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, 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:

COVID-19
AIDS
Caused by a virus
Caused by a virus
Zoonotic
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!

Nicole

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!

Nicole

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!


Nicole


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!

Nicole