Bacterial resistance is a growing concern around the world. The World Health Organisation and the UK’s National Health Service, for example, have both raised their concerns about bacterial resistance. As it becomes more and more of an issue, the question has to be asked – how this will affect our levels of cleanliness and our preferred cleaning practices? This article will explore what bacterial resistance is and how it has come to influence the way we clean our businesses.
What is Bacterial Resistance?
The vast majority of bacteria is either harmless to humans with many strains of bacteria beneficial to our lives. However, there are some which are harmful and can make us extremely ill. If the more dangerous bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, then illnesses like pneumonia and tuberculosis for example can be fraught with complications. Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is common in many different countries around the world. It does not matter if it is a high-tech city hospital or a small village hospital or health centre; bacterial resistance can happen anywhere antibiotics are used to treat patients.
Bacterial resistance is caused by bacteria becoming resistant to the antibiotics which are administered to kill them. This process is natural and to be expected. These bacteria then breed and create more bacteria with a stronger resistance to the antibiotics. Infections they cause are then harder to treat, and people or animals infected run a higher risk of becoming ill. Doctors and researchers are aware of this resistance and thus spend a lot of time developing new antibiotics to combat this threat.
However, the over-issue and misuse of antibiotics is exacerbating bacterial resistance faster than researchers can fight it. Without action, antibiotics are quickly going to become useless; now-easily treated illnesses could become potential killers again. If we do not want to be forced into retrograde steps back both medically and scientifically, the need to develop anti-bacterial agents that do not use antibiotics is crucial.
There is also increasing concern over the use of hand sanitisers in high-risk areas like hospitals. It has been noted that, upon installing sanitiser stations before wards, some bacterial infections did decrease, but others increased tenfold. Researchers have now warned that certain bacteria are becoming more tolerant to the antibiotics present in the hand sanitiser; meaning although the bacteria are not yet resistant, the hand sanitiser is slowly becoming less effective. If the sanitiser is to have a continued use, one needs to be developed which is just as effective at antibacterial cleaning while not containing antibiotics.
How Good Cleaning Practices Help
While medical experts look for scientific ways to contest this threat, there are some actions business owners can take to minimise their own risk and the risks to their staff. There is a worry that over-diluting chemical cleaning products can lead to bacterial resistance. Therefore, it is important to use cleaning products with a safe but high disinfectant concentration for maximum cleanliness. In doing so, there will be a higher success rate in killing the bacteria without allowing it to breed and evolve.
Following basic hygiene and sanitation guidelines will also help. It might sound silly to discuss it with your staff, but with one in three people still not washing their hands after using the toilet, hand-washing should be top of any basic hygiene list. Make your employees aware of these procedures.
With a rise in the use of hand sanitisers, people think they can skip hand washing. This assumption is far from the truth. As mentioned previously, bacteria are becoming more tolerant towards alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Using only hand sanitizer is detrimental to proper hygiene. Washing your hands with a good soap under running water is still the most effective measure to prevent the spread of bacteria. If everyone in the office follows this practice, then the bacteria won’t be able to spread as quickly.
Food poisoning is also a prevalent but preventable path to being affected by bacterial antibiotic resistance. Make sure you follow good hygiene practices when preparing raw food, make sure all food is heated to correct temperatures and use a kitchen-safe, highly-concentrated cleaning spray. By minimising risk, you are ensuring you do not need to take antibiotics; therefore you will stay safe from bacterial resistance. Even if you don’t work in food service, you should still consider these tips when preparing your own food in the office.
For businesses, regular cleaning of communal areas is another must. If you have toilets or a shared kitchen, these must be cleaned at least once daily with an additional deep-clean once a week. Take care of your rubbish and make sure it is stowed away correctly so it cannot come into contact with germ-carrying vermin.
Pests like cockroaches, rodents and flies can seriously accelerate the spread of bacteria. Coming into contact with these creatures or their droppings can be hazardous to the health of your employees. Don’t give them a chance to enter and breed in your office.
Clean offices make for happier, more productive employees. When bacteria and sickness spread, you’ll find that productivity takes a dip. Debris on keyboards, carpets, desks and shared equipment should be dealt with as soon as possible, as this is another area in which bacteria can grow. By establishing and maintaining a clean working environment, morale will improve exponentially, as no one wants to work in a dirty office.
These might seem like basic guidelines, but they all too often they are ignored. Bacterial resistance is on the rise, there is no doubt about it, but everyone can help drive off the illnesses that put people at risk from it. When it comes to fighting bacterial resistance, the everyman’s best protection is good hygiene.
Are you a business owner looking for a professional and thorough cleaning contractor? Regional Services offer a variety of cleaning services for businesses of all sizes. To find out how we can best help you, contact us today.