Category Archives: Hygiene And Infection Control

a sign declaring the national prescription drug take back day

The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Is This Saturday, Oct. 27th of 2018!

This Saturday, Oct. 27th of 2018, the DEA has organized a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day throughout the entire Country. This is one way of helping to deal with the opioid crisis that has been declared a national crisis recently.

MedWaste Management will provide continued coverage of take back event as well as other efforts being made to help with our opioid crisis.

The DEA and Google both provide locators to find your nearest prescription drug take back locations.

Check out The DEA and Google pages below. They contain tools and more info on the ever growing efforts to help people properly dispose of their unused prescription drugs. This is certainly part of the bigger plan to help end the opioid crisis.

DEA’s Prescription Drug Take Back Location Tool

Google’s Prescription Drug Take Back Location Tool

As President Trump signed legislation providing resources to help end our opioid crisis, representatives of companies pledging to help stood behind.

You can watch footage of the President with others discussing our opioid crisis and about the things that our Country is doing to stop it, including prescription drug take back events, and more responsible doctor prescribing.

Behind him stood representatives of companies pledging to help with the crisis. Representatives from Google, Walgreens and CVS were there, among others, promoting tools to help dispose of prescription drugs safely and securely. (22.00 minutes into the video)

We are MedWaste Management – California’s medical waste disposal experts!

Established in 2008, MedWaste Management brings great benefit to the healthcare industry and the general public alike. We publish this blog to to spread useful and practical information to help people stay safe, smart and healthy!

Call us with any questions or to start service at (866) 254-5105. We are always happy to speak!

Check out our services and other great resources in the links below.

Medical Waste Disposal Services 

MedWaste’s Blog Index

Medical Waste Regulations

MedWaste’s Product Store 

Home Generated Medical Waste Drop-Off Points In California

a made bed in a hotel room

Hazards at the Hotel and How to Avoid Them

Are hotels as clean as their lobbies would make you think?

I spend my day trying to minimize people’s exposure to harmful pathogens. Medical settings are required to dispose of waste and keep the area sterilized in very specific and highly regulated ways. But sometimes I need a vacation, and then I can’t help wondering: Who is disinfecting the surfaces I share with a whole lot of strangers OUTSIDE the medical setting?

Can I trust regular hotel housekeeping to keep me and my family safe?

Ideal hotel housekeeping is rigorous and regulated. A good hotel will ideally keep at least three sets of sheets and towels for every room in inventory, so it’s easy to change them, and replace them every time a stain is stubborn or it gets “tired” from washing. In a good hotel, the sheets and towels won’t be older than one year.

ALL linens and towels should be replaced between guests, even if the bed appears unused. They should be laundered at high temperatures, with harsher chemicals than you would use at home. A really great hotel will wash the blankets and bedspreads too.

All solid surfaces should be wiped down with appropriate cleaners and disinfectants. The bathroom should be mopped, the bathtub filled with a cleanser, scrubbed, and emptied again. Carpets should be vacuumed, perhaps treated for odor. A good hotel will use just the right amount of chemicals. The scent of excessive disinfectant or perfume is just as bad as a musty or smoky scent for a guest.

The only things a guest should find in the room are the hotel-issued amenities. Whatever has been used, should be switched, and cleaned before going into a room again. (Think: Coffeemaker) The fridge, microwave, drawers and cupboards should be cleaned as well.

A good hotel will ideally keep at least three sets of sheets and towels for every room in inventory.

Rooms should be cleaned every day. That way, if one spot is missed, it will be caught promptly, so dirt or dust doesn’t accumulate. On top of that, a good housekeeping supervisor will create time to get to more obscure assignments that are easily overlooked, like dusting the tops of picture frames, or checking the irons to make sure they work. A good supervisor will only consider a room “ready” when it has been cleaned AND inspected to make sure nothing was overlooked.

Every couple of months, each room should be more deeply cleaned: Mattress aired and flipped over, drapes laundered, furniture cleaned, and carpet steamed.

Depending on who the previous occupant was and how well the room was disinfected, you can catch anything from scabies to a norovirus through contact with contaminated surfaces. (Just to give you an idea- the amount of norovirus particles that fit on the head of a pin would be enough to infect more than 1,000 people.)

Think about these 9 useful tips before your next hotel stay.

So here are 9 tips to avoid infection during your hotel stay.

1 – Pack Smart:

Handy items are a travel-size Lysol disinfectant spray, alchohol (or other disinfecting) wipes, slippers, and clear plastic bags.

2 – Inspect your room before you unpack:

Take a look around. Check the floor, bedding and furniture for stains, hairs, crumbs and debris. Check for mold and mildew in the bathroom and look over the toiletries- they should all be sealed.

Peel back the fitted sheet and check the mattress for signs of bedbugs: dried blood stains, tiny white eggs, or transparent/yellow bedbug skin or shells.

You can also use a cheap bed bug trap- supermarkets sell them. Put the trap under the mattress, (following instructions on the packaging). Check back after an hour. Until you are sure the bed is safe to sleep in, don’t sit on it or put personal belongings on it.

Check the vents and the bathroom fan. Sniff for stange smells, or dust and debris around the ducts that can aggravate allergies or affect your breathing. Also, note if there is a stale smell of cigarettes in a non-smoking room.

The previous guest may have decided to smoke in it anyway.

3 – Wash your hands:

80 percent of infections are transmitted by hands. A lot of people have touched the doorknob, elevator button, stair railing, etc. It’s a good practice to eliminate pathogens on your hands before you eat, drink, touch your face- or contaminate other surfaces in the room.

4 – Sanitize:

Start with the bathroom- it’s the most germy. Use a tissue to lift the toilet seat and spray both sides of the seat with Lysol. Then use alchohol wipes on frequently-touched surfaces: the flush lever, the faucets, doornknobs, drawer handles, light switches, the phone, clock radio, and the remote control. Because the remote control has many crevices, it’s a good idea to simply slide it into a clear plastic bag and use that as a protective cover.

5 – Avoid water glasses:

They are often poorly sterilized between guests. (Sometimes they are just given a quick scrub in the bathroom sink and then placed back on the counter as if they were new.) Either bring your own cup, use the disposable wrapped plastic cups, or wash glasses/mugs with hand soap and hot water and leave them open-side up to dry. The same goes for ice buckets without plastic liners.

6 – Avoid skin contact with surfaces:

Hands off the drapes. They trap a lot of debris and allergens, and the germs build up over time. Be fully clothed when sitting on chairs or  on the sofa.

The carpet isn’t likely to have been sterilized since the last guest. Wear socks or slippers and use shower shoes in the bathroom. If your room has a hard floor it is a bit safer; floors are cleaned more frequently.

7 – Put away the Bedspread:

You are not likely to catch a norovirus from the bedding, but it may be full of allergens or just plain dirty. If there’s a bedspread, put it away in a corner. It’s not likely to have been washed or changed recently. A duvet is a bit safer. Keep the top sheet between you and the cover and fold the sheet over the edge to keep your chin covered as well. Also, for an additional barrier and protection, use a bug repellent like BugBand towelettes or essential oils (lemon, peppermint, rosemary and citronella repel bugs.)

8 – Take a Careful Shower:

Squirt shampoo or soap in the tub or shower and run the water on its hottest setting for a minute to de-germ the area where you will be standing. If you have cuts or abrasions on the bottom of your feet, bandage them or wear slippers. Skipping a bath is recommended due to biofilm, a layer of bacteria that sticks to surfaces like tubs and only comes off with vigorous scrubbing (with a brush) and soap.

9 – Avoid the Drapes!

They trap a lot of debris and allergens.

If you stay at hotels often, you might consider investing in a travel garment steamer. You can use it to steam upholstered surfaces, and even the toilet seat, bedsheets, and parts of the floor. Another useful gadget is a portable UV air sanitizer to get rid of bacteria, mold, dust mites and pet dander in the air.

 

More information on hotel rooms:

http://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/2012/11/27/how-clean-is-your-hotel-room.html

_________

We are MedWaste Management – California’s medical waste disposal experts!

Established in 2008, MedWaste Management brings great benefit to the healthcare industry and the general public alike. We publish this blog to to spread useful and practical information to help people stay safe, smart and healthy!

Call us with any questions or to start service at (866) 254-5105. We are always happy to speak!

Check out our services and other great resources in the links below.

Medical Waste Disposal Services 

MedWaste’s Blog Index

Medical Waste Regulations

Medical Waste Products 

Home Generated Medical Waste Drop-Off Points In California

 

The Importance of Biological Waste Disposal for Doctor’s Offices

You are likely already familiar with the terminology biological waste, and those bright red bags that yell out “handle with caution”. But do you know exactly what is supposed to go inside (and not), and what happens to it once it leaves your office? There are risks associated with the handling of biological waste in doctor’s offices, and severe consequences if not completed correctly.

Biological – or biohazardous – waste is defined as being any waste that contains potentially infectious agents. These are found in any area where human blood and tissues are exposed, such as in your doctor’s office. Some common examples include:

  • Bodily Fluids – This includes amniotic fluid, semen, saliva, pleural fluid and vaginal secretions.
  • Microbiological Waste – Usually the byproducts of laboratory testing, such as live viruses, blood samples, specimen cultures and the devices used to transfer them.
  • Blood Products – Blood, plasma and any other tissues or fluids containing blood residue.
  • Pathological Waste – Pathological waste refers to any organic object that is identifiable as being human in source, such as body parts, tissues and organs.
  • Sharps Waste – Items, such as needles, that not only potentially contain harmful pathogens from biological waste but that also have the potential to pierce skin and transfer those pathogens into the blood stream of another individual.

In 1988, the US Congress enacted the Medical Waste Tracking act, which allowed them to study the methods of medical waste disposal for doctor’s offices and begin regulating it. As a result, all medical waste must now be collected by a company with a specific license for handling hazardous products. They are then held responsible for rendering it harmless by using one of the following methods:

  • Incineration: The EPA estimates that up to 90% of all biohazardous waste is being incinerated. This must be done by a licensed contractor, either on or off of the site where medical waste is collected. Incineration offers many benefits besides sterilizing, such as reducing the overall amount of waste and avoiding having to sterilize it before breaking it down.
  • Autoclaving: When medical waste from doctor’s offices is subject to an autoclave, this usually entails two steps. The first is the sterilization of the waste using intense steam, followed by shredding the materials. This usually allows for the waste to then be disposed of in a typical landfill.

As the administrator for a doctor’s office, you have the responsibility of ensuring that medical waste disposal is being conducted in a manner that reduces its risk to your patients, staff, and the environment. Your optimal choice in guaranteeing this is by working with a professional medical waste disposal company. Not only can a company like MedWaste Management sterilize and destroy medical waste generated inside of your doctor’s office, they can help you to put a system in place for its safe collection and storage.

Protocols – and Why We Appreciate Them (Hint: Ebola.)

When I was hospitalized overnight, I asked a kindly nurse to get something from my bag for me, as I was confined in bed. She stuck her hand into the pocket, rummaged around- and gasped when she got pricked by a brand-new, never-used flexible acupuncture needle that had gotten out of its packaging somehow. (That’s not what I was asking her to get… no comment on the contents of my bag.)
I reassured her that I have no communicable diseases, am not a drug user, and the needle was never used, to no avail.
She and I both had to get our blood taken and sent to the lab.
Hospital protocol.
This happened a couple years ago. At the time, I was sort of annoyed. Today, I would’ve been vying for that blood test just as keenly as she was.
There is currently an Ebola outbreak. To recap: Ebola is a hemorrhagic fever that strikes like worst imaginable flu and kills about 70 percent of its victims. Since 1976, there have only been about 20 known Ebola outbreaks. The total sum of deaths from Ebola, until now, was 1,548 deaths. It never got very far, beyond some isolated and remote areas in Africa.
The 2014 outbreak is remarkable because the virus has spread to nine countries within a year of it being identified, including the USA, and has already infected more than 20,000 people. That is over four times the sum total of all previous outbreaks combined.
In the USA, chances are good for recovery, and chances are still very slim for catching Ebola, since it is not airborne and is transmitted mainly through direct contact with infected bodily fluids.
There is no cure for Ebola. The best offense in this case is a watertight defense, which includes containing the virus where it hits, and managing contamination from medical waste. That’s partly our job- medical waste disposal companies.
You probably don’t need to worry about Ebola as you go about your day… but I did want to say, that we, your medical waste management companies, are sticking religiously to protocols about biohazardous waste disposal, sharps disposal, and all other medical waste disposal.
We’re doing our little bit to keep everybody safer.
So the next time you begin to get annoyed when someone sticks to unnecessary protocol, remember that there is some reason for protocol. Protocols were not created to annoy people and waste time. At least, not medical waste disposal protocols. They were probably very necessary when they were first put into place, and you may find yourself grateful for them… like maybe tommorrow.
You can check out our other blog articles about how to safely dispose of needles, and other biohazardous waste disposal tips, below.

In a single year, an estimated 20 million people, globally, acquired HBV infections from unsafe MEDICAL injections.

blog post 8To me this is a rather scary number. The amount of people injured from unsafe injections and acquired HBV infections is 20 million, and that’s just the beginning. This calculation hasn’t factored in people getting pricked from used needles and other such outbreaks related to Bloodborne Pathogens and unsafe needle use and disposal.  In fact risks may go unreported; 35 hepatitis OUTBREAKS from healthcare settings were reported to the CDC from 2008 to 2012 and furthermore  one outbreak can affect THOUSANDS of people; 35 outbreaks resulted in the notification of more than 100,000 people who needed to be tested for hepatitis. Healthcare workers often do NOT report their sharps injuries; estimates of under-reporting are 22% to 99%.

Now some of these injuries and accident are possibly unavoidable, no matter how much laws, regulations and safeguards are in place accidents can always occur, however, everyone can do their part to help these number decrease, and the first step is knowing and being able to recognize and correct unsafe situations before an accident occurs. The key to this is the OSHA Training program, which is designed to explain and insure that you know everything necessary to stay safe and compliant.

Our OSHA Compliance program is a comprehensive, user friendly program that will train and certify you and your employees in OSHA compliance. In addition it provides step by step instructions and the ability to create a working safety plan, perform safety audits, search and save MSDS’s, ICD’s and more.

For more information visit our OSHA Training page

 

BLOODBORNE INFECTIOUS DISEASES: HIV/AIDS, HEPATITIS B, HEPATITIS C

 blog post 5

Overview

Exposures to blood and other body fluids occur across a wide variety of occupations. Health care workers, emergency response and public safety personnel, and other workers can be exposed to blood through needlestick and other sharps injuries, mucous membrane, and skin exposures. The pathogens of primary concern are the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV). Workers and employers are urged to take advantage of available engineering controls and work practices to prevent exposure to blood and other body fluids.

for more info http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/bbp/

“Three million injuries are three million too many”

“Three million injuries are three million too many,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.

Check out the full article on OSHA’s proposed rule to decrease the number of workplace injuries in the future.

https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=25047