Going into university, my options were science or music. I knew what I was like from the age of 11 to 16 (well heard from my mom that I was “difficult”, but I’m sure she exaggerated), so the thought of being a music teacher was a no go. However, after graduation while I may have hung up my flute, saxophone and piano, I joined a choral group. So this week, when trying to determine how to wrap up our introduction for our newest Superhero in the world of cleaning and disinfection, I knew I needed to touch upon the properties of an ideal disinfectant and out of nowhere I started humming a song.
“Matchmaker, Matchmaker, make me a match, find me a find, catch me a catch
Matchmaker, Matchmaker, look through your book, and make me a perfect match”
The lyrics are from Fiddler on the Roof. If you’re not familiar with the story, it centers on Tevye, who is the father of five daughters struggling to maintain his Jewish religious and cultural traditions as outside influences encroach upon the family's lives. He must cope both with the strong-willed actions of his daughters, the three oldest who wish to marry for love, moving them further away from the customs of Tevye’s faith.
You may be asking however, what does Fiddler on the Roof or a Matchmaker have to do with Infection Prevention? Why everything! What do we do? We look for the best products – disinfectants, medical devices etc., to provide the highest degree of care for our patients. We match-make every day! I can’t say for certain that men make lists of what they look for in a partner, but I bet many of my female readers are nodding their heads thinking back in time. Who hasn’t thought of what you are looking for in a partner? The same holds true for choosing disinfectants. We only have to look through the CDC guidelines or Drs Rutala and Weber’s article Selection of an Ideal Disinfectant to find recommended qualities to look for in a disinfectant.
I summarized the article in three different blogs shortly after it was published: I’ll take kill claims for $200, Slippery when wet – the importance of contact times and Over easy – why safety profiles and ease of use will improve disinfection so I am not going to rehash the article again. However, if I were to summarize the article in its entirety, in as few words as possible, I would say the key take home points are for us to use our noggins. We need to come to terms that the perfect disinfectant does not exist. However, if we look for a balance between efficacy and safety, we can find products that will provide the level of kill that meets our needs from a daily infection prevention perspective while also meeting the health and safety needs and concerns of staff and patients.
If we think back to last week’s blog, the weakest link from a cleaning and disinfection perspective if our staff do not use the product as we had intended our infection prevention program has been compromised. If we focus on selecting an ideal disinfectant, we will win the battle over the Microbe Militia!