The FDA ruled that beginning September 2017, soaps and sanitizers will no longer be able to contain the cleansing agent, Triclosan. Triclosan was removed because it has a negative impact on health and the environment, and contributes to antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance has been a concern for decades, but concern increased when an antibiotic-resistant superbug popped up in Pennsylvania early this year.
Many businesses often provide hand sanitizers in high traffic areas for both employees and customers. Hand sanitizers have become popular because they are a quick way to clean up when users do not have access to soap and water, or do not have the time to step away and wash their hands in between customers. Research has found that although these products are intended to kill bad bacteria, they often attract bacteria because their ingredients leave a sticky film on hands that traps germs on the skin. It is recommended that individuals using hand sanitizers wash their hands with soap and water after every four or five times of sanitizer use. Sanitizers kill bad bacteria but also wipe out good bacteria on the skin that are part of the body’s natural defense against germs.
Instead of using hand sanitizers and antibacterial soaps, the CDC recommends using plain soap and water, scrubbing hands for twenty seconds (time yourself by singing two rounds of Happy Birthday to You), and using a clean towel to dry hands. Washing hands significantly reduces the spread of germs in the workplace by bacteria that cause illnesses like colds, flu, and norovirus.
Other ways to reduce the spread of germs through your business and protect your health is to hire a professional janitorial cleaning service to clean your business. Professional cleaning companies will disinfect and sanitize high traffic areas and target places where germs live and thrive.
Hot tubs are a popular way to unwind or soothe sore muscles at a gym. As a result of frequent use, hot tubs can become one of the germiest places in the workout facility.
As people use the hot tub, water can become contaminated. Most facilities have posted signs cautioning against use if an individual is ill, has a rash, or has open cuts or sores, but these warnings are often ignored. If contaminated water is accidentally swallowed, it can cause infections in eyes, ears, and nasal passages. Fecal, fungal, and staphylococcus microbes are often found in hot tub water samples, and can cause serious skin infections. Skin infections are the number one reported side effect of using hot tubs according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Because hot tubs may simply smell of chlorine or appear to be heavily chlorinated, many people believe that hot tubs are germ free. While chlorine does kill most germs, it does not kill all germs. Chlorine treatment also does not sterilize the water in the tub. High water temperatures can speed up the evaporation of chlorine and other sanitizing chemicals, making it important that chemical levels be consistently monitored and maintained in order to ensure a high level of safety.
Gyms and other facilities with hot tubs should have a maintenance and sanitation program in place, or utilize a reputable, professional company to maintain and sanitize the hot tub and its equipment. This maintenance and sanitation program should include draining the tub completely in order to thoroughly sanitize the tub (including interior pipes). The maintenance program should also include the removal of any debris from drains and filters. Finally, a well-managed chemical treatment system should be established and followed at all times in order to minimize the growth of germs and minimize risk.