Hospitals have a responsibility to ensure that patients are not subjected to preventable reinfection. This can happen when an unsanitary environment exists in a hospital. Robust infection control and sanitation help to keep patients safe from reinfection risks that come from bacteria and viruses.
These reinfection risks can come from unexpected sources. Sick patients may leave dangerous bacteria and viruses on surfaces, in the air, on hospital beds, in linens, and on staff uniforms. Visitors add to the risk, exposing both themselves and patients to bacteria that may hinder patient recovery and put patients and hospital staff at risk.
Wearing gloves and masks are critical but often insufficient in ensuring a hygienic environment in medical institutions. Hospital administrations also need to implement a disinfection plan to keep patients, staff, and the general population safe from infection and reinfection from contaminated sources. One of the most effective methods of disinfection for water lines in hospitals is ozonated water.
The treatment of hospital water lines has become one of the most urgent areas to address in protecting patients and hospital staff from reinfection. Patient secretion through their bowel discharge can expose the public to infection, and hospital water lines are the main source of these pollutants. Outbreaks may occur if these water lines are not properly disinfected. The spread of COVID-19 has added to the urgency, as there have been several high-profile cases where hospitals have seen local outbreaks through polluted water lines.
Ozonated water is a strong oxidant that acts as a natural disinfectant. It is an effective and economical sanitation method for disinfecting hospital water lines. Sanitization using ozone removes the need for dangerous chemical disinfectants and is an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional sanitization products. Ozone acts 3,000 times faster than chlorine and is 50 times more effective. After the sanitization process, ozone simply reforms into oxygen molecules, without emitting any harmful by-products.
The problem with chemical cleaning agents
Conventional methods of sanitation such as chlorine and sodium hypochlorite are less effective and have numerous disadvantages compared to ozone and ozonated water. Ozonated water needs a short contact time with the infected area to sanitize and can control the spread of diseases by eliminating threatening viruses from these polluted hospital water lines.
How Does Ozone Work?
Pathogenic organisms live and reproduce in water so disinfectants are used to prevent them from spreading. Ozone is considered the most effective disinfectant to fight viruses and pathogenic organisms within the water. High-concentration ozone water is produced through electrolysis, in which hydrogen and ozone are emitted after the water has gone through an electrolytic ozone generator.
Ozonated water is a highly effective oxidant for neutralizing viruses and bacteria. Ozone can be created on-site for safety and sanitation purposes as it is reactive and quickly breaks down in oxygen. Its oxidizing capacities are related to hydrogen peroxide (HO2 ) and hydroxyl (OH) with tremendous oxidizing properties, eliminating almost all forms of bacteria and viruses.
Ozone produced by BioSure electrolytic ozone generators (EOG) breaks down bacteria through oxidation. The Water Disinfection System (WDS) by BioSure turns regular tap water into anti-bacterial sanitizing wash water and is ideal for hospital environments where there is a risk of microbial contamination. Ozonated water can even destroy viruses such as COVID-19, by diffusing over the outer shell and into the core, destroying the viral RNA. Ozone by higher concentration can also destroy the outer shell by oxidation.
BES electrolytic ozone generators produce ozone through electrolysis technology. This is a safe alternative to traditional methods and does not emit harmful by-products such as NOx. The electrolytic method is safe and effective and produces higher concentrations of ozone. High purity ozone dissolves in water up to 400 percent more effectively and efficiently than other ozone generation methods. The resultant ozone is then dissolved into the water for treatment, where it reacts with unwanted contaminants and neutralizes them.
How Does Ozone Control Infection in Hospital Waterlines?
Hospital water lines are a major source of infectious pollutants. Since patients consume and excrete water, the water wastage lines are highly contaminated with harmful viruses, bacteria, and other dangerous pathogens. Moreover, water used in cleaning surgical equipment and hospital utilities contains pathogenic organisms. Conventional methods such as chemical solutions for controlling infection in hospital water lines are less effective and do not eliminate all threatening diseases. Ozone treatments have therefore been implemented to rid the water lines of dangerous pollutants, such as harmful bacteria or viruses.
Ozone for Hospitals
Ozone is one of the most effective disinfectants against viruses and bacteria, thanks to its oxidizing properties. Ozonated water can be used to disinfect an entire room when released as misting ozone through the Space Sanitizer System (SSS) by BioSure. Misting ozone can be used constantly at a low level to keep a room disinfected from airborne viruses and infectious diseases. Below the surface, ozonated water flushed through hospital water lines can kill dangerous microorganisms, and can also be used to disinfect surgical equipment and common hospital utilities. An experiment conducted to kill biofilm within dental unit waterlines proved that ozonated water reduced colony-forming unit (CFU) levels. The complete eradication of viruses depends on how long the water lines were exposed to ozone. In this study, the dental unit lines were flushed for five, ten, and fifteen minutes. At the fifteen-minute mark, biofilms were completely eradicated.
Ozone Eradicates Odor
Ozone has strong reactive properties against microorganisms that create unpleasant odors. When ozonated water reacts with these organisms, the cell membrane is ruptured, causing these cells to die. Ozone may also be effective in mortuaries as it slows down the decomposition process. This decrease in decomposition tends to reduce odors, giving medical staff a more hygienic working environment. The same case can be applied in hospitals. A flush of ozonated water through hospital water lines can deodorize and remove odors in hospitals.
Ozone Can Eliminate Protozoa
Protozoa is a single-cell microscopic animal mostly present in moist places. One of the habitats of protozoa is hospital water lines. These are single-cell organisms that feed on organic matter such as other microorganisms or organic tissues and debris. Ozonated water is more powerful than chlorine treatment in killing protozoa.
Ozone Eliminates Pathogens
Many pathogenic microorganisms can reproduce inside free-living amoebae, such as highly virulent and resistant viruses and bacteria. These pathogens exist in hospitals and can hardly be removed through conventional treatments. The glycoproteins and glycolipids present in the cell membrane of liquid-based pathogens are weak against ozone’s oxidizing properties. Ozonated water ruptures the membrane of water-based pathogens and eradicates them.
The Bottom Line
Ozonated water is an efficient means of cleaning hospital water lines, thanks to its oxidizing properties and virus-killing effects. Implementing electrolytic ozone generators may benefit hospitals in many ways. Ozonated water leaves no chemical residue behind, meaning that it is an invaluable disinfectant for removing impurities in hospital water lines, and is easy on the environment as well. Ozone improves safety for both hospital patients and staff and is also cost-effective. For information on implementing electrolytic ozone systems in healthcare, visit BES Group. BES group (Biotek Environmental Science Ltd) is the world-leading hydrogen and ozone technology manufacturer, with more than 30 years of experience in the industry.