The global coronavirus pandemic has offered a sudden welcome into the world infection preventionists face every day: The fight against pathogens. Protocols, vocabulary, equipment and data collection that used to be restricted to epidemiologists have now entered the everyday vernacular. In today's post, we'll look at some of those examples.
Whether someone in your home has been sick, or you simply want to reduce the spread of outside germs into your quarantine environment, one of the first things you want to do is clean up. But what needs to be cleaned? And what cleaner is needed? These are some critical questions that can be answered with a little help from the cleaning professionals in a hospital. Let’s bring some of the lessons learned from hospital cleaning home as we clean house!
An early release of a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine tested the survivabilty of the virus that causes COVID-19 in air as well as on four surfaces: Cardboard, stainless steel, plastic, and copper. While the virus could be recovered after 24 hours on cardboard, and up to 72 hours on stainless steel and plastic, no virus could be recovered off of copper after 4 hours. This means that copper continuously kills the virus that is causing today's global pandemic, providing a surface option that could help mitigate the spread.
As awareness of the COVID-19 virus increased, Americans everywhere rushed out to (try to) buy hand sanitizer. All of us now know that washing our hands is an essential part of not spreading the novel coronavirus. Why is hand hygiene so important in healthcare? What about in times of pandemic for the general population? Because our hands are one of the "surfaces" we interact with the most! Therefore, we have to keep them clean, and at critical times, sanitized. Today's post will explore how we clean and sanitize the most important surface: Hands.
We deal with the seasonal flu each year, right? Between October and March of every year, millions get infected, tens of thousands develop critical complications, some of whom even die. Now imagine that everyone who was going to get the flu got infected during the same month, essentially all at once. The impact on healthcare and the economy would be stunning. That's what we are trying to avoid with the spread of COVID-19: We are trying to "flatten the curve."
In our last post, we explored the basics of virus structure, makeup, size, and shape. We determined that this infectious agent had characteristics of living organisms as well as nonliving matter. Today's post brings this information closer to home - How do they infect us and make us sick?
What exactly is a virus? We know they are not susceptible to antibiotics. We know that they can cause anything from the common cold, the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918 to our most recent COVID-19. Viruses are called "infectious agents," but what are they, exactly? Turns out the answer is not simple.
Data is king. At no other time in history have we had the amount of data available to us to make informed decisions – both as consumers and as professionals. With advanced computer software, crunching those numbers has never been easier. One of the fields benefiting from these advances is healthcare, with everyone from doctors, hospital administrators, insurance companies, pharmaceutical developers, and patients using data to predict outcomes, make choices, and evaluate success. What we do with all this data is at least as important as what that data is, but for today, we focus first on where the top 4 hospital rating groups get their data.