Infection preventionist says touching infected surfaces can spread flu

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Flu season is a reminder of how easily germs can spread- especially in places where there are a lot of sick people, like hospitals. They can ensure that all areas of the hospital are cleaned thoroughly by testing to see if there are germs present.

But this isn’t just relevant in hospitals. Amber Dellefave, an infection preventionist at Unity Hospital, said they have ways to test for germs on all surfaces.

“When germs settle on a surface they can live on a surface from anywhere up to 48 hours and if you come by and touch that surface and you touch your eye or you touch your mouth or any mucous membrane that’s a portal for entry and then you’ve infected yourself,” Dellefave said.

Dellefave uses a device that tests for adenosine triphosphate, a molecule found in all living matter.

“When we get a reading that tells us there’s biological material on that surface it might be bacteria it might be viruses it might be leftover particles from food, oils, different things like that but all these items have the ability to support bacterial growth,” Dellefave said.

According to Dellefave, safe readings are around 200 and anything that tests higher should be cleaned again. She tested New 8’s microphone, reading around 724. When the microphone was cleaned with a Clorox wipe, the reading was 26.

Dellefave also used a Glo Germ, a tool that shows how quickly germs are spread.

“We’ll go there with the blue light later and show them everywhere that the Glo Germ has spread it really helps them identify everything we’re touching and how easy it is for these to spread even if you’re washing your hands,” Dellefave said.

When Glo Germ is placed on someone’s hand, it shows up on everything they touch. If after they wash their hands, some germs still show up under the light.

“If they’re cleaning their hands well, their hands should be glowing on every single surface,” Dellefave said.

Dellefave says to thoroughly clean a surface, it needs to be disinfected. She recommends wiping up any visible matter, using a disinfectant and following the directions from the manufacturer.

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