Bacteria-sniffing Dog Helps Identify Surfaces to Disinfect to Help Reduce C. diff Infections

In a nutshell… This is the story of Harley, a working beagle who is trained to identify Clostridioides difficile (aka “C. diff”) bacteria on surfaces. Harley prompts staff in a North Carolina medical center to disinfect contaminated surfaces with chlorine bleach, helping to reduce the facility’s C. diff infection rate.   Three cheers for sweet

Cleaning and Disinfecting Against Coronavirus: Are We Doing It Right?

In a nutshell… A new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey shows some consumers are misusing cleaners and disinfectants in their efforts to avoid COVID-19 (coronavirus). This practice can cause injury and may have led to an increase in calls to U.S. Poison Control Centers in the first quarter of 2020. Consumers

The Role of Time in Disinfecting Surfaces Against Coronavirus and Other Pathogens

In a nutshell… Disinfecting destroys pathogens, including the coronavirus (COVID-19 virus), on surfaces. One important and frequently overlooked aspect of disinfecting surfaces is allowing sufficient time for the disinfecting product to be in contact with the surface (contact time). This article focuses on the role of time in applying surface disinfectants.   As businesses and

How to Clean and Disinfect Surfaces as We Return to Life as We Knew It

In a nutshell… This article discusses guidance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on cleaning and disinfecting surfaces as Americans return to pre-pandemic life. Surfaces addressed include those in public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools, and homes.   As areas of the United States begin opening

Household Chemical Safety and Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

In a nutshell… This article reviews data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that show increasing numbers of phone calls to US poison centers during the current coronavirus pandemic. The CDC notes these calls could be linked to cleaning and disinfecting in the household to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Buying and Storing Groceries during the Coronavirus Pandemic

In a nutshell… This article provides practical suggestions on how consumers can help reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19 while purchasing, handling, and storing groceries during the current pandemic.   While grocery shopping, it is easier to maintain a six-foot distance from others if you are shopping alone and at a time when there are

Shelter in Place or Evacuate? Are You Ready for an Emergency?

In a nutshell… This article introduces a new online feature, “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” to provide advice on supplies needed for emergencies that require either sheltering in place or evacuating. The feature links to both Dr. Ralph’s Emergency Preparedness Closet and Nurse Barbara’s Go Bag. Dr. Ralph and Nurse Barbara are caricatures

When Does Bleach Expire?

As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, household chlorine bleach—a mainstay of household disinfection—has become a sought-after commodity. We recently worked with several public health experts to develop a user-friendly poster on how to prepare a solution of bleach and water for disinfecting surfaces against the COVID-19 virus. But the question arises: Without an expiration date on the bleach jug, how do you know when bleach expires and that a solution made with it will be effective?

Kill Coronavirus by Disinfecting Surfaces with Bleach

In a nutshell… This article introduces a user-friendly poster featuring directions for preparing a solution of chlorine bleach and water to disinfect frequently touched surfaces against the coronavirus (COVID-19 virus). The poster may be freely downloaded. Directions given are recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).   An image of the

Preparing to Shelter in Place During the Coronavirus Outbreak

In a nutshell… This article provides guidance on preparing to shelter in place in the event that becomes necessary during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The interactive “Dr. Ralph’s Emergency Preparedness Closet” illustrates the supplies families will need to stay healthy and secure while confined to their homes. Also addressed are tactics for staying mentally