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, September 30, 2016

#FF The Last Quarter!

I truly cannot fathom how we have flown through the last 9 months to be on the cusp of October!  Fall used to be one of my favorite times of the year.  The weather is cool and crisp, the fall colours are breathtaking and of course Thanksgiving and Halloween.  Now fall signifies the start of hockey season and I’m not your typically hockey loving Canadian.  I HATE sitting in the cold arenas and this weekend we have 2 practices and a game….that’s a whole lot of cold! 

As we turn into fall and enter the last quarter of the year, I thought I’d share some upcoming education opportunities! 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 fourth quarter of 2016.

Date
Title of Teleclass
Speaker
October 13th
UPDATE ON STRATEGIES FOR CLEANING AND DISINFECTION OF ENVIRONMENTAL SURFACES IN HEALTHCARE
Dr. John Boyce, USA
October 27th
ANTIMICROBIAL ENVIRONMENTAL SURFACES IN HEALTHCARE SETTINGS - CAN THEY REALLY BE BENEFICIAL?
Prof. Jean-Yves Maillard, Wales
November 10th  
NOROVIRUS AND HEALTHCARE FACILITIES: HOW TO KEEP THE VIRUS OUT AND WHAT TO DO WHEN IT GETS IN
Dr. Ben Lopman, USA & Prof. Miren Iturriza-Gomara, UK
November 23rd
AIR TRAVEL AND INFECTION TRANSMISSION
Dr. Paul Edelson, USA
December 8th  
VIABILITY OF BACTERIA ON FABRICS
Prof. Jerry H. Kavouras, USA
December 15th
INFECTION CONTROL IN ELDERLY CARE INSTITUTIONS - WHERE SHOULD WE GO?
Prof. Andreas Voss, The Netherlands

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! After all, we’re entering into colder weather so it’s the perfect time to listen to a teleclass while snuggled under a blanket in front of a fire!

Bugging Off!

Nicole

Friday, September 23, 2016

Do you have improvement blindness?

I came across an article at cmmonline.com written by Tobi Colbert “Combating “Improvement Blindness”: Becoming blind to necessary improvements can hurt BSCs”.  While the article focused on areas that are often overlooked such as fraying carpets, dirt building up in corners or dirty janitor closets within the building service contractors (BSCs) it made me pause.  It made me rethink my approach, or the approach I could take from an education perspective when talking to people about the use of cleaners and disinfectants.

The author noted that people often get “comfortable” in their choices of product.  We know that changing products, changing cleaning procedures, etc. is not easy.  It’s time consuming.  Some staff need more hand holding than others and some staff down right rebel!  It can be easier to stay with a product we’ve been using for a long time because we feel we get good pricing, we know and like the sales rep and our staff do not complain.  The “blindness” in this case is not being willing to look at new products and technologies that may improve the way of cleaning or decrease the time it takes to get the work done.  That of course is the manager’s blindness. 

Staff can also be blind.  I had drinks with a friend this week and we were chatting about a situation she had with a facility.  The manager had not been blind.  The manager investigated and brought a new product in because of its attributes.  The staff on the other hand…..  Well there was a full blown rebellion in the works.  My friend came in to talk with staff again and hear out their concerns.  One very vocal person went on and on and on.  Eventually the employee stopped, looked at my friend and said “you’re not going to help us get rid of this product are you”.  My friend replied “no, the facility has chosen this product because of the attributes....”  But before she could go any further the staff member turned on her heel and left.  The employee was blind to considering a new product and blind to the reasons why the new product was chosen even when one of the attributes made the product safer to handle!
Conversely, there can be other forms of “blindness” when it comes to choosing a disinfectant.  This one is, in my mind, far more dangerous.  Unlike the above situation where the manager does not want to investigate or consider alternative products, the opposite situation is one where a manager is willing to try new products – particularly if they are trying to address a problem such as reoccurring outbreaks.  In this case the need or want to address a singular concern often creates tunnel vision where the focus becomes looking for a product effective against “bug X” without taking into consideration other key considerations in choosing a disinfectant such as safety, compatibility, environmental profile, etc.  The problem with this method of product selection is that you will end up with unintended consequences such as ruined surfaces or staff complaints.


Bugging Off!


Nicole

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Got those Back to School Blues?

For many, the school year starts in August.  In my neck of the woods, school starts the day after Labour Day.  For parents it’s generally a time of mixed emotions. Euphoria, as the kids are back to a routine, out of our hair for the day and you’re not stuck listening to the ever popular “I’m bored, what can I do”.  It’s also a time of stress, with back to school shopping, looking for the perfect first day of school outfit or the elusive flat rim Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hat.  Back to school also signifies sniffles, coughs, colds and if you’re particularly lucky, vomit and diarrhea.

All is not lost though!  With the proper preparation and education (commonly referred to as “nagging” from our children) we can instill the 6 habits of healthy people:
  1. Get lots of sleep
  2. Keep hydrated
  3. Eat healthy (aka lots of fruits and vegetables)
  4. Exercise regularly
  5. Cover your mouth or nose when you sneeze or cough
  6. Wash your hands

I think I need to rethink the amount of sleep I get and the frequency of exercise………

The ability of a child to fight off infections is dependent on age. The younger they are, the weaker the immune system; meaning they are more prone to picking up bugs and bringing them home. There has been quite a bit of research done on school related illnesses, student absenteeism and what germs lurk on school surfaces. In fact, back in 2013 I did a “back to school” blog on just that – “School Absenteeism Due to Illness – Fact or Fiction?”.  Like me, if you have a younger child who is prone to bringing home germs, this year we have created an entire Back 2 School education campaign filled with fact sheets on the most common school bugs, protocols to help you clean and disinfect, what to consider when choosing disinfectants that are used around children and a whole host of other helpful tools!  I hope you’ll check it out!

Now to get back to making tomorrow’s school lunch and nagging my son to brush his teeth and get to bed!

Bugging Off!


Nicole

Friday, September 9, 2016

Is your pet making you sick?

I only have to scroll through a few posts on Facebook or Instagram to see a friend or relative posting a picture…albeit a cute picture…of someone snuggling, kissing, or cuddling an animal.  Coming from a farming background, I will warn you, I have many like-minded friends and relatives who believe that cows, horses, sheep, goats, pigs and even chickens are meant to be snuggled.  Horses I can completely understand. Chickens and stinky billy goats, I’m not too sure about!

From a Public Health perspective, antibiotic resistant organisms (AROs) and the concern with treatment options and adverse patient outcomes has become a main stay in the media.  The same has been true in the animal health world with concerns of antibiotic resistance in farm animals.  This joint focus or movement over the concern of the impact antibiotic resistance in humans and farm animals has been aptly named One Health.  Perhaps we need to change our focus from farm animals to the animals we call pets that share our houses, our beds and sometimes the occasional lick of our ice cream cones?

In recent years there have been several studies looking at this topic.  The primary question being asked is if humans and pets can share drug-resistant bacteria?  In 2014, a study out of the United Kingdom showed that humans and companion animals "readily exchange and share" isolates from the same strain after analyzing different strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in cats and dogs.  Just last week, researchers in China, who found that a pet shop worker, along with four dogs and two cats, were infected with a strain of Escherichia coli bacteria carrying the MCR-1 gene.  As highlighted in this study, since E. coli carrying the MCR-1 gene appears to be easily spread and as it’s not yet curable, we now have more avenues for transmission.

Based on past studies, researchers believed that people may be infected by the food they eat — specifically animal products.  Now we need to consider what infections we may get as a result of the pets we keep!  I do caution that before we kick our pets to the curb, the truth is that although there is a possibility of disease transmission, the risk is low.  Low enough in fact that the risk is often considered to be outweighed by the benefits of pet ownership.  According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), somewhere between 37% and 47% of all US households own a pet.  For some pet owners, the relationship is a close one and such intimate relationships with our pets does increase the chance that some of these resistant bacteria can move back and forth between them and us.
However, all is not lost. Good hygiene practices such as not letting your pet lick your face (or you not kissing your pet’s face) and washing your hands after petting, snuggling, cuddling or picking up their poop (especially before you eat) are good precautions to take.  Another way to minimize yours and your pet’s risk for sharing bugs is by taking your pet to the vet for regular check-ups and keeping vaccinations current.  After all, a healthy pet is much less likely to carry diseases that can infect you!
Bugging Off!

Nicole

Friday, September 2, 2016

Vacation Alert!

I cannot fathom that summer is wrapping up.  This week I’ve enjoyed a bit of rest and relaxation which has included visiting with family, lots of fun on the water, eating and reading.  With beautiful views of the Trent River and gorgeous sunsets it’s a wonder that I was able to steal myself away long enough to check emails and keep up with what’s going on at work.  That’s actually when I saw the email “Where’s your blog?” 

As with each summer I often share a few good summer reads.  I realize that the summer is wrapping up, but as the cold sets in reading indoors wrapped under a cozy blanket is almost as good as sitting outside while basking in the sun.  I will wholeheartedly admit, I enjoy a good romance book.   It’s a wonderful brainless way to completely relax and extricate yourself for an hour or two at a time from life.   But I also enjoy reading a good popular science book.    Like anyone, I love finding out the story behind discoveries that have now become familiar to us and learning about other science disciplines (even if I have no aptitude for them).   Most importantly, it is what I can take from these reads to increase my ability to find interesting and easy ways to communicate science to non-scientists. 

I’m more apt to read books that tie science to life where research is discussed but explained in a story of how the research can impact and even improve my life.  One such read was Robert Sapolsky's A Primate's Memoir.  This book is a personal account of life with a troop of baboons in the Serengeti.  I mean growing up watching Jane Goodall and everything we learned from her, who wouldn’t want to read this?!  Sapolsky studies the relationship between the level of stress hormones and the animal's position in the social hierarchy – something that I think we’d all be interested in!  Throughout the book he provides insightful descriptions of animal behavior, doubled with reflections about local politics and the daily challenges of a New Yorker living in the bush.  Sapolsky is also the author of ''Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers'' and ''The Trouble With Testosterone'' and has been said to be one of the finest natural history writers around.

Now….back to reading!  I’ve recently picked up “The Gene: An Intimate History” by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Siddhartha Mukherjee.  According to one book review I read, the book promises to “weave science, social history, and a personal narrative to tell a story of one of the most important conceptual breakthroughs of modern times, Mukherjee animates the quest to understand human heredity and its surprising influence on our lives, personalities, identities, fates, and choices...

Bugging Off!

Nicole