How HealthySole® PLUS Shoe Sanitizing Stations Prevent Pathogen Spread in Hospitals
Shoe Sanitizing Stations for Hospitals
During an early 2020 study in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers swabbed multiple surfaces at a healthcare facility to study aerosol and surface distribution. Around 50% of the samples from healthcare workers’ footwear contained genetic material from the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In addition, as medical staff walk around the ward, the virus can be tracked all over the floor, as indicated by the 100% rate of positivity from the floor in the pharmacy, where there were no patients. Earlier medical studies had tested and established that shoe bottoms could serve as a vector for transmitting infectious diseases. The American medical technology company HealthySole LLC has developed the HealthySole® PLUS Shoe Sanitizing Station, the first independently clinically tested product of its kind. This technology uses ultraviolet light “C” wavelength to neutralize and eliminate microorganisms on shoe bottoms in a matter of seconds.
A shoe sanitizing station offers a quick and effective method for eliminating germs such as viruses and bacteria from footwear. The result is a decrease in the proliferation and cross contamination of pathogens of interest on touch surfaces, walls and other areas of healthcare and other controlled environments.
How Pathogens Spread in Hospitals
In medical facilities, pathogens can spread through direct and indirect contact.
Droplet transmission is a form of direct contact that occurs when germs travel on large respiratory droplets. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the droplets travel a relatively short distance of up to around two meters before falling to the ground. Examples of infections that spread through droplets include influenza, strep, and pneumonia.
Airborne transmission happens when a bacteria or virus travels in aerosolized droplet nuclei that remain suspended in the air until a healthy person inhales the infectious agents. Measles and chickenpox are examples of diseases that spread through airborne transmission.
Surface contamination is a form of indirect transmission. When a healthy person touches the surface then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth, transmission occurs. Some bacteria and viruses can live on surfaces for several days.
How COVID-19 Spreads
COVID-19 primarily spreads through droplet transmission. In indoor settings with poor ventilation, COVID-19 can transmit through the inhalation of liquid particle aerosols hanging in the air. A person can also become infected with COVID-19 by touching their face after touching a contaminated surface.
Common Prevention Strategies
Hospitals have and need various infection-control strategies to ensure the safety of patients, healthcare providers, and other employees. An effective infection-prevention system is also critical to protect children along with patients who have a weakened immune system.
Proper hand hygiene is the first line of defense against infections. Hand disinfectants should be readily available to all staff members throughout the hospital. Setting up a sanitizing station near critical points, such as entrances and elevator doors, makes it easier for all occupants to disinfect their hands regularly.
Environmental cleaning is another proven method to maintain low transmission rates. Keeping surfaces, such as floors, door handles, countertops, industrial equipment, and medical equipment clean prevents the spread of viruses and bacteria. Regular disinfection results in a lower overall risk of infections.
Other practices for preventing the spread of germs in hospitals include:
· Isolating each infected patient
· Implementing the correct laundry and linen management practices
· Issuing personal protective equipment (PPE) to healthcare providers and additional staff
· Correctly disposing of sharp objects and waste that was in contact with body fluid
· Implementing a cough etiquette that staff members need to follow
The correct use of personal protective equipment reduces infections significantly within a facility. For example, N95 face masks offer adequate protection against airborne aerosol inhalation.
What is missing from this list is a method to prevent the spread of microbial bacteria and viruses throughout a facility on the feet and shoes of staff members and visitors. This was the impetus for developing the HealthySole® PLUS shoe sanitizing station.
How a Shoe Sanitizing Station Can Reduce the Spread of Pathogens
The HealthySole® PLUS shoe sanitizing station goes a long way towards preventing the spread of infectious microorganisms.
When an infected person coughs, sneezes, or even exhales, the respiratory droplets containing the germs fall on the ground. Aerosolized droplet nuclei remain airborne for some time after expulsion, but then gravity pulls them to the floor. The germs in the droplets can survive for hours or even days on floors.
As healthcare workers and additional staff walk on infected surfaces, their shoes and shoe covers become vehicles for these pathogens of interest. With each step taken, healthcare workers re-aerosolize these pathogens, often up to 4 to 6 feet. This means these pathogens have spread to areas well away from the initial infected patient and are now able to land on touch surfaces elsewhere in facilities. Touch surfaces, then, can become infected with pathogens present in isolated or sick patients, with no other transmission vector than the soles of shoes themselves.
The HealthySole® PLUS shoe sanitizing station goes a long way towards preventing the spread of pathogens. The shoe sanitizing station can deactivate the microorganisms and bacteria on footwear, preventing these germs from spreading to other areas of the medical facility. Hospitals that have implemented this strategy have eliminated many opportunities for the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
Impact of Increased Cleanliness for Patients and Healthcare Workers
Keeping a clean clinical environment offers various benefits to healthcare workers and the facility’s patients. When a hospital uses the HealthySole® PLUS system, the most significant benefit for a patient is that they can receive adequate medical treatment with minimal risk of infection.
Increasing the hospital's cleanliness levels will allow medical facilities to accommodate people who have tested positive for COVID-19 while continuing normal operations.
Features of and Uses for the HealthySole® PLUS Shoe Sanitizer Mat
The HealthySole® PLUS is a shoe sanitizing station featuring a patented method of safely and quickly exposing the soles of shoes to UVC germicidal light. This system kills bacteria and other microbes on the soles of footwear
This shoe sanitizing station has high efficacy, with a microbe kill rate of up to 99.99%. The UVC light neutralizes or eliminates threatening infection causing microbes in eight seconds, allowing for powerful, safe protocols with minimal workflow disruption.
To use this shoe sanitizing station, staff members need to stand on the platform while aligning their shoes with the infrared sensors. After eight seconds, the HealthySole® PLUS shoe sanitizer will have eliminated exposed bacteria and other microbes, and the staff member can step off.
The durable HealthySole® PLUS shoe sanitizing station features lamps with Plastic Encapsulation Technology™, making it self-cleaning and shatter-resistant.
Do UV shoe sanitizing devices really work?
The HealthySole® PLUS shoe sanitizing station is highly effective in killing harmful microbes such as viruses and bacteria. The patented method for exposing the soles of shoes to UVC light works by damaging the DNA of single cell organisms such as proteins and nucleic acids.
This shoe sanitizing station is also practical. While regular chemical disinfection uses harmful and wasteful materials that must be regularly procured and results in wet footwear, staff members can stand on a HealthySole® PLUS sanitizing station mat without getting their footwear wet.
How do you disinfect the insides of shoes?
Various disinfectants can kill SARS-CoV-2 and bacteria on the inside of boots or other types of footwear. These products include household bleach and rubbing alcohol.
If you suspect that the inside of your shoes has come into contact with SARS-CoV-2, you need to sanitize them thoroughly. Remove your shoes before entering the door of your home.
Spray the disinfectant inside your shoes, and make sure that you cover the entire inside surface. Leave the shoes outside in the sunlight to let them dry. Wash your hands thoroughly after disinfecting your shoes.
Does UV light kill shoe odor?
Shoe odor is the result of bacteria breaking down sweat. The UV light of the HealthySole® PLUS is only used on the soles of shoes, not the internal areas where the bacteria, and other toxins that cause unpleasant odors are present. How do you clean HealthySole Plus?
The HealthySole® PLUS is made of hospital grade stainless steel The best cleaning method is rubbing alcohol applied to a rag and wiped across the steel plate. As well, it is suggested that one regularly applies a handheld vacuum to the holes on the top plate.
Request a HealthySole Quote
The HealthySole® PLUS shoe sanitizing station offers excellent value for the money and is highly effective in reducing the spread of microbes and pathogens via hospital floors.
For a quote and more details on our sanitizing station units, please complete and submit our online form.
“It is clinically proven that the bottoms of shoes carry millions of microorganisms on them at any given time, once these pathogens are carried into or within a healthcare facility, there is a 90-99% transfer rate of organisms from the bottom of shoes to the floor.”
– Shoe Study-Dr Charles Gerba Sheri Maxwell 2008