Medical Supplies for Infection Control

Germicidal wipes. Copyright (c) PDI, Inc.

Controlling the spread of infection ranks with the most primary concerns of any health care organization, whether it be an outpatient facility (ambulatory care clinic, your doctor's office, community health center) or an inpatient facility where patients spend the night (hospital, long-term care facility, nursing home).

It is common sense that dates back two millennia to Hippocrates and his writings in Epidemics.

My modern day translation is essentially, when a patient seeks medical care, the medical team needs to make sure the patient doesn't leave them worse off than they arrived as a result of their environment, actions, or decisions.

Which brings us to one part of that concept: the environment of care.

What medical supplies are available for infection control? That is, keeping the environment of care clean such that when one sick person comes and goes, the following sick people do not pick up the microbes left behind that could cause them to acquire an illness with which they did not arrive?

Air Disinfectants

There are professional grade aerosols, even Lysol has one, that work the same way you would use them in your home. They have been tested and proven to kill more than 99% of germs, including the ones that carry tuberculosis, influenza, H1N1, MRSA, rhinovirus, norovirus, polio virus type 1, Hepatitis A virus, Hepatitis B virus and HIV-1 (AIDS Virus) when used as directed.


Air disinfectants kill germs and prevent mold and mildew growth, which are the hosts for microbes to live and grow. Air disinfectants are typically sprayed on high touch surfaces, sinks, and showers.

In additional to Lysol, there are other products made under the Clorox brand. Other companies include Beaumont Products and the Waterbury Companies.


Hand Sanitizers

There are many varieties and brands of hand sanitizers. They are designed to do the same thing as air disinfectants described above, but these are made to be safe to use on your skin. Some hand sanitizers are waterless, meaning you apply them to your hands without needing a sink to run your hands under water like you would do with soap. Some hand sanitizers do require water and are built-in to the soap.

There are several ways to apply a hand sanitizer. Some are made in the form of a liquid, others a gel. Some hand sanitizers have the germicide soaked into a towelette or wipe with which you take from the package or dispenser and rub your hands.

Other forms include hand sanitizing foam, which may be in a waterless medium or may require use of a sink and running water.  Another variable to consider is whether you want a hand sanitizer that has included ingredients that will protect and soften the skin like a hand cream.

Surface Disinfectants

Aerosols like Lysol described above cannot do all of the heavy lifting required to disinfect some high-touch surfaces that need a thorough cleaning and germ killing effort.

Therefore there are surface disinfectants that can be applied in sprays or wipes or mops that allow the environmental health and housekeeping staff to work for a deep-down clean.

Surface disinfectants include Safetec's SaniZide Plus(R) Surface Disinfectant, which is an ammonium-based compound liquid that contains no alcohol. It is a non-corrosive formulation, so it won't damage sensitive but common health care surfaces like lenses, cements, rubber, plastic, steel, aluminum, or brass.

There are also heavy-duty surface cleaners that have germicidal (germ-killing) strength in the form of a wipe. The wipes are typically stored in a tub-like dispenser. Some common brand names include PDI and Huntington-Ecolab. These types of wipes are not meant for use on the skin.

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