Stop the Spread: Infection Control in the House

There are different types of infections; each defined by the microorganism that causes it. Common infections can be viral, bacterial, fungal, or parasitic. Scientists are, seemingly, endlessly studying microbial microorganisms. What we need to remember is that microbes are living organisms, thus have the ability to evolve. The scientific community is concerned with the transmission of anti-microbial-resistant microorganisms in the community which, ultimately, find their way into homes. Microbial transmission may happen from person to person or from object to person.

Concerns about infection are especially relevant today as we are in the middle of a far-reaching coronavirus pandemic. SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19, can spread from infected individuals’ mouths or noses via droplets. Likewise, it’s been found that we can contract the infection by touching virus-contaminated surfaces and then touching the eyes, nose, or mouth before cleansing the hands.

Common Ways that Germs are Spread

Germs, in general, are microorganisms that invade a host body and cause sickness. Bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa are 4 types of disease-causing germs. Below are common ways that germs are transmitted.

From the nose, mouth, or eyes to hands, and then to others. When we sneeze, cough, or rub our eyes, germs can spread to our hands. The germs can then get transmitted to those we come in close contact with.

From the hands to our food. Often, germs are transferred from unclean hands to food by way of an infected preparer who neglected to wash his hands, perhaps after using the bathroom or touching contaminated waste. The germs are then transmitted to whoever ingests the food.

From food to the hands, and then to food. Raw foods are rife with germs and transmission can occur during preparation. The germs from the raw food get on the hands and are then likely transferred to other food ingredients. The danger is when tainted hands touch food ingredients that are served uncooked, such as a sandwich.

From an infected child to the hands, and then to other children. This is one of the most widespread causes of germ transmission. It can happen 2 ways: 1) A parent handling an infected child (diaper changing, for instance) to the hands which will likely touch surfaces for others to touch, or 2) An infected child puts his hands in his mouth or sneezes and then touches another child.

From animals to people. Our pets can get sick, too. Handling pets or other animals with bare hands can possibly transmit germs.

Preventing the Spread of Infection at Home

A 2009 study found that microorganisms can be transmitted via droplets, airborne, and through contact. Among these, the most common mechanism of transmission is contact or touch. One of the study’s conclusions was that hand hygiene is the most effective strategy to prevent the transmission of antibacterial-resistant organisms in the home. Hand hygiene, with the use of soap and water or alcohol-based sanitizers, PPEs (personal protective equipment), and keeping the environment sanitary are all critical to halting the transmission chain.

Other key takeaways from the study stipulate that:

  • Hand hygiene using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizers should be observed before and after coming into close contact with individuals who are sick. Likewise, hand hygiene is imperative before and after food preparation;
  • Wearing of hand PPE’s like gloves is ideal in activities where the hands will be soiled, followed by immediate hand hygiene upon removal of the gloves
  • Soiled clothes, especially those worn from outside the house, must be promptly washed;
  • Proper disposal of all potentially infectious household waste (ex. Paper towels with bodily fluids) is imperative;
  • Cleaning common surfaces is better done with disinfecting cleaning solutions rather than those with anti-bacterial properties (microbes may be resistant).

Furthermore, other sanitary measures to be observed at home should include:

  • Washing and cooking raw food thoroughly. Remember, too, to wash hands after handling raw meat and before you touch other food articles, especially those that are served uncooked.
  • Frequent and regular sanitizing of high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, remotes, light switches,  tabletops, etc.
  • Frequent and thorough sanitizing of bathroom fixtures, especially toilet flush handles, hand-held showerheads, and faucet handles.

Touchless bathroom and kitchen fixtures are new innovations gaining wide popularity, especially in these pandemic times. Touchless fixtures, especially in the bathroom, aim to minimize, if not avoid, contamination and transfer of infections. Almost everything is going the way of touchless: garbage bins, dispensers, toilets, and faucets.

Among those listed, it might be the best recourse to get with your trusted plumbing company and talk about the installation of touchless sink faucets first. As the studies discussed concluded, hand hygiene is one of the foremost ways of curtailing the spread of germs.

Now that you have the knowledge about germ transmission which, as people say, is the best defense, you now can exercise the key: prevention.Meta title: Controlling the Spread of Infection at Home
meta desc: Many illnesses are associated with germs, viruses, and bacteria. Learn about the common ways that viruses and bacteria are transmitted, as well as how to control their spread in the house.

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