Ultraviolet Radiation Devices Help Keep You Safe

Ultraviolet Radiation Devices Help Keep You Safe

Infection Prevention Week takes place each year during one week in October, but the importance of protecting ourselves from infection should take place every day.

Carolyn Fiutem, Infection Prevention Officer, explains how TriHealth is using ultraviolet radiation devices to make our hospital environments safer for you. 

What Are Ultraviolet Radiation Devices?

For more than a year, ultraviolet radiation devices have been used at both Bethesda North and Good Samaritan hospitals for all precaution rooms. When patients have multidrug resistant organisms, influenza or clostridium difficile (c. diff), their rooms go through the regular cleaning and disinfection. “Once the room is inspected, we bring these units into the room where they run for 15 to 20 minutes,” Carolyn explains. “They irradiate every visible surface in that room to kill the organisms, including spores on the surfaces.” 

The units were brought in to help with c. diff, and in one year, c. diff cases have been reduced by more than 50 percent. The units also remove:

  • MRSA
  • VRE
  • Norovirus
  • Influenza
  • ESBL
  • CRE

According to Carolyn, when patients were in rooms where those organisms were present, even when appropriately cleaned and disinfected, they had an 85 percent chance of picking up those organisms from a previous patient. 

The technology used is not new, and has been used for years in both water systems and clinical research labs. “This is a new application of an existing technology,” Carolyn says. “In the future, we are hoping to expand the use of the units to all procedure rooms, operation rooms, and every discharge.”

Infection Prevention Habits:

Outside of a hospital environment, there are also things you can do on a daily basis to help protect yourself from infection. The most important thing you can do is wash your hands and use alcohol hand gel. 

Wash your hands throughout the day, and after daily tasks, including:

  • Handling raw meat
  • Using the bathroom
  • Taking care of someone who is sick
  • Working outside

Also, clean common surfaces that people frequently come in contact with, including:

  • Keyboards
  • Door knobs
  • Phones

Having facial tissues and alcohol hand gel available for you and visitors will help prevent the spread of germs.

Tags Wellness and Fitness

Last Updated: October 25, 2013