Welcome to Professional and Technical Services (PTS) – experts in chemical disinfection for infection prevention. Our goal is to educate and provide you the latest resources related to cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces, medical devices and hands. As specialists in disinfectant chemistries, microbiology, environmental cleaning and disinfection, facility assessments and policy and procedure creation we are dedicated to helping any person or facility who uses chemical disinfectants.

Our expertise is utilized by Infection Preventionists, Public Health Experts, First Responders, Dentists, Physicians, Nurses, Veterinarians, Aestheticians, Environmental Services professionals and janitorial product distributors to develop more sustainable cleaning and disinfection practices in North America.

Our commitment to providing chemical disinfectant education is more than business, it is a passion.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Invest in Your Reputation: Disinfection in the Post-Pandemic World

Last week I took a much needed family vacation.  The time away from work was good for the soul!

This week I am going to try something a bit different.  Rather than writing a blog, I am going to share an article I wrote that was recently published in the National Post and shared online as part of a bigger education campaign for Business Resilience.  I’m curious to hear what you or your company is doing to support back to work programs to minimize the risk of COVID-19 entering your facility.  

If you have been working as an essential worker throughout the pandemic, thank you.  Healthcare workers and first responders are important, but we cannot forget to thank everyone else who continued to clean facilities, produce the food we eat or drink, PPE or the disinfectants being used to kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

If you do not feel like reading the article, we’ve also created a video that summarizes the article!  I’ve been toying around with vlogging so you may see more of these in the near future!

Have a wonderful week and keep safe!

Bugging Off!


Friday, June 26, 2020

COVID-19: 2020's STD

There are times when you think history is repeating itself.  Not everyone will remember when STDs, particularly AIDS, became a public health threat. In the beginning, AIDS was thought to be a disease only associated within the LGBTQ community. Why, do you ask, am I using STDs and AIDS in particular as a simile for COVID-19?

Consider the following:

Caused by a virus
Caused by a virus
Zoonotic (potentially)
Spread by contact with “secretions”
Spread by close contact with “secretions”
Outbreaks associated with groups of people
Outbreaks associated with groups of people
Can prevent spread by use of PPE
Can prevent spread by use of PPE
Public Health threat
Public Health threat
Public Apathy (ignoring recommendations, won’t happen to me)
Public Apathy (ignoring recommendations)

As we open up, we cannot let our guard down. If you are watching the news you will have seen that in the US, the number of cases continue to climb, and states like Texas and Florida that had relaxed stay at home measures are seeing their cases skyrocket. Some will argue that the cases are skyrocketing because more people are being tested. While it’s true that the more you test the more you will find, not testing does not mean the outlook is better.  This morning the CDC indicated that they think the cases in the US is 10x that of what is being reported.

In Ontario, Canada where I live, we have slowly started to reopen businesses.  People are excited to get out for hair cuts, manicures, and pedicures.  Summer has arrived and with the warm weather comes outdoor BBQs, days spent at the beach or at parks, so there is always the chance for relaxing and not following public health recommendations. In Ontario, 111 new cases were reported this morning (June 26th) with 30,000+ tests completed.  We have done a great job flattening the curve. However, with that we have also reported an outbreak associated with a Nail Salon, so we are not out of the woods. If we do not want to shut back down, we need to curb our apathy.  We are in this together.  Let’s wipe out COVID-19!

Bugging Off!


Friday, June 19, 2020

Self Aware versus Socially Vigilant

Riding out the COVID-19 pandemic is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. Globally, COVID-19 uncovered a lack of awareness and understanding for basic infection prevention and control measures within the general public, resulting in turmoil, panic, and anxiety.  Several weeks back I asked a series of questions about our current situation of COVID-Craziness.

  1. Are you more aware that we share our world with potentially infectious germs? 
  2.  Have you thought what your future may look like?  
  3. Are there traditions that will cease to exist?
  4. Are there aspects of what makes our society collegial that will no longer be followed? 

As more and more provinces, states, cities, and businesses open back up, how are you going to be self aware and socially vigilant? As this week’s image highlights, we need to be self aware and avoid men: Mouth, Eyes, and Nose.  We need to put into practice what our public health experts have been recommending throughout the pandemic and always follow women: Wash hands, Obey social distancing, Mask if needed, Eat healthy and exercise, and No unnecessary travel.

How then do we become socially vigilant? Let’s first contemplate what I mean.  Social or socially means relating to society and the company of others. Vigilant or vigilance is the action or state of keeping careful watch for possible danger.  How then, as we slowly begin to integrate back into society, do we practice social vigilance and protect ourselves from COVID-19 and any other number of infectious pathogens like Norovirus, Influenza, E. coli or Salmonella?  Whether you are attending your first dentist, chiropractor, hair, or nail appointment you can follow W.O.M.E.N. and ask your healthcare or personal services provider the following questions:

  1. Have you washed your hands?
  2. What practices have you put in place to avoid sick patients or clients coming in for appointments?
  3. Are you changing your mask and gloves between patients or clients?
  4. How frequently are you cleaning and disinfecting?
  5. Are you using a registered hospital disinfectant that meets the EPA or Health Canada Emerging Viral Pathogen guidelines for COVID-19?

If you did not observe your healthcare provider wash their hands or put on their PPE, be socially vigilant and ask them to do so. If they do not have a protocol in place to monitor the people coming through their front door, take actions to protect yourself such as keeping your mask on at all times, avoiding M.E.N. and washing or sanitizing your hands on the way out the door. If they are using a consumer and not professional hospital disinfectant with appropriate emerging viral pathogen claims that are intended for use in healthcare or personal service facilities, you may want to reconsider your appointment. 

In fact, I would not wait to arrive at your appointment before asking these questions.  Most healthcare and personal service facilities will be conducting patient and client screening when booking your appointment or upon arrival.  Why not use the knowledge you’ve acquired during COVID-19 and pre-screen your dentist, chiropractor, hair stylist or aesthetician?

Bugging Off!


Friday, June 12, 2020

Packaging Concerns with Alcohol Hand Sanitizers

I recently read a quote that sums up the COVID-19 pandemic perfectly, “Probably the most visible example of unintended consequences, is what happens every time humans try to change the natural ecology of a place” (Margaret J. Wheatley). It’s a catch 22. As humans we have developed the ability to overcome obstacles, improve quality of life, expand our needs, and wants and continue to take over the land that Mother Nature gave to us. The upside is we have virtually everything our heart’s desire.  The downside is that we tend to run into animals we may not have in the past or have created a situation for animals who would normally come into contact with each other to mix.  The unintended consequence of course, being emerging pathogens and zoonotic diseases.

Other unintended consequences of pandemics and outbreaks can be increased exposure to chemicals, resulting trips to the ER due to chemical burns, respiratory irritation and even ingestion. The reason for ingestion can be for any number of reasons; young children getting into things they should not have access to, or chemicals being put into bottles that are unlabelled and mistaken for something we can drink.  Even worse as we are starting to see, in our effort to ensure there is a sufficient supply of hand sanitizer we have moved to alternative suppliers who have access to mixing, bottling and labelling capabilities.  The bottles may be labelled appropriately as hand sanitizers. However, when you’re accustomed to that bottle being full or water, vodka, wine or beer and you grab without reading, you may be in for a rude, and potentially deadly situation.

According to Health Canada, the number of exposures to hand sanitizers reported to poison control has jumped from 105 reports in January to 200 in April.  Health Canada has released a safety alert to consumers to ensure we are reading labels. Access to hand sanitizer is a key component to ensure that the general public can perform hand hygiene when out shopping.  In normal times, selling hand sanitizers in packaging that looks like something to drink would not be recommended and generally not allowed, but COVID-19 has created shortages.  It’s a fine line that our healthcare experts need to walk as they weigh the risks between consumer protection and public health protection to help stop COVID-19 from spreading further.

As we continue to fight the battle against COVID-19, I urge everyone to take every precaution when it comes to handling and using disinfectants and hand sanitizers.  Chemicals can kill. Please be sure to read the labels of your products carefully and if you are using a hand sanitizer that is packaged in a bottle that looks like something we may be accustomed to drinking from please keep them up and away from the inquisitive hands of your children.  If you do not have to worry about children, but have husbands, keep in mind they rarely read instructions and with summer arriving, avoid buying anything that looks like a beer can!

Bugging Off!


Friday, June 5, 2020

COVID-19 and the Consequences of Cell Phones

This week I vowed I would try to share some positive news.  In fact, I even got a notification from Hockey Canada that they have lifted the national ban on sanctioned activities and are allowing its members the opportunity to work with local health authorities on return-to-hockey plans!  As a hockey mom, I was more than a bit excited by the news.  Do I think there will be a season for my son? Time will only tell.   After I popped out for a few items for home, including a bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs, I changed my mind after observing some questionable infection control practices: we’re going to chat about COVID-19 and cell phones.

A week or so ago I came across a letter to the editor of AJIC talking about cell phones as a forgotten source of SARS-CoV-2.  After what I observed tonight and even in my own practices, I would tend to agree that the widespread use of cell phones and the fact they are often permanently affixed to our hands that they could without a doubt be contaminated with everything and anything under the sun, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease. Our current focus in terms of measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 is  on social distancing, hand hygiene, avoiding touching our hands and recommendations to wear masks when in public, crowded places.  With business opening up and communities slowly transitioning back to normal, we now need to start teaching the public about fomites.

During my shopping spree, I observed more than one person walking around with and without gloves touching items with their phones in their hands. With the constant reminder from our public health officials that hand hygiene is vitally important, I am hoping that the majority of people wash their hands before they get into their vehicles and when they get home. When was the last time you cleaned and disinfected your cell phone?  Have you considered that everything you have touched could potentially have infectious diseases on them?  What good is wearing masks and washing our hands if we do nothing with our beloved cell phone?  While I have not seen any specific studies looking at how long SARS-CoV-2 can live on surfaces, but there is sufficient published data to support the fact that cell phones have been found to harbour bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

I hope that you will start adding cleaning and disinfection of your phone to part of your daily practice. We constantly touch our phones.  We put our phones to our faces.  We let others touch our phones with nary a thought.  COVID-19 has opened our eyes to what outbreaks can do. We need to use what we are learning not just to fight COVID-19, but to understand that pathogens are all around us.  There are frequent bacterial outbreaks that impact people around the word.  Influenza is an annual occurrence with upwards of 10,000 deaths each year in the US.

Bugging Off!


Friday, May 29, 2020

Will Hot Air Hamper Hair Appointments?

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our lives in innumerable ways. Entire industries have been shut down while others have been able to transition to work from home.  Many of us are trying to balance working while adding a second job – teaching our kids.  The pandemic has opened our eyes to understanding how diseases are spread and how spoiled we are in our ability to access health and self-care providers like chiropractors, physiotherapists, aestheticians, and hairdressers.  People have been counting the time that has passed during our COVID-19 lock down in different ways. When we shut down in Ontario, it was right before a hair appointment. Next Friday will mark 15 weeks since I have had a cut and colour - I am beginning to get desperate.

As hair salons are opening back up in North America, questions are abounding in how best to set protocols to ensure the health and safety of both the stylist and client. One of the questions that has popped up is if hair dryers will contribute to the spread of COVID-19. While I hate to admit that there is anything that may slow down my salon from opening, on the surface the idea that hair dryers can spread COVID-19 has some merit.  While there is no concrete evidence that hair dryers can contribute to transmission of diseases, the fact that they spread air around means while unlikely, there is a possibility. Well, a possibility if someone coughs into the hair dryer so that the respiratory droplets can be spread around.

The following are some tips in how a hair salon can open up safely:
  1. Screen clients before appointments to make sure they do not have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
  2. Minimize the amount of people in the salon by having customers wait outside until they have been called in for their appointment.
  3. As clients to minimize what they bring into the salon.
  4. Have clients sanitize their hands upon arrival and wear masks.
  5. Use disinfectant wipes to disinfect chairs and surfaces between clients.

The long and the short, is while we are concerned with COVID-19, and rightly so, influenza, norovirus and other pathogens are around throughout the year. Influenza kills 1,000’s upon 1000’s of people each year.  Our diligence in looking after our health and the health of our clients needs to be thought of daily and not just because we have a global pandemic.

Bugging Off!


Friday, May 22, 2020

COVID, Like Water, Flows Freely Along its Path

A wise man once said, “As water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it, a wise man should adapt himself to circumstances”.  I’m certainly not as wise as Confucius, but I do believe if we have learned one thing since early March when COVID-19 hit North America, it’s that you never know what to expect during a Pandemic. Like water carves its path down a riverbank, COVID-19 has been carving its path through out the world, leaving no clue as to which way it will turn next.

When COVID-19 arrived on the scene, as a respiratory virus we knew that direct contact with respiratory droplets and touching contaminated surfaces could be potential routes of transmission. Given that other respiratory infections can be spread via touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your face (mouth, nose, eyes), panic and anxiety set in as the public switched into high gear, hoarding cleaning and disinfectant products and creating all sorts of protocols on how to safely bring your groceries into the house. The concern with touching surfaces increased after a study was published highlighting the fact that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can live on surfaces for up to 3 days and on cardboard for up to 24 hours.

As a new virus, there is much we have to learn. However, according to the CDC, while COVID-19 is spreading very easily and sustainably between people, transmission from contaminated surfaces or objects does not appear to be a main way the virus spreads. While the study referenced above confirmed the ability of the coronavirus to survive on surfaces, it does not support its ability to spread easily from contaminated surfaces to people. In short, studies looking at ability to survive have zero relevance to the transmissibility and impact on prolonging the epidemic.  Out of an abundance of caution, to ensure infection prevention principles were being put in place, frequently cleaning surfaces and washing hands became the norm whenever discussing COVID-19.

As we round another curve in our COVID-19 journey, the CDC are trying to let the public know that surfaces are not the primary area the public should be concerned with.  Our focus should be on social distancing, respiratory etiquette, and hand hygiene. Healthcare institutions will not reduce their focus on the environment as we know COVID-19 is not the only pathogen they are dealing with.  Their vigilance on surfaces needs to remain high at all times.

As we go into the weekend, if you are bracing yourself for your next trip to the grocery store, have piece of mind that your primary focus needs to be on social distancing and hand hygiene.  You can never wash your hands too much.  When I shop, I sanitize going into the store, leaving the store, after I put my groceries in to my car and when I get home. 

Bugging Off!