Virox Insights Blog

Who Will Save Us From The Microbe Militia?

Posted by Olivia Lattimore on Thu, Jun 08, 2017 @ 03:47 PM

 

After preying on hands, surfaces, and devices that have fallen victim to common disinfection myths and mistakes, the Legacy Chemistry Coalition is requesting back up. It is evident that the world is in need of a new super hero, one with all the characteristics of an ideal disinfectant and with the capabilities to fight on all three battlegrounds…hands, surfaces, and devices.

So what does this new superhero look like? Our new super hero will need to have a broad spectrum of germicidal efficacy in fast and realistic contact times in order to defeat the Microbe Militia. Our super hero must not be affected by environmental factors that the Microbe Militia tries to hide behind such as organic matter or temperature. Our super hero must be safe for those she is trying to protect by being non-toxic to users and kind on surfaces. Our super hero must not be detectable by the Microbe Militia by being odorless, soluble, and stable. Our super hero must get the job done efficiently with exceptional cleaning capabilities and without causing harm to the environment. And finally, our super hero must be economical and easy to use so her powers can be leveraged in healthcare facilities around the world.

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If you are wondering who this new super hero is we hope that you will visit us at the national APIC conference in Portland, OR, or the IPAC-Canada conference in Charlottetown, PEI as we unveil our new super hero to the public. In the meantime, ask yourselves these key questions about the disinfectant you use in your facility. Are you using a super hero disinfectant technology or is your disinfectant part of the Legacy Chemistry Coalition?

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See you at APIC and IPAC!

Insightfully yours,

Olivia

 

 


 

Topics: disinfection, Health Standards

The Microbe Militia Continues to Gain Traction

Posted by Olivia Lattimore on Fri, Jun 02, 2017 @ 01:47 PM

 

 

The battle continues......

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It’s been one week since the Infection Prevention Army exposed the disinfection myths spread by the Microbe Milita. Have you been able to dispel any the myths in your facility? Or perhaps you have uncovered some myths of your own. While the Infection Prevention army was able to expose these falsehoods, the Microbe Militia is now more aggressive than ever preying on hands, surfaces, and devices that are vulnerable to common cleaning and disinfection mistakes.

Common Mistakes Pertaining to Hands

Not using enough hand soap or hand sanitizer

  • We typically believe that when it comes to hand sanitizers and soap, one size fits all, which is evident by new automated hand hygiene stations. However, we need to consider the size of our hands when it comes to using hand sanitizers and hand soap to ensure that adequate coverage, and therefore efficacy of the product can be met. The volume of hand soap or hand sanitizer should be large enough to cover the whole surface area of both hands.

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  •  Not washing hands for long enough or frequently enough to reduce the potential for bacterial transfer,  we need to wash our hands for longer than 15 seconds (try singing Happy Birthday in your head) and should practice hand hygiene before initial contact with a patient or items in their environment, before putting on PPE when performing an invasive procedure, before preparing, handling, or serving food or medications to a patient, after care involving contact with blood or body fluids, immediately after removing PPE and before moving to another activity, after contact with a patient or items in their immediate surroundings upon leaving the room, and finally, whenever in doubt.
Not using moisturizer after practicing hand hygiene
  • Good skin condition is an important element in ensuring good hand hygiene practice. Frequently washing hands can lead to drying of the skin where pathogens can harbour. Reconditioning creams help maintain healthy skin and avoid dryness.

Common Mistakes Pertaining to Surfaces

Failing to achieve designated contact time

  • In other words, the surface being disinfected does not stay wet with the right concentration of in-use solution disinfectant for the full length of time required for efficacy. If you wet a surface down via spray bottle and immediately wipe the surface dry, it won’t be effective. In addition, spray bottles increase the risk of a pathogen getting blasted onto another surface. It’s better to spray the disinfectant onto the cloth to wet it down, then use physical friction to apply the product to the surface. This helps pick up any soil, debris and microbes you cannot see and finally, provides a more even distribution of the disinfectant solution onto the surface than random splatters from the spray bottle. When the disinfectant air dries you have a better chance of achieving the designated contact time.

Topping off diluted disinfectant bottles, rather than starting each time with a cleaned bottle and fresh batchsurface-400-x-275.jpg

  • Making this mistake means you’ve just mixed old disinfectant with new. This can lead to an over-diluted or inactivated mixture. In other words, it won’t work as well and there’s science to prove it!

Eyeballing dilutions

  • Eyeballing the required dilution of disinfectants is often a result of not having access to a dilution system or not having dilution systems in a convenient location. When disinfectants are not accurately diluted you can either get solutions that are not strong enough which will not provide the desired germicidal efficacy, or you get solutions that are too strong which can put the safety of staff at risk. Furthermore, if you do use a dilution system, it’s essential to ensure that dilution systems are maintained to ensure they can properly dilute disinfectant solutions.
Cross Contamination
  • Did you know that some disinfectants or the cleaning substrates used to clean can transfer pathogens from surface to surface during the cleaning and disinfection process? When disinfecting it’s important to ensure that we use a clean cloth (no double dipping!), or fresh pre-saturated wipe for each surface being disinfected to prevent picking up pathogens from one surface and depositing them onto another surface.

Common Mistakes Pertaining to Devices

Not knowing the shelf-life of the disinfectant being used

  • In addition to knowing the shelf-life of the disinfectant, it’s important to know how long the shelf life of the re-use period is to ensure there is enough active in the solution to continue to work properly. The in-use shelf-life for some disinfectants may only be single use, or as long as 30 days. The concentration of active ingredient within the re-use solution should be validated using chemical indicator strips. It’s also important to read the product label as it pertains to the shelf life of the solutiondevices-bottle-chemistry-400-x-400.jpg once the bottle has been opened. The shelf life of some disinfectants is dramatically reduced once the bottle has been opened.   
Not giving or receiving product-specific training to team members
  • Just because you learned how to clean from a family member at home doesn’t mean you know how to properly clean and disinfect in a device reprocessing setting. And, just because you know how to use one disinfectant does not mean you know how to use another one. Different disinfectants work different ways with various shelf lives, contact times, and safety precautions. Disinfectant manufacturers or sales reps can provide training materials or lead staff training sessions. Just ask. It may also be beneficial for both staff and patients to implement a compliance monitoring system to ensure that important processes and policies are being followed and disinfectants are being properly used.

As an essential member of the Infection Prevention army, my hope is that you will be extra diligent in ensuring that these common blunders are avoided in your facility so that together we can defeat the Microbe Militia.

Insightfully yours,

 

Olivia

 


 

Topics: disinfection, Health Standards

The Infection Prevention Army Dispels Disinfection Myths

Posted by Olivia Lattimore on Thu, May 25, 2017 @ 10:24 AM

 

This is a tale of the Microbe Milita. Who doesn’t love a good fairy tale? I am sure you know the ones where the prince and princess fall in love, live happily ever after and there is ALWAYS a happy ending. But have you heard the tale of the Microbe Militia? Unfortunately, this story doesn’t always have a happy ending. The Microbe Militia invades hands, surfaces, and devices, spreading falsehoods about disinfectants which leads to adverse outcomes such as disease and even death. Thankfully the Infection Prevention army can expose these disinfection myths to reduce the Microbe Militia’s stronghold and get that happy ending patients and clients deserve.

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Cleaning and disinfecting are the same thing

Not true. Cleaning uses detergents and surfactants to break up soils (visible or not) on surfaces. Disinfectants kill or inactivate microorganisms and pathogens in various ways, depending upon the disinfectant used. Some penetrate the outer layer of a pathogen’s cells, which weakens it. Other sort of blow the cell apart, almost like a bomb.

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All disinfectants are created equal and can be used in the same way.

Not even close.

In the United States and Canada, you’ll find thousands of registered disinfectant products for sale, and there are several variations between them. Among the six most common chemistries used for disinfection, especially in healthcare settings, you’ll find vast differences in spectrum of efficacy, concentrations, contact times, label language, and personal protection needed for proper usage. In addition, many disinfectants require you to clean a surface or device first with a product containing detergents before you can use a disinfectant on the surface.

 

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Cleaning and disinfection is not my job

In any healthcare setting, infection control strategies must be part of everyone’s job even if they don’t do the cleaning itself. Everyone is encouraged to frequently practice hand hygiene, especially after contact with a patient or items in their environment. Cleaning, disinfection, and hand hygiene are an important part of maintaining a safe and functional healthcare facility.

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If a disinfectant kills most germs, it must be toxic

Historically, this was true. In the past 10-15 years, however, companies have been working to bring safer and more environmentally sustainable disinfectants to market.

If you’re using an older disinfectant product (such as bleach or phenols, for example), be sure to provide training on protocols for safe use. Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are your best resource to learn about the toxicity and risks associated with using the product. See Section 2 and Section 11 on the SDS for details. Some products do indeed contain chemicals that are known carcinogens, known respiratory irritants (causing occupational asthma or chemical pneumonia), known skin sensitizers, known to release volatile organic compounds (leading to poor air quality), or known to contain nonylphenol ethoxylates (hormone-mimicking agents that can act as endocrine disruptors in the body).

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Antibacterial soaps are more effective than regular soaps

Again, not true. Studies have shown that antibacterial soaps are no more effective against germs than regular soap. In fact, many active ingredients used in antibacterial soaps, such as triclosan, not only have negative health effects, but they have been shown to cause antibacterial resistance. 

Now that you know the top 5 disinfection myths, spread the word (i.e. share, like, and forward to your friends and co-workers) to ensure we prevail over the Microbe Militia, because you know what they say, knowledge is power. While exposing disinfection myths is part of the Infection Control Army’s strategy to defeat the Microbe Militia, planet earth is in desperate need of a disinfectant super hero who is able to battle and defend on all three essential battle grounds: hands, surfaces, and devices. Who will come to the rescue?

Stay tuned… 

Insightfully yours,

 

 

Olivia Lattimore

 

Topics: disinfection, Health Standards

Got Disinfection Dysfunction?

Posted by Olivia Lattimore on Tue, May 10, 2016 @ 03:19 PM

I am known to brag about my super immune system to my friends and family, because I hardly ever get sick! Perhaps it’s because my company’s products prevent infections and I am constantly disinfecting my work space and washing my hands. My husband on the other hand seems to catch a bug every other month and he never fails to do the famous “Google” search of his symptoms to diagnose what it is exactly that he has instead of making a trip to the doctor’s office (which happens to be only 5 minutes away!).  When doing his Google search, he is asked to check off the listed symptoms that he is experiencing and is then directed to a plethora of possible illnesses he may have from the common cold to a collapsed lung.  Today I hope to act as your Google search and help you identify if your disinfectant has symptoms of Disinfection Dysfunction. However, instead of giving you an abundance of possible dysfunctions that just leave you more confused and concerned, we will narrow your disinfectant’s symptoms down to 4 possible dysfunctions: 1) Safety Indifference Syndrome, 2) Dwell Time Disease, 3) Label Deficit Disorder and 4) Cross Contamination Conundrum.

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Question 1: Is your disinfectant safe for users and the environment?

If it isn’t, then your disinfectant is suffering from Safety Indifference Syndrome. Some disinfectants may pose a health risk to users, patients and the environment. When looking into the safety profile of disinfectants I always refer to the Safety Data Sheet to identify if the product will cause any possible harm or injury to me or the environment. Consider chemistries that don’t compromise safety for germicidal efficacy such as Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide® (AHP®). AHP® is non-toxic and non-irritating at the in-use concentration. Furthermore, hydrogen peroxide breaks down into oxygen and water and leaves no toxic residues behind making it environmentally preferred. Using a disinfectant with a preferred safety profile will increase user compliance as users won’t be afraid to use the product!

 

Question 2: Does your disinfectant dry before it’s time?

If your disinfectant can’t stay wet long enough on the surface to reach it’s required contact time, then your disinfectant has symptoms of Dwell Time Disease. Unfortunately, many disinfectants evaporate before achieving disinfection, leaving surface vulnerable to harmful pathogens. Avoid chemistries that are known to evaporate quickly such as alcohols or chemistries that have unrealistically long contact times such as QUATs. Instead, consider chemistries that are fast acting and have superior wettability such as AHP®. A 2010 study by Omidbakhsh compared the efficacy of 7 different disinfectant chemistries at their drying time (length of time the surface took to dry after an application) versus the approved label contact time and associated product efficacy.  The study revealed that AHP® was the only chemistry that not only reached its required contact time and achieved the efficacy noted on the label but its wet dwell time exceeded the contact time listed on the label! Using disinfectants that stay wet for the required contact time will increase product compliance.  

 

Question 3: Does your disinfectant’s label have misleading claims?

If you answered yes, or are unsure if your disinfectant can do what it says, your disinfectant has symptoms of Label Deficit Disorder. Some disinfectants have labels that are ambiguous, and you might be asking yourself “how can I tell if my disinfectant’s label is misleading”? Due diligence is required to effectively select disinfectants to meet regulatory compliance. Therefore, look for products whose claims can be verified by third party testing and validation. For example, many disinfectants claim to be “green” however are not backed by third party certifications such as EcoLogo, DfE, Green Seal and/or Green Guard. 

 

Question 4: Does your disinfectant contribute to cross contamination?

This might be the hardest symptom to diagnose, but it’s possible that your disinfectant has Cross Contamination Conundrum.  Some disinfectants or the cleaning substrates used to clean can transfer pathogens from surface to surface during the cleaning and disinfection process. Disinfectants that inhibit cross contamination prevent outbreaks and aid in protocol compliance.  In a recent study by Sattar and Kibbee et al, several commercially available disinfectant wipes were tested to see if they transferred pathogens to clean surfaces. AHP® was the only technology that was able to prevent cross contamination.


The truth is, finding the perfect disinfectant is not easy. However, using criteria such as I’ve discussed above as part of your investigation when selecting a disinfectant will help you to make a more holistic decision. Disinfectants should be safe for users and the environment, should not have misleading or ambiguous labels or claims, should have realistic contact times and superior wettability and finally, should not cross contaminate. How would you diagnose your disinfectant?  Are you willing to join me in preventing Disinfection Dysfunction?

Insightfully yours,

Olivia   

Topics: disinfection, dysfunction, apic, ipac

Pucker Up Ladies and Germs

Posted by Olivia Lattimore on Fri, Feb 05, 2016 @ 11:30 AM

shutterstock_92498335.jpgYou know Valentine's Day is just around the corner when you can't go into a single store without being bombarded by heart shaped balloons, chocolates, roses, Valentine's Day cards, and Celine Dion songs. As a kid, I loved Valentine's Day! I remember waking up to a basket full of chocolate and heart shaped candies sitting on the kitchen counter. I also remember how my Dad would always have flowers for my Mom and would embrace her with a kiss...and like any kid, all I could think was "ewwwwww, I hope they don't give each other cooties!” 

While kissing is probably one of the most common signs of love and affection, did you know that our mouths are home to thousands of different microorganisms? Though microorganisms such as Streptococci spp are beneficial to one's health, there are many disease producing germs that reside in the human mouth such as: Streptococcus mutans (a pathogen that causes pneumonia and sinusitis), herpes simplex virus (cold sores or canker sores), cold and flu virus, and the famous mononucleosis, better known as kissing disease. While kissing can be a direct route of transmission for these oral related diseases, in-direct transmission through contaminated hands and surfaces leaves us susceptible to catching someone else's "cooties".

So what's the best way to protect yourself this Valentine's Day? The easiest and most effective way to prevent "cooties" is to practice good hand hygiene. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another throughout an entire community. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends washing your hands:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the washroom
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the washroom
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After touching garbage

If you do not have access to soap and clean, running water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. While we can do our part to practice good hand hygiene, we can't ensure that others are doing the same. Therefore, it is important to keep high touch surfaces in your home and in your facility germ free. Using a hospital grade disinfectant, with a broad spectrum efficacy, will be an imperative part of any Infection Prevention program. Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide® (AHP®) is an EPA and Health Canada approved disinfectant technology with proven efficacy against enveloped viruses (easy to kill such as the flu virus), non-enveloped viruses (hard to kill such as Rhinovirus which is a common cold virus), and vegetative bacteria (like streptococci). Not only does AHP® have broad spectrum efficacy, but it has realistic contact times resulting in user compliance, providing confidence that surfaces have been disinfected.  

While I know I will enjoy spreading the love this Valentine's Day, I will also be making every effort to keep my cooties to myself and I hope you will join me in doing the same! Let's keep those hands and surfaces clean.

Insightfully yours,

Olivia

Topics: disinfection, love, CDC, germs, cooties, love sick, valentine's day

Enterovirus has you winded? Breathe a sigh of relief with AHP!

Posted by Mikeisha Paul on Tue, Oct 21, 2014 @ 09:30 AM

enterovirusIf you read the news and you have children and/ or have children with asthma, Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) is a little more than concerning. What's important to note is that EV-D68  is very closely related to poliovirus. In terms of cleaning and disinfection that puts you at quite the advantage.  If you are an Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide® (AHP®) user, then you know that all of our surface disinfectant products have demonstrated efficacy against non- enveloped (not easy to kill ) viruses such as poliovirus . If you haven't guessed it already, disinfectant efficacy against poliovirus or other non-enveloped viruses means it will kill enterovirus on surfaces. Due to the rarity there are no specific disinfectant products for environmental disinfection with efficacy claims for EV-D68.  

Now that you have your weapon - AHP, that is only half the battle. When you read up on the symptoms for enterovirus you will discover that it is spread through nasal secretions when coughing sneezing or blowing your nose - which can contaminate frequently touched surfaces. Therefore, it's important to follow proper protocol when cleaning and disinfecting and in some cases a little elbow grease to completely remove any sticky mucous that may have dried on the surface and hard to see.  Also keep in mind that a high touch surface for a child and a high touch surface for an adult can be drastically different.   

Use the following instructions to clean and disinfect a surface using AHP against enterovirus:  

1. Apply the solution to either the surface or device surface or to cloth.

2. Clean all horizontal surfaces in the room ensuring that the cloth is changed when soiled. Place used cloth in a marked plastic-lined waste receptacle.

3. Disinfect all horizontal surface of the room by applying the disinfectant and allowing for contact time as per the product label.

4. If using cloth & bucket method with double dipping, once room has been cleaned discard all unused cleaning solution before proceeding to the next room.

5. Allow surfaces to air dry or wipe dry if surfaces are still wet after the contact time as been achieved.

6. Periodic rinsing of soft surfaces such as vinyl or naugahyde is suggested as well as equipment regularly handled by hand. 

  For more detailed procedure please visit our enterovirus resource page.   

Insightfully Yours,

Mikeisha

Topics: Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide, AHP, cleaning, disinfection, Enterovirus, poliovirus, virucidal, virus, non-enveloped

Don't Let Influenza Take the Spring Out of Your Step

Posted by Mikeisha Paul on Fri, Apr 11, 2014 @ 03:03 PM

Influenza AHP accel Blog pic2Spring may be here but we are still not out of the woods when it comes to influenza. As the weather gets warmer we start to think of influenza less and less. But it is evident from the latest news reports, that flu season is still in full swing. In the health care world, we anticipate the arrival of flu season every year so it is important to be prepared to help prevent the spread of influenza in your institution. As you may know, on surfaces influenza is not difficult to kill. If you are an AHP user, you are already aware that in Canada and the US,  we have
efficacy against Influenza A viruses - whether the strain be H1N1,H5N1, H10N8 H7N8 or H5N8, AHP has got you covered.

So now you have the right product... but are you using it properly? For cleaning and disinfection to prevent the spread of influenza on environmental surfaces, compliance to protocols is very important.  Influenza may be easy to kill on surfaces but if you are not giving the disinfectant a chance to do its job then you put yourself and others at risk of infection. One of the ways influenza is spread is when an infected person emits droplets through coughs or sneezes, contaminating the surfaces nearby . The challenge is, by the time you get the chance to disinfect the surface,  the droplets may already be dry or even worse protected by mucus or other secretions. This is why having a product that cleans as well as disinfects is important. Many products may claim to have cleaning capabilities and in reality have no detergency properties. AHP was formulated with superior surfactants that can help remove and penetrate body fluids that have dried on surfaces and contain influenza, so that you can have confidence that the surface is actually being disinfected.

AHP products have been approved as One Step Cleaner Disinfectants in both Canada and the US and  come in three different formats to suit your needs: Concentrates, Ready to Use liquids and Pre-moistened wipes.

If you need specific guidance on how to use AHP products to prevent the spread of influenza we have created a resource page  to help you get through the end of the flu season!

Insightfully yours,

Mikeisha

Topics: Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide, AHP, cleaning, disinfection, environmental cleaning, influenza, enveloped virus, flu season, environmental services

Giving You Insight into the World of AHP

Posted by Mikeisha Paul on Mon, Oct 07, 2013 @ 12:25 PM

 

Insight: the capacity to discern the true nature of a situation

The world of product usage for infection prevention can be a confusing one. There are so many products out there with a surplus of  information to sort through, it may be difficult to determine what is relevant for you. The reality is, the healthcare environment is a busy place where the tools are given (in the form of hospital grade disinfectants) but there is simply not enough time to sort through all the details. The list of possible questions can get quite extensive depending on the situation.

Whatever your question may be our goal will be to make your Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide (AHP) product experience easier. We will take the technical and make it un-technical – keeping it simple and straight forward. As we go along, we invite you to participate in conversations, ask questions and provide suggestions on what topics you would like to know more about while keeping it relevant, relatable and fun!

Here at Virox we have truly built a family-like culture and whether you are a loyal user of our
technology or if you are here out of curiosity we want you to have the inside scoop on AHP and the Accel product line. We will address various aspects of our products via carefully selected themes that will aim to address what is really important for our AHP users. If you have a problem AHP has a remedy!

In essence this blog will be your Insight into the world of AHP! So what would you like to know?

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Topics: Accel, Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide, AHP, cleaning, disinfection, chemistry, disinfectant, disinfect

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  • Insights--Blog.jpgOlivia is a passionate member of the Professional and Technical Services (PTS) team and is dedicated to educating readers on the importance of Infection Prevention and Control..