The importance of regular and effective handwashing with soap and water has been reasserted as a means to prevent the spread of infection during the Covid-19 pandemic and we explained how the Optitherm thermostatic tap has been designed to encourage better hand-decontamination.
Equally important to prevent the spread of infection, however, is regular cleaning and disinfecting of environmental surfaces and common touch points.
With Sars-Cov2, its outer membrane consists of a fatty layer that can be very easily broken down with simple soap or mild detergent mixed with water, and this is our recommended cleaning procedure for the Optitherm. A soft non-abrasive cloth should be used with soapy water to clean the outer surface and levers. With a highly polished, smooth and continuous surface, the Optitherm has no tight angles or hard-to -reach places. After cleaning, rinse with clean water.
The outlet fitting plays an important role for optimal user experience, and for minimising retrograde contamination. However, its location at the water/air interface makes it inherently vulnerable to contamination from the drain and surrounding ward environment. Regular cleaning is recommended in an ultrasonic bath, followed by thermal disinfection.
The design of the Optitherm also facilitates effective ‘cleaning’ of the water supplies local to the outlet by high velocity flushing; important for managing the risk of other waterborne and retrograde pathogens. The risk of Legionella bacteria in hospital water supplies is well-documented and, like Covid-19 infection, causes pneumonia. Other retrograde contaminants, such as Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, are also commonly found within metres of the terminal fitting. Regular HV flushing shears excess biofilm (and its resident pathogens) from the internal pipe surfaces, removing them to drain, thus improving local water quality and weakening a potential reservoir of infection. Further steps to mitigate the risk can include periodic thermal disinfection with the ILTDU, Horne’s patented In-Line Thermal Disinfection Unit.