Infection Control Tips: How quickly can bacteria spread in a hospital setting?

When time constraints come into consideration, most cleaning schedules and checklists will recommend that spaces are cleaned and sanitised once every two hours. This allows employees to allocate specific time where they step away from their regular work to implement good infection control practices. Though, even a hospital or healthcare service that implements this high level of cleaning is still susceptible to Hospital Associated Infections (HAIs). These HAIs are renowned for driving up patient numbers and putting strain on the global healthcare system. 

If hospital staff and cleaning staff are implementing good cleaning and sanitising, how can patients, staff and visitors still contract infections? 

This is due to the speed by which infections can spread throughout hospital environments. 


How fast can bacteria spread, and how can staff maintain better infection control?

A study published by ABC News in the UK shows that bacteria can spread at an alarming rate. Throughout the study, the researcher used an air-ventilated room where guests, patients and hospital staff could freely enter. When infection entered the room, either by a patient, guest, staff member or external source, it only took a few minutes for its microbes to begin spreading and growing throughout the room. 

Though this study was healthcare-related, it shows that pre-conceived ideas that good ventilation is enough to subdue infection rates are false. This goes for other businesses, including schools, hospitality businesses and gyms. Though staff are recommended to sanitise all surfaces every two hours, as mentioned above, this shows that consistent cleaning is the most effective way to eradicate HAIs. 

Above this, it’s proof that hospitals need sufficient cleaning tools and resources. Primarily, this is because using the wrong tools can cause bacteria to spread more rapidly. 

It’s important to remember that bacteria can also spread quickly if not cleaned effectively. An example of this would be using water and a paper towel rather than HYGEN microfibre and the appropriate cleaning solution. 

What speeds up the spread of bacteria in hospitals? 

Certain conditions; found in many hospital settings, can cause bacteria to spread more rapidly. The ideal conditions for bacterial growth are warm, moist environments. There are specific PH levels where bacteria grow better as well. These are those PH levels which are more neutral. This is typically the PH of most tap water. 

Though patient rooms may have an absence of water, these conditions are very common in hospital bathrooms, particularly just after a patient has showered. Mostly, this is because the steam will warm up the room for a period, creating the ideal moist and warm growing conditions. 

Hospital staff cannot always note when patients are showering or using bathroom facilities. However, attempting to mop these bathrooms with an HYGEN microfibre disposable mop head and a cleaning solution directly after use is vital. This can eradicate harmful bacteria, especially those that may have come from a patient’s skin or bodily fluids. 

These bathroom environments are often the most infection infested in the hospital. Therefore, providing patients and guests with resources to eradicate bacteria from their skin when cleaning can’t take place, can help them stay free from HAIs. These tools include hand sanitiser stations and full soap dispensers near bathroom sinks. 

Supplying paper towels and access to the appropriate bins in these bathrooms can also prevent water from spilling onto the floor. Between cleans, this can stop a build-up of infectious bacteria. 

The team at Rubbermaid Commercial Products provide the best-quality infection control cleaning tools 

At Rubbermaid Commercial Products, the team are passionate about keeping all environments clean and infection free. If you are looking for cleaning tools and infection control supplies which will eradicate germs rather than move them across the room, we have an asset of supplies that can help. 

With years of experience in the industry, we can also personalise our services to meet your specific needs. For this reason, when you speak with a member of our team, you will receive a quote and recommended products that intend to resolve the infection control or cleanliness issue your business is facing. 

Contact the team to learn about the best solutions for your hospital.