Why we need “Door Handle Sanitisers”

Why we need “Door Handle Sanitisers”

  • Post published:July 7, 2020

We are all faced with an unprecedented threat

“We are all faced with an unprecedented threat from this virus and anything that helps save lives by slowing down the spread of this virus needs to be deployed. This product can play a major role in helping all concerned agencies and bodies involved in the fight against the Covid-19 virus to flatten the curve.”  

“We believe this simple but very effective system, that automatically disinfects door handles each time they are used, has a significant role to play in reducing the impact that contaminated door handles play in the spread of disease and viruses such as Covid-19.

“The great advantage of our system is that it is automatic. It is something that is activated as the door is used. The impact of washing your hands can be undone if immediately afterwards you touch a contaminated door handle. Clean door handles are essential, as they keep clean hands clean. This device is designed to support well-established international hand hygiene best practices of washing and gelling your hands correctly.”

Brian Cunningham, CEO of Clever Hygiene Solutions Ltd.

Door Handle Sanitisers

In every possible setting, the home, public buildings, schools, offices, restaurants, cruise ships and health care facilities, when we talk about good hygiene practices and/or infection control we cannot ignore Door Handles and there role in the spread of germs.

Door handles are the most commonly touched surface in any building and as such they become critical contact points. They can cause infections by harbouring millions of harmful germs and bacteria such as E.coli, Staphylococcus, Aureas, MRSA, Norovirus as well as fungal and viral infections. According to Dr. James Steckelberg a consultant in the Division of Infectious Diseases and a professor of medicine at Mayo Medical School 

“Cold and flu germ-laden droplets may remain infectious for several hours, depending on where they fall. Germs generally remain active longer on stainless steel, plastic and similar hard surfaces than on fabric and other soft surfaces. Other factors, such as the amount of virus deposited on a surface and the temperature and humidity of the environment, also determine how long cold and flu germs stay active outside the body.

Door handles in Public toilets are potentially the worst offenders and therefore present the highest risk and given the volume of people who are likely to use such facilities, the likelihood of picking up some harm full bacteria or common virus is shared by every person who is using such facilities.

Washing your hands, of course, is the best way to stop the spread of germs but if you have to touch the door handle to get out of the restroom or the door handle of any communally used room, you will almost certainly undo some or all of the good you achieved during your original hand washing exercise.

We must therefore conclude that all the evidence points to the fact that although one may have followed the correct protocol, cleaned their hands thoroughly before leaving the restroom, if the person or persons who went before you did not then the most likely scenario is that you will recontaminate your hands when you exit the facility.

Touching a contaminated door handles not only puts the individual user at risk but also has the added effect of turning that individual into a vector for the further spread of potentially harmful germs throughout a building. A recent study on how 

“How quickly viruses can contaminate buildings — from just a single door knob” 

which was presented at an American Society for Microbiology showed the results of planting a harmless bug ( which replicated the actions of the Norovirus) on a single door knob in an office used by 80 employees. The study was able to prove that infections could spread from a single door handle to 50 per cent of the workforce within 120 minutes.

The only way to mitigate against such risks in to ensure that the door handle remains germ and virus free. The Clever Hygiene Solutions Ltd. Door handle sanitiser is proven to reduce the contamination levels on the door handle to negligible levels. The graph below shows the dramatic effect after the installation of the system on several of the door handles in a Dublin university. 

The study into a sample of door handles

The Hospital study contrasted contaminants on door handles when the system was in use and not operational.  Dr Ronnie Russell said:

“The study into a sample of door handles from different locations within the hospital (Toilet doors in the main but also included gym entrance, sluice door, clean linen room and patient-side door) clearly show that the handle hygiene system is effective in delivering sanitiser to door handles, resulting in negligible levels of contamination.”

There can be very few individuals at this stage who are not acutely aware of the role of handwashing and sanitising in healthcare. It is a critical activity in breaking the spread of infection from contact surfaces to self, to others or to further contact surfaces. However, handwashing is not possible after every contact but it is only one of a number of infection control measures deployed in healthcare. Contact surfaces themselves require regular cleaning and disinfecting to reduce the risk of spreading infection. 

Such cleaning and disinfection occurs only at intervals (which may be hours or even days) yet recontamination of the surfaces is always ongoing. Prime examples of heavily used contact surfaces are door handles and push-plates. Scientific studies have shown how pathogenic microbes can spread throughout a facility via these, coming from, for example, a heavily used toilet or an infected individual or contaminated cleaning cloths. 

Many doors cannot be opened without making contact with a handle. It is agreed that it is a serious problem in many situations and various approaches have been taken to address this, ranging from fitting automatic doors to replacing all handles and push plates with copper fittings. This can be a quite expensive undertaking.

Handle Hygiene offers a simple and effective means to deliver a pulse of disinfectant to the handle each time the door closes i.e. after each time the handle is re-contaminated. 

This constant disinfecting after use is more than even the most frequent and diligent hospital cleaning routine can hope to achieve and should be considered as another measure in achieving infection control. 

The efficacy of the Handle Hygiene system in reducing the microbiological load on these surfaces has been demonstrated in trials in a number of healthcare facilities.

Could it be that the days of washing ones hands, only to re-contaminate them on a dirty handle, are over?”

Dr Ronnie Russell of Moyne institute of Preventive Medicine at TCD

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