Disinfection and sterilization are two important decontamination methods, either one can be used according to the purpose of the decontamination. The difference between Disinfection and sterilization is that disinfection is an acceptable lower tier level of cleanliness while sterilization is the highest level of cleanliness achievable.
What disinfection means ?
Disinfection refers to the total destruction of all microorganisms/pathogens, like fungi, bacteria, viruses, spores, prions, mostly through the use of drastic methods.
Why disinfection is necessary?
Disinfection is necessary because it helps contain and prevent the spread of harmful bacteria and viruses, it is an important part in combating the proliferation of pathogens in any kind of environment. Common areas needing disinfection are found at home, businesses, hospitals, schools, restaurants, gyms etc.
What defines sanitation?
Sanitation is the process of keeping places clean and healthy by promoting hygiene and preventing diseases.
Just imagine any patient in the hospital with a bacterial infection and doctors can’t stop it from spreading. This scenario has occurred and the bacteria is often named “superbugs”.
Superbugs are viral infections caused by bacteria that are resistant to common antibiotics. Bacteria changing in order to build up resistance.
Every year, about 2 million people get sick from a superbug, according to the CDC and about 23,000 die. Did you know that Schools, restaurants, public transportation, health clinics, libraries, etc. are common places for mold and infections??
We can find risks in:
- Abundance of high-touch surfaces
- Varying living conditions create more variety of pathogen exposures
- Environmental issues create hotbeds for molds and other allergens
- Volatile organic compounds complicate chemical sensitivity
The following are some Diseases that Pose Risk:
- MRSA ( bacteria that causes infections in different parts of the body)
- Influenza(viral infection that attacks your respiratory system commonly called flu)
- Chicken Pox( infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus it’s highly contagious).
- Measles(childhood infection caused by a highly contagious virus also known as rubeola)
- Strep Throat(bacterial infection that causes throat inflammation and pain)
- Meningitis (inflammation of the protective membranes of the brain and spinal cord caused by a bacterial or viral infection)
- Pertussis (also called Whooping Cough, highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a bacteria)
- C. diff (colon Inflammation caused by a bacteria)
- Mumps(viral infection that affects salivary glands )
- Pneumonia( lung inflammation caused by bacterial or viral infection)
- Norovirus(very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea)
- Adenoviruses (group of viruses that affect different body systems)
How about this… “Teachers routinely make the list of “Most Dangerous Jobs” !! … can you believe it ? … well, it’s true !! due in part to their exposure to the above diseases. Not only that, support staff are often exposed to surfaces and areas which are continuously soiled with food waste, bodily fluids, and garbage. This poses a risk of cross contamination.
Some Potential Areas of Contamination where Infection control measures should be applied are:
- Desks and Learning Spaces
- Door Knobs
- Kitchen and Food Prep Surfaces
- Computer Labs
- Locker Rooms
- Athletic Equipment
- Wrestling Mats
- Nurse and Healthcare Offices
- Garbage and Recycling Disposal Sites
With increased natural moisture and aging buildings, mold in schools is causing major issues with day to day operations.
- Cause of Mold
- Improperly stored equipment
- Sub-par building materials
- Former mold thought to be remediated
- Constantly wet/damp places
- Effects of Mold to Students and Staff
- Allergic reactions
- Coughing and respiratory issues
- Eye irritation
- Skin irritation
What is a germ?
Germs are microbes and come in four main types: bacteria, fungi, viruses and protozoa. Germs can live inside and outside the human body. Not all of them are bad, the good germs help maintain our body balance and build our immune systems. However, the bad ones cause many illnesses. This is the importance of getting rid of bad germs, very Often, people have a misconception of cleaning their homes with disinfecting them and there’s a huge difference between both things
Commonly used Disinfection methods
Disinfection with Bleach (active ingredient, sodium hypochlorite)
Bleach disinfectant is considered strong and effective (kills bacteria, fungus and viruses) Household bleach works quickly and it’s available at a low cost but should be used with caution due to the fact it can irritate mucous membranes, skin and airways, decomposes under heat or light and reacts readily with other chemicals. Improper use of bleach may reduce its effectiveness in disinfection. Using it too concentrated or overusing it may produce toxic substances that contaminate the environment and disrupt ecological balance. May cause discoloration of porous materials and fabrics , May damage electronic devices , Prolonged contact with metal may cause pitting or discoloration , Ingestion can cause serious symptoms, including nausea and vomiting, and temporary blindness. Exposure to vapors and mist can aggravate the symptoms of certain heart and respiratory conditions, such as asthma, emphysema or chronic bronchitis. , When mixed with other chemicals, such as ammonia, vinegar, acids or other cleaners containing chlorine, Clorox produces hazardous gases that can be harmful or even fatal, highly CORROSIVE !!!!
- Long dwell times – Over time, efficacy of bleach reduces – Manual cleaning misses 40-60% of surfaces
Disinfection with benzalkonium chloride
This product can be used for hard and soft surfaces, air treatment, and hand washing. It’s active ingredient is benzalkonium chloride and kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses living on surfaces, dramatically lowers the risk for spreading infections. Its active ingredients have not been found to cause cancer or other serious health problems when the product is used as directed. With repeated or prolonged exposure may cause mild skin irritation.
Disinfection VS Cleaning
By cleaning you remove dirt and dust from the surface of objects using warm water and soap in order to remove the top layer of germs. This lowers the risk of spreading infection, but still leaves some germs on the objects or surfaces.
By Disinfecting you kill germs on surfaces and objects and dramatically lowers the risk for spreading infection.
So remember: The correct thing to do is CLEANING AND DISINFECTING. The best thing you can do to reduce risk of spreading germs is to first clean your surfaces, removing dirt and grime, and then disinfect.
It’s done through machines called Ozone generators that produce ozone gas. Disinfection with ozone is 200 times stronger than chlorine disinfection and is very effective in destroying organic contaminants, mold, odors a variety of inorganic materials, such as lotions, oils, cosmetics and pathogens. These devices are not safe to be used in indoor occupied spaces because of the high risk to produce health problems with harmful respiratory effects.
Potential risk of experiencing:
- Decreases in lung function
- Aggravation of asthma
- Throat irritation and cough
- Chest pain and shortness of breath
- Inflammation of lung tissue
- Higher susceptibility to respiratory infection.
- Safe breathable concentrations of Ozone are not effective as disinfectant.
UV Light disinfection
UV light is germicidal, it deactivates the DNA of bacteria, virus and other pathogens destroying their ability to multiply and cause diseases.
Disinfection with UV light has a 3-4 log kill and some 5 log at distances of approx. 3 feet. Many UV technologies require furniture to be moved away from walls, reflective paint to be used and multiple devices to be deployed in the room to achieve a 3-4 log kill. There is also evidence of UV causes mutated bacteria from a distance and these bacteria are developing a resistance to UV light in water and possibly air. May possibly cause corneal damage. Ultraviolet rays are known to deteriorate plastics.
Disinfection with Hydrogen Peroxide
Most commonly used disinfectant worldwide and In the past decade, has become a growing favorite for commercial cleaning businesses. Hydrogen peroxide disinfectant has the capability of multiple cleaners and with the advantage of being versatile and cost-effective. When used properly, it can kill multiple germs, toxins, bacteria, etc.
Disinfection and sterilization with SteraMist
This wonderful and innovative technology can be applied in multiple industries, different needs with the same solution… More than clean disinfection and beyond!!! This product is registered with the EPA as a Hospital-HealthCare Disinfectant, Effective Broad-Spectrum Disinfectant, general use disinfectant, mold and mildew control and remediation and much more. SteraMist can also be used for odor remediation.
Now, the next generation in sanitation…….SteraMist…!!!!!
The plasma science behind the technology
The iHP (ionized Hydrogen Peroxide) Binary Ionization Technology (BIT), a patented two-step process that activates and ionizes a 7.8% Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) sole active ingredient based solution into a fine mist/fog known as ionized Hydrogen Peroxide (iHP). Unlike many of TOMI’s competitors, Hydrogen Peroxide is not the efficient kill, instead the proper application and decontamination of iHP contains a high concentration of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), consisting mostly of hydroxyl radicals (OH) is the killing agent. OH are one of the most powerful oxidizing agents in nature, and during TOMI’s iHP process, kills bacteria and fungal spores and inactivates viral cells by destroying their proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids. This leads to the cellular disruption and/or dysfunction allowing for the quick decontamination of targeted areas, objects and large spaces. This produces a mechanical kill rather than chemical kill. Treats critical environments faster than any competing technology and without the production of caustic byproducts.
- Rooms can be fogged in hours and surfaces treated in minutes.
- No residue means treated toys, sports equipment, electronics and surfaces are safe for touching.
- Chlorine and bleach- free formula means no chemical smells behind.
- Can be used with any type of challenge
Is SteraMist BIT safe?
TOMI has proven that the aerosol is nontoxic and is labeled as only an irritant.
SteraMist BIT is compatible with surfaces commonly found in homes including: Smart TVs, computers, finished surfaces, various woods, fabrics, sports gear, bronze and other fine details.
What is the difference between SteraMist and manual cleaning disinfection?
Manual cleaning can produce inconsistent results because the user can easily miss areas during the clean. Further, completing a disinfection cleaning protocol with SteraMist offers greater coverage, in less time, and superior results with a 99.9999% (six log) reduction and depending on the clean product, a manual clean will only provide a 99.9% or 99.99% (3 or 4 log reduction).
SteraMist is ideal for electronics. The iHP process provides a dry mist/fog and a short contact time, leaving no residue. SteraMist can quickly and easily treat electronics including delicate medical and scientific equipment.
How long does a surface have to remain wet after being treated with SteraMist?
After treatment, all surfaces will be covered with the residual mist/fog, similarly to the way a mirror fogs after a shower, it will quickly evaporate leaving no residue.
Common myths in disinfection: “Wipes are enough and bleach is the best”, “Hydrogen Peroxide is just for the medicine cabinet”, “My home is clean enough”, “Advanced disinfection isn’t needed”
The best first line of defense is hand washing and encouraging deeper expectations within those who live in an environment.
Some diseases that pose risk are:
- Hand, foot and mouth
- Pneumonia and further disinfection is needed after an above risk has been identified, life change, restoration or construction, a compromised or suppressed immune system patient visitation or habitation, or a semi annual mitigation treatment.
- Timothy, et al. “What Is Sterilization? 9 Sterilization Methods in Microbiology.” Study Read, 17 June 2018
- “Disinfection | Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities (2008).” CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 Sept. 2016
- Omidkhoda, M., Rashed, R., Bagheri, Z., Ghazvini, K., & Shafaee, H. (2016). Comparison of three different sterilization and disinfection methods on orthodontic markers. Journal of orthodontic science, 5(1), 14.
- Rutala, W. A., & Weber, D. J. (2004). Disinfection and sterilization in health care facilities: what clinicians need to know? Clinical infectious diseases, 39(5), 702-709.
- Schneider, P. M. (2013). New technologies and trends in sterilization and disinfection. American journal of infection control, 41(5), S81-S86.
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