From the common cold to the flu, cases of illness often spike during the colder months. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the flu—a seasonal epidemic—is estimated to kill between 290,000 and 650,000 individuals each year.
With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise as flu season approaches, this winter will be particularly challenging as healthcare facilities are predicted to experience a greater influx of patients than normal. This not only means potential equipment shortages like facilities faced at the beginning of the novel coronavirus pandemic, but also a need to effectively disinfect shared equipment before each use.
In particular, facilities will need to take special care to disinfect shared equipment that moves from room-to-room. According to a recent study by Vancouver Coast Health, shared equipment is a high point of pathogen transfer in healthcare environments and may be more likely to spread COVID-19 than stationary surfaces. The study found that in facilities where COVID-19 was already present and more enhanced cleaning practices were in place, the majority of positive samples of SARS-CoV-2 (the pathogen that causes COVID-19) came from communal blood pressure cuffs and other medical equipment that moved from room-to-room. This emphasizes the critical importance of disinfecting mobile and shared equipment across any environment as frequently as stationary surfaces like door handles and elevator buttons.
As healthcare facilities and other environments work to eliminate pathogens across shared equipment, they must ensure their whole room disinfectant and delivery method uphold three core standards:
- The disinfectant will not harm sensitive electronics.
- The solution is effective against challenging pathogen types.
- The delivery method can reach all the places and spaces that pathogens lurk.
Will Not Harm Sensitive Electronics
Electronic equipment in facilities can be costly and delicate. When selecting a disinfectant, it is critical that efficacy does not come at the expense of damaging sensitive equipment by using a wet or corrosive solution. Beyond truly damaging equipment, other delivery methods such as electrostatic sprayers can leave behind a sticky or wet residue that creates a “dirty” feeling when touching equipment that has been sprayed. A fogging system—like the HaloFogger®—ensures a dry delivery of a disinfectant that does not damage sensitive electronic devices or leave behind a residue on surfaces.
Effective Against Challenging Pathogen Types
SARS-CoV-2 is an enveloped pathogen, which is one of the most susceptible pathogen types to disinfectants. However, facilities face a myriad of pathogens that are more challenging to kill on surfaces. Clostridium difficile (C. Diff) spores, for example, can survive high temperatures, ultraviolet light, and harsh chemicals, making them particularly challenging to eliminate. Due to its resiliency, C. difficile is considered the leading case of hospital acquired diarrhea in Europe and North America. When selecting a whole room disinfection solution to kill pathogens, healthcare facilities and high traffic environments should consider solutions that can not only meet their disinfection needs against COVID-19, but also eradicate more challenging pathogen types. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released List N of products for use against SARS-CoV-2. This list can be cross referenced with List K to find products like HaloMist™ (EPA Reg. No-84526-6) that meet both the standards to eliminate SARS-CoV-2 and more challenging pathogen types like C. diff.
Easy to Reach the Places Where They Lurk
A disinfectant is only as effective as its ability to reach pathogens in all the places and spaces they lurk. Particularly in healthcare environments, which are home to many immunocompromised individuals, pathogens must be uniformly eliminated to mitigate the risk of hospital acquired infections. By utilizing dry-fogging technology, healthcare facilities can reach pathogens in all the cracks and crevices beyond the reach of standard spays, wipes, UV light systems, and electrostatic sprayers. Further still, dry fogging systems like the HaloFogger® work entirely in touchless mode—removing the risk of human error and minimizing exposure by cleaning teams.
Whether you are a healthcare facility, corporate office, transportation center, academic institution or more, it is crucial to consider your whole room disinfection strategy in light of COVID-19. Whole room disinfection solutions such as the Halo Disinfection System® can play an integral role in eliminating pathogens in high touch and high traffic environments where pathogens often lurk.