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AHSS 2022 Conference:

What caught my attention!

By Nathalie Thibault │B.Sc, M. Sc, MCB.A

Recently, I had the chance to attend the second day of the AHSS conference (a Quebec association serving the interests of hygiene and sanitation professionals in the Quebec healthcare network). This annual event was back in session this year after a long two-year interruption, you can probably guess why...

As a microbiologist, certified trainer, and Director of the training department at ValkarTech, a consulting firm specializing in hygiene and sanitation, I had the mandate to visit the exhibitors to learn about the latest developments and obviously stay abreast of the latest trends in the industry.

First, I must say that I greatly appreciated the many smiles and the excellent planning of the conference. It was great to see past and present ValkarTech customers in person.

General Trend and Conferences

What most captured my interest was the trend towards UVC disinfection. During his lecture, Mr. Marc Toupin, from Diversey, did a great job in explaining the UVC disinfection process. Although it might seem expensive at first glance, UVC disinfection is becoming an important terminal disinfection option. Prepare your budgets accordingly!

Another very interesting conference on the maintenance of drains raised our awareness of a reality that we often forget in hygiene and sanitation: microbes are not alone, they live in groups, well attached to surfaces as biofilms. They live in an organized way and can exchange genetic information in our drains and pipes.

This is a concept that is often shared among microbiologists at ValkarTech and that we rely on to bring about major changes in cleaning and disinfection strategies. In our interventions, we suggest that a patient room be considered as a "germ ecosystem". Currently, sterilization of a patient room is impossible, and some germs inevitably remain...

Products and Services

When I visit trade shows, I always appreciate receiving several samples from Lalema, especially the odor controllers which are second to none and a bottle of my favorite product: Solokleen! This product has fascinated me since I discovered it prior to the pandemic. There's something about it that makes chrome faucets shine better than any product I've tried so far. It brings out the shine. Plus, it proudly carries its EcoLogo!

I also had the chance to chat with the folks at DBM Environment, a family-owned Quebec-based biomedical waste collection, transportation, and treatment company. With their treatment equipment, they considerably reduce the volume of this type of waste and soon, hopefully, they will find a way to recycle the residues! Impressive!

Rubbermaid surprised me with a hand sanitizer, Crackleclean. A foaming gel that crackles on the skin. Ideal to encourage children to sanitize their hands more frequently.

The people from InnuScience explained to me in detail their maintenance solution for resilient flooring in rolls; Re-Nu! An expensive investment that deserves to be treated with care. We've all seen the mistreatment done to these new non-waxed floors...that have been waxed by mistake and out of ignorance.

What particularly caught my attention as a Trainer was the Highlight product from MedPro Defense (represented at the conference by AMG Medical). What a great idea!

Adding dye to chlorine wipes so you can actually see WHERE you are applying the disinfectant. Witnessing the disinfection in action, so that you don't miss a small corner of the surface to be disinfected, WOW! Moreover, on their website, there are videos and scientific articles that are very interesting to read. And good news, the representative tells me that a dye compatible with quaternary ammoniums is in development. Some may say that it is costly to integrate all this, but what is the cost of a nosocomial infection for a hospital center?

Last I heard, it was about $15,000 in extra costs per outbreak. I see not only a great potential for training (because the visual created is striking), but also a potential for disinfection operations during outbreaks of infections such as C. difficile, or for large disinfection.

I met several industry professionals who introduced me to many other innovative and very interesting products and services. One day was definitely not enough.

I would like to thank the AHSS for this event. See you next year for both days this time!

Nathalie Thibault, yours microbiologically...

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