The next time you visit your loved one in the hospital, be sure and bring a gift that will be of more use to them than a word search and a bouquet of flowers. The gift to which I am referring is none other than the simple tub of disinfecting bleach wipes found at your local supermarket.
Having spent time in and out of the hospital in recent months visiting loved ones, I have found out a few disturbing facts. Over the past few years hospitals are experiencing increased problems with what they call HAI or hospital acquired infections. While there are many different germs that are spreading, hospitals have not shown themselves capable of properly cleaning and disinfecting their rooms. In fact it has gotten so bad that just last year 65 Wisconsin hospitals (761 Nationwide) were in jeopardy of federal sanction for having unacceptable HAI infection rates.
According to Betsy Mccaughey, founder and chairman of RID (Committee for Reducing Infection Deaths), there is a simple proactive remedy to the situation that can be done by both hospitals and the families of patients. Citing a mayo clinic study, Mccaughey points out that when frequently touched surfaces in a patient’s room were disinfected with bleach wipes cdiff (one of the germs that has been spreading the most) was reduced by 79%. In other words, take the time to clean and disinfect properly and you save lives.
Ever since I found this out, I have made it a point to bring disinfecting wipes with me as a gift when I go to visit friends and family in any healthcare setting. Sure, some people might think you are a little germophobic , but I have never had an objection by any hospital staff whatsoever. In fact you will even find staff supportive of your effort.
There is one thing that is extremely important ,however, to keep in mind when choosing disinfecting wipes. While I am a great fan of going green in all cases, disinfecting wipes is not one of them. When you compare ordinary bleach wipes to its green counterpart you will find a decrease in effectiveness that is readily apparent when you read the label. For example, while both products will say that they kill 99.9% of germs, the real concern is not the killing of the germs but the TIME it takes to do it. If you have ever wondered why the CDC loves bleach it is because it kills germs the fastest. Regular bleach wipes will kill the 99.9% of germs in 4 minutes constant surface exposure. Green wipes on the other hand require you keep the surface exposed for 10 whole minutes!
So the next time you visit someone in the hospital make sure you bring some disinfecting wipes and show how much you care by doing a little cleaning!