Like any good female, preparation for speaking in front of crowds is not just about what topic will be discussed. Consideration as to how you’ll look is an absolute must. The fact that I will be speaking to a group of estheticians and Spa owners who are generally immaculately quaffed, not a hair out of place (and no grey to speak of), expertly manicured hands and feet, tastefully (generally speaking) applied makeup has put me into a bit of a panic. I have managed to squeeze in a hair appointment, I’m generally capable of applying makeup, I’m hoping it’s not too late in the season to wear my linen suit and the shoes that REALLY pull of the outfit are only peep-toes so…..I should be able to get away with the fact that it was me who painted my toes.
So what does this have with Infection Control in the Personal Services market? Well, first off, Personal Services spans a large array of services; manicures, pedicures, facials, tattooing, body piercing, acupuncture and barbering or hair salons. Having brushed up on the infection control practices required for personal services, I can say with CERTAINTY my hairstylist of over 10 years does NOT practice infection control according to the current guideline recommendations. But, lucky for her, I’m not too worried about picking anything up from the chairs (that’s why you always wash your hands before eating), nor am I too worried about catching something from the brushes/combs or scissors she used. First, she has never nicked me with her scissors – an obvious sign of her ability! So the chance of getting a Bloodborne pathogen is pretty low. While I didn’t see her disinfect the combs or brushes I am actually thankful she does not use Barbicide…it’s never used correctly so the combs and brushes may just as well be rinsed with water and besides, I had lice in public school – no big deal, wash your hair in special shampoo, use a special comb, stay at home for a period of time. Heck, if I caught lice on Wednesday perhaps I wouldn’t have to work on Sunday!
As a consumer, what are some of the things you can look for when considering your next pampering treatment in a personal service setting. Here are the things I look for:
1. Is the facility clean and organized?
2. Are the tools and work surfaces in good repair?
3. Did I see the personal service worker wash their hands?
4. Are the tools and supplies stored in a clean area?
5. Are creams, lotions, wax etc used in a way that does not contaminate them?
6. Are clean sheets, towels, etc used for each client and paper liners thrown out after each use?
7. Most importantly, ask yourself if you feel comfortable with getting whatever treatment you are looking forward to done. If what you see or hear is making you uncomfortable…RUN!!!!!
In a nutshell, the infection control requirements for personal services are fairly simplistic. Clean what needs to be cleaned. Disinfect what should be disinfected. Sterilize what needs to be sterile (or just purchase the items as single-use sterile items and for those items that cannot be cleaned, disinfected or sterilized between uses, throw them out! If you want more detail and a description of what items are used for various “treatments” York Region has a really good pamphlet “Be Spa Safe”. And yes, I did steal the title of this blog from their pamphlet!