Recent news reports have revealed that cross contamination is still a big problem in the meat industry in the UK, mainly due to a lack of effective cleaning.[i] This suggests a problem that is highly relevant to healthcare industries including dentistry – people are being put at risk. As such, now is a good time to assess the infection control standards in your practice to ensure they leave no room for error.
The dangers of cross contamination
The repercussions of cross contamination can be wide-reaching and life-changing for those involved. Professionals routinely come into contact with people’s bodily fluids including saliva and blood, and these can carry numerous infections that are easily transferred. Even one slip-up in infection control can be disastrous, and instances of failure do occur.
Indeed, it was only a couple of years ago when a dentist near Nottingham prompted the “largest ever patient recall” due to poor cleanliness standards putting over 22,000 patients at risk.[ii] This case highlights the fact that some practices will still make mistakes when it comes to infection control, and that more needs to be done by professionals to ensure that they are following guidelines appropriately.
A practice-wide regime
It’s clear that certain measures should be taken by every professional to help limit the spread of disease. Reusable instruments should be sterilised between appointments, materials that may have come into contact with bodily fluids should be changed and all surfaces should be disinfected. Professionals should also ensure to wash their hands so that if they have had any contact with infections, the pathogens are eliminated.
However, these are just the basic steps and more can be done if you really want your practice to fight infection effectively. The surfaces in communal areas also need attention, as these are the areas with the highest number of people at any given time. Even in a dried drop of blood, diseases such as hepatitis and HIV can live for days,[iii] and if not eradicated these infections could easily transfer to patients or professionals who frequent these areas.
Use effective products
As every area of a dental practice needs to be cleaned appropriately, it’s worthwhile finding a solution that is multipurpose or which is highly effective at deactivating a wide array of pathogens.
One highly efficient choice is the Steri-7 Xtra Range of disinfectants from Initial Medical. Not only does this range contain hand washes, surface cleaners, and other products for a multi-pronged approach to infection control, but each product also deactivates 99.9999% of bacteria, spores, fungi, yeasts, and viruses. These innovative solutions form a protective barrier once they have dried, meaning that germs will have no opportunity to re-establish themselves between cleaning cycles.
Cross contamination doesn’t need to be a problem if the correct protocols and guidelines are followed. By supporting these rules with truly effective products, you can rest assured that you are doing all in your power to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
[ii] BBC News. Nottinghamshire dentist Desmond D’Mello struck off by General Dental Council. Link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-37115958 [Last accessed September 18].
[iii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cross-Contamination. Link: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/correctionalhcw/cross.html [Last accessed September 18].