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Hospitals and healthcare facilities can be home to pests too

Hospitals and healthcare facilities like assisted living and nursing homes are prime targets for pests.

Unfortunately, these pests spread germs that can lead to illness, which is dangerous particularly for patients who may have compromised immunity. Clinically impaired or immobile residents in assisted living or nursing homes may also fall victim to bites or stings. In addition, insects and rodents can contaminate sterile medical equipment.

The good news is that there are ways you can combat pest infestations. Read on to find out about the most common critters that impact hospitals and healthcare facilities, and how you can tackle them.

Pharaoh Ants

Pharaoh ants are attracted to sugar and are known to infiltrate feeding tubes, intravenous (IV) bags and bottles in hospitals, assisted living, and nursing homes.

They are particularly dangerous in healthcare facilities, because they can carry and transmit many diseases, such as salmonella, staphylococcus, and clostridium, which may cause botulism.

To prevent a pharaoh ant infestation:

  • Clean up any spills and messes promptly.
  • Regularly rotate stored food items, first in – first out.
  • Keep food preparation areas and floors clear of crumbs, and make sure your trash cans have tight-fitting lids.

 

Cockroaches

Cockroaches thrive on leftover crumbs and are often found in kitchens and bathrooms, but can also infest patient rooms. Once there, cockroaches will scavenge virtually anything, including glue, leather, fabric, soap, toothpaste, and common pantry items.

These pests create an unsanitary situation and spread harmful bacteria. Eating food contaminated by cockroaches can cause food poisoning, while cockroach faeces can severely affect patients with asthma or allergies. Cockroaches can even nibble on bedridden patients.

To stop cockroaches invading:

  • Follow a strict daily sanitation routine.
  • Seal entry points around your facility.
  • Inspect incoming supplies, especially any corrugated boxes.
  • Regularly inspect your premises for signs of activity.
  • Use organic cleaners to help eliminate the grease and grime pests feed on and breed in.
  • Implement a deep-cleaning schedule and assign staff specific roles to ensure cleanliness is a constant priority.
  • Take out trash and rotate trash cans regularly.

 

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are extremely good hitchhikers so they can easily be introduced into a nursing home on infested clothes given to a patient, or on the personal belongings of guests.

These pests will suck the blood of patients overnight, with reactive health and psychological implications. Bed bugs can also quickly spread through an entire facility – in just six months, a few of these pests can turn into a full-on infestation of more than 13,000 bed bugs.

To guard against an invasion of bed bugs:

  • Clean and vacuum patient rooms regularly.
  • Protect mattresses with encasements.
  • Seal cracks in walls, trim, and bed frames.
  • Look out for live or dead bugs or their skins.
  • Use light coloured sheets so it’s easier to see those dark red spots.

 

Rodents

Rodents can carry diseases that could be extremely harmful to patients. Mice can transmit tularemia, lymphocytic chorio-meningitis, and murine typhus, while rats can spread bubonic plague, Weil’s disease, toxoplasmosis, and trichinosis.

To prevent a rodent infestation, you first need to be able to identify when you have a problem.

Gnaw marks on electrical wiring, rub marks along the base of walls and tiny chewed holes in the wall near the floor are all signs of rodent activity. You also may notice small, dark pellet-like droppings around your facility.

To combat rodents in your facility:

  • Conduct regular maintenance to ensure there are no openings for rodents to get in.
  • Ask your staff to stay alert, the sooner they report a sighting the quicker the problem can be dealt with.
  • If you are worried about rodents call in the experts. It’s much easier to prevent them from setting up shop in your business than deal with the fallout if they do.
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