Hygiene for Immunosuppressed
WHEN HYGIENE BECOMES MISSION CRITICAL
Microbes are all around us and it doesn’t matter whether you have a large family, live alone, have pets, or otherwise, microbes are continually introduced into your home. The good news is that most of these microbes are harmless and of little or no concern. In fact, some of them are even necessary to our own anatomical microbiome and provide us with a defense against allergens.
But there are other particles and microbes that can enter your home and they are not helpful or harmless…
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly brought the topic of harmful microbes to the forefront, but did you know that the Norovirus bug is one of the leading causes of outbreaks of diarrhea and vomiting in the US. This virus spreads very rapidly and is contracted through person-to-person contact with an infected person or by touching infected surfaces such as door, toilet, and faucet handles. Norovirus particles can even float through the air and then settle on surfaces, spreading contamination.
This virus’s particles are extremely small and billions of them are in the stool and vomit of infected people. People can transfer norovirus to others for at least three days after being sick and the particles can survive on surfaces for two weeks. Cleaning and decontaminating surfaces are critical in order to remove and destroy the virus.
Clostridioides difficile (C. diff.), is another pathogen, albeit this one can cause an even more serious life-threatening diarrhea. Those most at risk are people 65 and older who take antibiotics and receive medical care, people staying in hospitals and nursing homes for a long period of time, and people with weakened immune systems or previous infection with C. Difficile.
In 2017 alone, there were an estimated 223,900 cases in hospitalized patients and 12,800 deaths in the United States.
Some people can encounter C. diff. germs — and even carry them on, or in, your body — and not get sick. But that doesn’t mean you can’t infect others. C. diff. can survive on dry environmental surfaces from several hours to years and serve as a source of hand, glove, and clothing contamination. That’s why any environmental cleaning and disinfection practices must consider that studies have shown shedding of C. diff bacteria up to 6 weeks after the resolution of diarrhea.
Even in homes full of strong, healthy bodies, pathogens like those above are considered dangerous. In homes with individuals with suppressed immune systems or chronic illnesses, the effects of harmful pathogens and microbes and poor air quality are even more serious.
These individuals are more susceptible to infections because they have suppressed immune systems due to illness or medication, or a variety of other reasons. This is particularly the case with cancer patients, where it’s important to do everything possible to lower the risk of infections including managing down the level of dust-borne particles that may contain toxic chemicals from cleaning products, pesticides, furnishings, and various other sources.
In these cases, our product and service methodology builds upon a targeted hygiene approach, where we seek to lower the risk of getting an infection by breaking the cycle of infection transmission. We accomplish this by identifying the daily life tasks and situations where germ transmission dangers arise and then taking specific actions to avoid the likelihood of this happening.
Here at Level One, we understand that there is no one-and-done, miracle solution for purifying your home. Our products and services help maintain hygiene over long-term time periods when used properly and regularly. Likewise, some of our customers use our targeted hygiene solutions to help prepare a temporary dwelling while undergoing outpatient treatments and again when they return home.