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.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Year in Review

I remember my mom telling me as a teenager, the older you get the faster life goes....it seems that she was telling the truth!  It's hard to believe that another year is coming to an end and that Lee and I have managed to post 50 more blogs!
2014 was certainly the year of the outbreak with Porcine Endemic Virus  and  Ebolavirus  rearing their heads in North America, Enterovirus D68 infecting hundreds of children and vaccine preventable diseases such as Measles showing up in schools and Mumps hitting our beloved NHL teams this fall.
This past spring our team put together a marketing campaign to highlight the importance that there is more than just what a product kills to consider when choosing a disinfectant.  Affectionately referred to as the OMG! We have an HAI! campaign, we compiled many of our blogs that we had previously written and added some new ones to tell as story and even put them together in our first published Talk Clean To Me blog book!  Starting with The little devil or the little angel, we set the stage with the fact that at times the metrics used to choose a disinfectant (e.g. what it kills or what it costs) can at times be flawed making it very difficult for infection prevention or environmental services to make a business case for changing products.  The first chapter if you will focused on Premature Evaporation and the fact that many disinfectants dry on surfaces before their contact times as listed on the label is achieved which can have a direct impact on killing the bugs you were intending to kill!   Basically, if your disinfectant leaves you dry, your healthcare facility may be left unprotected against the spread of HAIs. Chapter two looked at Disinfection Dysfunction and the fact that we are frequently not achieving disinfection compliance with our One and Done mentality.  If we rely on a single wipe and walk away assuming disinfection has occurred we are not complying with the use instructions on our disinfectants and can leave ourselves vulnerable to being cited during our accreditation audits. Chapter three titled No Glove, No Love discussed one of my favorite topics around disinfectants - user safety!  Many of the disinfectants products we use pose a risk to our staff (EVS, Nursing or Clinical) and require the use of PPE.  In fact, among nursing professionals, workplace exposures to cleaning and disinfecting products increase the risk of occupational asthma.   Quats and Bleach being the leading chemicals contributing to not just occupational asthma, but neurological complains such as headaches or dizziness and eye and skin irritation.  We wrapped up the book with Gotta Be Wet to Disinfect providing a check list of how to assess and compare disinfectants to ensure you choose the best one for your facility.
This fall we spent some time dissecting Drs. Rutala and Weber's article Selection of the Disinfectant (ICHE July 2014).   Written over three weeks, I'll take Kill Claims for $200, Slippery When Wet, the Importance of Contact times and Over Easy, Why safety profiles and ease of use will improve disinfection this landmark article that embodies the attributes that anyone who is choosing a disinfectant should consider. 
Closing out the year, I spent a few weeks on apathy.   Please accept my condolences was a personal piece written after a friend lost her mother to C. diff.  You hope you do not have to attend a visitation due to such an unnecessary loss but it seems to the be the fact life.  A fact of life so prevalent, that I had ANOTHER friend lose a loved one.  Her mother passed from a Staph infection following a routine procedure.  The funeral was today.....two days before Christmas.
My hope is that 2015 will bring us wisdom, strength and courage.  Wisdom to realize that we cannot continue on with status quo.  Strength to fight for what we know is right and courage to not back down in the face of adversity and put our patients and their lives first.
Wishing everyone a Happy Holidays!  Thank you for reading our Talk Clean To Me blogs. 
Bugging Off for 2014!

Nicole

Friday, December 19, 2014

Mumps, Men and Moaning

If you're a hockey fan, you are probably well aware of the mumps outbreak going on in the NHL.  I'm a football fan....so I had no clue, not until Canada's beloved Sidney Crosby came down with the mumps this week.  That announcement hit my Facebook stream like a cross check from behind....

The outbreak seems to have started among the Anaheim Ducks in mid-October.  The Ducks played the Minnesota Wild, the Wild then played the St. Louis Blues, the Blues played the Rangers....and so forth and so on.  Apparently, the Ducks missed the alert sent from the local health unit that had been issued in September.  With the announcement of Crosby falling victim, the official tally of confirmed cases in the NHL is 13. 

As noted by the transmission within the NHL, mumps is a contagious infection that is caused by the mumps virus.  It spreads from person to person via droplets of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose or throat of an infected person, usually when the person coughs, sneezes or talks, but I suppose spitting would work too!   The mumps virus can also be spread indirectly when someone with mumps touches items or surfaces without washing their hands and if someone else touches the same surface and rubs their mouth or nose. 

The incubation period of mumps can range from 12 - 25 days so the chances are highly likely that a few more NHL players will end up with mumps for Christmas and be wishing they got a lump of coal instead!   People with mumps are considered most infectious a few days before the onset of the characteristic swelling of the parotid glands to 5 days after their glands begin to swell.  As a vaccine preventable disease, mumps is generally rare in North America.  In 1964 there was an estimated 212,000 cases while in 2012 only 229 were reported.  While people who have had mumps in the past are considered to be protected for life, there are a few unlikely individuals who are infected again.

The best way to prevent the mumps is by being vaccinated.  Two doses of the vaccine provides a 88% effectiveness in prevention the disease.  Other means to prevent infection include minimizing close contact with infected individuals, ensuring those infected stay at home and limit contact with others, frequent hand hygiene, covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing - or sneezing or coughing into your sleeve, refrain from sharing drinks or eating utensils and regularly clean surfaces that are frequently touched with a registered disinfectant.

Environmental hygiene is particularly important as the virus can live on contaminated surfaces (e.g. door knobs, faucet handles, light switches....locker room benches) or personal items (e.g. cups, utensils or water bottles) for hours or days.  These surfaces can help spread the virus to those who are not immune, especially if there is sharing of contaminated items or touching of contaminated surfaces and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.  Perhaps the NHL needs to look at their cleaning and disinfection programs within the locker room and personal hygiene measures while sitting in close proximity on the bench.   An interesting thought (being a new hockey mom), since I know firsthand that covering your mouth while wearing a hockey helmet can prove to be difficult!

Bugging Off!


Nicole

Friday, December 12, 2014

#FF - Follow Friday

There are times when I think I have a great idea for a blog, but know that it is sometimes best to allow the idea to "percolate" to ensure that I temper the message.  The idea I had for my blog this week was based on a question from the field.  A question so outrageous that following the last three weeks' focus on Apathy,  the title that popped to mind was "From Apathy to Stupidity".....    I think I will need to "percolate" a little more as I think the title needs to be tempered..   I will say however, that there are times that the hoopla created by media, can make people take leave of their senses which leaves Infection Preventionists, the EXPERTS in understanding outbreak management, to be chasing after information that is distracting them from more important tasks.

So, as it's been awhile since I have written a #FF blog and I love being able to share and promote great blogs and great bloggers, here are some blogs and/or blog entries that I think you should check out!

Virology Down Under - VDU's Blog is a blog I was recently introduced to thanks to Twitter and @McKayIM.  Aside from having great blog topics, if you take the time to look at their website you will find a wealth of information on viruses.  Be sure to check it out!

Deb's Hand Hygiene, Infection Prevention and Food Safety blog is not new to our #FF list, but as we are closing out the year and the blog had a posting on the Top 10 Hand Hygiene Articles in 2014 I thought I would share as what better way to catch up on your reading then when someone has summarized it all for you!

Pathogen Perspectives, a new blog (e.g. launched in 2014) written by Heather Lander (@PathogenPhD) is dedicated to exploring the world of emerging infectious disease - and as one would expect, has focused much time and effort on Ebola.  I thought this was a perfect addition as my "question of the week" relates to Ebola.  I would definitely be checking this blog out in detail! 

I hope you'll check these blogs out!  Don't forget it's Friday so #FF and tweet!

Bugging Off!


Nicole

Friday, December 5, 2014

Hey! Hey! Ho! Ho! Apathy has got to go!

As mentioned last week, the original focus of my blog was going to be on the apathy of some or many (depending on your perception) toward the importance of cleaning and disinfection and the impact that choosing the right disinfectant can have on HAI rates or patient and employee safety.To some apathy may seem too strong or harsh a word to use in describing people's perceptions of cleaning and disinfection. Apathy implies a lack of interest, a lack of concern or a state of indifference. Certainly, there are many who, like me are wildly passionate about the importance of cleaning and disinfection and choosing the ideal disinfectant.  The truth remains, however, that there are just as many people who do not care. There are just as many people who believe they cannot effect change so do they nothing, and just as many people again that plainly think cleaning and disinfection is someone else's responsibility.

The event that started me down this discussion of apathy was a death.  A death that should not have happened. A death that could have been prevented with proper cleaning and disinfection and proper hand hygiene. It's ironic that more than 195 years ago Semmelweiss identified the importance of hand hygiene and the role that it can play in stopping the spread of infections. It was certainly a tenet that was taught to my mother in nursing school, yet one that we still struggle today with actually doing. We know we should, yet we too frequently make excuses for why we did not. 

When it comes to cleaning and disinfection we are no better.  In a study published in 2013, Donskey conducted a review of the literature to determine if we had sufficient evidence to prove that improved cleaning and disinfection could reduce HAIs.  Donskey concluded, "although the quality of much of the evidence remains suboptimal, a number of high-quality investigations now support environmental disinfection as a control strategy. Based on these data, current guidelines for pathogens such as C. difficile, MRSA, VRE, and norovirus emphasize the importance of environmental disinfection as a control measure."  It's not rocket science.  In fact I was in a facility today that has seen a reduction in their HAIs by changing to a more effective disinfectant and improving their cleaning practices. They understood the need to improve their cleaning and disinfection practices, empower their staff to take pride in their cleaning and disinfection and are now reaping the rewards of reduced HAIs.  Certainly a far cry from the facility who, "doesn't care what product is used because they're not the ones paying for it".

I wonder, would we still make excuses or still be apathetic if we were forced to apologize to the patient who is suffering from an HAI, or to a family member that lost a loved one as a result of our indifference toward hand hygiene or cleaning and disinfection? As parents we teach our children to own up to their mistakes and apologize for their bad behavior. Perhaps it's time we were made to own up and apologize for our bad behavior.

Just do it! Hand Hygiene works.  Cleaning and disinfection works. Let's stop being apathetic. Let's work together to effect change. 


Bugging Off!

Nicole