This week we return to Staphylococcus aureus and crew to focus on how the materials that structure your home can directly affect indoor air quality. If you remember last week, Sir Ogston and Sir Lister shared with us how they used antiseptic techniques to shape modern surgical methods. It’s great that they were able to separate the correlation that had been made between surgery and almost certain death, but they were also able to strike a foundation in environmental health/microbiology that persists even today. With our growing social constructs, interaction (and potential vessels of disease) become more commonplace.
The prevalence of Staphylococcus is such that we run into it in our everyday environment. As a matter of fact, it’s found all over each and every one of us! This presents an issue when antibiotic resistance is taken into consideration. Consider, as the NFL does, how easily transmittable diseases such as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) can colonize and proliferate in such busy environments. In 2013, the Duke Infectious Control Outreach Network program (DICON) stepped up their efforts of combatting this by better informing teams about potential reservoirs of infection and training each teams’ training staff. They reported that chlorhexidine gluconate is the most efficient and less genotoxic antiseptic available, which works based on the same principles as Lister’s phenolic compounds (1). Establishing CHG soaked wraps sounds like a great idea, but in practice it can be tedious and most likely not even applied by most due to apathy.
Establishing a safe protocol that can be implemented and utilized independent of the participation of the athletes is crucial for stopping the spread of this gym-time monster. Tests have been done employing five different EPA-approved copper alloy coatings that kill 99.9% of bacteria within 2 hours in a process known as contact killing (2). This way we can spray a copper alloy on the high frequency gym equipment and keep the bacterial loads low in order to prevent infection. This protocol isn’t strictly related to gyms, it was actually first explored in hospital settings. Hospital-associated illnesses are the number one source of MRSA, followed by community-associated illnesses. So, it’s not so much the set as it is the setting that determines the bacterial load on surfaces.
Apply this to your home. Would you want to have surgery done with a utensil that accumulates and fosters bacterial life? I wouldn’t think so, so why would you choose a type of insulation that fosters fungal growth or not change your A/C filter knowing the dust build-up supports micro-organisms? Luckily, us at B&C Insulation Technologies are here to help! We use Applegate R-foam, which is dubbed Aminoplast Polymeric Foam. Unlike the Urea-formaldehyde foam that was popular before, which was vulnerable to different types of fungal contamination (68 individual taxa!)(3), our foam of choice contains 3 different EPA approved anti-fungal agents. By ensuring your home is built using proper materials and maintained by specialists employing proper antiseptic strategies, you will never have to worry about microbial contamination in the confines of your own home again!
- Sexton, Daniel. Topical Chlorhexidine Gluconate to prevent MRSA infections: The who, what, when, and why for NFL Medical Personnel. NFL Infectious disease news. [http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000247320/article/duke-researchers-offer-solutions-for-nfl-teams-fighting-mrsa]
- Ibrahim, Zina. 2017. Reduction of bacterial burden by copper alloys on high-touch athletic center surfaces. American Journal of Infection Control. Mosby. [https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0196655317310088#bib0095]
- Bissett, J. Mycopathologia (1987) 99: 47. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00436681