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Friday, July 28, 2017

Diarrhea, the newest occupational risk?

I generally start each blog with a little story. Often times the story may be personal and something that can lead nicely into the main topic of the blog.  This week after reading the article that is serving as the basis for the blog topic and deciding upon the title, I knew if I shared a personal story I would really have tipped the scales of TOO much information.   I’m sure each of you can think of a situation where you’ve been hit by diarrhea.  You may even recall from childhood a certain song dedicated to the topic of diarrhea.  There are a few different renditions and I think in an attempt to be mature I’ll let you google “Diarrhea Song” on your own.

So why the talk of diarrhea?  Well an investigation report was released by the CDC last week about a Salmonella outbreak linked to microbiology laboratories which infected a total of 24 people in 16 states between March and June this year.  Of the 24 confirmed cases, 6 people were hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.  The infections occurred in clinical, commercial, college and university microbiology laboratories where the investigation revealed that several of the people infected in the outbreak reported risky behaviors, such as not wearing gloves, not washing hands and using writing utensils or notebooks outside the laboratory. 

As a result of this latest outbreak, the CDC has released a new set of guidelines to be used when working in laboratories.  Some of the key recommendations include not bringing home items used in the lab; following proper biosafety training; wearing gloves, a lab coat or other protective garments; actively washing your hands; and avoiding touching your face or body while in the lab.  Having worked in a lab setting and being responsible for the technical service team and sample reception, I would also say a key recommendation should be not to store your lunch, snacks or drinks in the same fridge that samples are stored…..

The Salmonella typhimurium strain identified in this outbreak was also linked to infections in microbiology labs in 2011 where 109 people infected including 2 children of an infected student and 2014 where 41 people infected.   The long and the short, is it seems to take about 3 years for lab staff to forget that outbreaks and diarrhea associated with Salmonella can be an occupational risk.  This goes to show that biosecurity measures cannot be underestimated.  In a lab setting, once the crisis is over we cannot simply fall back into our old habits over time. Biosecurity measures were designed for one very specific reason – to protect us as we work with potentially infectious pathogens.  This is our health we are talking about.  Sure an infection with Salmonella and the associated diarrhea is a nuisance and some may just shrug it off as a fact of life.  Would we’d be so cavalier if we were talking about Ebola?

Check back with me in 2020 and let’s see if we can find another outbreak!

Bugging Off!


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Pedicures, Plantar Warts and Tinea pedis

I was in SoCal this week.  It was lovely.  It had been a while since I’ve been to California and was able to enjoy a drive down the coast from LA to Dana Point.  If you’ve not been there, it’s the home of the Doheny Beach – you know the one mentioned in the Beach Boy’s song “Surfin’ USA”?  If you love sand and surf it’s worth the trip, as is a visit to Salt Creek Beach.  I say “if you like sand” because I #hatesand!  It gets all over you, and I may have had a bit of a tantrum while trying to get sand out of my sandal and then locking the keys to my rental car in the trunk……  The car wasn’t locked and while there was no trunk button in the cabin of the car we did manage to unlock the car by putting down the back seats and crawling into the trunk that way.  If you don’t believe me check out my Twitter or Instagram for hilarious picture evidence @nicolecronkenny. 

As is the case with the picture that inspired this week’s blog, I may also have followed the local way and walked bare foot in public on sidewalks and stairs.  Why would I risk contracting Plantar Warts or Athlete’s foot (Tinea pedis) by walking bare foot in a public place?  I had #Ihatesand on my feet.  I had to walk back to the car without shoes so that I could use a bottle of water to wash the sand off.  Don’t you agree it’s ridiculous they did not have showers readily available as you came off the beach?  I’m sure I’m not the only #Ihatesand person out there!  At the very least, I am sure that most people hate bringing sand home with them!

Aside from enjoying days at the beach accumulating sand in areas it does not belong, summer is also known as high season for pedicures, because who does not want to make sure your feet look good while walking in public?!  Back in 2012, I wrote a blog “Be Spa Safe” where I gave 7 things to look for when going to a spa or nail salon:

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!!!!!
I hope that you’ll consider these the next time you go for a mani or pedi!  If you’re off to the beach this weekend enjoy, but I hope it’s a beach that has showers and you’ll wear sandals!  You can be sure this weekend I will not be spending time at the beach.  #Ihatesand you know!

Bugging Off!


PS – I’ll let you know if I caught anything infectious walking in public!

Friday, July 14, 2017

#FF Schools out for summer!

As much as I hate to date myself, I’m hoping that when many of you read the title for this week’s blog you started humming, singing or at least thought of the 1972 song by Alice Cooper “Schools out for Summer”!  Let me be clear, I was still a baby when it first debuted, but I dare say many of us probably sang the song on the last day of school as we ran out the school doors whether it was to catch the bus, to jump in your car or simply run all the way home.   While many kids hope to completely avoid anything that may resemble learning in any form this summer, there are some of us who take the opportunity to catch up on reading or learning during the couple months that we anticipate having a bit more time to slow down and relax.

As I do each quarter I wanted to share the Webber Training teleclasses coming up for the next three months.  As noted in past blogs, the Teleclass Education by Webber Training is an international lecture series on topics related to infection prevention and control. The objective is to bring the best possible education to the widest possible audience with the fewest possible barriers when trying to access it.  Here's the list of teleclasses for the third quarter of 2017.

Title of Teleclass
July 13th
The psychology of hand hygiene: How to improve hand hygiene using behaviour change frameworks
Dr. Jocelyn Srigley, Canada
July 26th
The impact of catheter associated urinary tract infection
Prof. Brett Mitchell, Australia
August 10th
Learning infection control via games
Prof. Anne-Gaëlle Venier, France
August 23rd
Biofilms in the hospital environment: Infection control implications
Prof. Karen Vickery, Australia
August 24th
Social Media: Useless or useful in infection prevention
Barley Chironda, Canada
September 14th
Relationship between patient safety climate and adherence to standard precautions
Dr. Amanda Hessels, USA
September 18th
Igniting passion, sparking improvement
Julie Storr, UK
September 20th
How to publish in the journals and why it matters
Prof. Elaine Larson, USA

For more information on Webber Training, including a full list of the upcoming Infection Prevention and Control Teleclasses, please visit www.webbertraining.com.  If you’re a Twitter follower you can also be part of the conversation during the sessions by following #WebberTraining.

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

Bugging Off!


Friday, July 7, 2017

Happy belated Canada Day and Independence Day!

With school finally coming to an end last week, this week we took a long needed family vacation.  I decided I would even take a break from blogging. So unlike me, I know. I hope you don't mind, but with views like the one in the picture, while enjoying a little sunset fishing, what's a girl to do!

Some of you may have already received our Corporate Solutions Newsletter and know that we are fortunate to have friendships with Opinion Leaders from around the world who are willing to write articles for our newsletter.  If you haven't read the newsletter, I hope you will!  I'm currently enjoying reading the book "Preventing Hospital Infections: Real-World Problems, Realistic Solutions" that we mentioned in the newsletter.  I'll tell you all about it next week!

Bugging Off!