year, the virus is changing and it’s another race against time to produce a new vaccine, often composed of several strains, which will be able to protect the most vulnerable population such as young children, the elderly and sick people.
AN ENCOURAGING RESEARCH on INFLUENZA
According to the article by Radio-Canada:
At Laval University, Gary Kobinger’s team is testing a new influenza vaccine, which could provide better protection and long-term immunization. The formula incorporates much of the circulating influenza strains over the last 20 years.
A first clinical trial to test the safety of the vaccine ended a few months ago. According to the researchers, it shows that the product does not cause significant side effects.
The effectiveness of vaccines against influenza (the flu) is also limited especially when we guess wrong the strain that will be the most virulent that year!
THE IMPORTANCE OF HAND WASH
We are all at one point exposed to the flu virus. A good way of individual prevention is to put on your hat on and tie your coat. I am joking. On the other hand, regular hand washing before meals, after the toilet and even just when arriving at work or at home is really an effective way against the spread of the virus.
Regular hand soaps like Utopia or antibacterial soap like Utopia AB do the trick.
Did you know that our soaps do not contain any: methyisothiazolinone?
THE IMPORTANCE OF SURFACE DISINFECTION
Cleaning worker also plays a very important role in the winter period when it comes to disinfecting surfaces. Specialty products such as the Ali-Flex line of product offers many benefits:
Would we be ready to face an epidemic of bubonic plague?
In Madagascar, the government has recently imposed two days ago new emergency measures to stop a plague epidemic. It has been declared 24 dead since 1 month1.
What is the bubonic plague?
The plague is a bacterium Yersinia pestis, present in rodents as rats are often passed to humans by infected fleas.
According to Health Canada:
The incubation period of the plague varies from one to ten days.
Whatever the form, the illness always starts with flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, muscle aches, weakness and headaches) and can also cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
If left untreated, the mortality rate can reach 50%.
According to Health Canada2, in the event of a spill or contaminated surfaces:
Let the aerosols fall; wear protective clothing, carefully cover the spilled material with paper towels and apply 1% sodium hypochlorite from the periphery to the center; allow to act for a sufficient period (30 minutes) before cleaning
Plague is affected by many types of surface disinfectants such as:
For a long time, cleaning has been all about the look; fresh smell and the absence of stains or dirt were the criteria to determine that a place is clean. Today, these criteria are still generally accepted in environments such as offices and classrooms.
It’s common knowledge, however, that microbes (bacteria or viruses) invisible to the human eye represent a risk for spreading infections. Take the example of the influenza virus: it can survive for up to 48 hours on a hard surface!
Without cleaning and disinfection procedures or a quality check procedure, microbes can survive in hospital environments.
Three key elements have to be considered in order to perform an infective risk analysis:
Is the patient carrying a disease agent? Disease agents are classified based on their spreading capacity and their virulence. The choice of a disinfectant will be based on this.
Do the functional activities of a sector represent a risk of spreading infections from the environment? E.g.: food service, offices, Intensive Care, etc.
The intensity of contact is related to the traffic and the surfaces that are more likely to be touched. E.g.: bathroom fittings.
Infective Risk Analysis
Cleaning in hospitals allows reducing risks of infection among patients. This is not the only factor, of course: good personal hygiene habits such as washing hands and the use of protective equipment such as overalls, gloves, masks, or protective glasses are also important elements.
For this reason, interventions must be well coordinated in order to have a good surface maintenance plan. The manager of hygiene and cleanliness should therefore take into account:
The type of place associated to the level of risk
The tasks to perform
The required cleaning frequency
If well applied, a detailed estimate allows validating the cleaning performance.
The global approach is going to be determined by type of place:
Regular eradication (e.g.: operating rooms)
Keeping environmental effects as light as possible (e.g.: low infection risk such as individual office spaces)
Balance of microorganisms. This approach is based on the competition between good and bad microbes. The presence of good microbes guarantees less space for bad microbes to grow (e.g.: living environments)
Green cleaning. Approach that uses less toxic products
Review and improve arrangements and/or surfaces (during conception or renovation)
The Cleaning Staff: key to success
The hygiene and cleanliness staff represents a key element in the fight against infections in hospital environments. Often little valued, their role in the global strategy of surface cleaning is extremely important.
The hygiene that comes from the work of the cleaning staff requires a high performance level. In order to reach that, the executing staff and the managers need to master all the different elements representing this profession.
Cleaning products and equipment are undeniably crucial in order to ensure performance during the environment asepsis of any establishment. Therefore, it is important to associate the day-to-day actions of the cleaning staff with a range of products and equipment that favor the quality of their performance.
Since several years, partly due to the devotion and the involvement of many members in the healthcare system, we take into consideration new factors:
Establishment of an AEP hygiene and cleanliness in healthcare environments of 630 hours now offered by many school boards
Provincial day of hygiene and cleanliness
Having said this, the hygiene and cleanliness staff deserves our deepest gratitude. Thank you so much!
How can proper work organization contribute to the cleanliness of a hospital? How to be in the right place with the right equipment? Here are the questions we are going to answer in this post of the Cleaning in Hospitals series.
Evaluation of production needs
First, we need to assess the needs in hygiene and cleanliness. In order to do this, a standard evaluation is preferable but it needs to be adjusted based on the type of place, units, and traffic.
It is during the evaluation of needs that the hygiene and cleanliness estimate (see Cleaning in Hospitals part 2) is going to be determined. All daily, weekly, monthly, and annual tasks have to be considered.
Usually, the results are presented by production yields (square meters/hour) or FTE (Full Time Equivalent).
How to reduce time waste
How to measure productivity in a context where an important aspect of the task is moving? Actually, hygiene and cleanliness departments are almost always in the basement, whereas most of their work happens on the floors!
We increase productivity by reducing traveling.
It is for this reason that the cleaning cart needs to be as complete as possible and the water sources or janitor’s closets well stocked with supplies (i.e.: paper products or waste bags), equipment, and sanitary products.
Moreover, it is important to remember that a good entrance carpet can greatly reduce dirt.
Have a successful day!
Here are a few hints on how to have a successful day:
Establish a sequence of actions to perform in a day/week/month
Define a sequential order of rooms
Integrate linked and periodical tasks (monthly)
Make sure to have time gaps to focus on periodical tasks (dusting of high surfaces, polishing, etc.)
Work by space and not by task
Distribute tasks equitably
One look is worth a thousand words: choose a colorful plan together with some graphics instead of a list of tasks on a word file!
Want to know more?
Look this free webinar from my collegue Remi:
Don’t hesitate to call 514.645.2753 or subscribe to one of our training seminars. I really hope that you liked this post!
Several tasks accomplished by ants are similar to those of human professions such as farmer or breeder. Swiss researchers recently added a surprising task to this list: chemist!
Credit David Higgins, Unsplash
We all know that anthills are full of ants. A population of a colony can easily reach several millions. Although they may be insects, food supply, waste management and infection control are, believe it or not, a major concern for the queen of an anthill.
The chemist ant
By mixing coniferous resin with formic acid (a venom secreted by ants to combat their enemies), the mixture doubles the antifungal efficacy of the resin alone. These ants are capable of improving the resistance of the colony to pathogens. This is the first time that we have observed, apart from humans, a species mixing different compounds in order to improve their effects.
Hard surface Disinfection in the human world
At Lalema, conifer resin and formic acid are not used to make our disinfectants. On the other hand, our formulas are developed and validated by real chemists in addition to being registered with the appropriate governmental bodies.
Our exclusive Certiklör technology allows our sodium hypochlorite products such as Ali-Flex RTU to have the following advantages over the competitor’s products :
Hypochlorite stabilized in solution (vs. Bleach)
Low odor (vs. Bleach at the same concentration)
Low corrosive potential (vs. Bleach at the same concentration)
It’s been a year and a half since we started www.ali-flex.com. From the beginning, the blog purpose was mainly to ramble about disinfection. Hence, the name of this new web site!
We know from many comments that you liked our old posts, so we brought them to this new website.
Before I forget, www.ali-flex.com is more alive than ever, but will from now on be dedicated to the Ali-Flex, Chlorinated Disinfectant Cleaner. One of the main advantages of Ali-Flex RTU is to be a disinfectant as well as a cleaning product. Ali-Flex RTU is ready to use and does not require any dilution, which allows avoiding wrong manipulations or dilution while saving time. Ali-Flex uses exclusive Certiklör Technology.
The difference with our Certiklör stabilized hypochlorite?
The name says it all: stabilized hypochlorite!
Our multidisciplinary team of skilled scientists took 2 years to stabilize the hypochlorite solution. What is the secret? I’m afraid that’s like a little like the Caramilk’s secret! All I can say is that the ingredients that uses this technology have been carefully selected and expertly designed to give hypochlorite increased stability.
And who says stabilized hypochlorite, says better disinfection, less smell and increased cleaning!
If you wish to ramble about it, do not hesitate to share this website with your collegues.
Everything started back in the 40s. A research team in Uganda, lead by Alexander Haddow, was studying the yellow fever virus near Entebbe. In April 1950, the team isolates a new virus from a monkey used as a test animal in the Ziika forest.
The first human clinical case was described in 1954 in Nigeria. Then, in 1956, an experiment was conducted on a volunteer who got infected with the Zika virus through bites of infected mosquitoes. The subject developed a weak fever with a mild skin rash. The symptoms disappeared within a week. No more doubt, the Zika virus can infect human being via a mosquito bite.
The Zika virus was isolated in numerous species of Aedes mosquitoes in Africa and Malaysia. In 2007, the virus was identified in Micronesia, in what was the first large scale epidemic. Since then, the Zika virus has been considered as an emerging virus.
Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes
During 2013, an outbreak was raging in French Polynesia. The virus rapidly spread and was confirmed in the five archipelagos of French Polynesia which count roughly 270,000 inhabitants. Between October 2013 and March 2014, the number of infected persons is estimated at 28,000 individuals. 73 cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome were described during this epidemic. The Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare affection that can cause muscle weakness and even paralysis. Sporadic cases of Zika virus disease were described throughout Oceania.
In Brazil, at the start of 2015, an increasing number of patients presenting symptoms similar to the Dengue virus disease were observed. This increase stroke the attention of Brazilian Public Health authorities. An infectious disease specialist evaluated some patients and laboratory results confirmed that the virus was not the Dengue nor the Chikunguya virus. In March 2015, the Zika virus was confirmed by the Carlos Chagas Institute. It was the first time that Zika virus disease was contracted in the Americas.
The virus strain isolated in Brazil is somewhat close to the Asian strains with similarities to the virus isolated in Oceania a few years ago. Some experts believe that the virus was imported into Brazil during the World Championship of pirogue (va’a) that was held in Brazil in August 2014. Four Oceanian countries where the virus is circulating were present at the Championship. To this day, it was estimated that about 1.5 million cases of Zika virus disease occurred in Brazil, which makes it the biggest Zika virus outbreak ever recorded. It is now spreading to other countries where the Aedes mosquitoes are present. The Zika virus is suspected to be linked to microcephaly touching the fœtus of infected mothers. According to the Brazil Health Minister, 4,783 suspects cases of microcephaly were described so far (February 2016). Active research is ongoing to find if and how can the Zika virus be related to birth defects.
Have you ever wondered what are the main factors affecting the efficacy of disinfection and sterilization in the healthcare facility? U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists seven major causes of microbiological persistence on surfaces:
Number of microorganisms
Microbial resistance to biocides
Concentration and Potency of Disinfectants
Duration of Exposure
Chemical and Physical Factors
Presence of Organic or Inorganic Matter
For many experienced healthcare professionals, these factors are well known and often well dealt with. However, did you know the difference between soil (organic and inorganic matter) and biofilm? They both can significantly lower the efficacy of disinfection, but the biofilm is much harder to remove and control.
What is biofilm and how does it form?
Biofilm is an aggregation of microbial cells, surrounded by a protective layer of extracellular polymeric matrix, which attaches itself to any surface found in the hospital environment and becomes a source of contamination. Formation of complex, multicellular communities by microorganisms is a natural phenomenon which helps bacteria or fungi to survive environmental stress such as cleaning and disinfection.
Many pathogens require a presence of conditioning layer made from organic soil to settle and start extracellular matrix synthesis. But there are bacteria which don’t really need much help to start a biofilm community. When pathogens settle down and surround themselves in an extracellular polymeric substance (EPS), they are much harder to kill.
It has been reported that bacteria found in biofilm can be up to 1,000 times more resistant to biocides than their planktonic counterparts.
How to outsmart and fight biofilm?
Despite biofilms’ rigid structure and resistance mechanisms, biofilm cells can still be outsmarted. Since EPS is the ultimate protective barrier and communication route for pathogens, the control of biofilm should start with disruption of the EPS itself, followed by an application of a biocide.
The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is slowly spreading through the Middle East and Asia. Transmission, so far, seems to happen when a close contact with an infected individual occurs. This type of transmission has led to many healthcare associated infections to this day. As an example, a patient that waited for 2.5 days in a Seoul emergency department, end up transmitting the disease to 55 persons.
So far, the case-fatality rate is around 36 %, which is very high. However, this number may not be representative of a normal population and its kill rate is likely to be overestimated. A bias might exist when looking at the population who acquired the virus in Korea. Of the 171 cases, many had underlying medical conditions and have a median age of 55.
CDC and Health Canada issued a few recommendations on infection control and prevention so far, and more is likely to be available soon. Regardless of their recommendations few data are available on environmental hygiene and disinfection practice regarding MERS-CoV in healthcare settings. Also, the transmission through the environment is not well known for this virus.
How to disinfect?
Regarding disinfection few information are available. Coronaviruses are non-enveloped virus which makes them more resistant to certain disinfectant. As an example, it is known that a 400 ppm solution of quaternary ammonium compounds is ineffective against those viruses. Sodium hypochlorite at a minimum of 1,000 ppm seems to be sufficient, however a higher concentration would be optimal in healthcare settings. Very few data exist regarding other disinfectant technology.
At this moment, isolation with contact-droplets precaution is advised. In spite of the fact that it was suggested during the SARS outbreak that this type isolation might not be sufficient. Even though these two viruses are similar, we must remember that many differences exist. Thus we must be careful with extrapolation of data.
It was a pleasure to chat with some of you about current practice in environmental hygiene regarding infection control.
We hope you liked Ali-Flex RTU, our low odor, non-corrosive, broad spectrum and ready to use disinfectant cleaner. There is a great potential for improvement in the field of environmental hygiene and we are dedicated to it.
We look forward to hearing from you, but in the meantime, with best regards we remain.
The Ali-Flex Team (Manon, John and Remi)
PS If you want to know more about Ali-Flex RTU, visit our main web site.
Infection prevention and control Canada will hold its annual conference in just a month. This year it will take place in beautiful Victoria, BC. The theme surfing waves of change promise to bring a wind of new approaches and effective solutions to enhance the practice of ICPs. Key opinion leaders and other highly influential speakers will provide a tsunami of information through presentation and multiple discussions. With a special focus on compliance reporting on environmental hygiene and hand hygiene, this conference might inspire a real wave of change.
IPAC Canada 2015
IPAC is also an excellent opportunity to meet with the industry leader in the broad field of infection prevention. Whether you are looking for new environmental hygiene tools, a better software to monitor your antimicrobial stewardship program or hand hygiene audit solutions, key industries will be there. It will also be the perfect occasion to get familiar with the Ali-Flex brand.
Will you be on board to meet the rip tides of change ? We will! Meet us at booth 72!
We are very proud to invite you to our 3rd edition of EXPO LALEMA. Last year was a frank success at that was because so many of you, dear clients, collaborators and friends showed up. Beware, we expect this year to be even better!
Ali-Flex product lines will be displayed
The whole Ali-Flex product line will be displayed and you will be meeting with our environmental hygiene specialist. Furthermore, exclusive announcements will be made.
We are lucky to have such dedicated partners and always there for our clients and ourself. This year some of our most respected partners will join us. Rubbermaid, 3M, Kimberly Clark, Cascades, Bobrick, Comac, Eco II, Nacecare et Atlas Graham will be there to answer your questions and presenting you the way they rethink hygiene.
Expo Lalema : Its a rendezvous
This year we will be receiving you in the Canada pavilon on the Notre-Dame island. Many surprises await you!
Don’t forget to save the date, you won’t regret it!
We will be waiting for you on April 30th 2015. Doors will open at 11h00 at 1, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Pavillon du Canada Toundra room.
You can subscribe via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or directly on our website site at : www.lalema.com.
In the actual market, you can find many cleaner-disinfectants. When it comes to consumer products, you’ll find a lot of brand, most of them are ready to use. It means you do not have to dilute the product and use it as is to disinfect. For industrial and institutionnal use, most of cleaner-disinfectants are concentrated if not ultra-concentrated. In that case, why choose a ready-to-use Bleach based Cleaner-Disinfectant for institutionnal use?
Main benefit of a low-foam concentrated product
Let’s talk about a product like Ali-Flex LF, a product like this one offers a high concentration for general disinfection in hospitals. On a day to day basis, with the right dilution system, the surfactants contained in ALI-FLEX LF increase the wetting power of this chlorinated disinfectant and contribute to degrease and remove dirt from hard non porous surfaces such as countertops, walls, floors, toilets, commode chairs, etc.
Main benefit of a ready-to-use chlorinated disinfectant cleaner
When it comes to infection control, one important aspect is to reduce the risk. We know that dilution systems can sometimes be flawed and not consistant with delivery concentration. Therefore, it is crucial to obtain a consistant known concentration. That is exactly what Ali-Flex RTU can provide: a factory consistant concentration of 6000 PPM (when packaged) with a validated shelf-life.
Of course it may generate more plastic in the environnement. Recycling may then be on option to consider. At the same time, when patient’s lifes are at risk, all factors that can reduce the risk is of important value.
What are you using in your facility?
Tell us what kind of product you are using. Are you in control? Are you facing problems when it comes to stop eclosion? Surely we can help you! Let’s talk!