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Wet wipes: a blight on hospital hygiene?

19/08/2015

Wet wipes: a blight on hospital hygiene?

It’s easy to only look at the big picture when a major issue like hospital hygiene is in the frame. But it’s not always the major issues causing the biggest problems. Most of the time, poor hospital hygiene is cumulatively bad, emerging from a two-pronged attack of absent-mindedness and overwork.

That’s why it takes a fresh pair of eyes to make observations and ask seemingly obvious questions – questions like, how hygienic are hospital wet wipes?

Scientists at Cardiff University tested seven detergent wipes they claimed were used in hospitals and the potential for bacteria transferral was alarmingly high.

How the test was carried out

According to the NHS website, the researchers looked at three different kind of bacteria related to hospital infection. “Staphylococcus aureus,” says the website, “a common cause of skin infections; Clostridium difficile, which can upset the digestive system; and Acinetobacter baumannii, which is usually harmless for most people, but can be very dangerous for people with a weakened immune system.“

After infecting the branded wet wipes, the researchers claimed that the risk of bacteria transferral was much higher.

Naturally, wipes are intended for single use but researchers claim that most were likely being used multiple times.

Not only is this a hygiene nightmare, it’s an attack on common sense. Germs are being spread purely from a lack of information.

Waste services exist to remove bacteria from hospitals, and our job is undermined when absentmindedness is allowed free-rein for something so simple. So stay mindful when you’re using wet wipes – the bigger picture depends on it.