COVID-19 and Cleaning:
First we need to understand how viruses are made up and how they are spread. Then we can react appropriately to kill/limit and stop transmission.
Due to the worlds current situation we will focus on COVID-19. Without going in to too much science (as I’m not a scientist) COVID19 is made up of a protein molecule (DNA) and enclosed in a lipid (fat) which, when absorbed by the cells of the ocular, nasal or buccal mucosa, changes their genetic code (mutation) and turns them into aggressor and multiplier cells.
Currently there is NOTHING on the market that can state it 100% can destroy COVID-19, and there is no vaccine, however there are many medicines, products and practices that are thought to help limit its growth or destroy it. Including viricides, soap and water, sodium hypochlorite and alcohol gels which all work with other similar viruses. The easier it is to destroy depends on a few factors including temperature, humidity, and its environment.
The key to destroying the virus lies in breaking up the lip that surrounds the protein. This is why alcohol and soap and water (not together) are very good. Washing your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds in soap and water, creating a nice foam and scrubbing vigorously will break up the lip layer and cause the protein to disperse and break down on its own. Hand wash and gels containing over 65% alcohol (generalisation of propanol and ethanol) will immediately destroy the lipid layer and again cause the protein to breakdown.
The addition of hot water in any cleaning practice will aid and speed up the cleaning as the heat breaks down the lip layer much quicker.
Many of the virucides used to treat COVID-19 are made up of Quaternary ammoniums (quats). Quats are used widely across the world for sanitation in a wide range of environments. They are used from veterinary clinics to NHS theatres and from sanitising outdoor parks to cleaning render and roofs (which is initially when I first encountered them).
Quats destroy viruses by puncturing the cell wall and breaking down the lipid layer just like soap and water and alcohol gels do. It is safe to use on most surfaces as it contains no oxidising agents like bleach and is not corrosive like acids. Furthermore, biocides can be left on the majority of surfaces (environment dependant) and will continue to work and prevent bacteria or virus growth.
Other methods recommend by WHO include using a sodium hypochlorite solution (bleach) of 0.1% (1000ppm) which will disinfect a surface completely. Surfaces must be rinsed thoroughly after 10 mins contact time. We apply this cleaning method to outside and internal floors due to its corrosive factor, and always rinse with fresh water.
COVID-19 can survive on a range of surfaces ranging from 3hrs up to 72hrs until it finds a host (us). It is very stable in low temperatures and requires moisture to survive therefore we must be aware that it can be on almost any item we touch and is not contracted solely from human to human.
Signs and symptoms:
Symptoms are flu like and often include fever, dry cough, fatigue, and shortness of breath. Wider symptoms can include sneezing, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, and diahorea.
As with most infections there is a delay from picking up the infection to displaying symptoms (incubation period). The incubation period for COVID-19 is five to six days but can range from two to fourteen hence why we have a fourteen-day isolation period if we come into contact with someone who has tested positive.
97.5% will develop symptoms will show within 11.5 days of infection.
The disease can vary from person to person, some will show little or no symptoms and recover within two weeks whilst those with underlying issues or severe or critical illness may take three to six weeks to recover or death.
Children are susceptible but are likely to show very mild symptoms. In those under 50 the risk of death currently is 0.5% while those over 70 it is more than 8%.
COVID-19 specifically attacks the lungs due to the cells in the human body that are found there, often causing pneumonia and in severe cases acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), leading to many other complications from sepsis to organ failure.
Immunity is not known, however based on previous studies and outbreaks in coronavirus it is likely we will build some kind of immunity,
Prevention, isolation and social distancing:
As we all know through gritted teeth, we are currently in semi lockdown, no travel, working from home where we can, and no seeing families. Holidays and large social gatherings are a distant memory.
WHO and individual governments have strongly agreed that isolation (if you are suffering symptoms or in contact with someone) and social distancing will help flatten the curve, saving lives and putting less strain on our NHS. These actions DO WORK, and that is why it is essential everyone must stick to them, the longer people flout these rules the longer the pandemic will go on. I for one, need a holiday! I’m sure you all do too.
People who continue to work can aid in preventing transmission by washing hands regular and social distancing if they can, if that is not possible (key workers) then face masks and disposable gloves aid massively. Please avoid touching your face, your mouth and your eyes as this is the main entry for the virus.
Pet hate here:
Wearing gloves to the supermarket does not help unless you are doing it correctly! Disposable gloves are called ‘DISPOSABLE gloves’ for a reason. They are designed to perform one task and be disposed of, a short life span, therefore not causing cross-contamination from room to room, or supermarket item to supermarket item. Walking around a supermarket and touching every item, then your phone and then your face and then the trolley will still spread the virus regardless as to whether you’re wearing gloves or not. If anything, people seem to think it means they don’t have to wash their hands. Best practice is to just clean your hands regular and do not touch your face. If you can get access to alcohol gel, then even better because you can carry this around with you.
What makes it worse? When people then do not dispose of their gloves correctly and drop them on the floor or leave them in the trolley.
How we are helping:
Here at Absolute Clean we have been working alongside the NHS, Oldham and Manchester Council and a number of schools to aid with their cleaning. We are carrying out full biohazard cleans on a daily basis and this includes fogging rooms afterwards.
We are using the above methods, a sodium hypochlorite solution for exterior cleaning and quats and hydrogen peroxide solutions (Formula 429 and Envirosafe) for the internal cleaning. Both methods we use steam, especially for flooring and all external works.
Our works include full PPE (more than required for day to day activities):
- Disposable nitrile gloves
- Type 5 and 6 (EN1426) suits
- Disposable overshoes
- FFP2 and FFP3 face masks
All single-use items and incinerated on completion of task
Our process includes deep cleaning everything in a room, then a full sanitation clean and steam clean and finally a fog to the room. All soft furnishings are treated and steam cleaned.
To finish a clean we are fogging Formula 429 which will sanitise every surface it comes in to contact with and reach crevices, walls and ceilings.
If you require more information regarding what you can do, or what we can do then contact Neil on 07763713246 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I personally just want to add that the NHS and all key workers are to be commended for such a brilliant job they are doing on a daily basis, working tirelessly around the clock to keep people healthy and supply our country with essentials to survive. Unfortunately, with all things in life there is a small minority that will always let us down but don’t be one of them people and stay safe everyone!
NB – All information was obtained from WHO, Government website, and Medical Journals. I’ve tried to include facts and not theory as of 10/04/2020