Proper cleaning and disinfection of medical devices and equipment is essential to extend their life and keep it looking new for longer; but it is also essential to prevent the introduction of bacteria and spread of viruses.
Due to the easy transmission of diseases, the WHO has given some essential recommendations to prevent their transmission including intensive cleaning and disinfection of the surfaces and products that we use regularly.
In this article, I’ll share some guidelines and tips to help you disinfect your medical devices on a daily basis and thus prevent the transmission of diseases.
Cleaning vs. Disinfection
The first thing to remember is that cleaning is not the same as disinfecting. By cleaning, we remove germs and dirt from surfaces, but we do not kill germs. Removing them only decreases the number of germs and risk of spreading infections.
On the other hand, by disinfecting medical equipment or devices, we kill microorganisms like bacteria by using chemical products. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces. Killing germs on the surface after cleaning has been done can further prevent the decrease of infectious diseases.
It is important to read carefully the manufacturers’ instructions for proper use and disinfection. For example, if you’re using the Sit and Decompress device to treat your patient’s or your own back injuries and spine related problems, you need to read about Sit and Decompress to learn about the company and their instructions on cleaning and disinfection.
With this in mind, let’s look at some of the top 5 effective antibacterial disinfectants for medical devices
Quaternary ammonium compounds are used broadly in routine cleaning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers quaternary to be a low-level disinfectant effective against most bacteria, enveloped viruses, and some fungi. It’s used in products such as Spartan CDC-10 and is compatible with most hard surfaces. Quaternary ammonium products are best used on non-critical surfaces.
Hypochlorites are the most commonly used chlorine disinfectants. Sodium Hypochlorite is commercially available as household bleach. This EPA-registered chemical is stable and fast acting. While generally considered safe, bleach can cause skin and eye irritation. It is corrosive to metal in high concentrations and can discolor fabric.
Hypochlorites effectively kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Hospitals usually use these products for bathrooms, food prep zones, and blood spills. The medical device must be pre-cleaned to remove organic matter before disinfection. When using concentrated products, follow strict dilution protocols.
Phenolics have been around for a long time. Sir Joseph Lister used a phenol called carbolic acid as a surgery antiseptic in the 1800’s. The antimicrobial properties of phenol derivatives have improved over time. Phenolics are present in hospitals today.
These products are best for disinfection of non-porous surfaces and non-critical devices. Use phenolics with care and follow manufacturers recommendations carefully because improper preparations can be dangerous. Remember, product residue can irritate skin.
Peracetic acid preparations are rapid-acting disinfectants. They are bactericidal, fungicidal, virucidal, mycobactericidal, and sporicidal. However, Peracetic acid can become unstable when diluted. It can corrode some metals such as copper and brass.
Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide
Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide (AHP) is a more recent breakthrough in hospital disinfectants. It is in Oxivir and Alpha HP. These products are a blend of safe, active cleaning agents with hydrogen peroxide. These compounds are safe for the cleaning staff and the environment with the lowest EPA toxicity category of IV.
These one-step cleaners disinfect in the presence of organic matter and blood. They are efficient with short dwell times. AHP kills bacteria, viruses, mycobacteria, pathogenic fungi, and blood-borne pathogens.