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, February 26, 2021

New Beginnings...













To all our subscribers who have been following the blog over the years, we wanted to thank you for joining us on our journey through the world of all things cleaning and disinfection! At this time, the Talk Clean to Me blog will be coming to an end. But we’ll be back soon with more exciting content to help you fight the spread of infection, whether during a global pandemic or everyday life. Until then, stay healthy and safe!

To continue to learn more, please visit our website at Virox.com and our LinkedIn page.

Stay tuned… 

Friday, January 29, 2021

Are COVID Variants Harder to Kill?

 










Even if you try to avoid the COVID-related headlines, I’m guessing most of us have heard there are some new kids on the block — the COVID variants. The idea of the virus responsible for this pandemic mutating to become more transmissible has led to widespread panic, and understandably so. But what does this actually mean, and more importantly, is there anything we should be doing differently to protect ourselves?

Viruses mutate all the time. When they replicate inside host cells, random mistakes in the process result in new viruses that are different in some way – if these random mutations help viruses replicate more easily, they will stick around in the virus population. The variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, are viruses that have significant mutations that affect they way they behave. At this point, a few major variants that have been identified have emerged in the UK, South Africa, and Brazil. While these variants seem to spread more easily between people, there isn’t any evidence to suggest at this point that they cause more severe disease. Public health experts are keeping a close eye on whether current vaccines will be less effective, but we haven’t seen this so far.

While the emergence of variants isn’t surprising to experts, it’s only natural for us to wonder whether our current infection prevention practices are no longer getting the job done. One question that Nicole and I have often been asked is whether disinfectants are still effective against a new strain of pathogen, whether it’s drug-resistant bacteria or a new type of influenza. Almost always, the answer is “yes”.  An analogy that we use is that a pathogen is like a locked door. A mutation or variant is like changing the lock, so that the old key won’t open it anymore. But using a disinfectant is like smashing the door with a sledgehammer – instead of targeting one specific mechanism like a key, disinfectants tend to attack from multiple angles. Changing the lock won’t affect the ability of the sledgehammer to break down the door. Similarly, there is no reason to think that standard hospital disinfectants with efficacy against hard-to-kill viruses will be any less effective against COVID variants. Our focus should still be on cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces as a general precaution against the spread of infection.

Likewise, the other strategies that we know can help keep us safe are still our best defence, including hand hygiene, distancing, and wearing a mask when in close contact with others. Your local public health authorities should provide guidance on any new developments to be aware of. While variants may seem scary, it’s important to remember that this is a normal process seen in a lot of pathogens, and that the basic rules of infection prevention stay the same!  

As an update on Talk Clean To Me, we have decided to post every other week moving forward. While we try to bring informative and educational content to our readers, we also do not want to be clutter your inboxes and create more noise in your already loud and busy day!   See you in two weeks with the latest disinfection and infection prevention news!

Matt

 

Friday, January 22, 2021

#FF New Year, New Opportunities to Learn

We are three weeks into the New Year.  I'm betting for some, New Year's resolutions have already been broken or forgotten.   The one resolution I hope we will always set and never put aside is continued learning.  Education has never been more important than in the last year, not just for those of us who have infection prevention knowledge, but the public, as many of us are learning for the first time just how serious viruses can be.

For Talk Clean To Me, Matt and
I hope to continue to bring new content on cleaning and disinfection and the use of chemicals to markets outside of healthcare, but also to continue to support worthy companies and people who are dedicated to bringing infection prevention education to anyone interested. As noted in past blogs, the Teleclass Education by Webber Training is an international lecture series on infection prevention and control topics. The objective is to bring the best possible infection prevention and control information to the widest possible audience, with the fewest barriers to access.  Here's the list of upcoming teleclasses until the end of March.

Date

Title of Teleclass

Speaker

January 14th

COVID Fakery

Prof. Didier Pittet, Switzerland

January 21st

COVID in Nursing Homes

Prof. Allison McGreer, Canada

January 28th

COVID Update: Focus on Vaccines

Prof. Robert T. Ball, USA

February 4th

Supporting the Psychological Safety and Wellbeing of Healthcare Workers Through Uncertain Times

Amy Pack and Dr. Diane Aubin, Canada

February 9th

Antimicrobial Stewardship in Asia Pacific – Global Bellweather?

Prof. Anucha Apisarnthanarak, Thailand

February 17th

The New Zealand COVID-19 Response – Lessons Learned

Prof. Ian Town, New Zealand

February 25th

Continuous Active Anti-Viral Coatings

Prof. Charles Gerba, USA

March 9th

Prologue Reimagining Infection Prevention with Compassion – A Positive Legacy of COVID-19

Julie Storr, UK

March 11th

Heater-Coolers: Mycobacterial introduction, Behavior and Disinfection

Prof. Joseph O. Falkinham, III, USA

March 25th

Safety in the Medical Device Reprocessing Department

Merlee Steele-Rodway, Canada

For more information on Webber Training, including a full list of the upcoming Infection Prevention and Control Teleclasses, please visit www.webbertraining.com

I hope many of you will take the opportunity to listen to these teleclasses and share them with your colleagues! 

Bugging Off!

Nicole

Friday, January 15, 2021

One Health: Our Key to Prevent the Next Pandemic?

As a fellow enthusiast when it comes to all things germ-related, I’m excited to be joining Nicole on the Talk Clean to Me blog! I have always been fascinated by understanding how diseases spread, and what we can do to prevent infections in the world around us – whether it’s a global pandemic like COVID-19 or one of the many other pathogens hiding in plain sight. Throughout the year, Nicole and I will be taking turns posting about the topics that we love, whether it’s cutting through the noise of infection prevention myths and misinformation, or killing pathogens while keeping people and the planet safe.

If I asked you to think of a dangerous animal, the lowly mosquito might not be the first thing that comes to mind. But causing almost 700 million illnesses and a million deaths each year definitely earns mosquitos the top spot – malaria, dengue, West Nile virus and Zika all hitch a ride in mosquitos to spread from person to person. Mosquitos are far from the only animal that can cause disease in humans – many wild animals, farm animals and even our own pets may be harbouring viruses, bacteria or fungi that can make us sick. In fact, it has been estimated that more than 60% of known infectious diseases in humans can be spread from animals, and that 75% of emerging infectious diseases that we get originate in animals.

Almost one year ago, Nicole wrote a blog to celebrate One Health Awareness Month, a movement to recognize the connections between human, animal, and environmental health. The blog mentioned a new coronavirus that was causing an outbreak in China. As infectious disease geeks, we watched closely throughout the year as this new virus morphed into a global pandemic, bringing the whole world to a standstill. Early on, we learned that the virus most likely emerged from bats, possibly using another animal as an intermediary on its path to us. If there was any doubt about the importance of One Health before, COVID-19 has certainly put a spotlight on this issue like never before.

Although COVID has dominated the headlines for the past year, One Health is much broader than any one disease, focusing on all the ways that our health is connected with the animals and environment around us, and how experts in human, animal and environmental health can come together to work on solutions to big health challenges. This can mean everything from getting our pets vaccinated, which in turn can protect both them and us from diseases like rabies, protecting our food animals from infection, and being careful about how we interact with wildlife. As our footprint on nature becomes bigger and bigger and international travel so widespread, we create a perfect storm of conditions for a pathogen with pandemic potential to pop up.

So, has anything really changed when it comes to celebrating One Health this year? While the focus on big health problems is higher than ever, the same strategies that we know to be effective are still our best bet. This means focusing on basic infection prevention such as hand hygiene and maintaining a clean environment, practicing antimicrobial stewardship (with both people and animals), and minimizing our contact with wild animal populations. As we celebrate this year’s One Health Awareness Month, check out a quick whiteboard-style video we created in the past year to put this idea into action!

https://virox.wistia.com/medias/yo39g5qyri

Matt 

Friday, January 8, 2021

2021 - A New Year, Same Pandemic

If, like me, you were able to take some time off over the holidays, you are likely trying to slowly edge yourself back into the work routine and rid yourself of sugar cravings after eating so many sweets leading up to and during the holidays.  In Ontario, the excitement of sending our kids back to school was shattered with a transition to online learning in the hopes we can slow the spread of COVID-19.  I am curious to see how this will impact families doing dry January and giving up sugar and junk food…

In past years, I have created themes for each quarter or focused on specific markets.  Last year, most of our blogs focused on COVID-19.  As we enter our 10th year for Talk Clean To Me, I am sure finding a topic for the 2021 blogs should not be an issue.  We will continue to explore process improvements for cleaning and disinfection and continue to highlight that infection control practices are not just to deal with an outbreak or a pandemic, but something that we need to include as part of our everyday life.

One change for 2021, is the introduction of Matt Buccioni as a Talk Clean To Me blogger!  Matt has been working with me for the past two years and is the FIRST person since Lee Nesbitt retired his blogging hat who I would gladly share the blog with.  Matt graduated from my alma mater, University of Guelph, from the Biomedical Sciences program.  Drawing on his interests in science and infectious disease, he enjoys speaking, writing, and educating about new technologies to prevent the spread of infection.  He’s going to fit in just fine and bring a new perspective to Talk Clean To Me!

 



Wishing everyone a wonderful January, a lovely February, a peaceful March, a stress-free April, a fun-filled May, joy that lasts from June to November, and finally a happy December.  I hope we see a riddance of COVID-19, but hope this year doesn't fly by as fast as 2020!  I’m not getting any younger you know!

Bugging Off!

Nicole

 

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Here's to a COVID-Free Christmas

 









I think we can all agree, 2020 is one for the books that will never be forgotten. Never, since the start of the Talk Clean To Me blog, have I had a year primarily focused to a single topic.  As I write this blog, Christmas is only 2 sleeps away and while saying goodbye to one year is generally hard, I am ready to kick out 2020 and hope that 2021 brings more cheer than fear!  Over 2020, Talk Clean To Me averaged over 3200 page views per month and for that I am grateful to you and your support and interest in reading and sharing the blogs each week.

As you can see from the top 10 Talk Clean to Me blogs for 2020, the topics are varied, even if the subject was primarily COVID-19!  In David Letterman style, let’s count down to the most widely read blogs: 

  1. Canine Case of COVID-19 – This blog explored early reports about possible COVID-19 infections in dogs.
  2. COVID-19 Surface Survival – Early on, the ability of the virus to survive on surfaces was unclear. Figuring this out was a key piece in determining how to respond to the pandemic. 
  3. Coronavirus Clean Up – One of the first major COVID headlines came as the Diamond Princess cruise ship was quarantined due to an outbreak. The cruise line needed to enlist a cleaning and disinfection service provider capable of using Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide® disinfectants.
  4. How to Tell if Your Disinfectant Kills COVID-19 – This is always a huge concern whenever a new pathogen arises. This blog breaks down how to figure out whether your disinfectant has you covered for COVID-19.
  5. Disinfectant Fake News – How to separate fact from fiction when evaluating disinfectant marketing claims.
  6. COVID Cleaning can Cause Catastrophes – Calls to poison control related to exposure to cleaning and disinfectant products spiked during the pandemic, due to increased use.
  7. Cleaning COVID from Chow – A pandemic trend involved wearing gloves while grocery shopping, but this can provide a false sense of security. 
  8. Do Changes to the COVID-19 Protein Spikes Mean a Second Strain? – While the idea of a virus mutating may instill fear, we need to look beyond the headlines to understand what this really means.
  9. What is Your Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfection IQ? – While terms like “cleaning”, “sanitizing” and “disinfecting” get thrown around interchangeably, they each have a unique meaning.
  10. COVID, Like Water, Flows Freely Along its Path – Understanding the new virus has been a learning curve for all of us, but the main things we can do to protect ourselves have remained unchanged.

To quote from Dr. Seuss “And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store?  What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” 

To put into the context of infection prevention, what if saving lives, reducing HAIs and fighting pandemics is not all about the quest for the silver bullet, focusing on what a product kills or who is or who is not doing their job? What if 2020 brings us wisdom, strength and courage?  What if 2020 brings us the wisdom to realize that we cannot continue with the status quo?  What if 2020 gives us the strength to fight for what we know is right and courage to not back down in the face of adversity and put our patients, our residents and clients lives first?

Wishing everyone a Happy Holidays! 

Bugging Off for 2020!

Nicole

 

Friday, December 11, 2020

From Panic to Zen

With the holidays looming, this week marked my last webinar of the year.  2020 certainly has been an exciting year, not just because of the pandemic, but because of the outpouring of requests and need for education on cleaning and disinfection and basic infection prevention and control.

This week’s webinar was targeted to the professional beauty market, which was hit hard due with mandatory closures. During reopening, there was a pressing need to establish protocols to ensure clients would feel comfortable coming back for treatments. Dafne Berlanga from Universal Company and Joanna Roche from Green Spa Network joined me in to shed some light on how the pandemic shaped infection prevention processes, distribution of products and the importance of having a community to turn to during chaotic times.

As organizations, we all had a front row seat to how the pandemic has impacted the professional beauty space - the following are a few of the questions we discussed during the webinar.

  1. What is the biggest change you have seen in the industry since March?
  2. We have seen a lot of waste and excess because of the pandemic, how important is it to take a step back and re-evaluate our protocols?
  3. Do you feel that misinformation has been an issue during the pandemic? And if so, how did your organizations help to deliver accurate information to your audience?
  4. This isn’t the first pandemic and it certainly won’t be the last, how do you think that changes implemented have set us up for success in the future?

If you’re interested in learning what we talked about and how the audience reacted to the polls we sent here’s the link!

https://www.viroxprobeauty.com/webinars/from-panic-to-zen-professional-beautys-resilience-in-the-face-of-a-pandemic

Bugging Off!

Nicole