For one, hospitals are being forced to take stronger steps to stop the spread of disease. That means not just MRSA, but fungi, viruses, and other bacteria. While finding ways to babysit doctors and nurses so they wash their hands is wildly effective (whether it’s a beeping badge, cameras, or constant reminders from supervisors), cleaning is also very important.
Spreading bacteria (and other pathogens) through shared objects is not just possible, but frighteningly common. For instance, a study looked at airplanes, finding that commonly touched objects like seat belts and air vents were covered in germs. (The good news was that most of the germs weren’t a big deal. The bad news is that one sick passenger can change that).
In comes cleaning. It’s not only important to use substances that are antimicorbial (meaning they kill all sorts of germs, from bacteria to viruses to fungi), but that are safe for the people doing the cleaning, and the environment. You don’t want to trade the risk of flu for the risk of breathing in chemicals that do their own damage!
Many companies (especially ones that manufacture for hospitals) are looking to silver. Silver has been used for thousands of years, and up until the invention of antibiotics in the 1940s was constantly written about for its ability to preserve food, fight germs, and aid in the healing of cells. The few modern studies done on nano silver/colloidal silver have found it safe for humans (and most tests were looking to prove the opposite), and shown that it basically tears apart bacteria while supporting cells.
Naturally, it’s subtly working its way back into medicine. It’s being used to coat catheters to reduce the risk of infection, it’s still used in burn and wound healing, and to coat surfaces that are either commonly touched (soap dispensers) or not commonly cleaned (walls, curtains, even windows—think viewing windows for hospital rooms).
While environmental concerns have pushed nano silver out of many home products like food containers that promise longer lasting food, active wear, and yes, even some cleaning supplies, that probably won’t last forever. Pulling nano silver out of waste water is not only easy, but potentially very profitable (especially the more it’s used).
Even the President of Vectair Systems (which specializes in washroom hygiene) has written about how silver is a great potential ally in the fight against microbes.
I’ll add in: in so far as it’s been researched, it doesn’t seem that silver triggers bacteria evolution and resistance. It makes logical sense when you look at what changes bacteria usually make and how silver is thought to work.
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