May 28, 2024
Surface Disinfectant

Navigating the New Normal The Crucial Role of Surface Disinfectants in Post-Pandemic Hygiene Practices

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the world last year, it emphasized the need to disinfect commonly touched surfaces to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. From homes to workplaces, hospitals to transportation- every setting needed effective surface disinfectants to kill germs and break the chain of infection. The pandemic brought surface disinfectants into spotlight like never before and highlighted their crucial role in maintaining hygiene and safety. Even as vaccines roll out, surface disinfectants will continue to remain important in the post pandemic ‘New Normal’ to provide long-lasting protection against diseases.

Types of Surface Disinfectants

There are various types of surface disinfectants available in the market depending on their active ingredients and effectiveness against different types of microbes.

Alcohol based disinfectants: Alcohol based disinfectants containing at least 70% isopropyl or ethyl alcohol are effective against corona virus. They work by denaturing the proteins of virus and disrupting its lipid envelope. Common examples are disinfectant wipes, sprays and liquids containing ethanol or isopropyl alcohol.

Chlorine based disinfectants: Sodium hypochlorite or bleach based disinfectants are commonly used hospital grade disinfectants effective against variety of pathogens including viruses. They work by breaking down the cell membranes and proteins of microbes. However, chlorine loses effectiveness quickly and can damage surfaces if not used properly.

Quaternary Ammonium Compounds: QACs are widely used in household cleaning products containing benzalkonium chloride or alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride. They work by disrupting the cell membranes of microbes. However, their efficacy reduces in presence of organic matter.

Peroxygen compounds: Compounds like hydrogen peroxide, peroxyacetic acid are effective broad spectrum disinfectants that work by producing free hydroxyl radicals which damage cellular DNA, RNA and proteins. They are commonly used for disinfecting surfaces in healthcare facilities.

UV disinfectants: UV-C light based disinfecting devices are gaining popularity for disinfecting surfaces due to their effectiveness against viruses without use of harsh chemicals. UV-C light disrupts the nucleic acids of pathogens rendering them incapable of replication.

Choosing an Effective Disinfectant

With so many types of surface disinfectants available, choosing the right one is important for effectiveness. Some factors to consider include- type of surface, target microbes, wet or dry contact time required, safety, expiration date, etc. For home use, alcohol based or QAC disinfectants and bleach solution for hard surfaces work well. Healthcare facilities require hospital grade disinfectants depending on the area of use. Regardless of the type, following manufacturer guidelines is crucial for proper disinfection.

Regular disinfection of high-touch surfaces using the right disinfectant and proper technique plays a key role in curbing the spread of infectious diseases. Even if surface transmission is not the primary mode of transmission for some diseases, reducing the viral load in the environment through diligent disinfection protocols is beneficial as part of an overall infection control strategy. Careful adherence to guidelines is needed for ensuring surfaces remain hygienic and safe to use.

Challenges of surface disinfection

While Surface Disinfectant  are crucial in the fight against diseases, ensuring compliance to hygiene protocols presents unique challenges:

Limited awareness: Many are still not aware of the role of surface hygiene in disease transmission and importance of diligent disinfection of commonly touched surfaces. Lack of IEC activities hinders better compliance.

Resource constraints: Regular disinfection requires manpower, supplies and budget allocation which remains an issue for many settings like schools, public transportation etc. hindering full implementation.

Complacency: With time, as threat of pandemic reduces people and organizations tend to become complacent about following hygiene protocols, which is concerning for potential resurgences. Sustained motivation is needed.

Improper use: Not following manufacturer instructions for concentration, contact time and safety precautions reduces efficacy of even the best disinfectants. Ensuring standard protocols are followed remains a challenge.

Environmental impact: Heavy reliance on disinfectant chemicals for prolonged periods may pose occupational hazards and impact environment if not properly disposed. More eco-friendly options need to be explored.

Inaccessibility: Ensuring round-the-clock availability of disinfectants and implementation of hygiene protocols across various public settings frequented by masses continues to be a hurdle especially in developing countries.

Addressing such challenges through continued IEC drives, resource investments, standard operating procedures and monitoring will be crucial to leverage the full potential of surface disinfectants for health protection in the future. Sustainable behavioral and systemic changes are needed towards a culture of hygiene.

*Note:
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it