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Disease Prevention
  • Tips for Cleaning and Disinfection in Hotels

    Sep 21, 2017

    During winter the general public spends more time indoors due to colder temperatures and inclement weather. Places like airports, hotels and public transportation can become a breeding ground for illness-causing germs due to the increased number of people spending more time there. Hotel staff should take note of this increase in the spread of germs during cold and flu season and have a strong cleaning and disinfectant program to prevent guests and staff from becoming ill.

    Germs can be lurking anywhere—even in 4 or 5-star hotels. A recent study by Travel Math found that the most significant spots for germs were high touchpoint areas like bathroom counters (1,011,670 colony-forming units in 5 star hotels) and TV remote controllers (2,002,300 colony-forming units in 5-star hotels).

    Many hotels have their own differing cleaning programs, but it is crucial to include touchpoint disinfection as a routine part of this program. Common touchpoint areas include phones, TV remotes, bathroom fixtures and soft surfaces like furniture and bedding. Paying close attention to these areas will help prevent the spread of illness-causing germs.

    Disinfect High-Touch Areas

    Surfaces that are touched frequently by guests such as light switches, doorknobs, phones, remotes and bathroom fixtures should be disinfected at least one time every day. Influenza and staphylococcus germs can survive on surfaces for hours, meaning there are plenty of opportunities for guests and staff to contract an illness from these surfaces. It is important to use products that are EPA-registered to kill germs.

    Eliminate Odors at the Source

    When guests walk into a hotel room that carries strong or even faint odors, they appear to be unclean. Some odors are hard to get rid of like urine or smoke. Hotel cleaning managers can empower their staff to remove these odors by choosing an aerosol product with active ingredients to remove the odors directly from the air by eliminating the odor-causing molecule. In bathrooms, odors can be especially persistent on porous and damp surfaces like tile grout which can trap bacteria that feeds on urine. In humid or wet conditions, the odor can also be reactivated. Using a ready-to-use hydrogen-based cleaner is the best choice for removing stains and breaking down the odor-causing uric acid. Ready-to-use formulas don’t require dilution, making them quick and easy to use.

    Soft Surface Odors

    Hotels change and launder sheets and linens after each guest, but other soft surfaces like curtains, carpet and upholstered furniture can hold odors. In-between launderings, refresh and sanitize these surfaces by using a one-step, multi-use product.

  • Germs, Germs, Everywhere!

    Sep 21, 2017

    Get this…the average student gets between 6 to 10 colds per year. The fact is colds and flu cause more doctor visits and missed school days than any other illness. So how can parents and school administration work together to prevent this?

    cold-and-flu-in-school-blog
    Here are 5 ways to achieve this:

    1.) Get Immunized – Prevention is the best medicine. Keep up to date on scheduled immunizations for school-aged children. Remember, vaccines only work against specific types of influenza virus for which it was designed for. There is no universal vaccine that will protect you against common cold viruses.

    2.) WASH YOUR HANDS! One of the most common ways of catching a cold or flu is not washing your hands often enough or well enough at school. Studies have shown middle and high school students about half washed their hands after using the bathroom and only 33% of girls and 8% of boys used soap!

    3.) Provide Hand Sanitizer – When soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. To make it effective, you should rub the product all over the surfaces of your hands and fingers until dry which is about 30 seconds. Note: Children under the age of six should not use without supervision.

    4.) Proper Germ Etiquette – Cover coughs and sneezes to prevent spreading germs if you think you may have the cold or flu. Sneeze into a tissue and discard then continue to wash your hands!

    5.) Beware of Germ Spots (Touch points) – Studies have shown that bacteria levels are 80% higher on drinking fountains and locker doors than on a toilet seat. Likely because toilet seats get cleaned regularly.

    "Stopping germs where they breed is the best preventative action."

    Here is a great resource on how to survive cold and flu season!

    http://www.today.com/health/how-survive-cold-flu-season-2D12015077
  • The Ultimate Guide to Beating Hospital-Acquired Infections

    Sep 21, 2017

    With the onset of antibacterial products and modern scientific advancements, it seems a safe assumption that we are winning the battle against infection. In actuality, the fight continues against new, more resistant disease-causing microorganisms.

    Healthcare-Acquired-Infections

    A primary area for concern in health care facilities is hospital acquired infections (HAI)—which rank among the top 10 most frequent causes of death in the United States. In response to the growing number of HAIs, as well as to the number of immune-deficient patients, health care organizations have an increased awareness and interest in cleanliness, sanitation, and disinfection techniques. Across the U.S., health care facilities are implementing programs that help maintain a cleaner, healthier environment that can stop HIAs before they occur.

    A significant part of any sanitation program is worker awareness—which starts with understanding the most common ways microorganisms move from one person to the next. One of the best ways to reduce cross-contamination is frequently washing your hands. In fact, hand hygiene is recognized by infection prevention and control experts as the single most important factor in decreasing the spread of infection within any facility, especially healthcare. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) identify the following hand hygiene “touch points”:

    • Before touching a patient
    • Before cleaning and aseptic procedures
    • After bodily fluid exposure
    • After touching a patient
    • After touching a patient’s surroundings

    If no soap, water and towels are available, hand sanitizers limit the spread of microorganisms.

    In addition to hand washing, you can outsmart germs in your facility by keeping critical touch point areas clean and sanitary. Critical touch point areas include:

    • Floors and hallways—Organisms survive up to 5 months on floors.
    • Chair arms—More than 90% are rarely cleaned, and millions of micro-organisms live on chair arms.
    • Door knobs—Viruses such has H1N1 survive from 24 to 48 hours on these surfaces.
    • Bed rails— Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) survives at least 7 days on bedrails.
    • Sinks and faucets—75% of all sinks contain extremely high levels of microorganisms.
    • Toilet seats—Norovirus survives on toilet seats for 12 hours.

    You can keep these critical touch points clean using chemicals such as:

    • Sterilizer—To destroy or eliminate all forms of microbial life.
    • Limited disinfectant—To use against a specific major group of microorganisms.
    • General disinfectant—To use against a broad spectrum of microorganisms.
    • Hospital disinfectant—To use throughout a health care facility.
    • Common surface disinfectants including:
      • Synthetic phenols—For killing a wide range of organisms; often used in operating rooms.
      • Quats—Highly versatile and cost effective, used to kill a wide range of microorganisms; often used in schools, institutions, supermarkets and hospital settings.
      • Hypochlorite/Bleach—For use as a disinfectant or sanitizer, but not for cleaning; never mix bleach with another chemical.
      • Hydrogen Peroxide—Versatile, sustainable cleaner for glass, hard surfaces, carpets and restrooms.
      • Iodine—Due to its staining properties and acidic qualities, use is restricted to specialized areas, such as surgical settings.
      • Alcohol—For disinfecting smaller surface areas.
    • Sanitizers—For reducing, but not necessarily eliminating, microorganisms from the environment; normally used in food service, food preparation, food processing areas and hand care products.

    Remember these important statistics:

    • Infections are one of the primary reasons patients are admitted to hospitals.
    • Proper disinfection prevents 36% of HAIs.
    • Proper disinfection reduces VRE by 50%.
    • The CDC recommends implementing a critical touch point cleaning program in every health care facility.

    Work with Betco to design a comprehensive program that helps you create a healthier, cleaner environment for your patients, visitors and staff—one that outsmarts germs and stops HAIs before they begin

    Top image via Wikipedia
  • Critical Germ Touchpoints in Education Facilities

    Jul 11, 2017

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    When it comes to effective cleaning in school facilities, what most people think about first is the restrooms. In fact, studies have found that parents, when visiting a college or university their son or daughter is considering, invariably visit the restrooms to examine their cleanliness. The reasoning is: clean restrooms mean a well-run school; poorly maintained restrooms, can mean something far different.

    However, many people are often unaware of the most important areas that need proper cleaning; these places are known in the professional cleaning industry as high touch areas. We’ve all seen them but probably have never heard them called this before.

    High touch areas include the following:

    • Light switches
    • Door knobs
    • Railings
    • Tops and sides of chairs and tables
    • Elevator buttons
    The list could go on and on. High touch areas can spread germs to many people. Once a surface is contaminated everyone who touches the surface can spread the germs to other surfaces. This problem is paramount in educational locations because many students fail to wash their hands after using the restrooms.

     

    This means that custodial workers must pay extra special attention to high touch areas. An EPA registered disinfectant should be used to clean these areas. If the surface is visibly soiled, first the high touch area must be cleaned prior to disinfection. This two-step process can be avoided if using a Betco product clearly labeled that it can be used for cleaning and disinfecting. Using such a product can be a major time saver.

    High touch areas should be cleaned frequently, as often as once per day. Cleaning professionals should use microfiber cleaning cloths because they tend to be more effective at removing germs and bacteria than traditional cleaning cloths. Also, the cloths should be changed frequently and used for the same purpose: never use a microfiber cleaning cloth used to clean restroom fixtures on light switches, as an example.

    While students and teachers may not be aware of how important it is to keep high touch areas properly cleaned, as cleaning professionals, we must be acutely aware of how important keeping these areas clean and sanitary is to protecting the health of all building users, teachers, and staff.

    Contact a Betco representative for all your school cleaning needs and supplies. The health of your educational facility is one of our top priorities. Call (888) GO-BETCO

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