In the 50 page roadmap recently published by the Government outlining the plan to Covid-19 recovery, it is highlighted that ‘Clothes should be washed regularly to prevent the spread of Coronavirus’. So, with the hospitality market set to reopen in a matter of months now is the time to get your business ready for a safe reopening. According to the report, scientists have seen evidence that the virus can stay on fabrics for a number of days.
We have seen a big push on santising surfaces. However, we know that within the hospitality sector fabric is one of the biggest customer touch-points. This means there are more factors to consider when washing fabrics.
Using an antibacterial washing powder such as Persil Hygiene to wash clothes, bedding and towels is the surest way of stopping the spread of viruses. This also creates a safer environment for your business and your customers.
Pro Formula Persil Hygiene has been extensively tested and is effective against harmful bacteria strains including MRSA. Persil Hygiene disinfects at temperatures as low as 40 degrees whilst maintaining excellent performance against a wide range of stains and types of soil.
Pro Formula Persil Hygiene kills 99.999% of bacteria and viruses. The industry standard for bacteria kill is 99.999%. Did you know that retail variants are only 99.9%?
It is even so more important now that businesses adapt a professional approach to cleaning products and methods.
Professional Results from Trusted Brands
Persil Hygiene is part of Diversey’s ProFormula range. This set of easy-to-use cleaning products helps smaller and independent businesses to complete routine and common problem-solving tasks quicklywith excellent results. Pro Formula products combine professional formulations from Diversey with trusted brands from Unilever including Cif, Persil, Comfort and Domestos.
UV-C penetrates and destroys the DNA in the cells of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and spores which stops them multiplying and causing infections. This means Moonbeam3 Disinfection Technology offers facilities a completely hands, chemical and fume-free way to complement existing processes with safer high-performance disinfection. The device is ideal for surfaces accidentally missed during regular cleaning and for frequently-touched, hard-to-clean surfaces and intricate equipment. It can be used in patient rooms, operating theatres and bathrooms and on patient care equipment, keyboards, monitors, and workstations.
Moonbeam3 Disinfection Technology is quick and easy to use with push-button activation and short operating cycles. Its three articulating, light-producing arms can be positioned independently to target light efficiently and closely onto surfaces to be disinfected. This unique design allows it to be used in more places while its high-efficiency dosing increases speed which reduces labour and operating costs. Periodic maintenance is limited to bulb replacement, with no tools required.
These awards are great for promoting our business and raising awareness of our innovations. We’ve been really successful in the past and we can win again this year with your help.
Don’t forget to vote and forward a link to this page (or the individual voting links) to colleagues, customers and friends. Remember, you can use your phone, tablet and PC to vote but you must do so by Friday 15 March.
The fight against healthcare associated infections (HAIs) covers many areas but foremost among these are hand hygiene and surface disinfection. Studies suggest around 80 per cent of all infectious diseases are spread by touch[i]. This can be through personal contact or touching a contaminated surface. It follows that breaking this chain should help reduce the number of infections.
Healthcare cleaning teams now have access to a wider range of products to help them eliminate the pathogens that cause HAIs. These include innovative disinfectant formulations that are more effective, quicker and safer than traditional disinfectants complemented by advanced adjunct technologies such as UV-C light that can give the added level of protection against pathogens of concern.
The link between hand hygiene and the spread of infections was established long ago. Yet there is still much to be done to change the behaviour of individual healthcare workers to optimise compliance with hand hygiene at the recommended points to improve patient safety. The best healthcare sites globally have reduced their infection rates to around five per cent through diligence and a rigorous application of best practice. In the UK the average infection rate is nearer to ten per cent.
The World Health Organisation promotes hand hygiene through a number of high-profile initiatives. Its annual Clean Your Hands Day, for example, was established in 2005 and has been a global success. This and related WHO programmes are based around the concept of a multimodal hand hygiene improvement strategy. This incorporates five components or building blocks including system change, training, evaluation, awareness and an institutional safety climate that lead to long-term and sustainable improvements. This framework is complemented by the WHO’s focus on the five moments of hand hygiene – the critical times when healthcare professionals should wash their hands: before touching a patient; before a procedure; after body fluid exposure; after touching a patient; after touching patient surroundings.
These recommendations can mean a lot of washing during a normal day. This is not only time-consuming but conventional soaps can strip natural oils which protect the skin, leading to an increased risk of damage through conditions such as dermatitis. Under these circumstances it is sensible to use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that kills pathogens faster than soap without removing protective oils.
Whatever products are chosen, they must be available and ready to use whenever required. Dispensers should be situated conveniently to encourage regular and proper use. At the same time, they should ideally contain enough product to prolong the interval between refills and therefore minimise the risk of outages and reduce necessary restocking burdens.
Another way to encourage compliance is to monitor usage. While it is rarely desirable to monitor individuals, it is helpful to know how often a particular dispenser has been used and how much product has been consumed. Knowing how many times a dispenser has been used and comparing this with the number of patient contacts by the clinical and nursing team should give a reasonable indication of whether they are complying with agreed standards. If not, additional awareness and training can be provided and the subsequent change in usage patterns assessed.
Surface disinfection is another critical aspect of infection prevention. It is vital to choose the right disinfectants to improve environmental hygiene in healthcare settings. However, not all disinfectants are created equally.
Healthcare cleaning professionals have traditionally chosen disinfectants with chlorine as the active ingredient (usually as bleaches) for cleaning hard surfaces.
While widely used, the drawbacks of these formulations are well noted in terms of effectiveness as well as safety and there seems to be a gradual shift towards safer, quicker and more effective disinfectants. Alternative formulations with Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide (AHP) as the active ingredient offer numerous advantages with few limitations.[ii]
The key requirement from any disinfectant in healthcare settings is efficacy – to prevent the introduction of potentially harmful pathogens and infections. These can range from hospital associated infections such as MRSA and C. diff to infections common in any setting, such as influenza and Norovirus. Effective surface disinfection is especially important in healthcare because patients are likely to be frail and vulnerable.
It is important to select disinfectants capable of killing pathogens of concern. Problem pathogens, such as norovirus and C. diff., might not be killed by conventional disinfectants. Contact times must be realistically short so that any pathogens are killed before the surface dries. Disinfectants with long contact times may require reapplication to ensure pathogens are killed. This can be impractical, time-consuming and inefficient.
Disinfectants containing AHP are highly effective against a wide range of viruses, spores, yeasts, and fungi found in healthcare, including C. diff, MRSA, Norovirus, E. coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This broad-spectrum efficacy has been tested to the latest EN standards and submitted into the Biocidal Products Regulations (BPR) – a standard which all actives and disinfectants need to pass. AHP simplifies processes because just one product is needed – using numerous alternative products to provide the same level of performance adds unwanted complexity.
Disinfectants with AHP can be supplied in ready-to-use and ultra-concentrate formats. Depending on the specific formulation, these are effective against viruses, spores (including C. diff), yeasts and fungi in one minute or less, meeting demand for highly effective products with shorter contact or dwell times.
Traditional products containing chlorine are generally not as effective on spores and require significantly longer contact times. Products containing AHP have been tested and shown to kill viruses such as Norovirus in up to 30 seconds and the most persistent spores such as C. diff in one minute. Chlorine-based products can take up to 30 minutes. Aside from any productivity issues, they are only effective while wet which means efficacy will be lost if they dry within the specified contact time. Under normal conditions the much shorter contact times of AHP products are usually passed before they have dried.
Products containing AHP offer additional benefits that simplify day-to-day cleaning operations. With more cleaning taking place while patients are present, processes must be completed safely and efficiently, so as not to create an unpleasant environment or put patients at risk.
AHP degrades to oxygen and water alone shortly after use which helps make formulations containing it safer to use. Chlorine-based products are suspected of aggravating asthma and other respiratory problems, and forming chlorine compounds in the atmosphere. Another consideration is that some products containing AHP have no safety classification whereas chlorine-based products usually carry a hazard symbol.
Breaking down to water and oxygen alone means products with AHP leave little or no residue on surfaces, helping to promote the appearance of the area being cleaned. They can be used safely on a wider range of surfaces, including wool and other fabrics, with reduced risk of damage. Chlorine based products on the other hand will corrode or degrade many surfaces with regular or prolonged use. Nor can they be used as part of a microfibre system because they damage the material, severely restricting their disinfection potency.
The easier a product is to use, the greater the chance of cleaning compliance. Products should be accompanied by training aids to support members of diverse cleaning teams. Despite proper training, there are still cleaning and disinfection challenges that may arise. It is therefore important to measure performance to determine if additional training is necessary.
The variety of disinfectants has grown in recent years, as manufacturers have developed solutions for specific daily and problem-solving tasks. It is therefore important to match the product to the specific application. This optimises cleaning performance and reduces inefficiencies, poor results, and the need for repeat cleaning. Reputable manufacturers will provide advice on the most suitable products from their ranges to use in every situation. They should also be able to supply the documentation and evidence with independent test data to support product claims.
While disinfectants offer healthcare cleaning professionals effective solutions in many situations there are times when additional measures are necessary or desirable. The latest technology to emerge uses powerful UV-C light to disinfect surfaces quickly and effectively[iii]. This represents a new hands-, chemical- and fume-free way to implement safer disinfection. It is particularly useful for so-called adjunct cleaning which is employed to complement or supplement existing processes and provide additional assurance that frequent-touch and hard-to-clean surfaces have been disinfected. Dr Deverick Anderson published a paper in 2017 that found using UV-C alongside traditional disinfectants reduced HAIs by 33%.[iv]
The infection-killing properties of UV-C have been known for some years and there are at least 40 scientific studies measuring either its biocidal effect on micro-organisms or the impact on HAI rates. UV-C kills pathogens by destroying the nucleic acids in their DNA. This disrupts the normal function of the cells which means they die. Any surface directly exposed to a sufficient amount of UV-C will be disinfected. One of the biggest advantages of UV-C disinfection is that large areas can be decontaminated very quickly without any additional intervention. Because UV-C disinfection is physical rather than chemical it means that there is much less chance of pathogens developing any form of resistance.
Despite these advantages, no cost-effective practical UV-C systems were available until recently for routine use in healthcare settings[v]. Now the devices used in hospitals produce powerful UV-C light at the optimum wavelengths to provide fast broad-spectrum disinfection. These devices tend to fall into two categories: for broad area and high-touch surface disinfection and disinfection of smaller, portable devices.
Systems designed for disinfection of broad areas and high-touch surfaces can be effective in as little as three minutes. This is more than twice as fast as fogging and almost twice as effective as traditional cleaning and disinfection alone in destroying the pathogens that cause healthcare associated infections. They are an excellent option for on-demand disinfection of high-touch surfaces throughout a hospital, including patient rooms, operating rooms and bathrooms. Such systems can also be used on patient care equipment, fixtures, keyboards, monitors, and workstations.
UV-C is at its most powerful when it hits a surface perpendicularly – at right angles – such as directly from overhead or square on to wall. Any deviation from this angle of incidence will diminish the power. In practice this means that at an angle of incidence of 45 degrees, the surface will only receive around 75% of the energy. At angles between 20 and 30 degrees the energy levels are reduced by around 60%.
Like all electromagnetic radiation, the power of UV-C also diminishes rapidly the further away a target surface is from the source because of the inverse square law. This means that the energy reduces fourfold (ie 2×2 or 2 squared) with each doubling of distance. Alternatively, the intensity at 2m from a light source is just 25% of the level at 1m. Using the same calculations shows that the amount of energy reaching a surface just over three metres (10 feet) from the source is one per cent or the original.
Systems delivering UV-C must therefore ensure the maximum amount hits the target surface to give the most powerful disinfection. One way to achieve this is to mount the UV-C sources on arms that can be positioned independently and pointed towards and set as close as possible to the target surfaces. This ensures more of the UV-C produced will hit the surface at right angles and at the minimum distance to give the best disinfection. When the light sources are mounted on a single, central column that is not easily repositioned, less of the UV-C produced falls on target surfaces perpendicularly and from further away. Either way this means the device will be less efficient.
UV-C systems for portable devices are designed to disinfect items such as tablets and smartphones. These are becoming more widely used in healthcare settings but they are often used by different members of the nursing or clinical team throughout the day. This means that they are not only frequent- or high-touch surfaces but they can also present increased opportunities for pathogens to pass from person to person. There is some evidence that people do not wash their hands after using these devices, or indeed clean the device itself.
As with any routine process, the use of these disinfection systems should be simple and quick to encourage their use. Items to be treated are placed in a secure box which contains the UV-C light sources, safely shrouded from the outside world. This means that they are always close to the items being disinfected for maximum effectiveness. Because items being treated are always close to the UV-C source these units provide extremely effective disinfection. Items can usually be disinfected in around 30 seconds.
Independent tests have shown that there can be an up to 5-log reduction in surface pathogens including MRSA, VRE, MDR-Gram negative, Norovirus and C.diff spores. This means that the number of micro-organisms is reduced by 105 times or by a factor of 100,000.
The power of UV-C to damage DNA and cells means that people would be affected too if they were exposed. Devices are supplied with fail-safe features such as remote control that prevent close-up activation and motion sensors that shut the unit down if anyone should approach too closely.
Hospitals and other healthcare facilities have a wider range of infection prevention tools at their disposal than ever before. The choice available means that there is greater flexibility to specify the right combination to meet infection prevention compliance and reduction targets in the quickest, simplest and most effective way that integrates with the facility’s other processes. The choices can be complex but leading cleaning and hygiene suppliers with experience in healthcare will be able to work with clinical, nursing and housekeeping teams to devise and implement robust infection prevention policies.
[ii] Teska, Peter & Rushworth, A & Theelen, M & Jongsma, J. (2013). O018: Evaluation of the efficacy of a novel hydrogen peroxide cleaner disinfectant concentrate. Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control. 2. 10.1186/2047-2994-2-S1-O18.
Moonbeam3 Disinfection Technology offers facilities a completely hands, chemical and fume-free way to complement existing processes with safer high-performance disinfection. It is ideal for surfaces accidentally missed during regular cleaning and for frequently-touched, hard-to-clean surfaces and intricate equipment. It can be used in patient rooms, operating theatres and bathrooms and on patient care equipment, keyboards, monitors, and workstations.
Moonbeam3 Disinfection Technology is quick and easy to use with push-button activation and short operating cycles. Its three articulating, light-producing arms can be positioned independently to target light efficiently and closely onto surfaces to be disinfected. This unique design allows it to be used in more places while its high-efficiency dosing increases speed which reduces labour and operating costs.
Remote Guidance is a new augmented reality tool designed to expand our best-in-class customer service. It is an iOS- and Android-based virtual reality tool that improves product troubleshooting beyond face-to-face phone calls and video chats. Users can identify problems and assess solutions quickly through interactive real-time experiences. Remote Guidance helps prevent equipment shutdowns, improve end-user training, promote faster staff introductions, and provide distributor sales representatives with application expertise anytime and anywhere needed. Remote Guidance is part of our growing set of Internet of Clean services that help users monitor and manage their cleaning processes more effectively.
IntelliCare is an innovative hand care system that helps healthcare facilities improve infection prevention and hand hygiene compliance. Its unique wall-mounted dispenser is the industry’s first automatic hybrid design with touchless and manual activation. IntelliCare dispenses globally-trusted hand care formulations in our Soft Care and SURE ranges. These comprise a complete set of soaps, sanitisers and creams meeting a wide range of international infection prevention standards. SURE products demonstrate the highest levels of environmental responsibility with 100% plant-based, 100% biodegradable formulations.
Judging for the Innovation Awards takes places on the first day of the show and the results will be announced on the Wednesday afternoon. Don’t forget to check back here – or the organiser’s website – to see how we did. In the meantime, you can see these and many other Diversey innovations on Stand C37 at The Cleaning Show (21-23 March, Excel London).
Reducing cold and flu among care home staff and residents is one of the key objectives of Diversey’s annual “Are You Ready?” campaign.
Good hand hygiene is the single most important way to reduce the spread of infections. Diversey makes this simpler with its personal bottles of hand disinfectants.
Common illnesses such as Influenza and Norovirus peak during winter while many other pathogens remain a threat all year round. Unchecked they can spread by personal contact or touching contaminated surfaces. This is why hand hygiene is so important:
Protect residents – reduce their risk of coughs, colds, flu and other common infections
Protect yourself – reduce your risk of catching or spreading illnesses
Protect employees – fewer illnesses means less time off work
Protect business – less lost work time, no unexpected cost of cover, maintain services, stay productive, retain your reputation
Protection is better than cure. Hands must be cleaned frequently – when moving from job to job, area to area, person to person. Diversey makes hand hygiene easier by offering pocket-sized bottles containing Soft Care Med H5 and Des E that users can carry or wear on their belt:
Convenient – 100ml small size, always handy
Belt/Reel Clip – right by your side when you need it
Frequent use – disinfect your hands when moving from job to job, person to person, as often as you like
Visible – shows colleagues and customers you care about hygiene
No excuses – always there when you need it
The Diversey advantage:
Tried and tested products – Soft Care Med H5 and Des E are extensively used by the NHS, healthcare, hotels and food-service customers
Excellent protection – against Norovirus, Influenza A (H1N1), rotavirus, hepatitis B, HIV, MRSA and other common infections
Kind to skin – Diversey sanitisers look after skin, leaving it soft and smooth to the touch
Non-perfumed formulation – ideal for food-service applications without risk of tainting foodstuffs
Support – unrivalled application and technical support from a global leader in cleaning and hygiene
Personal bottles and belt clips are just one line of defence against infections. Encouraging your team members to wear them can be part of your ongoing infection and outbreak prevention programme.
Look out for more advice soon as part of our “Are You Ready?” campaign to reduce seasonal illnesses and outbreaks.
Seasonal illnesses such as Influenza and, in particular, Norovirus are often associated with vomiting and diarrhoea. These “body spills” are usually unexpected but they always represent a potential source of infection because they contain millions of the viruses that cause the illness. This means they must be cleaned up quickly and effectively to eliminate the risk of further contamination.
As we suggest in our “Are You Ready?” campaign, it pays to be ready. Our ready-to-use Oxivir Spill Kit contains everything you need to contain and remove a body spill quickly and easily before it has the chance to cause more illnesses.
Oxivir Excel (750ml ready-to-use spray bottle) to clean and disinfect surfaces contaminated by the body spill
absorbent granules to soak up spillages
protective face mask
disposable bio-hazard bag to hold spillages and used kit items
Oxivir Excel Foam is a ready-to-use one-step cleaner disinfectant with “broad-spectrum” efficacy and short contact times. This means it provides the highest levels of protection against a wide range and type of pathogen and microbe that cause illnesses, including viruses, bacteria and yeasts. It kills viruses such as Influenza and Norovirus in just one minute. It is extensively tested against European norms and effective against multiple pathogens.
The secret to this performance is the use of our patented Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide (AHP) as the active ingredient in Oxivir Excel Foam. AHP degrades to water and oxygen shortly after use. It leaves no active residues that may contribute to the development of tolerant strains. It is also is non-staining and non-perfumed which means it can be used safely on most hard, nonporous surfaces.
The Oxivir Spill Kit kit is completely disposable, so once taken from the box, there is no risk of containation as all is disposed of in the bio-hazard bag.
Protecting residents in care homes from infections is an all-year-round priority but there are additional challenges during winter when there are usually peaks in serious illnesses such as Influenza and Norovirus. These can be life-threatening to residents, many of whom are likely to be frail and vulnerable. Because of this seasonal link, we’re focusing on care homes in our annual “Are You Ready?” campaign.
Infection prevention relies on rigorous hand hygiene and surface disinfection. This helps to break the chain of infection because most illnesses are caused by personal contact or touching a contaminated surface.
Effective surface disinfection is critical. Well-run homes will have a daily cleaning regime that focuses on the areas used by residents and staff to maintain a clean and hygienic environment. The latest thinking by authorities such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) is that additional attention should be paid to frequent-touch surfaces. In care homes, these might include light switches, door handles, table-tops, bed rails, remote controls and similar devices, telephones and touch-screens. Additional hand-hygiene frequency among staff is also recommended – such as when moving from task to task or resident to resident – to achieve the highest levels of protection.
Many care homes use traditional cleaners and disinfectants containing chlorine or “quats” as their active ingredient. Used correctly these will be effective at removing the common pathogens and microbes that cause illnesses but they can be complicated to use in care homes. Separate products may be required for the cleaning and the disinfection (and to eliminate different types of pathogen) and not all can be used easily on the variety of surfaces likely to be found in the care home.
Products containing chlorine are also suspected of aggravating asthma and other respiratory problems and forming chlorine compounds in the atmosphere. This can create an unpleasant environment for residents at best but for the frail, it can aggravate underlying health conditions and lead to additional suffering.
Given the ongoing requirement for cleaning and disinfection, there are good reasons for using a single combined product for both tasks. This way, disinfection automatically takes place whenever any cleaning task is undertaken. It becomes an ongoing process that is completely embedded within the care home’s daily routine. That can raise standards and compliance rates with a resultant reduction in infections.
In the past, it was difficult to find a single cleaner-disinfectant formulation that simplified processes, saved time and improved productivity without compromising on any infection prevention capability. This changed when Diversey introduced its Oxivir range of products containing innovative Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide (AHP) as the active ingredient.
AHP is a patented blend of commonly used, safe ingredients that when combined with low levels of hydrogen peroxide dramatically increase its germicidal potency and cleaning performance. Tested to the latest EN standards, disinfectants containing AHP are highly effective against a wide range of viruses including Influenza and Norovirus as well as spores, yeasts, and fungi. This ability to kill many different types of pathogens is known as “broad-spectrum capability”.
Products containing AHP offer an effective alternative to formulations with chlorine compounds as the active ingredient. They do not contain respiratory irritants. The AHP degrades to oxygen and water alone shortly after use which helps make formulations containing it safer to use on a wider range of surfaces, including fabrics and washroom surfaces. Many AHP-based formulations have no safety classification which means they can be used in a wider range of settings, including care homes, with fewer restrictions. Chlorine-based products, on the other hand, usually carry a hazard symbol.
Products in the Oxivir range include:
Oxivir Excel: a fast-acting cleaner-disinfectant that can replace general surface cleaning products for routine tasks and provide affordable ongoing infection protection. It is effective against viruses such as Influenza and Norovirus in just 30 seconds. It is available as a convenient, ready-to-use, spray or in five-litre containers for simple dilution.
Oxivir Excel Wipes: disposable ready-to-use wipes, convenient for on-the-spot use. These are also ideal for giving portable or high touch items such as remote controls a quick clean.
Oxivir Spill Kit: a ready-to-use kit with everything needed to contain and remove body spillages quickly and easily. Each kit contains a 750ml Oxivir Excel spray, absorbent granules, scoops, bags and all the personal protection equipment (PPE) needed to deal with spillages.
Diversey’s Oxivir range offers care homes the opportunity to replace conventional infection prevention products with safer and more effective alternatives. Our annual “Are You Ready?” campaign aims to provide useful information about how to protect yourself and others from seasonal illnesses such as Norovirus and Influenza.
Growing concerns about the spread of antimicrobial resistance mean that healthcare workers must use every technique and tool at their disposal to protect lives and prevent infections. Despite many pharmaceutical and technical advances, good hand hygiene and surface disinfection remain central to all infection prevention programmes. This is because they are the simplest and most effective way to break the chain of infection.
The discovery of antibiotics in the first half of the last century gave doctors a powerful weapon against common infections for the first time in human history. Simple, often naturally occurring, compounds had the power to destroy many common infections that until that time had been life-threatening and hard to defeat. They saved and transformed countless lives in the following decades.
However, it soon became clear that many of the pathogens so easily treated with antibiotics were beginning to develop immunity. Even the simplest and smallest lifeforms have a tremendous ability to adapt and change to ensure their survival. It’s an arms race. Pathogens develop resistance and scientists and drug companies try to develop new antibiotics. But it’s a battle that is hard to win. It often seems that the microbes are faster at adapting than we are at developing weapons against them. This may explain, in part, why no new class of antibiotics has been introduced in the past three decades.
Many pathogens that were easily killed by the commonest – and least expensive – antibiotics have developed resistance. This means illnesses and infections that were easy to treat just a few decades ago have become life-threatening once again. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), about 33,000 people in Europe die each year due to infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This is almost 2.5 times higher than in 2007. The burden of antibiotic-resistant infections is almost as great as the total risk of influenza, tuberculosis and HIV.
The World Health Organisation says that antimicrobial resistance “is no longer a prediction for the future, it is happening right now in every region of the world and has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country…[and is] is a major threat to public health.”
Some sources suggest there will be an additional 10 million deaths worldwide over the next 30 years. This will cost £66 trillion in economic output.
Although antibiotics offered – and still do – new ways of killing dangerous pathogens of concern, many conventional infection prevention techniques are just as important today. Hand hygiene in conjunction with new methods of surface disinfection helps to break the chain of infection. It is simple, effective and generally less expensive than alternative approaches and techniques.
The reasons for this are easy to understand. The majority – perhaps up to 80% or four in five – of infections are spread by hand-to-hand contact or touching a contaminated surface. This is why hand hygiene and surface disinfection form the backbone of all infection prevention regimes. People reduce the chances of infection if they keep their hands and surfaces they touch as clean as possible.
This is not to say that “traditional” techniques have not evolved thanks to better research and understanding. The WHO has promoted its “five moments of hand hygiene” for many years. Local initiatives and global awareness campaigns with this simple message are making a big difference to people all over the world.
Studies have shown that simple handwashing with soap and water is more effective than doing nothing at all. The simple mechanical action of washing removes enough pathogens to reduce the risk of infection although there is no disinfection involved. Other studies have shown that concentrating on the fingertips is also more effective than general hand cleansing. This, incidentally, is part of the thinking behind the TMED approach.
Modern hospitals often require a more rigorous and disciplined approach. Hand hygiene formulations used in healthcare must be effective, of course. But they should also support the frequent use called for in initiatives such as the “five moments”. To do this they need to be pleasant to use without causing any damage to delicate skin. At the same time, advances in dispenser design aim to maximise product availability and reduce (or ideally eliminate) the risk of running out. They do this with a range of features including bigger pack sizes, making visual checks easier, emitting warnings when running low, and even allowing remote checks over the Internet.
The latest thinking in the healthcare sector builds on the “five moments” with the Targeted Moments of Environmental Disinfection (TMED). This builds on the simple “five moments” message but instead focuses on the surfaces that people are most likely to touch. As with the “five moments” it is simple to explain and replicate. Together, the “five moments” and TMED offer the prospect of greatly improved infection prevention outcomes with relatively little additional cost or effort.
Other advances have focused on the type of surface disinfectants used in healthcare settings. There is some evidence that conventional disinfectants containing chlorine as their active ingredient can enable antimicrobial resistance because of the way they work at the biological level. Innovative active ingredients containing Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide kill pathogens in a different way which may mean there is a reduced risk of them becoming resistant.
Products containing AHP are effective against a wider range of pathogens than chlorine-based alternatives. They are simple and easy to use in a wide range of applications. We refer to this as “broad-spectrum” performance. It would need numerous conventional alternatives to achieve the same level of efficacy. This can be complex, time-consuming and expensive.
To be effective, surface disinfection processes must be simple and accessible so that they can be completed whenever needed. They must also be acceptable to healthcare workers and visitors. This means, for example, that disinfectants must be non-hazardous and non-irritating. Finally, processes must be fast because anything that adds time or becomes a burden is less likely to be done.
The emergence of a new Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is another reminder than potentially dangerous and lethal illnesses can arise at any time. Previous outbreaks of similar illnesses such as Influenza and SARS have often started when existing viruses have mutated into something more dangerous or transferred from animals to humans.
At the moment the precise nature of this new Coronavirus pathogen is unknown. It is believed the virus is associated with wild game being sold in a seafood market in Wuhan, China, although we do not know for certain which animals were infected. Nor do we know its incubation period, how fast it can spread, how many people it infects or how many of those affected face the severest of outcomes. Those answers will come soon enough and scientists and medical researchers around the world are working as hard and fast as they can to find out.
In the meantime, there are some things we can be sure of. It’s a respiratory virus and that means the primary lines of defence will as always be good cough/sneeze etiquette as well as regular and effective hand hygiene and surface disinfection. Because of this, it is also important to avoid touching your face, eyes or mouth with unwashed hands.
We have covered the link between hand hygiene and the spread of infections many times before. In brief, because most illnesses are spread by personal contact or touching a contaminated surface, keeping hands clean will remove any pathogens and break one of the key links in the chain of infection. We have also written about the choice of products available and how they can be used with high-performance dispensers to reduce infection rates and improve compliance.
Diversey offers globally-trusted hand care formulations in our Soft Care and SURE ranges. Widely used in hospitals, care homes and other settings where infection prevention is critical our hand hygiene ranges comprise a complete set of colour-coded soaps, sanitisers and creams meeting a wide range of international infection prevention standards.
Keeping surfaces clean to remove pathogens of concern is the other critical step in breaking any potential chain of infection. We have also written about this many times before, including here.
Diversey offers a complete range of surface disinfectants and sanitisers for use in a wide range of applications. In many settings, where the aim is to protect against and prevent multiple pathogens of concern, our Oxivir range of products offers an excellent solution. Each product contains patented Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide (AHP) – a blend of commonly used, safe ingredients and low levels of hydrogen peroxide. This dramatically increases the potency and cleaning performance of Oxivir products against a wide range of pathogens including viruses such as Coronavirus, bacteria and yeasts.
The simplest and quickest way to introduce this innovative infection-prevention performance is with Oxivir Excel in its ready-to-use form. This cleaner disinfectant can be used for regular and daily cleaning on a wide range of surfaces. It is fully viricidal against non-enveloped and enveloped viruses in 30 seconds.
What You Can Do
The new Coronavirus has already been designated a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) by the WHO (World Health Organisation). It has already affected at least 20,000 people, mainly in China but also in more than 25 other countries, with well over 400 deaths confirmed. There is some evidence of person-to-person transmission, which is why personal hygiene is important.
Although it has spread fast, the virus has not yet been designated as a pandemic by the WHO. It’s too soon to say if it will become a pandemic or whether it will fade away in the coming months. Nevertheless, it shows once again that potentially dangerous illnesses can arise anywhere and at any time. So it pays to be prepared. In any case, the triple prevention methods of good cough/sneeze etiquette, hand hygiene and surface disinfection should always be considered essential “best practice” because they reduce the risk of contracting and spreading most major illnesses.
In addition to adhering to these simple practices, it is also sensible to avoid close contact wherever possible with sick people, especially if they have been to Wuhan. Most governments and official agencies are also recommending that people avoid non-essential travel to China.
The new 2019-nCoV coronavirus happened to emerge in China but previous outbreaks of similar illnesses show us they can arise at any time in any location. As the US CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends: do not show prejudice to people of Asian descent, because of fear of this new virus. Do not assume that someone of Asian descent is more likely to have 2019-nCoV.
Keep an eye out for more updates from Diversey about the latest developments with how to prevent Coronavirus. If you have any questions, contact our customer helpdesk on 0800 525525 or speak with you Diversey contacts direct. They will be able to help and advise.