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.

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Friday, March 29, 2019

Public Handwashing Poses Health Risk

As I write this blog, we’re driving to our last hockey tournament of the season.  The car is packed, texts have been flying around between parents verifying who is packing what, and half of the team is ready with their hair dyed blue.  For the next 3 nights I will be with 17 boys, ages 9 to 10, countless siblings of various ages and of course the parents. During the day we’ll be running from rink to rink where in our division there are 7 more teams with kids, parents and siblings.  There will be a lot of public toilet use.

Too much information?  Perhaps, but these are the things I think (have nightmares) about.  Reading an article that was recently published titled “The public washroom – friend or foe? An observational study of washroom cleanliness combined with microbiological investigation of hand hygiene facilities” does not help my paranoia of public washrooms.  The researchers looked at 55 washrooms in buildings associated with a variety of societal classes including 5-star hotels and restaurants to libraries and public housing.  As many may expect, washrooms in lower income areas were not as clean as those found in middle to high income areas. Environmental samples were taken from paper towel dispensers, hand dryers and door handles.  Of the samples taken, 97% were positive for Staph that was resistant to 1 drug and more than 22% were resistant to 3 drugs.

While sampling, the researchers also completed a cleanliness audit and noted that 90% of the garbage bins were improperly closed, 46% of feminine sanitary bins were uncovered and more than 50% of the washrooms lacked shelves or areas to place personal items while cleaning and drying hands.  The long and the short is that adequate hand hygiene is not always achievable when using public washrooms.  Even if, like me, you wash your hands with soap following the proper technique and time, we may very quickly contaminate our hands by touching the paper towel dispenser, garbage bin or door knob. 

The only saving grace (at least for me) is the fact that I am female.  It is well know that there are gender differences when it comes to washing hands and this study appears to be no different.  Of the 3 different Staph strains found, all 3 were found from the INTERNAL door handles of the men’s washrooms.  Basically gals, if you’re out in public and your man uses the washroom you may not want to hold their hands, and if you do, make sure you wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before you eat anything!

As for me, I have packed 100 individually wrapped hand sanitizer wipes.  They will be going wherever I go and you can be sure I’m going to be “that” mom constantly asking if the boys have washed their hands or not.  The last thing I want is to come home with a sick kid, it’s bad enough he’s going to be tired!

Bugging Off!


Friday, March 22, 2019

Sick Spring Puppies

As mentioned in last week’s blog, spring is a time for rejuvenation.  It is also the season that comes to life as new baby animals are born, like chicks, bunnies, and other cute pets.  With Easter steadily creeping up on us, there may be some of you who fall under the spell of the Easter Bunny and think that giving your kids a cute cuddly pet in their Easter basket may be a great idea.
The truth is, spring and summer is the perfect time to get a pet, particularly if you’ve chosen a puppy.  The weather is nice and you won’t mind spending time outdoors as you house train your cute ball of fur.  But when choosing a puppy there is more to think about than just how cute it is.  Buying a puppy means you need to do some homework.  The type of dog you choose needs to work with you and your lifestyle.  Are you active?  Do you like going to long walks?  How large is your back yard? Do you or your family members have allergies?  Do you like cleaning and sweeping to keep the dog hair at bay?

You also need to do your research on the breeder or store you are looking to buy the puppy from.  We often hear of puppy mills and genetic issues with over breeding, but you also need to be aware of the potential for infectious diseases.  There are some diseases such as Canine parvovirus that are incredibly contagious and can be deadly to the puppy.  There are also some infectious diseases that can spread from your cute puppy to you.  Case in point, there have been reports of brucellosis associated with dogs adopted from a rescue in southwestern Ontario.  While it’s unclear how many dogs are infected or how they were infected, the bacteria itself has been a concern for a while, particularly in imported dogs and commercial breeders.

While brucellosis is required to be reported under the Animal Health Act, it’s not a disease like Parvo or influenza that spreads rapidly or can be picked up via casual contact such as playing at a dog park.  Instead, prolonged contact is needed, so it is typically associated with breeding and kennels. Male dogs infected with brucellosis develop swelling of the tube located at the back of the testicle that stores sperm. Female dogs develop an infection of the uterus which leads to difficulty getting pregnant, or abortion in the late stages of pregnancy. Brucellosis is a zoonotic disease that can be spread to humans from sick dogs.  It’s not common and generally speaking pet owners are not considered to be at risk for infection.  Breeders and veterinarians who are more apt to be exposed to the blood or other secretions of infected animals are at an increased risk of developing an infection.  The good news is that Brucella canis is relatively short-lived outside the body and is readily inactivated by common disinfectants so management via cleaning and disinfection will help reduce the chance of transmission.

Either way, whenever you’re dealing with a sick animal it’s smart to play it safe and limit your kissing and close cuddling until you know what your pet has and if it’s a risk to you and your family.  Frankly, since dogs like to lick their nether, I don’t see any reason for a dog’s mouth or tongue to be anywhere near my face!

Bugging Off!


Friday, March 15, 2019

#FF Spring Cleaning Rejuvenates the Brain

As the days get longer and the weather warmer we know that Spring is just around the corner. This week, spring cleaning began at our house. Last week a “spring” showed up in our house when we found a crack in our foundation and water seeping through it. Thankfully we caught it before too much was damaged and since my husband found it, only his feet got wet!
Spring is a time for rejuvenation. Animals come out from hibernation, trees bud, flowers bloom and the birds come back from their winter get-a-way. It’s a perfect time to clean the cobwebs from our brains and stretch our minds to learn something new.

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 second quarter of 2019.

For more information on Webber Training, including a full list of the upcoming Infection Prevention and Control Teleclasses, please visit:  www.webbertraining.com

I hope many of you will take the opportunity to listen to these teleclasses and share them with your colleagues! At the very least remember to wish me a happy birthday on May 3rd!

Bugging Off!