Copper: A powerful Defence against Hospital-acquired Infections

Studies have shown that billions are spent every year on treating Hospital-Acquired Infections or HAIs. And, even though infections are very much rampant in hospitals and other healthcare institutes, very few hospitals actually take the necessary preventive steps.

Besides, even the most meticulous cleaning methods do not ensure complete elimination of bacterial and other infection causing microbes from a surface.

An effective solution to destroy most of the microbes causing HAIs is copper. This wonder metal is known since ancient times for its powerful antimicrobial properties and a host of other advantages.

Mentioned below are some of the most common types of infections acquired in hospitals and other healthcare institutes, and also how the useful advantages of Copper can help keep the deadly microbes at bay.

What are the types of HAIs?

  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)It is a type of bacterium which can cause mild skin infections like sores or boils to some serious life-threatening infections. This microbe spreads through contact. It is resistant to some of the commonly used antibiotics, and hence is difficult to treat. Symptoms to look out for are swollen, painful red bumps usually full of pus or other type of drainage.
  • Clostridium Difficile (C.Diff)This bacillus is a common cause of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea. It spreads very easily when a person comes in contact with contaminated surfaces or hands of healthcare professionals who have touched an infected surface, device or material. For e.g., it’s common to find the spores of C.Diff on bed linens, handles or fixtures, telephone etc. Loss of appetite, cramping, nausea and fever are some of the most recognizable symptoms.
  • Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE)An enterococci bacterium is naturally found in human intestinal tract and female genital tracts. Over the years, these bacteria evolved to survive the antibiotic – Vancomycin which was earlier created to treat infections from microbes which had become resistant to penicillin. Patients receiving long courses of antibiotics, who have undergone abdomen or chest surgeries or who have medical devices such as urinary or IV catheters attached to them are at a greater risk of infecting VRE. Pain or burning sensation while urinating, diarrhoea, weakness and fever are some of the symptoms.
  • Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) and Carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella Pneumoniae (CRKP)CRKP is a type of gram-negative bacteria which in healthcare sites, causes bloodstream infections, wound or surgical infections and pneumonia. Those who have an impaired immune system and the elderly, are both at a greater risk of contracting CRKP and other infections like it such as CRE. As these bacterial strains are resistant to antibiotics, patients who acquire them are at risk of death. Symptoms of CRE can be different in various individuals and depending on the organs involved. They include fever, lethargy, redness and swelling.
  • Necrotizing FasciitisIt is more commonly known as the flesh-eating bacteria or flesh-eating disease. It enters the body through ruptured skin like a scrape, burn, insect bite, cut or wound, and kills the soft tissue. Hospitalized individuals are at a greater risk of contracting this skin infection. It spreads quickly and in severe cases limb amputation may be required. Symptoms include pain, soreness, fever, chill, fatigue and ulcers, blisters or black spots on skin.

How Copper can help prevent these HAIs?

Here’s how copper can help prevent the above listed Hospital-acquired Infections –

  • Copper has intrinsic potent antimicrobial properties. The dual oxidized states of copper make its killing mechanism more efficient for a longer duration of time. At all temperature and humidity levels, copper is capable of destroying the deadly bacteria, fungi and other microbes responsible for HAIs, by rupturing their cell wall and causing cell death.
  • Its moisture management and anti-odour qualities make copper-infused bed sheets and clothing products for patients, the most appropriate choice for preventing contamination in health care settings.
  • Copper is recyclable, available in various product forms and is also durable. Clothing infused with 100% pure copper is made by integrating the copper particles at a molecular level. This ensures that the metal is not washed away even after several washes and stays for the lifetime of the product.

Besides different types of clothing products infused with copper, common touch surfaces such as stair handrails, carts, door handles, grab bars, sinks and even various healthcare instruments can be made with copper today.

A huge advantage of integrating copper infused products in health care spaces is that it can help reduce the expenditure on HAIs, tremendously. If you are interested in learning more about how copper can contribute towards making a health care space infection-free, get in touch with us at Copper Clothing today.