Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hand washing no panacea

I was delighted to hear the ABC song drifting from my bathroom last night.  It meant that my five year old son was following the instructions he learned in school to properly guage the amount of time he should wash his hands with soap and water.  Will he do this everytime? Probably not, but it is important to try.

The situation in my house is much like the situation in many healthcare facilities, according to an LA Tines article on the MRSA Watch blog site:

30 studies show hand washing neglect

Link: Beating the staph superbug - Los Angeles Times.

But, with a few exceptions, hospitals and public agencies have been slow to gear up against MRSA. More than 30 studies have shown, for example, that healthcare workers wash their hands about half as often as they're supposed to, even though washing before and after seeing each patient would drastically cut down on infection rates. Hospital surfaces and equipment aren't cleaned as often as they should be, and careless habits -- like touching potentially contaminated surfaces after hands have been washed but before touching the patient -- contribute to the spread. The first order of business should be to get a clear picture of MRSA. Where is it and how prevalent? An upcoming bill by state Sen. Elaine Alquist (D-Santa Clara) would make MRSA a reportable disease and require hospitals and nursing homes to report their infection rates. In Tennessee, which tracks MRSA, it quickly became the third most common reportable disease in the state, behind chlamydia and gonorrhea. A similar bill was vetoed in 2004 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, but the recent news from the CDC should make him rethink his position, despite the almost certain opposition of hospitals.

I bring this to your attention to demonstrate that infection control is dynamic.  There is no silver bullet.  Infection control requires multi-layers and some redundancies.  Our technology, VIGILAIR®, does not replace other sanitary efforts--it complements and enhances them.  Like hand washing, VIGILAIR® is not a cure all.  It is a prudent and effective way to reduce the airborne environmental pathogens within your facility.

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