Virox Insights Blog

Infection Prevention....Spreading the Word

Posted by Olivia Lattimore on Thu, Aug 10, 2017 @ 02:47 PM

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Picture this. A two year old boy faints from not eating in two days. A 12 year old girl is sold by her family to be a child bride just so they can feed the rest of the family for a week. A young child can’t attend school because he can’t afford shoes. This is what I witnessed first hand in Zambia, Africa 8 years ago. I spent 2 months travelling to a number of different rescue units for orphans affected by AIDS. As you can imagine, my perspective of life back in Canada dramatically changed. The things I so often took for granted or complained about seemed so miniscule compared to the hardships people living in third world countries have to face on a daily basis. It really hit me when I got into a minor motorcycle accident while in Zambia. Being 6 hours away from the nearest medical clinic, I was lucky that I only got a couple bumps and bruises and was not seriously injured in the crash. It was in this moment, that I realized how lucky I truly was to have available healthcare back home. Working in the infection prevention industry for 3 years now, I have also come to realize how lucky we are to have advanced infection prevention knowledge compared to other countries around the world. With endless resources, education, and research we are constantly working towards change to better the health of our patients. There are however, many countries around the world where there is very littleZambia 3 (002).jpg opportunity to learn about infection prevention. This lack of opportunity results in knowledge gaps, illness and death that are completely preventable. Take Ebola for example.  Thousands of lives in West Africa were claimed as a result of ineffective infection control measures. A lack of proper PPE, isolation precautions, clean water for hand hygiene, and cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces greatly contributed to the spread of Ebola. This spread resulted in a staggering number of healthcare worker Ebola associated deaths. In fact, 10% all Ebola deaths were Healthcare workers. So how did this devastating outbreak finally get contained? Simple. Education. In 2014 there was a massive effort to educate and train healthcare workers to properly handle patients infected with Ebola. But why did thousands of preventable deaths have to happen before effective training and education became available? The obvious answer is that the resources were simply unattainable.

Fortunately, the path is being paved to make infection prevention education more readily accessible. The Infection Control Africa Network, Stellenbosch University (Cape Town), and Webber Training created Teleclass Education Africa to provide basic infection control education to African healthcare workers. It is the ONLY initiative to provide such education. Teleclass Education brings lectures on infection prevention and control topics by the world’s top authorities on the subjects to a global healthcare, academic, and regulatory audience. The end goal is to ultimately prevent another crisis such as Ebola before it begins. As a non-for-profit organization, Webber Training is raising funds to support this critical initiative.

At Virox Technologies, we are passionate about providing accessible education to the infection control community. More than 5 years ago Virox introduced a bursary at the bi-annual Infection Control Africa Network Congress conference to sponsor African scientists to present abstracts on infection control projects specifically on the topics of disinfectants and disinfection or sterilization systems. We see the value in the education and information provided by Webber Training and are a proud sponsor of this essential resource. To continue the momentum in Africa we have made a special contribution to Teleclass Education Africa. If you wish to learn more about this important resource for the African healthcare community, or if you wish to make a contribution you can visit their Go Fund Me page.  Together we can all make a difference.

 

Insightfully yours,

Olivia Lattimore

 

Infection Control Africa Network

                        

Topics: biosecurity, safety, disinfectant, Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide, AHP, infection prevention, infection control, Webber Teleclasses, education, Webber Training, Teleclass Education Africa

Get an A+ in Infection Prevention!

Posted by Olivia Lattimore on Tue, Aug 23, 2016 @ 10:30 AM

shutterstock_204138913.jpgI have always been a nerd and loved school. While my brother and sister soaked up every last bit of summer, I couldn’t wait to start packing my pencil case, organize my binders and of course pick out my “first day of school” outfit.  One of the most exciting things about starting a new school year was seeing what new students would be joining the attendance list. During the school year however, there always seems to be an unwelcomed guest appearance in the classroom…GERMS!

Many infections spike during the school year due to the nature in which kids play and interact with one another. For example, Norovirus, Chickenpox, Pink Eye, and Cold and Flu are all easily spread through close contact with an infected individual or through picking up the bug by touching contaminated surfaces.  Kids constantly hear “Did you wash your hands?”, “cover your mouth when you cough”, and as much as we try to drill hand hygiene into children, many kids would rather get back to playing instead of taking the time to properly wash their hands. When child care providers and teachers have so many kids to look after, it’s challenging to monitor hand hygiene compliance of all children. So what can teachers and child care providers do to keep kids and themselves germ free this school year?

As mentioned earlier, many school related illnesses are caused by transmission of contaminated surfaces. While hand hygiene is important in preventing the spread of infection, you can’t always count on kids to properly wash their hands. That’s why cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces will be your best bet to keep those germs off the attendance list.  High touch surfaces, and toys should be disinfected daily or more frequently during an outbreak.

To effectively combat these school year germs you need an effective disinfectant with efficacy against vegetative bacteria such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), enveloped, easy to kill viruses such as Influenza virus as well as non-enveloped, more difficult to kill viruses such as Norovirus. But it’s not just a product’s germicidal efficacy that should be considered. Children play on floors, sprawl on surfaces and engage in hand-to-mouth behavior giving them greater exposure to chemical residues left on surfaces after cleaning. Additionally, some disinfectants are known respiratory sensitizers which can lead to the development of asthma, thus it’s important to look for cleaners and disinfectants that won’t cause any harm to vulnerable children. When looking for cleaners and disinfectants that are safe for students and children, using the ChildSafe Guidelines as a reference for what characteristics to look for is a great start! They recommend considering the following:

  1. Products should be bio-based and biodegradable or naturally occurring ingredients
  2. Products should not contain chlorine-based ingredients (e.g. bleach)
  3. Products should not contain quaternary ammonium compounds (quats)
  4. Products should not contain phenolics
  5. Products should not be packaged as aerosol spray using propellant
  6. Products should not add to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria (e.g. quats)
  7. Products should be certified by GreenSeal, EcoLogo or DfE (Design for the Environment)

 

Is there a disinfectant product that meets all this criteria?! The answer is YES! Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide® (AHP®) is the only disinfectant technology that doesn’t compromise safety for efficacy. AHP® offers broad spectrum efficacy against difficult to kill pathogens without compromising safety to the user. In fact, AHP® has one of the best safety profiles when compared to other products on the market as AHP® is non-toxic and non-irritating to the eyes or skin and is approved as an asthma-safe disinfectant. Furthermore, as the name would suggest, AHP® is a hydrogen peroxide base disinfectant technology, meaning it degrades into oxygen and water, leaving no actives resides behind on the surface that children could potentially be exposed to. Another advantage of AHP® is that many of our cleaners and disinfectants have been third party green certified by GreenSeal, EcoLogo and Design for the Environment (DfE)! With the movement towards using products that are safer for staff, and students in schools and daycare facilities, the proven health and safety profile of AHP® solutions will make these products a perfect alternative to harsh chemicals.

Now that we through our lesson plan on how to protect the classroom from bugs and harmful chemicals, class is dismissed! I wish all the teachers, parents and students a germ free school year!

Insightfully yours,

Olivia

Topics: school, germs, kids, Sickness, education, back to school

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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..