The fundamental role of hand-surface-hand transfer has come into sharp focus throughout the pandemic, which is why more regular hand washing has become a permanent fixture in our daily routines. Coupled with varying reports that SARS CoV-2 can last from a few hours, to a few days on hard surfaces, the latest study from Australia’s National Research Agency found infectious SARS CoV-2 alive and well on a range of surfaces after 28 days.
This has culminated in people being more conscious about what they touch and to consider what might lie there. The fact is that this concern should not be limited to SARS CoV-2 as many other day-to-day infections, such as Influenza A H1N1, MRSA, C.difficile, Streptococcus and Staphylococccus, Staphylococcus aureus (Conjunctivitis), Tricophyton mentagrophytes (Athlete’s foot), can be transferred through hand-surface-hand transfer.
Currently, the enhanced cleaning regimes being instigated in schools, will to a degree help to reduce pupil, parent and staff anxiety, along with the risk of hand-surface-hand transfer, for those touching recently cleaned surfaces.
However, for those surface contacts later in the day or between cleans, they are likely to encounter microbes left by other users. This is due to the limited disinfection capability of the moment in time cleaner, which reduces as the surface dries. Once dry, any pathogens landing on the surface will remain alive, well and transferrable between users; think athletes’ foot and changing room floors!
We are all far more aware of these dangers due to today’s pandemic climate, but the same risks and infection transfer routes existed before SARS CoV-2 and will remain afterwards. Often, as with SARS CoV-2, many of these infection transfers will only cause minor infections in healthy adults and children, but they can cause a wave of illness to spread through a school community.
While often there is no need for hospitalisation, there is the knock-on effect of disrupted learning through doctor’s appointments and time off school, along with parents’ increasing need to juggle work and medical appointments.
How can surfaces help to break this unseen cycle of transmission?
This is an issue that the medical profession has been battling with for many years and one that has become increasingly important with the rise of drug-resistant microbes. There are now several ways to create ‘smart surfaces’ that can kill pathogen/microbes on surface contact, one of which is antimicrobial nano-coatings.
Nano coatings have been utilised by many different industries for the last twenty years. They can form a permanently bonded coating on a substrate’s surface, the antimicrobial action of the coating forms a rough surface (invisible to sight or touch) that can puncture the cell wall of viruses, bacteria and fungi.
Through the physical act of puncturing the cell wall, the microbe is rendered ‘dead’ and can no longer replicate or be transferred to a person or another surface. The antimicrobial nano-coating has been independently tested for effectiveness against an extensive range of microbes including SARS CoV-2, Influenza A, E.coli, to name a few.
Its abrasion resistance and on-going antimicrobial activity has led to it being recommended as a year-long treatment. In-situ ATP surface testing in schools also confirms that due to the on-going antimicrobial action of the coating, schools can return to pre-Covid cleaning regimes with confidence.
Application can be through a simple spray and wipe process carried out by your in-house teams or by external contractors, depending on the areas to be treated.
By using Liquid Guard® antimicrobial nano-coating, a constant kill environment for any hard surface is created (i.e. door handles, door push plates, input devices and screens). This breaks the hand-surface-hand transfer, not just of SARS CoV-2 but many other viral and bacterial infections that can travel through school communities like a ‘dose of salts’ 24/7 – 365 days of the year.
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