Dec 17

Bactericidal Hand Soap

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Bactericidal hand soap is specially designed for busy environments and particularly important in schools, catering establishments, leisure centres, hospitals, nursing homes and any communal areas where large numbers of people gather.

Bactericidal Hand Soaps are different to normal soaps in that they help to control the transmission of bacteria and any contamination. They clean but they also sanitise. There is a wide range of bactericidal products in the market place. Some are more stronger than others, many are fragranced, and they are generally all designed to be kind to the hands.

In large establishments the method of dispensing soap is normally via wall mounted dispenser units. However, they can also be purchased in small easy to handle containers with pumps fitted as shown in the photograph that goes with this article.

Soaps are a mixture of fats and oils which in themselves are of animal or vegetable extract. A wide range of different soaps exist. For instance dermatological soaps contain detergents and have good antibacterial properties. An antibacterial soap will remove most forms of bacteria from the skin.

Dirty hands can carry a wide range of microorganisms. E.coli, Salmonella and Hepatitis A virus are just some of the pathogens that can all be transmitted through poor hand hygiene.

Dec 16

Infection Control

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Hospitals in the UK have dedicated infection control teams which develop policies and procedures to ensure an effective infection control programme. Their prime aim is to reduce the risk of infection.

Hospitals can actually be quite prone to infections. Taking into account the number of visitors, patients and staff in any hospital establishment it is not difficult to understand how viruses and harmful bacteria can be present.

A comprehensive infection control programme will cover intravenous drips, surgical equipment and thorough cleansing of operating theatres to ensure that any infection is kept to a minimum. Doctors wear masks when in the operating theatre, gloves to ensure that bacteria cannot be passed on to their patients and particular care is taken with regard to regular hand hygiene.

The press are quick to point out the dangers of MRSA and Norovirus and we have all heard about instances on the news where hospitals have been held liable for negligence in certain aspects of infection control.

All hospitals need to keep auditing records designed to ensure that the hospital policies and guidance is adhered to. The closure of a ward or several wards can cause serious disruption to any hospital and the financial implications can be nothing short of disasterous, often creating a backlog of patients and serious issues with existing patients who may need to be seperated from others due to acquiring an infection.

As a visitor to any hospital you have a moral duty to make sure that you follow advice with regard to hand hygiene and no one should visit a hospital without consultation if they have a contagious disease, flu symptoms or any other afflication that my cause harm to others.

The most effective way of preventing the spread of infection in hospitals is actually hand hygiene. This is why hospitals provide regular hand hygiene points which staff, patients and visitors alike are expected to use. Alcholic gel is the most common form of hand cleansing. It is more effective than soap and water and is designed to kill a wide range of germs that can be present on your hands.

Dec 16

Washroom Services

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Washroom services in larger establishments are generally provided by commercial cleaning suppliers. You don’t always have to pay for the installation of sanitary disposal units or components. Quite often a reputable provider will allow you to hire the dispensing equipment rather than go to the expense of purchasing it. So long as you continue to buy chemicals from the company you don’t have to pay for the equipment. This is a very cost effective way of getting your establishment kitted out properly.

Washroom services covers the whole spectrum of personal hygiene in washrooms. Sanitary and nappy disposal units, collection of waste, installation of air freshener units and paper dispensers are often all part of the service from a professional contractor. If you are lucky the provider will actually ensure that you are regularly stocked up and will even replace batteries in air fresheners and provide attractive toilet roll and soap dispensers.

Providing a quality washroom environment for your customers and staff should be a priority. Your establishment will be judged by the cleanliness of its washroom facilities. You really do owe it to your visitors.

A washroom can become a breeding ground for bacteria. We have all heard about MRSA and Norovirus and other contagious dieseases that can often be narrowed down to places of poor hygiene. Imagine going to a luxury restaurant, having an excellent meal and then being subjected to poorly attended toilets with bad hygiene control. How much of a recommendation will you give them if you are ill the very next day?

In the UK the Environmental Protection Act of 1990 places a duty of care upon organisations to ensure that any waste produced on any premises is properly managed right up until its point of final disposal.

The law is particularly clear with regard to disposal of all types of waste. Essentially, you must store it safely and securely and prevent it from causing pollution and harm to anyone. This means that sanitary dressings and nappy waste requires a discreet and professional service.

A full washroom service by a recognised provider will give you peace of mind and help you to meet the stringent regulations. Some contractors or suppliers even provide wall charts, staff training and all relevant documentation to ensure the smooth operation of washrooms.

So, next time you enter a catering establishment, whether it be a simple cafe or luxury restaurant, observe how well it has been cleaned. Is it free from bad odours, clean and hygienic and with adequate dispensers and hand towels or drying machines? What price do you put on your personal hygiene? What value does a restaurant have if it cannot even provide the most basic requirements of a safe and clean washroom?

Dec 16

Norovirus Outbreak

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An article in the Daily Express on 16th December 2008 has highlighted the dangers of millions of people being ill with the winter vomiting bug Norovirus.

Many hospital wards have had to close to any new patients with a leading London hospital having to turn away emergency calls due to being overwhelmed with the virus.

As we near Christmas and the New Year we risk a higher level of infection rates than at other times. With Christmas celebrations and large numbers of families meeting up with relatives the risks are worse than at other times. Hospitals could reach breaking point. Christmas and New Year are traditionally very busy times for hospitals. The recent cold weather and the threat of colds, flu and norovirus are particularly dangerous for the elderly, children, and those who are already ill.

The report goes on to quote several instances of near crisis in some hospitals with no available beds and a spate of ward closures. At least 21 hospitals have had to isolate patients. Worst affected appears to have been the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital which had to close all its 49 wards due to the virus. The full detail of the Daily Express report can be seen at www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/75741

West Midlands company Chemex have a product called Antibak which is effective against Norovirus and which has already given the NHS a powerful weapon to combat a full range of superbugs. The Antibak powder was recently used successfully in Berkshire where eight wards were closed due to the Norovirus outbreak. Antibak was used in the afternoon and by the evening tests showed the wards to be completely clear.

In Lincolnshire at the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston a ward which had been closed for a long period was re-opened by using the Antibak product.

More recently Antibak has been used extensively in the deep cleaning of ambulances.

Dec 10

Ambulance Cleaning

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It is imperative that health authorities and private ambulance companies keep their vehicles clean to avoid the spreading of infection. Recent articles in the press have highlighted a concern with cleaning practices at ambulance trusts in the UK.

With resources stretched and no dedicated cleaning staff it is often down to the ambulance crews to clean their vehicles. National guidance provision exists for ambulance cleaning and it is important for cleanliness standards to be improved and monitored. The problem is that these guidelines are not mandatory.

The North West was criticized for having no dedicated cleaning staff and no allocated time for cleaning. There was also confirmation in a paramedics report that the ambulances are never deep cleaned. Few would argue that this is a recipe for disaster.

Ambulances can spread superbugs if not cleaned effectively and ineffective decontamination brings its own set of issues. Cleaning time needs to be taken into account when managing an ambulance fleet.

In London the ambulance trust are improving their service with dedicated cleaning teams. If a vehicle becomes contaminated it is isolated, returned to the cleaning depot and a clean ambulance is immediately available. This level of cleanliness needs to be the norm in the UK rather than the exception.

A West Midlands based company Chemex provides a specialized range of cleaning products which are ideal for ambulance cleaning. MRSA, E.coli, Listeria sp, Salmonella sp and Staphylococcus aureus including the C-Diff spores can effectively be eradicated with their products.

Further information on these products

Dec 8

Norovirus

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This particularly unpleasant virus can manifest itself in restaurants, schools, hospitals, residential homes and a host of other communal establishments. Unfortunately there is no specific treatment for this apart from preventing dehydration in the patient if symptoms are severe.

Norovirus is transmitted from person to person through vomit, dairrhea and contaminated hands or by touching contaminated areas. Food or water can be contaminated with this virus and the illness will cause nausea, vomiting and abdominal discomfort. Recovery time is around 2 - 3 days.

Isolation of infected persons can help to contain spread of the virus and the right form of hygienic hand disinfection will also assist. Residential care homes and hospitals need to be very careful to ensure that clothing is washed regularly, disposable gloves are worn by carers and that all personal laundry and bed linen is isolated including special care with cutlery and crockery.

Disinfectant in sanitary areas should be carried out daily in addition to a thorough cleansing of all hard surfaces, equipment and fixtures and fittings.

Generally Norovirus in itself is not life threatening. However, it is particularly unpleasant and every effort should be made to keep this virus away from those who are already ill or the elderly.

Further information can be found on the NHS website.

Dec 2

Hand Hygiene

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Good hand hygiene is one of the most effective methods of preventing illness. There are different products available to clean your hands. Everyone has come across a bar of soap but what do hand sanitizers , wipes and foaming hand soaps do? Each has its own benefit and within each product and category there are different fragrances and ingredients.

Bar Soaps - these basically clean the skin by removing dirt and oils. They are the most common form of hand hygiene. Soaps often contain fragrances and sometimes moisturisers.

Hand Sanitisers - These actually kill the germs on your hands and they do this without the need for water or towels.

Liquid Hand Soaps - These usually come designed to be dispensed by dosing equipment. They are a familiar sight in washrooms and large establishments.

Wipes- These wipe dirt from the hands and do not require water or towels.

Antibacterial v non-antibacterial

The soaps and hand sanitizers with antibacterial properties are specially designed to provide added protection in killing germs. Therefore, in food preparation, hospitals and other potentially infectious environments, the use of antibacterial products is important.

Hand sanitizers are often not very effective for removing dirt so whilst they might manage to kill germs on the hands they are often a poor substitute for soap and water.

Particularly when using commercial cleaning products you should refer to the instructions for use. The right dilution rates and dispensing equipment is a major factor in their effectiveness.

Nov 24

Microwave your sponges!

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The easy way to sanitize your dirty sponge

The easy way to sanitize your dirty sponge

The University of Florida has performed a study on germs and bacteria in sponges and has illustrated that the best way to clean and sanitize your sponge is to microwave it for 2 minutes. However, they do point out that you must wet the sponge first. This is quite important. They also warn that you should stay by the microwave whilst carrying out this sponge cleansing exercise.

Washing sponges or putting them in the dishwasher is apparently not the best method of cleaing your dirty kitchen sponges. Using a microwave oven is far more effective.

The microwave oven can kill almost all bacteria in the duration of two minutes. Since almost every kitchen has access to a microwave it makes sense to use this inexpensive appliance for this purpose.

In order to demonstrate the power of the microwave and its magical cleansing properties, a sponge was placed in the waste water consisting of fecal bacteria, various viruses, parasites and bacterial spores. By microwaving the sponge on the highest power setting for just two minutes at least 99% of the bacteria was killed.

The original clip along with some humerous spoof videos can be seen on You Tube.

Nov 21

Antibak - MRSA

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Hospitals across the UK are winning the battle against killer bugs as a result of a breakthough in pathogen eradication. The Chemex Antibak is the only product on the market with the cleaning power to kill Clostridium difficile spores and it has provided the NHS with a powerful new weapon that can open up closed wards at short notice.

Easy to use with a simple spray on and wipe off system, this has been successfully trialled in Berkshire where eight wards were closed due to a Norovirus outbreak. AntiBak was applied in the afternoon and the wards were swabbed the same evening. Tests then showed the wards to be completely clear.  Berkshire Shared Services’ mobile deep clean team has proven AntiBak’s effectiveness against a number of pathogens including C. diff spores.

Daughne Taylor, Head of Operations, Risk and Business Development for Berkshire Shared Services, said: “We were faced with a serious infection outbreak in a number of different patient-related areas, transferred in from areas outside our control. AntiBak gave us fast clear results that enabled us to re-open critical bed space in a far shorter time without compromise to patient safety.
The back up support Chemex offered to all my team and the speed with which they reacted when contacted with our dilemma was second to none. Chemex AntiBak is a safe, effective, easy to use concept which delivers huge rewards and a safe method of working for our front line staff, but more importantly offers our patients peace of mind that we take their health protection seriously.”

In Lincolnshire a ward which had been closed long-term due to Aspergillus infestation at the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston was re-opened after using AntiBak.

Infection Control Nurse Wendy Creasey said: “Our team found AntiBak easy to use with no need for extensive PPE or training. Environmental samples taken post-treatment showed no evidence of any Aspergillus niger.”

Chemex International Director Sean Derrig said AntiBak had now been proven on hospital wards as well as in the laboratory. “This is the first time hospitals have had a cleaning agent that kills C. diff spores which has been proven in independent trials to be 1,000 times more effective than traditional protocols at a fraction of the concentration. “It is neither hypochlorite nor quat-based and is completely non-toxic in use. Its revolutionary chemistry and has none of the Health and Safety dangers of chlorine or peroxide based protocols but is devastatingly effective against pathogens.

“When used to clean wards or operating theatres it does not require the lengthy shutdowns or specialist techniques which are often associated with traditional ‘deep cleans’ and costs less than the disinfectant sprays that you might find in your local supermarket.”

In independent testing AntiBak has achieved the Internationally Approved EN1276, EN13704, EN14476 and EN1650 standards against the spores. It has also achieved veterinary approvals from Defra for use against foot and mouth disease, Avian Flu H5N1 and Salmonella choleraesius.

Mr Derrig added: “The Government has made tackling hospital infection one of its priorities and now we can provide hospitals with the most effective weapon available to help ensure patients are protected from potentially lethal bacteria, viruses and spores.”
Chemex AntiBak is a revolutionary compound independently proven to be devastatingly effective against both Clostridium difficile – the bacterium thought to be responsible for killing more than 4,000 hospital patients a year – and its spores.

Test certificates are available to the Internationally Approved EN1276 and EN13704 standards against the deadly organisms and spores AntiBak kills. AntiBak has also achieved four other international standards including veterinary approvals from DEFRA for use against foot and mouth disease, Avian Flu H5N1 and Salmonella choleraesius.

Nov 21

MRSA - Aston University

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Aston University here in Birmingham is leading the way in its super-bug fight with MRSA