Luigi Jurica Weissbarth, Managing Director at Zidac Laboratories- manufacturer and supplier of hygiene products - discusses how care facilities can stay protected amidst heightened awareness around germs, bacteria and viruses.

It’s needless to say that 2020 has been a year which has drastically transformed how we go about our daily lives. One of the most obvious changes has been the increased vigilance towards personal hygiene, brought on by a newfound awareness around the transmission of germs, bacteria and viruses.

In the care sector, the demand for hand sanitiser and surface cleaners has skyrocketed as operators look to protect their vulnerable residents and workforce. Readily-available hand sanitiser and diligent surface cleaning has never been more essential to stave off harmful infections.

With restrictions on visitors now in place, it’s still just as important to keep care homes safe and clean for the sake of residents. Likewise, when restrictions are liſted, it’s vital that care homes have the right procedures in place.

Now more than ever, the reputation of care facilities rests on their ability to maintain the highest possible hygiene standards. Families will make choices based on where they perceive their loved ones to be safest.

Care homes, like any public space, can be hotbeds for germs and bacteria. It’s been discovered that viruses can stay on surfaces for 1-2 days, meaning constant cleaning of surfaces is a must.

Surfaces that are regularly touched, such as door handles, door bells, sign-in books or screens, should be cleaned regularly with a high-quality antibacterial disinfectant.

The bacteria-fighting properties of disinfectant ensures vulnerable residents are protected from any dangerous germs, bacteria or viruses that may be lying dormant, and should be used alongside good-quality sanitisers.

By placing sanitiser bottles and pumps near high-risk areas, not only does it provide a means for residents and visitors to sanitise, but it also acts as a visual cue; reminding people to cleanse regularly and play their part.

Nothing looks worse than a sanitising station which hasn’t been properly cleaned. Not only is it off-putting, but it can also become a home to nasty germs and bacteria. That’s why it’s advisable to use hands-free dispensers where possible, such as foot-operated pumps. This reduces the chances of pumps becoming contaminated and also visually reassures users.

As simple as it may seem, positioning a sanitising station on entry to a building will do a great deal towards stopping germs spreading around the care home. Along with sanitising on entrance, it’s important to continue to clean or sanitise hands throughout the visit and upon leaving, to kill germs that may have been picked up going to and from visitor spaces.

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With such a plethora of hand sanitisation and disinfectant products on the market, it’s easy to forget that not all products are equal. For sanitiser to be fully anti-microbial (or effective on germs), it must contain at least 70% alcohol- yet, many off-the-shelf sanitisers that are currently being produced do not contain this.

When a sanitiser goes through testing, the manufacturer can find out what percentage of bacteria it will kill. Sanitisers that have gone through correct testing methods will have this statement printed on the bottle, with good quality sanitiser killing 99.9% of germs.

Hygiene products are not created equally, so it’s important to note whether a product has been tested to the right standards. Where possible, it is best to seek labelling proof that a product has been tested at least according to EN 1276 and EN 1500.

Products that have also been tested according to EN

14476 and EN 13727 are suitable for use in medical and contaminated areas, meaning they’ll be more than suitable for hospitality care facilities.

With the use of high-quality products positioned throughout care homes, along with diligent surface cleaning – care homes will be able to drastically reduce the spread of nasty germs, bacteria and viruses. Perhaps just as importantly, this care and diligence will also provide visitors, staff and residents with the peace of mind to feel safe and comfortable in their roles throughout these uncertain times.

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