Hands On: Gear, Gadgets & Great Ideas


 
 

Paul A. Berlin | | Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Illuminating Infection Control

Pandemic flu, TB, common colds, MRSA... are you doing all you can to prevent these and other infectious pathogens from contaminating your patient compartment and medical devices? If not, it might be time to consider the benefits of adding ultraviolet C-band (UV-C) lighting to your ambulance disinfection procedures.

UV-C lights have been used for years in various sanitation/sterilization processes and are commonly found in air cleaning systems in hospitals, labs and other places where airborne pathogens may be present. UV-C has also been effectively used in the purification of water that may contain various pathogens such as E. coli. Today, in addition to disinfecting air and water, UV-C is being used in a novel wayÛfor disinfecting surfaces.

How UV-C works: Microorganisms can be classified into basic groups of bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa and algae. The genetic material DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) or RNA (ribonucleic acid) is the target of the UV-C light. It penetrates the coating of the organism, disrupting the DNA or RNA in the nucleus, rendering the cell incapable of reproducing.

UV-C is rarely found on Earth's surface because the atmosphere actively screens it out. To take advantage of the germicidal potential of UV-C, an alternate means of producing UV light has been achieved using a design similar to standard fluorescent lampsÛwith the notable exception that UV lamps are typically manufactured with Ïhard glassÓ quartz, which allows for a UV transmittance of more than 90% of the radiated energy.

UV-C lights have many advantages. They're environmentally friendly with no dangerous materials to handle or store, so employees won't need to handle any toxic chemicals. The lights are also immediately effective, economical and operator friendly. (Just flip a switch.) Maintenance is easyÛperiodic cleaning and annual lamp replacement should do it. Installation involves only simple wiring, timer switches and a power connection. UV-C is also more effective against viruses than chlorine.

Paul A. Berlin, MS, EMT-P, is the medical division chief for Gig Harbor (Wash.) Fire & Medic One and a practicing paramedic with 35 years' experience in emergency medicine.






Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Gear and Gadgets

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Simulation-Based Assessment Facilitates Learning & Enhances Clinical Judgment

Simulation is an educational tool that can be used to develop and refine clinical skills of the student in a controlled environment before they progress to becoming practicing clinicians.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

REMSA Programs Helps Reduce Hospital Visits

Community paramedic effort goes into service.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

City Official Challenges San Francisco Fire Chief

Ambulance response times among problems noted by city supervisor.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Texas Ambulance Crash

Victoria ambulance collides with civilian vehicle.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Colorado Medics Ditch Pants for Kilts

“Real men do wear kilts.”
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

CO Leak at Illinois School

Girard incident sends over 130 to hospitals.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Hands On September 2014

Who gets thumbs up this month?
More >


Multimedia Thumb

NYC Sept. 11 Anniversary

View images from the ceremony at Ground Zero.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >