Each year, there are 1.7 million nosocomial infections reported in the United States. Although the causes are many, there are ways to reduce and even prevent these infections from spreading.
The causes behind the spread of nosocomial infections
Microorganisms such as C. difficile, E. coli and VRE can survive on dry surfaces for months. They are found not only in hospital patient rooms, but also on commonly-touched surfaces like stair railings and elevator buttons. It takes just a single contact with these surface to become contaminated. The principle is the same for surfaces that have been summarily cleaned because they could also become the perfect vehicle for spreading bacteria, spores and viruses. Recent studies report that patients who reside in rooms previously occupied by a patient with a VRE or MRSA are more likely to contract the infection. Hospital staff also become the main transmitters of viruses because they are constantly in contact with contaminated surfaces.
Controlling the spread with the right tools
The disinfectant that’s used to control the spread of viruses is obviously very important. However, to provide optimal results, it has to be used with the right cleaning tool, such as a disposable wipe, a cotton cloth or a microfibre cloth. When comparing these different cleaning tools, we note that not all provide optimal performance for disinfecting
surfaces. This is the case of cotton wipes. Using cotton wipes reduces the concentrations of quaternary ammonium compounds (QAC) found in most disinfectants by up to 85.3%. It’s important to think twice before using cotton wipes in environments such as hospital settings where optimal levels of cleaning and disinfection are required. Moreover, field tests have shown that a contact time of less than 30 seconds with a cotton wipe reduces the concentration of QAC by 88.9%. Using cotton wipes is therefore not recommended with QAC-based products.
Microfibre cloths are also frequently used as a cleaning tool. While they offer many advantages, they also have some major drawbacks when it comes to disinfection. First, washing microfibre cloths is insufficient for killing bacteria in a hospital setting, which means they can also contaminate other items in the same load. Because bacteria adhere firmly to microfibre cloths, they can spread bacteria whenever they come into contact with surfaces.
Studies show that when a microfibre cloth is used for the first time, it is more effective than a cotton cloth. However, once they have been washed and are re-used, a cotton cloth offers better decontamination than a microfibre cloth.
Pre-moistened disposable wipes are a smarter choice for preventing infections. They do not spread bacteria, they meet the product’s efficacy spectrum and they do not need to be washed. They are easy-to-use products that will guarantee the expected level of disinfection.