Decontamination and Infectious Disease Disinfecting
Alongside cleaning and sanitization, disinfection is the first line of defense against infectious diseases. Disinfectant can reduce the number of pathogens on your skin, on food, and on surfaces. Professional biohazard remediators will use disinfection in every job they undertake.
How Long Can Infectious Diseases Survive Outside the Body?
Disinfection is needed because some pathogens can survive outside of your body for a time. For example:
Swine Flu (H1N1): Can survive outside of the body for between 2 and 8 hours.
Norovirus: Can survive outside of the body for a few days to a few weeks.
MRSA: Can survive outside of the body for between a few days to a few weeks.
Hepatitis: Can survive outside of the body for 3 weeks.
Novel Coronavirus: As of yet unknown
How to Disinfect Correctly
Regular disinfection needs to be done in your home as part of your general cleaning routine. The right disinfectant for the job makes all the difference. If you want to make sure you’re using the right disinfectant check the EPA’s website. You should also make sure you follow the instructions correctly to ensure successful disinfection. Not heeding the instructions for your product will greatly limit its effectiveness.
While alright for cleaning, when it comes to disinfecting, avoid using sponges or cloths as these tend to trap bacteria and then spread it across the surface. Use disposable wipes or paper towels to help avoid this. During disinfection wear gloves, and wash your hands after.
What to Clean
Some items in your home attract more germs than others. These items need to be regularly disinfected especially after periods of sickness.
Electronics: Some of the most contaminated items in your home are your cellphone and your remote control, as they are frequently handled. You also hold your phone near to your mouth when you talk. The same can be said for home phones.
Bathroom: This one is just common sense. Your bathroom is a breeding ground for germs that love warm and damp environments. Pay particular mind to the handles in your bathroom, as these can often be touched by unwashed hands.
Tables: Tables are places of contamination that people often forget because they don’t realize how much they touch them. Think about your bedside table, for example, you touch it when you reach for your phone, or for a tissue, or to place down your watch.
Sheets and Towels: Fabric is notoriously hard to disinfect as it cannot be scrubbed. When someone in your home is ill, make sure to wash their laundry separately to your own and at high heat. After loading the washing machine make sure to thoroughly wash your hands.
Professional decontamination is often required in times of infectious disease outbreak. Contaminated areas of hospitals, schools, daycares, etc. can be thoroughly disinfected to reduce the risk of further contamination. This is particularly necessary when dealing with diseases that can survive outside of the body for days and weeks and those which are resistant to typical cleaning methods.