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A Guide to Antimicrobials in Healthcare and Hospitals in 2020

By Team Altus | Published Jul 01, 2020 | 7 MIN READ

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) impact nearly 1.7 millionpeople each year in American hospitals. Approximately 5% of patients admitted to the hospital contract on HAI costing the U.S. healthcare system nearly $21 billion to $34 billion per year. The patient environment has a big impact on the patient’s overall wellbeing, just as much as the care provided by the nurse.

Cleaning routines and guidelines have been put in place such as new technologies built into materials used in the healthcare environment that inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. Antimicrobial healthcare products are products that remain cleaner in between cleanings and reduce the spread of bacteria on surfaces. When choosing materials for healthcare, it’s important antimicrobial technologies are added at the point of manufacturing so they will not wash off or wear away.

When used appropriately, antimicrobials improve patient outcomes, reduces microbial resistance and reduces the spread of HAIs. When misused or overused, infectious organisms learn to adapt to antimicrobials and antimicrobials become ineffective failing to kill the infectious organism. Infected patients have a higher chance of staying at the hospital longer or worse, die as a result of the infection. Keep reading to learn more about antimicrobials in healthcare and hospitals.

Antimicrobial vs. Antibacterial

Although “antimicrobial” and “antibacterial” are often interchanged, there is a distinct difference.

Antimicrobial is an agent that either inhibits growth or destroys microorganisms. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is an example. Antimicrobial agents prevent the spread of bacterial, fungi, parasites and some viruses.

Antibacterial is an agent that either inhibits growth or destroys bacteria. Soap and detergents are some examples. Antibacterial agents prevent the development of bacteria.

Antimicrobial products and agents can kill bacteria and microorganisms whereas antibacterial is limited to bacteria.

Antimicrobial Resistance

Recognized as one of the biggest threats to human health across the world, antimicrobial resistance occurs when infectious organisms learn to adapt to antimicrobials. This natural ability for bacteria to evolve genetically and defend themselves against antibiotics causes once-powerful drugs and cleaners to become useless.

Antimicrobial Resistance Facts

Myth: Antimicrobials are COVID-19 Virus Elimination Agents

Fact: Antimicrobials do not protect against the COVID-19 virus. But they do protect against Strep, E-coli, etc.

Using Antimicrobials as a Second Line of Defense

Although antimicrobials cannot eliminate the COVID-19 virus from surfaces, they can act as a second line of defense. Built-in antimicrobial materials in healthcare products can support antibiotic resistance prevention efforts. Antimicrobial products paired with appropriate cleaning and disinfecting leaves fewer room for growth of bacteria, that means fewer organisms in the healthcare environment that patients and caregivers may encounter.

Antimicrobials in Healthcare Products

Antimicrobials should be incorporated in healthcare products at the point of manufacturing to make sure they don’t wash off or wear away. Antimicrobial technology can be incorporated in materials including plastics, coatings, textiles and thermofoil.

As a workstation supplier for healthcare, Altus’ core value has always been to put the customer first. This means reliable products that support their clinicians and ultimately their patients. Altus medical carts and wall-mounts are built with the same components of antimicrobials. Our worksurfaces are able to be disinfected with EPA approved disinfectants against COVID-19.

Altus & EPA Approved COVID-19 Disinfectants

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently published a guide on disinfectants that meet its criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Below are some of the approved disinfectants that have shown to have no discoloration or damage to the finish on Altus 3D laminate worksurfaces.

  • Agar™ Powerquat
  • Asepticare™
  • Asepticare™ TB-II
  • AVISTAT-D™ Ready To Use Spray Disinfectant Cleaner
  • Biotrol BirexSE®
  • Bleach 1:5 (20% bleach)
  • Bleach-Rite® Disinfecting Spray
  • CaviCide™
  • CaviCide™ AF
  • Citrace® germicide
  • Clorox® Broad Spectrum Quaternary Disinfectant Cleaner
  • Clorox® Healthcare Bleach Germicidal Cleaner
  • Clorox® Healthcare Bleach Germicidal Wipes
  • Clorox® Healthcare Dispatch® Hospital Cleaner Disinfectant with Bleach
  • Clorox® Healthcare EZ-KILL® Wipes
  • Clorox® Healthcare VersaSure® Cleaner Disinfection Wipes
  • Diversey™ Accel® INTERVention® Wipes
  • Diversey™ Accel® TB
  • ERC Performance Wipes
  • FADE-A-DYNE II Recommended Disinfectants*
  • Lysol® Disinfectant Spray
  • McKesson Disposable Germicidal Surface Wipes
  • McKesson Pro-Tech RTU Disinfectant Cleaner
  • Micro-Chem Plus™
  • OPTIM® 1 Wipes
  • OPTIM® 33TB
  • Oxivir® 1 RTU
  • Oxivir® TB
  • PDI Sani-Cloth® AF3 Germicidal Disposable Wipes
  • PDI Sani-Cloth® HB
  • PDI Sani-Cloth® Plus
  • PDI Super Sani-Cloth®
  • PDI Super Sani-Cloth® Bleach Germicidal Disposable Wipes
  • Precise Hospital Foam Cleaner Disinfectant
  • Precise QTB Spray
  • Sani-Kleen Broad-Cide 128
  • SaniZide® Plus
  • Santimine 150
  • Virex®II 256
  • Virox AHP 5
  • Wex-Cide 128

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