Dr. Mark Povroznik Talks Three Most Common Area Illnesses, How to Best Rid Environments of Bacteria
Dr. Mark Povroznik, chief quality officer at United Hospital Center, recently explained the hospital’s new state-of-the-art method of zapping germs.
But, of course, not everyone has X pulsed xenon (UV) light-equipped robots at their disposal.
With boomerang-like weather conditions, the onset of spring is still a time of sickness and bacteria lingers. Povroznik shared some practices for ridding the home of bacteria and thus preventing or decreasing illness.
Your best bet for germ-zapping equipment might just be your vacuum cleaner. It not only removes dust and dust particles, but also cells that we shed from our hair and skin on a daily basis.
“We don’t like to think about that because it grosses us out, but they have bacteria, too,” Povroznik said.
When someone in the household is sick, make an extra effort to wipe down common surfaces like counter tops, door knobs, light switches and bathrooms.
“When kids have the flu, every time they sneeze they are spreading those bacteria all over the house,” Povroznik said. “You are keeping the bioburdens as light as possible when you remember to wipe those surfaces down.”
A beach-based product is very effective for a variety of bacteria, he said.
Although you’ve heard it a thousand times, hand washing – thorough hand washing – is a must for preventing the spread of germs.
“They key to hand washing is doing it effectively,” Povroznik said. “People sometimes think rubbing their palms together is hand washing, but to do it right, make sure you’re washing around your wrists, getting the area under your nails clean, in between fingers and around the thumb.”
There are a trio of viruses that have been prominent.
The Norovirus – also known as the winter vomiting bug – was rampant a month or so ago, but has started to calm down, Povroznik said.
But on the heels of that came RSV – a respiratory virus which is problematic in kids, but not so much adults, he said.
“Kids can get a high fever and respiratory illness, especially if (the child) has an underlying asthma condition, it can be really hard on them and if infant babies get it, it can be really difficult,” Povroznik said.
Children age 5 or 6 have less symptoms and those in the 10-12-age range may not even recognize they have it, he said.
The third virus which has been seen in big numbers is the flu.
“I wouldn’t say we’re out of it yet, but we are heading over the mountain as far as our peak,” Povroznik said.
It’s important to remember that flu bacteria can survive an entire day on common hard surfaces, reinforcing the fact that immediate and frequent cleaning is necessary.
MRSA bacteria can live up to an entire week on surfaces and C. diff can survive in spore form for as long as five months.
“There are lots of things that accumulate in our environment that we don’t know about,” Povroznik said. “Everyone likes to think of any infection as hospital-acquired, but we need to start believing that healthcare-associated and urgent care facilities, doctor’s offices, bathrooms in the places we shop – anywhere we go – all of those environments share the same bacteria.”