UV Light Sterilization
The Benefits Of UV Light Sterilization
by: dewi susanti
UV light sterilization offers great potential for tackling HAI’s (Hospital-Acquired Infections) or Healthcare Associated Infections. Such infections are transmitted through the surrounding environments of the healthcare institutions. By incorporating the UV sterilization devices in standard hospital cleaning procedures, such transmissions/ infections can be better avoided.
There are various benefits in sterilizing using UV light:
1. Unique And Simple Mode Of Operation
UV lamps have a unique, efficient and effective mode of operation that is quite different from other sterilization devices. These UV lamps, when passed over an infected surface, kills the resident viruses and bacteria on it. There are also many different sizes of such lamps, designed to suit both large scale commercial use or small scale use. The large models can cover wide areas for disinfection, whereas smaller ones are portable and easy to carry from one place to the other.
2. Fast Acting And Efficient Sterilization
Convenience is a major benefit of UV lamps. This is largely because many healthcare facilities have very limited time available for environmental disinfection/ cleaning. It can be quite challenging to set apart more than 20 minute for cleaning rooms assigned to terminally ill patients or surgical rooms, especially in large health centres.
UV light sterilization is also highly affordable, effective and efficient for reducing unwanted airborne and surface microbes in the surrounding environment within patient wards. This offers a viable solution for prevention and control of infection.
3. Eliminating Many Varieties Of Pathogens
UV light sterilization is useful in eliminating and controlling various types of harmful pathogens. It generally takes just a few minutes for the UV sterilization lamps (UV decontamination lamps) to reduce such pathogens and other forms of multidrug resistant organisms.
Various types of multidrug resistant organisms and pathogens that can be eliminated through use of UV sterilization include:
1. MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus)
2. A type of spore-forming bacteria known as Clostridium difficile
3. Acinetobacter baumannii
4. VRE (Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus)
5. ESBL (Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamase Producers)
6. The common Influenza virus (Avian or Influenza A)
7. Many other types of viruses, bacteria and fungi
4. Other Benefits Of UV Sterilization
UV sterilization has many other benefits, which include:
a. UV lamps may be found in lightweight models which are highly portable, hence convenient to use.
b. Compared to other sterilization devices, UV lamps are relatively inexpensive.
c. UV lamps are free from chemical agents which can be potentially harmful to users and patients.
d. UV sterilization has the added advantage of eliminating odor-causing germs.
e. UV lamps not only eliminate bacteria and viruses, but also mold and dust mites.
Despite all the benefits, it must be noted that effectiveness of UV light sterilization also depends on having an uninterrupted line-of-sight exposure. This means that the micro-organisms should be directly exposed to such UV light for it to work. Therefore, environments where design features create obstacles blocking the light would not be effectively sterilized. In order to improve the effectiveness of UV sterilization within such environments, the UV lamp should be placed within a particular line-of-sight that offers optimum results.
Another issue of concern with UV Lamps is ozone production. Ozone can be detrimental to the health of users and patients. Fortunately, such UV lamps are generally doped to block the release of UV light below 254 nm (0.05 pap of ozone has been designated as a safe level by the United States Environmental Protection Agency).