Tag Archives: Germs

Health Services Center in Winnipeg study: Hospital privacy curtains may harbor dangerous germs

30 Sep

Nursing School Hub.com reported in Top 10 Most Common Diseases Found in Hospitals:

1. Norovirus
Noroviruses are generally called “the flu” by many patients, most of whom believe that the symptoms of the resulting gastroenteritis are somehow linked to influenza itself. Norovirus infections typically result in diarrhea, vomiting, and the long-lasting feeling of an upset stomach. Though these symptoms are exceedingly unpleasant, and may last for several days at a time, healthcare professionals cannot treat them with antibiotic drugs. Patients, therefore, are advised to make sure that they attempt to eat meals at regular intervals, and they’re advised to stay hydrated so that the body does not suffer through the effects of dehydration after a few days of symptoms.
2. Mycobacterium abscessus
One of the most serious sources of hospital acquired infections is mycobacterium abscessus. This bacterium is generally known to be the cause of such serious illnesses as leprosy and tuberculosis, and it can be found in any number of compounds. The bacteria have been known to exist in soil, dust, or water, and it has even been known to infect medications and to reside on medical equipment. This represents a very serious concern in today’s busiest medical environments, and many hospitals have procedures in place specifically to prevent against the spread of this bacteria and the potential infection of new patients who come to the hospital with other ailments.
If infection from this bacteria does result, patients are most likely to notice irritable infections of the skin and soft tissues, though a slight minority may actually experience lung infections that can be quite serious and severe. Medical treatment is almost always required for a full and quick recovery from any kind of mycobacterium abscessus infection.
3. Klebsiella
Another very serious source of hospital acquired infections is the bacteria known as Klebsiella. This gram-negative bacteria almost always infects patients after a visit to the hospital, as it seems to be particularly at home on medical equipment in patient treatment areas. Infection by this bacteria can result in a number of serious ailments, including an infection of the bloodstream, infection of any open wounds or surgical sites, or the onset of a very serious form of pneumonia. Treatment is generally quick and straightforward, although some antimicrobial strains of the bacteria have required added research and more serious forms of treatment in a small minority of today’s patients.
4. Influenza
Without a doubt, one of the most common and persistent types of viral infection is influenza. The disease comes and goes with varying degrees of potency every year but most medical professionals estimate that between 5 percent and 20 percent of the American population is infected each year. Influenza is also responsible for annual hospitalization of as many as 200,000 Americans. Typically, those hospitalized by the disease are those at the extreme young or old ends of the spectrum, though it’s not entirely unheard of for healthy, young adult sufferers to experience complications. This community-based virus is easy to contract, especially when cases have been cited near the hospital’s location during the height of what is known as “flu season.”
5. Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an infection that results from a common form of bacteria more widely called just Pseudomonas. The infection is quite common in medical settings, though it targets a specific group of people. In almost every case, a bout of Pseudomonas aeruginosa is found in those patients who are already experiencing vastly weakened or suppressed immune systems as a result of a larger medical condition during their stay in a medical environment or long-term care facility. Treatment of this bacterial infection is generally pursed through the prescription of high dosage antibiotics, and the problem generally eases within 24 to 48 hours of first treatment.
6. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Abbreviated as MRSA, this staph bacteria has evolved over time to become immune to many of the most popular antibacterial drugs. Indeed, MRSA can often not be treated with either penicillin or amoxicillin, with most patients requiring higher doses of more nontraditional antibiotics in order to defeat the condition. It often manifests itself in the form of a skin infection in most patients, and should be treated by a medical professional as soon as any signs or symptoms have been noticed by the patient. Staph bacteria does represent one of the most aggressive bacterial threats to the human body.
7. Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci
VRE is so named because this bacterial infection is resistant to the antibiotic vancomycin. Infections of this nature are most common in medical settings, especially when a patient is admitted to the hospital for long-term care and nursing. Most sufferers experience symptoms that affect the intestines, which can result in a case of upset stomach, minor vomiting, or even occasional diarrhea. The good news for those suffering from this bacterial infection, though, is that treatment is rather quick and easy with alternative antibiotics in heavier doses.
8. Tuberculosis (TB)
Most often, the transmission of tuberculosis in medical and nursing environments is done on a patient-to-patient basis. Typically, this is because one patient with the disease is simply not isolated from the rest of the hospital’s population. In other cases, it’s because the patient simply was not aware that they suffered from TB at the time of their admission to the facility. Most forms of TB can be treated and minimized, though particularly aggressive strains of the disease have shown a great deal of resistance to antibiotics that are typically used to treat the condition.
9. Vancomycin-intermediate or Vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Known in the medical community as either VISA or VRSA, these two diseases are actually quite common among those patients who have medical equipment attached to their body on a long-term or permanent basis. Those with kidney problems are particularly predisposed to infection, as are those patients who commonly use a catheter tube before, during, or after some kind of serious surgery.
The two forms of staphylococcus are so named because they are moderately or entirely resistant to the antibiotic vancomycin. Treatment can be conducted using other antibiotic drugs, however, and most patients are able to recover from this infection when it is caught early, treated effectively, and prevented on a proactive basis going forward. Unlike viral infections, however, bacterial infections can occur again at any time. For this reason, increased vigilance is urged of those who are connected to medical devices that penetrate the skin, enter the body, and assist with daily functions like kidney function, urination, and many others.
10. Staphylococcus aureus
In what might be the least invasive and least concerning disease commonly found in hospitals, Staphylococcus aureus is actually present in just under one third of the entire population. The condition is associated with negative effects on the skin, as it is typically a skin infection. The side effects of the disease most often manifest themselves in small, pimple-like growths that ebb and flow over the course of the infection. Treatment with antibiotics is effective in virtually every case, and this less severe form of staphylococcus can be eradicated in just a few days after treatment has commenced.
Plenty of Threats: A Bacterial or Viral Infection is All Too Common
The very nature of today’s hospitals means that patients are exposed more than ever to the potential for both viral and bacterial infections, placing their health at risk in at least ten ways during every visit. The good news is that virtually every common infection or disease transmitted at today’s hospitals can be treated with either extended vigilance or a robust dose of antibiotics. In fact, many of these diseases are considered relatively minor in the grand scheme of hospital infections and the diseases treated at today’s medical centers….. https://www.nursingschoolhub.com/most-common-diseases-found-in-hospitals/

An Elsevier reported study said hospital surfaces may harbor dangerous germs.

Science Daily reported in Hospital privacy curtains may harbor dangerous germs:

Without timely intervention, privacy curtains in hospitals can become breeding grounds for resistant bacteria, posing a threat to patient safety, according to new research published in the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), the journal of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).
The longitudinal, prospective, pilot study tracked the contamination rate of ten freshly laundered privacy curtains in the Regional Burns/Plastics Unit of the Health Services Center in Winnipeg, Canada. While the curtains had minimal contamination when they were first hung, the curtains that were hung in patient rooms became increasingly contaminated over time — and by day 14, 87.5 percent of the curtains tested positive for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a pathogen associated with significant morbidity and mortality. In contrast, control curtains that were not placed in patient rooms stayed clean the entire 21 days.
None of the rooms where the curtains were placed were occupied by patients with MRSA. Four curtains were placed in a four-bed room; four were placed in two double rooms; and two controls were placed in areas without direct patient or caregiver contact. Researchers took samples from areas where people hold curtains, suggesting that the increasing contamination resulted from direct contact….
By day 21, almost all curtains exceeded 2.5 CFU/cm, the requirement for food processing equipment cleanliness in some locations, such as the United Kingdom….
The study authors acknowledge the small sample size of this pilot study and recommend additional research to understand the clinical consequences of contaminated curtains. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180927215701.htm

Citation:

Hospital privacy curtains may harbor dangerous germs
Date: September 27, 2018
Source: Elsevier
Summary:
Without timely intervention, privacy curtains in hospitals can become breeding grounds for resistant bacteria, posing a threat to patient safety, according to new research.
Journal Reference:
Kevin Shek, Rakesh Patidar, Zeenib Kohja, Song Liu, Justin P. Gawaziuk, Monika Gawthrop, Ayush Kumar, Sarvesh Logsetty. Rate of contamination of hospital privacy curtains in a burns/plastic ward: A longitudinal study. American Journal of Infection Control, 2018; 46 (9): 1019 DOI: 10.1016/j.ajic.2018.03.004

Here is the press release:

PUBLIC RELEASE: 27-SEP-2018 Hospital privacy curtains may harbor dangerous germs: New study
ELSEVIER
Arlington, Va., September 27, 2018 – Without timely intervention, privacy curtains in hospitals can become breeding grounds for resistant bacteria, posing a threat to patient safety, according to new research published in the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), the journal of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).
The longitudinal, prospective, pilot study tracked the contamination rate of ten freshly laundered privacy curtains in the Regional Burns/Plastics Unit of the Health Services Center in Winnipeg, Canada. While the curtains had minimal contamination when they were first hung, the curtains that were hung in patient rooms became increasingly contaminated over time – and by day 14, 87.5 percent of the curtains tested positive for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a pathogen associated with significant morbidity and mortality. In contrast, control curtains that were not placed in patient rooms stayed clean the entire 21 days.
None of the rooms where the curtains were placed were occupied by patients with MRSA. Four curtains were placed in a four-bed room; four were placed in two double rooms; and two controls were placed in areas without direct patient or caregiver contact. Researchers took samples from areas where people hold curtains, suggesting that the increasing contamination resulted from direct contact.
“We know that privacy curtains pose a high risk for cross-contamination because they are frequently touched but infrequently changed,” said Kevin Shek, BSc, the study’s lead author in the article. “The high rate of contamination that we saw by the fourteenth day may represent an opportune time to intervene, either by cleaning or replacing the curtains.”
By day 21, almost all curtains exceeded 2.5 CFU/cm, the requirement for food processing equipment cleanliness in some locations, such as the United Kingdom.
“Keeping the patient’s environment clean is a critical component in preventing healthcare-associated infections,” said 2018 APIC President Janet Haas, PhD, RN, CIC, FSHEA, FAPIC. “Because privacy curtains could be a mode of disease transmission, maintaining a schedule of regular cleaning offers another potential way to protect patients from harm while they are in our care.”
The study authors acknowledge the small sample size of this pilot study and recommend additional research to understand the clinical consequences of contaminated curtains.
###
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

Patients have little information to guide them in their choice of hospitals regarding infection practices of hospital.

Reuters reported in ‘Superbug’ scourge spreads as U.S. fails to track rising human toll:

Fifteen years after the U.S. declared drug-resistant infections to be a grave threat, the crisis is only worsening, a Reuters investigation finds, as government agencies remain unwilling or unable to impose reporting requirements on a healthcare industry that often hides the problem…. https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-uncounted-surveillance/

Patients are on their own when asking about a particular hospital’s superbug and infectious control practices.

Resources:

Hospital Cleaning Best Practices: How to Keep Patients and Staff Safe https://www.kaivac.com/a_433-Hospital-Cleaning-Best-Practices-How-to-Keep-Patients-and-Staff-Safe

The most dangerous germs in the hospital may be those you bring with you http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/most-dangerous-germs-hospital-may-be-those-you-bring-you

How gloves & gowns can spread germs in hospitals http://www.healthcarebusinesstech.com/germs-gloves-gowns/

10 Ways to Stave Off Hospital Superbugs and Other Nasty Germs https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/10-ways-protect-yourself-superbugs/

Germs https://drwilda.com/tag/germs/
http://www.webmd.com/children/features/childhood-illnesses-get-the-facts

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

University of Georgia study: Kitchen utensils can spread bacteria between foods

12 Nov

Moi blogs about education issues so the reader could be perplexed sometimes because moi often writes about other things like nutrition, families, and personal responsibility issues. Why? The reader might ask? Because children will have the most success in school if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of societies’ problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family.

Science Daily reported in Kitchen utensils can spread bacteria between foods:

In a recent study funded by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, University of Georgia researchers found that produce that contained bacteria would contaminate other produce items through the continued use of knives or graters–the bacteria would latch on to the utensils commonly found in consumers’ homes and spread to the next item.

Unfortunately, many consumers are unaware that utensils and other surfaces at home can contribute to the spread of bacteria, said the study’s lead author Marilyn Erickson, an associate professor in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ department of food science and technology.

“Just knowing that utensils may lead to cross-contamination is important,” Erickson said. “With that knowledge, consumers are then more likely to make sure they wash them in between uses…”

This study, published in Food Microbiology, is similar in that it considers the influence that knives and graters have on the transfer of pathogenic bacteria to and from produce items. She urges consumers to realize that these germs can spread in their kitchens as well.

Researchers have known that poor hygiene and improper food preparation practices in a consumer’s home can lead to foodborne illnesses, but considering what practices in the kitchen are more likely to lead to contamination has not been examined extensively….

Using a knife, Erickson would cut into things like tomatoes or cantaloupe and other types of produce to see how easily the bacteria could spread when the knife was continuously used without being cleaned. Because they “were looking at what would be the worst-case scenario,” she said, Erickson and study co-authors did not wash between cutting these different produce items.

Researchers also grated produce, like carrots, to see how easily the pathogens spread to graters. They found that both knives and graters can cause additional cross-contamination in the kitchen and that the pathogens were spread from produce to produce if they hadn’t washed the utensils.

“A lot of the broken up material and particles from the contaminated produce remained on the graters,” said Erickson, who conducts her research at the UGA Center for Food Safety in Griffin. “Then if you were to shred another carrot or something else immediately after that, it gets contaminated, too.”

The study also found that certain fruits and vegetables spread pathogens to knives to different degrees.
“For items like tomatoes, we tended to have a higher contamination of the knives than when we cut strawberries,” Erickson said. “We don’t have a specific answer as to why there are differences between the different produce groups. But we do know that once a pathogen gets on the food, it’s difficult to remove.”

Knives and graters aren’t the only utensils in the kitchen consumers should be worried about. Erickson has also helped study the role brushes and peelers have on the transfer of dangerous kitchen bacteria.

In concurrent studies, Erickson found that scrubbing or peeling produce items–like melons, carrots and celery–did not eliminate contamination on the produce item but led to contamination of the brush or peeler. Even when placed under running water, the utensils still became contaminated; however, the ability to cross-contaminate later produce items depended on the brush type and the pathogenic agent.

These studies combined give researchers a better idea as to how common cross-contamination is in the kitchen–even when just using standard practices.

Erickson explained there is a small chance of buying fruits and vegetables contaminated with bacteria, but the problem can occur–whether the product is store-bought or locally grown. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151110134537.htm

Citation:

Kitchen utensils can spread bacteria between foods

Date: November 10, 2015

Source: University of Georgia

Summary:

Researchers have found that produce that contained bacteria would contaminate other produce items through the continued use of knives or graters — the bacteria would latch on to the utensils commonly found in consumers’ homes and spread. Unfortunately, many consumers are unaware utensils and other surfaces at home can contribute to the spread of bacteria, say the authors of a new report.

Journal Reference:

1. Marilyn C. Erickson, Jean Liao, Jennifer L. Cannon, Ynes R. Ortega. Contamination of knives and graters by bacterial foodborne pathogens during slicing and grating of produce. Food Microbiology, 2015; 52: 138 DOI: 10.1016/j.fm.2015.07.008

Here is the press release from the University of Georgia:

Kitchen utensils can spread bacteria between foods, UGA study finds

November 6, 2015
Sydney Devine

Contact:
Marilyn Erickson

Griffin, Ga. – In a recent study funded by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, University of Georgia researchers found that produce that contained bacteria would contaminate other produce items through the continued use of knives or graters—the bacteria would latch on to the utensils commonly found in consumers’ homes and spread to the next item.
Unfortunately, many consumers are unaware that utensils and other surfaces at home can contribute to the spread of bacteria, said the study’s lead author Marilyn Erickson, an associate professor in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ department of food science and technology.

“Just knowing that utensils may lead to cross-contamination is important,” Erickson said. “With that knowledge, consumers are then more likely to make sure they wash them in between uses.”

Erickson has been researching produce for the past 10 years. Her past work has mainly focused on the fate of bacteria on produce when it’s introduced to plants in the field during farming.

In 2013, she was co-author on a study looking at the transfer of norovirus and hepatitis A between produce and common kitchen utensils—finding that cutting and grating increased the number of contaminated produce items when that utensil had first been used to process a contaminated item.

This study, published in Food Microbiology, is similar in that it considers the influence that knives and graters have on the transfer of pathogenic bacteria to and from produce items. She urges consumers to realize that these germs can spread in their kitchens as well.

Researchers have known that poor hygiene and improper food preparation practices in a consumer’s home can lead to foodborne illnesses, but considering what practices in the kitchen are more likely to lead to contamination has not been examined extensively.

“The FDA was interested in getting more accurate numbers as to what level of cross-contamination could occur in the kitchen using standard practices,” Erickson said.

In her recent study, Erickson contaminated many types of fruits and vegetables in her lab—adding certain pathogens that often can be found on these foods, such as salmonella and E. coli.

Using a knife, Erickson would cut into things like tomatoes or cantaloupe and other types of produce to see how easily the bacteria could spread when the knife was continuously used without being cleaned. Because they “were looking at what would be the worst-case scenario,” she said, Erickson and study co-authors did not wash between cutting these different produce items.

Researchers also grated produce, like carrots, to see how easily the pathogens spread to graters. They found that both knives and graters can cause additional cross-contamination in the kitchen and that the pathogens were spread from produce to produce if they hadn’t washed the utensils.

“A lot of the broken up material and particles from the contaminated produce remained on the graters,” said Erickson, who conducts her research at the UGA Center for Food Safety in Griffin. “Then if you were to shred another carrot or something else immediately after that, it gets contaminated, too.”

The study also found that certain fruits and vegetables spread pathogens to knives to different degrees.
“For items like tomatoes, we tended to have a higher contamination of the knives than when we cut strawberries,” Erickson said. “We don’t have a specific answer as to why there are differences between the different produce groups. But we do know that once a pathogen gets on the food, it’s difficult to remove.”

Knives and graters aren’t the only utensils in the kitchen consumers should be worried about. Erickson has also helped study the role brushes and peelers have on the transfer of dangerous kitchen bacteria.

In concurrent studies, Erickson found that scrubbing or peeling produce items—like melons, carrots and celery—did not eliminate contamination on the produce item but led to contamination of the brush or peeler. Even when placed under running water, the utensils still became contaminated; however, the ability to cross-contaminate later produce items depended on the brush type and the pathogenic agent.

These studies combined give researchers a better idea as to how common cross-contamination is in the kitchen—even when just using standard practices.

Erickson explained there is a small chance of buying fruits and vegetables contaminated with bacteria, but the problem can occur-whether the product is store-bought or locally grown.

Additional study co-authors were Qing Wang, a doctoral student at the University of Delaware, and Jean Liao, a research professional; and associate professors Jennifer Cannon and Ynes Ortega with UGA’s Center for Food Safety.

The study, “Contamination of knives and graters by bacterial foodborne pathogens during slicing and grating of produce,” is available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0740002015001306.

Filed under: Culture / Living, Nutrition, Diet, and Health, Environment, Food Science and Safety
http://news.uga.edu/releases/article/kitchen-utensils-can-spread-bacteria-between-foods-1115/

Obviously, more research must be completed, but moderate exposure to a variety of germs maybe helpful to developing immune systems.

Resources:

Common Childhood Infections
http://pediatrics.about.com/od/childhoodinfections/

Infections
http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/

Overview of Bacterial Infections in Childhood
http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/childrens_health_issues/bacterial_infections_in_infants_and_children/overview_of_bacterial_infections_in_childhood.html

9 Childhood Illnesses: Get the Facts
http://www.webmd.com/children/features/childhood-illnesses-get-the-facts

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

Multicenter European study: Bleach use in homes linked to higher childhood infection rate

8 Apr

Medline Plus has some good basic information on infectious diseases:

Infectious diseases kill more people worldwide than any other single cause. Infectious diseases are caused by germs. Germs are tiny living things that are found everywhere – in air, soil and water. You can get infected by touching, eating, drinking or breathing something that contains a germ. Germs can also spread through animal and insect bites, kissing and sexual contact. Vaccines, proper hand washing and medicines can help prevent infections.
There are four main kinds of germs:
• Bacteria – one-celled germs that multiply quickly and may release chemicals which can make you sick
• Viruses – capsules that contain genetic material, and use your own cells to multiply
• Fungi – primitive plants, like mushrooms or mildew
• Protozoa – one-celled animals that use other living things for food and a place to live
NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/infectiousdiseases.html

A multicenter European study questioned whether the cleaning agent bleach is a potential cause in the rise of childhood infections.

Science Daily reported in Passive exposure to bleach at home linked to higher childhood infection rate:

Passive exposure to bleach in the home is linked to higher rates of childhood respiratory and other infections, suggests research published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.
Although modest, the results are of public health concern in light of the widespread use of bleach in the home, say the researchers, who call for further more detailed studies in this area.
The researchers looked at the potential impact of exposure to bleach in the home among more than 9000 children between the ages of 6 and 12 attending 19 schools in Utrecht, The Netherlands; 17 schools in Eastern and Central Finland; and 18 schools in Barcelona, Spain.
Their parents were asked to complete a questionnaire on the number and frequency of flu; tonsillitis; sinusitis; bronchitis; otitis; and pneumonia infections their children had had in the preceding 12 months. And they were asked if they used bleach to clean their homes at least once a week.
Use of bleach was common in Spain (72% of respondents) and rare (7%) in Finland. And all Spanish schools were cleaned with bleach, while Finnish schools were not.
After taking account of influential factors, such as passive smoking at home, parental education, the presence of household mould, and use of bleach to clean school premises, the findings indicated that the number and frequency of infections were higher among children whose parents regularly used bleach to clean the home in all three countries.
These differences were statistically significant for flu, tonsillitis, and any infection.
The risk of one episode of flu in the previous year was 20% higher, and recurrent tonsillitis 35% higher, among children whose parents used bleach to clean the home.
Similarly, the risk of any recurrent infection was 18% higher among children whose parents regularly used cleaning bleach.
This is an observational study, so no definitive conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect. Furthermore, the authors highlight several caveats to their research…. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150402210901.htm

Citation:

Passive exposure to bleach at home linked to higher childhood infection rate
Date: April 2, 2015

Source: BMJ
Summary:
Passive exposure to bleach in the home is linked to higher rates of childhood respiratory and other infections, suggests new research.
Domestic use of bleach and infections in children: a multicentre cross-sectional study
1. Lidia Casas1,2,3,4,
2. Ana Espinosa2,3,4,5,
3. Alícia Borràs-Santos2,3,4,
4. José Jacobs6,
5. Esmeralda Krop6,
6. Dick Heederik6,
7. Benoit Nemery1,
8. Juha Pekkanen7,8,
9. Anne Hyvärinen7,
10. Martin Täubel7,
11. Jan-Paul Zock9,2,3
+ Author Affiliations
1. 1Centre for Environment and Health, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
2. 2Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain
3. 3CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Barcelona, Spain
4. 4University Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona, Spain
5. 5Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM), Barcelona, Spain
6. 6Division of Environmental Epidemiology, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS), Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
7. 7Department of Health Protection, National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Kuopio, Finland
8. 8Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
9. 9Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (NIVEL), Utrecht, The Netherlands
1. Correspondence to Lidia Casas, Department of Public Health and Primary Care—Centre for Environment and Health, KU Leuven, Herestraat 49, Leuven 3000, Belgium; lcasas@creal.cat
• Received 12 November 2014
• Revised 23 January 2015
• Accepted 3 February 2015
• Published Online First 2 April 2015
Abstract
Objective To report the effects of bleach use at home on the frequency of infections in 9102 school-age children participating in the HITEA project.
Methods Parents of pupils aged 6–12 years from schools in Barcelona province (Spain), Utrecht province (the Netherlands) and Eastern and Central Finland were administered a questionnaire including questions on the frequency of infections (influenza, tonsillitis, sinusitis, otitis, bronchitis and pneumonia) in the past 12 months and bleach use at home. We developed multivariable mixed-effects multilogistic regression models to obtain relative risk ratios (RRR) and their 95% CI per country, and combined the RRR using random-effects meta-analyses.
Results Bleach use was common in Spain (72%, n=1945) and uncommon in Finland (7%, n=279). Overall, the prevalence of infections (recurrent or once) was higher among children of bleach users. Significant combined associations were shown for influenza only once (RRR=1.20, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.38), recurrent tonsillitis (RRR=1.35, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.71) and any infection (RRR=1.18, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.38).
Conclusions Passive exposure to cleaning bleach in the home may have adverse effects on school-age children’s health by increasing the risk of respiratory and other infections. The high frequency of use of disinfecting irritant cleaning products may be of public health concern, also when exposure occurs during childhood.
http://oem.bmj.com/content/early/2015/02/20/oemed-2014-102701.abstract?sid=be3e084d-bc00-418d-b157-10ad9ed25e2f

Here is the press release:

Public Release: 2-Apr-2015 Passive exposure to bleach at home linked to higher childhood infection rate
Effects modest, but widespread use of bleach adds up to public health concern, say researchers
BMJ

Passive exposure to bleach in the home is linked to higher rates of childhood respiratory and other infections, suggests research published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.
Although modest, the results are of public health concern in light of the widespread use of bleach in the home, say the researchers, who call for further more detailed studies in this area.

The researchers looked at the potential impact of exposure to bleach in the home among more than 9000 children between the ages of 6 and 12 attending 19 schools in Utrecht, The Netherlands; 17 schools in Eastern and Central Finland; and 18 schools in Barcelona, Spain.

Their parents were asked to complete a questionnaire on the number and frequency of flu; tonsillitis; sinusitis; bronchitis; otitis; and pneumonia infections their children had had in the preceding 12 months. And they were asked if they used bleach to clean their homes at least once a week.

Use of bleach was common in Spain (72% of respondents) and rare (7%) in Finland. And all Spanish schools were cleaned with bleach, while Finnish schools were not.

After taking account of influential factors, such as passive smoking at home, parental education, the presence of household mould, and use of bleach to clean school premises, the findings indicated that the number and frequency of infections were higher among children whose parents regularly used bleach to clean the home in all three countries.

These differences were statistically significant for flu, tonsillitis, and any infection.
The risk of one episode of flu in the previous year was 20% higher, and recurrent tonsillitis 35% higher, among children whose parents used bleach to clean the home.

Similarly, the risk of any recurrent infection was 18% higher among children whose parents regularly used cleaning bleach.

This is an observational study, so no definitive conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect. Furthermore, the authors highlight several caveats to their research.

For example, they didn’t have any information on the use of other cleaning products used in the home, and only basic information was gathered on the use of bleach in the home, making it difficult to differentiate between exposure levels.

But their findings back other studies indicating a link between cleaning products and respiratory symptoms and inflammation, they say.

And they add: “The high frequency of use of disinfecting cleaning products, caused by the erroneous belief, reinforced by advertising, that our homes should be free of microbes, makes the modest effects reported in our study of public health concern.”

By way of an explanation for the associations they found, they suggest that the irritant properties of volatile or airborne compounds generated during the cleaning process may damage the lining of lung cells, sparking inflammation and making it easier for infections to take hold. Bleach may also potentially suppress the immune system, they say.
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This is an observational study and there are many limitations, so no firm linkages can be made. In the WebMD article, Day2Night: How Mom Can Stop Germs: Is Dirt Good for Kids? Written by Lisa Zamosky, reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD postulated that kids could use a little more dirt in their lives.

According to Zamosky:

A mounting body of research suggests that exposing infants to germs may offer them greater protection from illnesses such as allergies and asthma later on in life.
This line of thinking, called the “hygiene hypothesis,” holds that when exposure to parasites, bacteria, and viruses is limited early in life, children face a greater chance of having allergies, asthma, and other autoimmune diseases during adulthood.
In fact, kids with older siblings, who grew up on a farm, or who attended day care early in life seem to show lower rates of allergies.
Just as a baby’s brain needs stimulation, input, and interaction to develop normally, the young immune system is strengthened by exposure to everyday germs so that it can learn, adapt, and regulate itself, notes Thom McDade, PhD, associate professor and director of the Laboratory for Human Biology Research at Northwestern University.
Exactly which germs seem to do the trick hasn’t yet been confirmed. But new research offers clues.
In a recent study, McDade’s team found that children who were exposed to more animal feces and had more cases of diarrhea before age 2 had less incidence of inflammation in the body as they grew into adulthood.
Inflammation has been linked to many chronic adulthood illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.
“We’re moving beyond this idea that the immune system is just involved in allergies, autoimmune diseases, and asthma to think about its role in inflammation and other degenerative diseases,” McDade says. “Microbial exposures early in life may be important… to keep inflammation in check in adulthood….” http://www.webmd.com/parenting/d2n-stopping-germs-12/kids-and-dirt-germs

Obviously, more research must be completed, but moderate exposure to a variety of germs maybe be helpful to developing immune systems.

Resources:

Common Childhood Infections

http://pediatrics.about.com/od/childhoodinfections/

Infections

http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/

Overview of Bacterial Infections in Childhood

http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/childrens_health_issues/bacterial_infections_in_infants_and_children/overview_of_bacterial_infections_in_childhood.html

9 Childhood Illnesses: Get the Facts

http://www.webmd.com/children/features/childhood-illnesses-get-the-facts

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