Cleaning for Public Health during a Pandemic

Public health is an important branch of government that focuses on protecting and improving a community’s health. Public health involves educating the general public, conducting research, and making policies to prevent disease.

Public health also includes cleaning. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the world that cleanliness is one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of pathogens, even those with the highest mortality rates. It is important to note that not all people are equipped to maintain such high cleaning standards. Hotels, hospitals, schools, and restaurants, for example, require a different approach to cleaning than homes.

Ideally, cleaning companies would be hired to do the work. Not only do they have the correct equipment, but they also know how to use it to get the best results. Professional cleaners are also familiar with the differences between cleaning methods and which one to use in specific situations.

Disinfection vs. Sterilisation vs. Sanitisation

Cleaning is defined as the act of removing dirt and marks. Cleaning is usually achieved by brushing, wiping, or washing. Just because something looks clean does not mean it is free of viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. Here, processes like disinfection or sterilization are used.

A cleaning method called disinfection uses chemicals to kill microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses. In most cases, soap and water are enough to kill a lot of microorganisms. There is still the possibility of pathogens remaining after washing.

Disinfection is a step that follows regular cleaning in order to reduce the amount of microorganisms. Disinfection can be performed on surfaces that are frequently touched and shared, like countertops, tables, and light switches.

The sterilization is an enhanced form of disinfection. It is designed to kill or deactivate microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria. Radiation or extreme heat can be used to sterilize, along with high pressure, chemicals, or filters.

A sterilized object should not harbor any pathogens. In the food and healthcare industries, sterilization is performed frequently because these products and tools are ingested and inserted into the human body.

Sanitization is achieved by cleaning or disinfecting an object or a surface. It is not important what process is used so long as the amount of germs on an object or surface meets public health standards.

Decontamination, meanwhile, is the process of removing contaminants such as radioactive and hazardous materials. The goal of decontamination is to stop the spread and damage caused by substances that are not only infectious but can also cause environmental damage. Decontamination can be used in medical settings, food prep, and forensics.

Create a Cleaning Procedure

It is important to know when and how to clean for the public’s health. It is also important to develop protocols that minimize the risk of contamination.¬†Deep-cleaning protocols¬†help determine if additional cleaning methods are needed or if procedures need to be improved.

The frequency of cleaning is one of the most crucial elements of cleaning protocol. Schedules are dependent on factors like the severity of diseases, but certain areas should be cleaned daily. Bathrooms and kitchens are two examples of such areas.

As mentioned earlier, surfaces that are frequently touched should be cleaned more often. Emergency vehicles and other important vehicles, on the other hand, should be cleaned and sanitized after each use.

Cleaning protocols also cover the actions that the staff takes before, during, and after the cleaning. Personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gas masks, gas gloves, and hazmat suits are used when necessary. Cleaning personnel are expected to wear PPE in high-risk zones or during health emergencies.

It is important to dispose of materials properly, particularly for cleaners that handle bodily fluids and toxic chemicals. Cleaning protocols should include proper disinfection or sterilization for reusable equipment.

Cleaning during a Pandemic

In times of pandemics, or when someone is infected with a contagious illness within the facility or building, separate cleaning protocols must be created. It is better to close off the area affected than shut down the entire operation. However, in the case of highly transmissible illnesses, it may be best to close down the establishment.

In these cases, wet cleaning is preferred. Dry methods like sweeping or brushing may dislodge infective particles into the air, which increases the risk of infection. Vacuuming with vacuums that have high-efficiency particle air (HEPA filters) may be required. Turn off central HVAC systems and fans that service the affected area to prevent particles from spreading.

These protocols are not meant to replace routine cleaning or disinfection. They should be used as a complementary measure.

Final Thoughts

The cleanliness of the environment is an important component of public safety. Stakeholders should, therefore, pay attention to industry standards and scientific developments to continually improve services and to ensure the safety and health of the public.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top