Applying Pesticides in Hospitals
Updated: May 25, 2022
Yes, even hospitals get roaches. And bed bugs, mites, and scabies too. Pretty alarming for any patient to consider, and (perhaps) even more terrifying for hospital administrators. So what can a hospital do when faced with a bug infestation? Like the rest of us, they turn to pesticides. But of course, choosing a pesticide for a healthcare facility demands careful consideration.
The fact is that a successful pest control plan in a hospital demands that every aspect of the ‘attack’ take into account the unique requirements of each building ̶ from hospital rooms and ORs to food service areas and just about every other location. No building or facility is exempt!
The National Pest Management Association put it well when they remarked that:
“It is hard to imagine a more sensitive [issue for] hospitals . . . [especially
since] there are 5,810 registered hospitals in the US that see about 32
million inpatients, 83 million outpatients, and 108 million emergency room
patients per year.”
Simple enough when you read it; not so simple when you explore the ramifications.
When is comes to common pests ̶ bed bugs, fleas, scabies, ticks, cockroaches, et al ̶ they can make their way into healthcare facilities in any number of ways, via delivery services, staff, and patients themselves (on clothing, in bags), through the plumbing systems.
Where Do Bugs like to Linger in Hospitals?
According to Health Facilities Management, some of the ‘hot spots’ for bugs in healthcare facilities include:
“Employee locker and break rooms, janitorial closets, laundry rooms, food service
areas, restaurants, coffee and snack bars, vending machine areas, food carts,
bedside furniture in patient rooms, floor drains and sink areas, intensive care
wards, surgical suites, kidney dialysis rooms, autopsy rooms, trash dumpsters,
loading docks and related spots.”
You see the problem, I’m sure. But it gets even trickier, I’m afraid: The single biggest threat to patients are HAIs, or healthcare–associated infections. True, they are on the decline is the US, but they are still a formidable problem. A report prepared by the CDC for the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, did say that:
“healthcare-associated infections are a major, yet often preventable, threat to patient safety.”
But again, there are considerations to keep in mind, especially since we’re talking about hospitals and other health-related facilities. As Muhammad Sarwar, Principal Scientist at the Department of Agriculture and Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, points out:
“In many cases the amount of pesticide people are likely to be exposed to is
too small to pose a risk. The risks associated with given pesticides or pesticide
products depend on the toxicity of the compound and the probability of
exposure. For determining risk, one must consider both the toxicity and
hazard of the pesticide and the likelihood of exposure. For example, a low
level of exposure to a very toxic pesticide may be no more dangerous than
a high level of exposure to a relatively low-toxicity pesticide.”
Still, you should always be vigilant and aware of these considerations.
Planning Your Defense: How to Get Rid of Pests in a Hospital
Preventing the proliferation of various infections demands not just a motivated staff with the proper training, but also daily, scrupulous sanitization procedures that are unvarying in their rigor. Rooms, medical equipment, waiting areas, clinics, etc should all be disinfected with products that are demonstrably safe for everyone: patients, healthcare providers, support staff, and visitors.
And that’s important, because sooner or later, everything and everyone in a healthcare setting will come into contact with patient bacteria. Acknowledging that unfortunate fact can help hospitals and healthcare facilities devise successful sanitizing approaches that can include the use of a disinfectant like Sterifab.
As you prepare to process your specific healthcare facility, prepare a short list of the issues you need to address. They might include:
The type of microorganism you intend to eradicate.
An exhaustive list of all the contaminated areas and types of surfaces that need to be disinfected.
A thorough understanding of stability, performance and storage conditions required for the product you choose.
The application method and the recommended contact time.
The required safety precautions.
An understanding of the impact your product will have on the immediate environment.
The above list should provide a useful starting point in any debugging/disinfecting effort, but whether or not you’re a pest control professional (PMP) or a member of the healthcare facility staff, keep in mind that hospital rooms themselves are chock-a-block with equipment, any piece of which can spread bacteria. Monitors, tubes, screens, and all sorts of other devices can all play host, and bacteria can remain in a room for several days after an infected patient has gone.
Why Sterifab Is Recommended in Hospitals
Exterminators and hospital staff members will attest to the fact that Sterifab has been a dependable and effective cleaning method for decades, used not just in homes but in schools, public transportation systems and healthcare facilities. It is entirely nonresidual, specially designed to kill a wide variety of pathogens, and it cleans and deodorizes as a bonus!
Did you know? Sterifab is also recommended for use as a disinfectant in schools!
The Most Effective Way to Use Sterifab
Keep in mind that safety should always be paramount when handling disinfectants. So, whether you’re using Sterifab or another product, it’s worth keeping these tips from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in mind:
Wash your hands and face quickly after using any disinfectant.
Do not store food in areas where disinfectants are stockpiled.
Ventilate storage areas adequately.
Never mix Sterifab with other cleaning agents.
Dispose of disinfectants appropriately and lawfully.
Use personal protective equipment, when needed.
Before you apply Sterifab, shake it well. This will ensure that its constituent identification crystals are evenly dispersed. There is no need to dilute!
If you are cleaning medical equipment, you may have to apply the disinfectant more than once, to ensure the removal of all bacteria. If you are disinfecting public areas, such as furniture, lockers, cabinets, carpets, seats, waiting rooms, administrative offices, etc, you may not have to use quite as much Sterifab as you do in, say, an operating room. Use your judgment.
One of the many advantages of Sterifab is that it becomes completely inactive after it has dried (which generally takes 15-20 minutes). So, even if you are spraying it on upholstered furniture, it is effectively gone within a short space of time. No need to quarantine waiting rooms or reception areas for hours at a time.
As for the actual amount of Sterifab you should use on any given object, use your judgment. A chair in a waiting area or a support staff office will obviously not need the amount demanded by a piece of medical equipment. But, while we’re on the subject of quantity, your average upholstered chair will need about 10-12 ounces to get the disinfecting job done. A gallon of Sterifab will clean 8-10 pieces of upholstered furniture, while the 5-gallon container can decontaminate 40-50 pieces.
Do you have rented medical equipment at your home? It, too, can be a home to pests. Learn how to keep it clean.