hospital hygiene

Three Hospital Hygiene Strategies That Can Help Protect Your Home from Germs

Fighting germs is a high priority for hospitals. One in 25 hospital patients pick up diseases that are carried into facilities by other patients, a University of Chicago study has found. To combat this, hospitals deploy an impressive array of effective techniques. The latest is using germicidal robots, which immerse hospital rooms in ultraviolet radiation. Using robots to kill germs has been shown to reduce infections by 49 percent.

You probably can’t afford to buy a germ-killing robot for your home, but some steps hospitals take to protect their staff and patients suggest strategies you can use to keep germs out of your home as well. Here are three strategies hospitals use to fight infection that can help you protect your home from germs.

Practicing Procedures That Protect Against Germs

One strategy hospitals use to fight germs is training staff to follow disinfection and sterilization procedures. These procedures are mandated both by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and by individual hospital policies. For instance, CDC regulations require hospitals to thoroughly clean patient-care devices with water and detergent or enzymatic cleaners prior to high-level sterilization or disinfection procedures. Altogether, the CDC’s disinfection and sterilization guidelines cover 20 different types of procedures, encompassing everything from training hospital staff to re-use of single-use medical devices. Hospitals also follow their own internal policies in addition to federal guidelines.

While it’s not necessary for your household to have procedures this extensive, creating some standard in-house rules can help reduce the spread of germs in your home. For instance, requiring your kids to wash their hands before eating, assigning everyone in the household a different towel and changing toothbrushes every three months are easy steps you can take to contain germs in your home. 

Using Technology to Fight Germs

Aside from germ-fighting robots, another way hospitals use technology to fight germs is by using electronic hand hygiene monitoring systems to make sure employees are complying with hospital hand washing procedures. Hospital employees are required to wash their hands frequently in accordance with stringent policies, but the National Center for Biotechnology Information reports that workers typically only comply with these policies 39 percent of the time. Health care providers such as Centrak produce electronic monitoring equipment which alerts employees when they need to wash their hands and lets employers know when hand-washing guidelines aren’t being followed.

While you probably don’t want to install electronic hand-washing surveillance in your home, there is other technology you can use to help fight domestic germs. For instance, a Dyson Pure Cool Link Tower can remove 99.97 percent of pollutants and allergens from the air in your home, while CleanWave’s sanitizing portable vacuum can remove dirt and kill germs at the same time.

Fighting Infection with Sterile Equipment and Storage

Another way hospitals fight germs is by relying on healthcare manufacturers who follow special procedures to keep their products sterile. For instance, medical seal manufacturer Apple Rubber supplies healthcare providers with sterile o-rings by using special materials such as fluorocarbon, which has temperature- and chemical-resistant properties that promote resistance to germs as well. These o-rings are made in a cleanroom with a dedicated mold inspection perimeter to further ensure a sterile production process. Once sterile equipment is produced, it is shipped in special containers to keep it free of germs during shipment and storage.

You can also keep germs out of your house by paying attention to where you buy products and how they’re shipped and stored. For instance, raw chicken packaging is often contaminated with bacteria. USDA regulations require poultry to be irradiated in packages sold to consumers. Irradiated packages are marked by the presence of a symbol called a Radura along with words such as, “Treated with Radiation,†which you should look for when buying poultry. Keeping your poultry separate from other food during storage and cooking is also a best practice.

Hospitals use extensive procedural, technological, and production and storage strategies to protect their staffs and patients from germs. Extrapolating from these strategies can help reduce the spread of germs in your home and keep you and your family safe.

Armin Brott

View posts by Armin Brott
Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.

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