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, April 27, 2012

Talk Clean To Me….a product neutral forum

Without a doubt social media can be an effective way to reach more people with your social marketing messages.  A blog or social media site such as Facebook, “Likes” or Twitter “ReTweets” and comments help to show that people are actively engaged in your content, EVEN if or when they disagree with it.  The downside is of course that your messaging can fall off the tracks and be hijacked by passionate people with their own agendas and special interests.

Like it or not, this is the way the Web and social media operate – a cacophony of voices all fighting to be heard, arguing their opinions and biases with a lot of passion and sometimes with little or no proof.  If a commenter attempts to hijack your blog or social media posting, you can equate it to the front row hecklers at a comedy show.  

The intention of the Talk Clean to Me blog is to provide commentary on the use of disinfectants and chemicals based on fact with a sprinkle of our years of wisdom.   What the Talk Clean to Me blog is not, is a forum to promote or talk about specific branded products.  We are trying to create a product neutral environment.  An environment where we can share our experiences and wisdom – just not the product you may sell.  We welcome your comments and opinions and hope you will not get offended if we chose not to post a comment where a specific branded product has been mentioned.

Bugging Off!


Friday, April 20, 2012

The War is ON!!!

The well trained and well equipped Housekeeper is on the frontlines in the war against healthcare acquired infections.  Honest, hardworking and often overlooked (or looked down upon), she struggles to make ends meet. She shows up every day ready to work, regardless of the pressures at home; getting kids ready for school or worrying about her husband’s job security. As she clocks in and gets to her assigned floor or patient care area, she wonders how Mrs. Simmons in 8707 is doing. Her daughter and husband looked worried yesterday when she was in cleaning Mrs. Simmons room. That’s the toughest part of the job she thinks to herself; seeing people hurting and at times, hopeless. 

That’s why she makes a promise to all of “her” patients and their loved ones every morning.  Armed with her cleaning products, hospital approved disinfectant and microfiber wipers and mops, she promises every patient and their loved ones “Not on my watch!  MRSA, VRE and C. diff won’t get past me!  I’m on guard, that I promise you!”

She doesn’t fight alone, but sometimes that’s the way it feels. Do you even know her name? Have you bothered to join her in the trenches? Have you told her that you are a “band of brothers (or sisters)”? At times she sees the doctors, residents, or nurses move around the room touching surfaces without gloves on; or worse, with gloves soiled with who knows what? Even though she is seen as nothing more than a “buck private”, she reminds those with higher rank: “Wash your hands like your mother told you when you were a little one on her knee!”

As she enters each room, she’s aware of the enemy presence. Sometimes it is visible in the blood spattered wall above the trash can. Most of the time though, they are invisible; but she knows they are on every high touch surface. Carefully and meticulously, the housekeeper does her hygiene cleaning, taking careful aim at the antibiotic resistant organisms where they hide in plain sight. She is confident in her training, the weapons in her arsenal (cleaners and disinfectants) and that her unwavering dedication will win the war.

Will she win or not? Will you join her in the battle? Often her position is overlooked in its necessity. She needs to be the most dedicated link of the chain and is the most critical component of the war. In contrast she is typically underappreciated for her work, despite its importance. So why do we forego the opportunities to give thanks to the selfless individual with these crucial and necessary tasks? It needs to be clearly recognized that your life or the life of a loved one depends solely on her performance. The thing is patients aren’t statistics or collateral damage in the battle; they are mothers, fathers, and grandparents alike, they are the children of somebody or the best friend of another.

Because she is one of the “good guys”, I’m pulling for her to win the war of HAI’s. How about you?

J. Darrel Hicks, BA, REH, CHESP
Author of “Infection Prevention for Dummies”
Go to: www.darrelhicks.com to order your FREE copy of “Infection Prevention for Dummies” (just pay S&H) or to see other blogs and articles.

Darrel Hicks is the author of Wiley Publishing's "Infection Control For Dummies", and is nationally recognized as one of the top experts in infection control. Darrel is also the immediate Past President of the IEHA and is an active member in ASHES where he holds the designation of CHESP. Darrel started his career in the management of housekeeping services in 1981. He has worked in hospitals ranging in size from 20-500 beds, and knows what it takes to plan, set goals and provide guidance and consultation to the management team and department(s) staff. He has managed as many as 13 departments and 170 F.T.E.’s at one time in a 3-hospital system. In that healthcare system Darrel had to pioneer and discover ways to save money by cross training staff, job sharing, controlling overtime and putting a system of controls in place.

Friday, April 13, 2012

EWWWW! You have Cooties!

I can’t exactly recall how old I was when I realized that boys had cooties. It was likely somewhere between 2nd grade when playing “Tag” was the favorite game at recess and 6th grade when “Kiss Tag” became popular. Without being told, I just KNEW the opposite sex would give me "cooties" if they touched me or my friends so we did our best to keep out of reach of the boys in our class. While cooties may be fictitious and playing Hot Potato in gym is simply an exercise to improve hand-eye coordination, perhaps there is something to consider in how children innately know if a member of the opposite sex touches you, you now are contaminated with really gross germs and even your closest friends will not want to play with you until you’ve been properly decontaminated.

There are numerous ways in which germs spread; however Contact Transmission is probably THE most important and most common mode of transmission of infections. There are two primary ways the germs spread with contact transmission; direct and indirect. Like getting the cooties, direct transmission occurs when there is a transfer of microorganisms from direct physical contact between an infected or colonized individual and a susceptible host. Unbeknownst to me, the boys in my class could have given me Pink Eye, Chickenpox, Herpes, Leprosy and even PIN WORMS!

Similarly, like when playing hot potato, indirect contact involves passive transfer of microorganisms to a susceptible host via an intermediate object, such as contaminated hands that are not washed between patients, contaminated patient care equipment or medical instruments and also from other inanimate objects such as toys, door handles, and even light switches. I’m not certain if the bean bags used to play Hot Potato ever got cleaned, who knows how many colds, flus, diarrheal attacks I was given from playing with infrequently cleaned toys and gym equipment....

To help minimize the spread of germs, infection prevention and control have devised a number of different types of precautions for healthcare workers to implement. For organisms spread by Contract Transmission, patients are placed on Contact Precautions which informs staff of a need for extra vigilance, so they can prevent the spread of these germs to other vulnerable patients by wearing a gown and gloves. The housekeeping staff may also increase the frequency of cleaning and some equipment such as a blood pressure cuff or stethoscope may be dedicated for use on you only as a way to minimize spread to another susceptible patient.

Because transmission of germs is not limited to healthcare facilities - anywhere people congregate such as schools, work, and even while on vacation (think of the Norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships) you have the potential to pick up a bug. To be truthful, most of the time these bugs won’t make you sick, however children or people with weak immune systems are at greater risk. If you’re sick at home or caring for a sick loved one the following are few tips to help keep everyone healthy and happy:

1. Ensure that everyone who assists with your personal hygiene washes his or her hands after contact with you and if you’re caring for a sick loved one, be sure to wash your hands frequently.

2. Wash your hands before you make any food and before you eat.

3. Wash your hands well after using the toilet. Make sure others that use the bathroom or sneeze, cough or blow their nose wash their hands well afterward too!

4. Use adisinfectant for cleaning high touch surfaces such as doorknobs as well as the bathroom and kitchen area.

5. Always tell your doctor, paramedics, nurses or other care providers that you have a germ requiring contact precautions, to help prevent its spread to other patients or clients that they provide care for.

I hope the next time you hear a child yell “EWWW! You’ve got cooties!” you’ll think of how germs are spread and realize that young, innocent child may know something you’ve long forgotten – we should avoid the opposite sex at all costs!

Bugging Off!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Help! The disinfectant I hope to use is not included in my infection control guidelines, what should I do??

This is a more common occurrence than one might think. In fact, this is an actual question that my colleagues and I are presented with on a regular basis. So what may you ask is our brilliant response? Quite frankly, one must realize that no guideline can realistically evaluate and include reference to all suitable disinfectants. There are over 8000 disinfectant products registered in North America. Can you imagine having to evaluate all of those products? Nor is it possible for the committee whom created the guideline to continually amend the document to include any new disinfectants that are brought to market between the date of original publication and any subsequent revision – which is typically several years later. For these reasons, there could very easily be several disinfectants that would be deemed satisfactory for use but have not been referenced in the guidelines and there also may have been changes to contact time or claims on products that had been included in the earlier version of the guideline. For the reason, the product label as approved by Health Canada, US EPA or FDA should always take precedence.

Once we understand this dynamic, end-users can be empowered to make educated decisions on the disinfectants they’re selecting for particular applications provided the disinfectant’s attributes fall within the general parameters that are outlined within the prevailing best practice guidelines. For instance, if the guideline recommends the use of disinfectants that are approved by the appropriate regulatory agency, fast acting, broad spectrum and safe to use then a disinfectant that carries a DIN/EPA registration, achieves bactericidal, virucidal, fungicidal and tuberculocidal efficacy in a contact time under 5 mins while remaining non-toxic and non-irritating to eyes and skin should be considered acceptable regardless of the fact that it may not be specifically referenced in said best practice document.

If you are still uncertain as to a product’s appropriateness, two of the best reference websites are Health Canada’s Drug Product Database and the EPA’s Pesticide Product Labelling System. Both of which can be used to verify the registration status, the product claims and correct use of the product.

Have you ever been faced with this predicament? What did you do?

Hasta la vista

Lee – The Germinator