infection control and management is important to everyone irrespective of any disabilities but particularly where patients might have a lower immune capability or at risk because of open pressure sores, say. Although an outbreak of infection can be potentially serious in a public care environment such as a hospital or care home (or even amongst a family where contagions can spread easily) the steps towards prevention and or containment or relatively simple.
Essentially, the idea of infection control is split into two broad areas: disinfection (a chemical approach to destroying microscopic organisms, bacteria and germs) and physical barriers (such as gloves, masks and aprons that prevent infection from travelling via splashes of bodily fluid landing on skin or through being inhaled). These are small, technical steps forward from the tradition of sneezing into a handkerchief – it’s simple but it works.
The main chemical based products/methods are:
- Cleaning chemicals
- Patient cleansing wipes
- Hard surface disinfection wipes/sprays
The main barrier products/methods of infection control include:
Disposable gloves – latex, nitrile, vinyl
Disposable protective wear – polythene aprons, facemasks etc
One of the main challenges of infection management is the sheer variety of contagions. It’s well known that the ‘Common Cold’ troops on without a hope of cure in sight because of the millions of strands – that continue to multiple and diversify as we speak. Scaling that down to the challenge in front of the patient, parent or healthcare professional is one of the keys to success with another being to identify what the contagion is and how it is most likely to spread. For instance, the flu virus finds hard surfaces to it’s liking and so is tackled most effectively by keeping such surfaces clean (liquid disinfectants are often used and are usually bactericidal, fungicidal or virucidal) encouraging frequent hand washing to minimise re-infection risks. This concept scales back up again to fit the challenge, with the ongoing hot topic being MRSA and other so-called ‘superbugs’. With this in mind several wipes/sprays rated as HTM01-05 compliant (essential quality measures) have been developed and are proven to successfully destroy many micro-organisms including:
- Escherichia coli
- Candida albicans
- Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
- Salmonella typhimurium
- Enterococcus hirae
- Aspergillus niger
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa
- Proteus vulgaris
Infection control and management is about identification of the problem and sensible thinking, leading to the application of the correct ‘remedy’ just as you would if you were attempting to eradicate an illness from a patient using medicine.