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Disease Prevention
  • 2017-18 Flu Season Recap: Wash Your Hands

    May 23, 2018

    Handwashing

    The Centers for Disease Control reports that the 2017–18 flu season had the highest rate of flu-related hospitalizations on record since this type of surveillance began. The FluView report includes preliminary cumulative rates as of May 12, 2018. According to the Health and Human Services department, annual hospitalizations from influenza have ranged from 140,000 to 710,000 since 2010 and there is an average of 24,000 deaths per year.

    As the peak of flu season ends, it’s important to remember one of the best defenses for stopping the spread of germs: hand hygiene.

    Handwashing

    With 80% of germs transmitted by hand-to-hand contact, keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. This flu season the highest rate of infection was among older adults aged 65 years and older, followed by adults between the ages of 50-65. As the baby-boomer population ages and requires more care, the impact of hand hygiene in nursing homes is extremely important for infection control, and it starts with following the model for proper hand hygiene.

    The Science behind Handwashing

    The Centers for Disease Control recommends a six step process for washing hands. It only takes 20 seconds and is one of the best proactive methods to disinfecting your hands to stop the spread of germs.

    • Wet your hands with clean, running water, turn off the tap, and apply soap.
    • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to clean all surfaces on your hands (backs of your hands, between your fingers, under your nails, etc).
    • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
    • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
    • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

    This model for proper hand washing has been proven to remove the tiny microbes, germs and bacteria that may inhabit your hands throughout the day. By staying compliant with this model for hand hygiene, you can protect yourself and others from the spread of germs.

    Want to increase hand hygiene compliance in your workplace? Implement the Compass Program from Betco®. Compass is the only program that guides users to proper hand hygiene as recommended by the CDC. Click here to learn more.

  • Nature's Little Cleaners

    Apr 20, 2018

    Bio-Bugs

    What if nature could be used to clean? It can, and it does!

    The idea is simple really, which is why it’s effective. It starts with non-pathogenic microbes, or non-harmful bacteria, which are living organisms that don’t cause disease. These microbes create enzymes that digest elements like fats, oils and grease. They eat the very things we want to clean up! It’s a perfect symbiotic relationship that can save time and money.  

    Similar to the human digestive system, the process is three-fold:

    BioActive Solutions Process

    The main advantage microbes offer is in achieving a continuous clean: they work long after their application, and they won’t stop working until the substance — their food — is gone. Using it at the close of the business day or when foot traffic is the lightest lets them go to work. Plus, because they’re stable and biodegradable, they’re sustainable. Using them is quite simply the most environmentally friendly way to clean.

    If the initial thought of using bacteria to clean doesn’t sit well, think of all the everyday ways we already use enzymes. For example, we eat them in yogurt and we use them to make cheese.

    At Betco®, our BioActive Solutions™ product line is formulated for specific applications to provide the right bacteria for the job. In addition to fats, oils and greases, they can clean sugar starches, urine, organic waste, hydrocarbons, industrial waste and malodors (very bad smells).

    To learn more about how BioActive Solutions works, click here.

  • The #1 Way to Stop Spreading Germs

    Mar 29, 2018

    Handwashing

    Are you one of those people that doesn’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom?

    Or you think a quick rinse with water is enough.

    Or a spritz of hand sanitizer will do the trick.

    We have some news that you may find surprising… 

    Want to know that #1 way to stop spreading germs? It’s quite simple: wash your hands!

    Think about it – no touch is germ-free. That means every time you touch your eyes, mouth, face and even your food, you’re putting germs into your body.

    Healthcare-HandsThis can be a big problem, especially since Norovirus is responsible for roughly 1 in 5 cases worldwide of acute gastroenteritis and the flu was 3x as widespread this year than last year. It’s even more of a problem in health care facilities. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that medical staff only wash their hands about half the time. The CDC states: "This contributes to the spread of healthcare-associated infections that affect 1 in 25 hospital patients on any given day."

    One survey found that only 5% of its subjects washed their hands for 15 seconds or more – the CDC says to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.

    Handwashing-FingersProper hand hygiene is important to stop the spread of germs. Here are some tips you can follow to make sure you are doing a good job hen washing your hands:

    • Use soap and water – apply enough soap to cover your hands.
    • Scrub, scrub, scrub! Make sure you get the backs of your hands, under your nails and in-between your fingers.
    • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
    • Rinse your hands off and dry them thoroughly with a single use towel.
    • Pro tip: Want to take extra precautions? Place hand sanitizer outside the restroom door and use it after you leave the rest room.

    Want to increase compliance in your facility and help people become handwashing gurus? Implement the Compass® Hand Hygiene Program from Betco® today! Click here to learn more.

  • Clean Hands Save Lives: Impact of Hand Hygiene in Nursing Homes

    Mar 02, 2018

    Clean Hands Save Lives-

    As the baby-boomer population ages and requires more care, it’s important that infection control practices in nursing homes keep up with the influx of patients, especially since 80% of all infections are transmitted by hands. Infections are very common in long-term care facilities and represent a major cause of morbidity and mortality among institutionalized elderly individuals

    Clean Hands Save LivesA recent study published in the American Journal of Infection Control evaluated the impact of a multifaceted hand hygiene program in nursing homes. The intervention group used hand hygiene-related measures, including increased access to hand sanitizer through pocket-sized containers and new dispensers, plus more informational displays. The researchers assessed hand-hygiene practices by measuring hand sanitizer consumption and evaluating the incidence rate of acute respiratory infections and acute gastroenteritis.

    Here are the findings of the study:
    • The intervention group used more hand sanitizer over the one-year study period
    • The intervention group experienced significantly lower mortality rates — 2.10 per 100 residents per month as compared to 2.65 per 100 residents per month in the control group
    • The intervention group also experienced lower antibiotic prescriptions at 5 defined daily doses per 100 resident days versus the control group's 5.8 defined daily doses per 100 resident days
    • Hospitalizations did not differ between the two groups
    What does this mean?

    Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. When a facility implements a successful hand hygiene program, it creates a continuous reinforcement and training platform that guides user to proper hand hygiene, reducing the spread of germs.

    To learn more about proper hand hygiene, click here. To implement an effective hand hygiene program like Compass® by Betco®, the only dispensing system that guides you to proper hand hygiene, click here.

  • Don’t be a Statistic this Flu Season: Widespread Flu Activity Hits U.S.

    Jan 08, 2018

    The cold and flu season is upon us and the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases has issued a nationwide warning for an illness that potentially affects us all: influenza.

    Experts forecasted the 2017-18 flu season to resurge with a sickly force all across the U.S. and now their predictions are coming true.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control, during week 52 (December 24-30, 2017), influenza activity increased sharply in the United States. The geographic spread of influenza in 46 states was reported as widespread.

    ILI_WeeklyMap300

    Flu season runs from October 2017 to May 2018 with a peak period being December through March. With the flu hitting North America a little earlier this year, officials are saying that this year’s flu season is off to a potentially dangerous start.

    According to the Health and Human Services department, annual hospitalizations from influenza have ranged from 140,000 to 710,000 since 2010 and there is an average of 24,000 deaths per year. Given the forecasts and current FluView report from the CDC, it’s important to get ahead of the flu and prepare using one of the best defenses: hand hygiene.

    With 80% of germs transmitted by hand-to-hand contact, keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. The Center for Disease Control recommends a six step process for washing hands. It only takes 20 seconds and is one of the best proactive methods to disinfecting your hands this flu season.

    To learn more about hand hygiene or to implement a hand hygiene program like Compass™, the only dispensing system that will guide you to proper hand hygiene at any facility, visit www.betco.com today or call 1-888-GO-BETCO.

  • 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

    classroom-700x459

    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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