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: Health Standards, disinfection

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: Health Standards, disinfection

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: Health Standards, disinfection

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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..