The Science of Infection Control

How do we break the chain of infection?

1. Will hand washing reduce disease transmission? Yes.
Washing hands properly (with soap, warm water, and friction for 20 seconds) frequently and after exposure to an infected person or object minimizes the opportunity for pathogenic microbes to enter our bodies and will reduce their spread to other people, objects, and surfaces.

2. Will respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette reduce disease transmission? Yes.
a)Cover the nose/mouth with tissue when coughing or sneezing. Coughing into the elbow is an
alternative when tissues are not available

b) Use tissues when possible to capture droplets and dispose of them in a waste receptacle after use.
c) Encourage coughing or sneezing students/staff to leave a 3-foot buffer between themselves and others.

3. Will cleaning reduce disease transmission? Yes. Frequent and correct cleaning of high-risk, high-touch surfaces with the proper equipment removes microbes on surfaces and eliminates the conditions (food and water) that some microbes need to survive. Microfiber cloths and mops are able to capture and remove up to 99% of microbes from nonporous surfaces and objects. Steam cleaning machines can also reduce microbes on surfaces, and spray-and-vac machines can remove microbes and their spores.

4. Will sanitizing reduce disease transmission? Yes. Sanitizing is a process used to reduce but not necessarily eliminate microorganisms from surfaces to levels considered safe as determined by public health codes or regulations. Thus, it can reduce the transmission of some diseases on nonporous surfaces under the right conditions. Sanitizing is required by regulation in food service areas and in childcare centres.

5. Will disinfection reduce disease transmission? Yes. Disinfecting is a process that kills or irreversibly inactivates microbes (bacteria, fungi, and viruses) present on a nonporous surface but does not necessarily kill their spores. The product label identifies which microbes it has been tested to kill or inactivate. Disinfectants are registered by the Environmental Protection Agency as pesticides and are used to destroy or suppress the growth of harmful microorganisms on surfaces. Disinfectants accomplish this by breaking down the microbes’ cell walls or by otherwise deactivating them.