EPA and Public Health Claims

by Erica Mitchell | October 9 2019

Many products in the marketplace have an EPA registration. What does that mean?

An Environmental Protection Agency's Registered Public Health Claim is the agency’s highest standard for products hoping to make statements regarding their impact on harmful bacteria and, as a result, the reduction in the bioburden. Because the registration permits the product to make statements (claims) about killing microbes that are otherwise harmful to people, the agency has set a very high bar for achieving their registration. The ability to make Public Health Claims is a lengthy process that is difficult to achieve and requires that a product first submit testing protocols for prior approval and then the product itself is submitted for rigorous testing against those protocols to ensure that it is both efficacious and durable.

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A Pathogen for All Seasons: Seasonality in HAIs

by Erica Mitchell | October 7 2019

As those of us in the northern hemisphere transition from summer to winter, we will also be experiencing another shift in seasons, especially those of us who live and work in the field of infection control and prevention. Along with the end of warmer months is the end of the summer's favorite pathogens: Gram negative bacteria. And looming ahead in the winter? Cooler months' weapon of choice: Viruses like influenza. We'll explore seasonality in infection control and prevention in today's post.

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Are We Closer to a New Flu Shot?

by Erica Mitchell | September 29 2019

This past week, the Trump administration signed an executive order to investigate improvements to flu vaccine production and ways to encourage more Americans to get vaccinated. Called "Modernizing Influenza Vaccines in the United States to Promote National Security and Public Health," this executive order places the responsibility on the US Department of Health and Human Services to come up with a plan and budget within the next 120 days to meet these goals. In today's post, we'll explore the two issue involved: New flu shot technologies and the need to get more Americans vaccinated.

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Anatomy of an Overbed Table

by Erica Mitchell | September 23 2019

Overbed tables are essential in patient rooms. They serve as a surface for food trays, and can hold personal items such as phones, computers, or books. Even healthcare workers uses overbed tables for holding medical devices or supplies. All this usage means one thing: Overbed tables are one of the most-touched and most-contaminated surfaces in a patient room.

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We Only Have One Chance: One Mom's Battle Against Cancer and Infection (Part 2)

by Erica Mitchell | September 18 2019

Our earlier post gave us a glimpse into the life of a mom responding to the shocking diagnosis of cancer in her three-year-old son, Jack. This concluding segment will explore the result of her unrelenting fight against infection as she did everything possible to help her son survive, and the lasting impact that experience has had on her life the life of her son.

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VAPING & VAP: Lungs Under Attack

by Erica Mitchell | September 13 2019

News stories about the dangerous - and sometimes lethal - effects of vaping have been making headlines. This increasingly popular method of nicotine delivery, electronic cigarettes, has resulted in some perplexing cases of lung disease. In today's post, we'll explore what is known about this vaping-associated pneumonia by comparing it to a common HAI, ventilator-associated pneumonia, or VAP.

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One Mom's Battle Against Cancer and Infection (Part 1)

by Erica Mitchell | September 11 2019

It was a fall evening just after Thanksgiving when Page snuggled with her son at bedtime. He had just celebrated his 3rd birthday and was feeling a little under the weather, so she was rubbing his belly while he rested, going through the list of what it could be - chicken pox? Too much dinner? A stomach bug? All those thoughts came to a screeching halt when she felt a soft lump just over her son's belly button. With a sudden mother's intuition that would prove to move mountains in the years to come, Page bundled up her child and with shaking hands, immediately drove him to the emergency department at the nearby children's hospital. Only a few hours later, the world-changing diagnosis was given: Neuroblastoma. Stage IV. Cancer.
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Special Populations Series: Pediatric Cancer

by Erica Mitchell | September 4 2019

With a few words, a family's life is forever changed: "It's cancer." For any patient, these words bring anxiety and fear. When that patient is a child, however, no words can express the emotions that send shock waves through a family, friends, and community. Today's post begins a three-part story of one such young patient, a little boy named Jack. (Best of all, Jack's story has a happy ending.) During Childhood Cancer Awareness Month join us as we see the challenges of pediatric cancer treatment and infection control through the eyes of a boy and his mother.

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Modifiable Risk Factors: The Courage to Change the Things We Can

by Erica Mitchell | August 29 2019

The Serenity Prayer is a well-known piece of advice about how to approach life's challenges. In it, the speaker asks for serenity to accept the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that can, and wisdom to know the difference. When it comes to infection control, the same sentiment could apply to risk factors. There are some risks that cannot be changed, health challenges that we just have to accept and work around. But there are those we can change, and these are modifiable risk factors. The wisdom to know the difference? We'll try to tackle that topic in today's post.

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Back to School Bacteria

by Erica Mitchell | August 28 2019

Millions of American children return to school over the next week, officially kicking off the academic year filled promise. Alongside the promise of learning new things comes another promise: The certainty of picking up some kind of bug that will cause anything from the sniffles to time in bed. Today we'll explore some of the major pathogens that strike in busy classrooms full of kids as well as a few steps you can take to avoid some of those hallway bullies.

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