Almost every country has a government agency responsible for the health and safety of its citizens and its environment. Where those two departments overlap is often where pesticides and germicides are regulated. At this intersection are those chemicals that, if released into the environment, could cause damage, but which, within healthcare facilities, are required in order to kill dangerous pathogens. In today's post, we'll explore two such departments in neighboring nations, the United States and Canada.
Did everyone notice the uptick in respiratory illnesses (including COVID) that started about a week and a half after Thanksgiving? Many of us might have heard about the flu or a cold or even COVID making its way through a classroom, an office, or an apartment complex. This uptick is predictable, as holidays bring people, and their infections, together. How can we minimize the spread of infection in our homes this upcoming holiday season and go into the new year without sniffles, sneezes, and sore throats? In today's post, we will help you host your friends and family in a hygienic home for the holidays.
This week saw epic snowfalls in the US, assuring us that winter is very much upon us. For those of us who live where it gets colder and colder this time of year, we may be finding ourselves wrapping ourselves up more as we go out, bundling up to stay cozy inside, and generally getting ourselves situated to make it through the cold season. We are reacting to our environment, just as bears prepare to hibernate, and birds prepare to migrate. Microorganisms react to their environment as well, with some bacteria having the ability to produce spores in order to survive outside a host. In today's post, we will examine one such bacterial spore, one that causes hundreds of thousands of infections each year and tens of thousands of deaths: Clostridioides difficile.
In a widely-circulated interview, President Biden stated that the pandemic was, in effect, over. While not an official statement and also clarified over the next few days, the idea that the worst of the pandemic is over has been echoed by global medical experts. So what now? A return to "normal" in the medical field does not mean no more infections; in fact, it means returning to a world where almost 100,000 people die each year from infections they acquired while receiving medical care - most of which are preventable. There are many similarities between a pandemic and the on-going crisis of hospital-acquired infections, and in today's post, we will explore them.
Bacteria have been around for, oh, 3.5 billion years or so. They didn't achieve this longevity without collecting a few tricks up their sleeves. Among them is the ability to adapt to their environments from one generation to the next, activating certain genes during times of distress, changes in humidity, and access to nutrients. The resulting tricks are known collectively as "resistance." Bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics such as penicillin, creating dangerous drug-resistant strains. They can also become resistant to disinfectants, including those used in today's hospitals. In today's post, we'll learn why that matters.