UV sterilization is a fast-growing and invaluable option for preventing the spread of healthcare-associated infections, or HAIs. While you may have questions when it comes to what UV sterilization is and what it can do for your healthcare facility, there is no doubt that UV sterilization is incredibly effective in killing infectious bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
UV sterilization provides a sanitary workspace and is an incredibly powerful disinfectant, but it can be confusing to figure out which UV sterilization device is the right choice for you and your facility. This guide will help you understand what factors to consider when comparing devices, and what device will help you protect your staff and patients best.
Why Use UV Sterilization?
UV sterilization is not a new technology, having been discovered in 1879. Discovered to be a useful technology for cleaning infectious spaces, more studies were done to determine the exact beneficial nature of UV for sterilization purposes. Since the 20th century, UV sterilization has been used to disinfect things like water and work surfaces. UV light is a shorter wavelength than visible light, and is able to penetrate and destroy the bodies of viruses and bacteria.
The use of UV sterilization, or ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, has been found to be extremely effective. Sources of UV sterilization can kill over 99% of viruses, bacteria, and fungi in an extremely short amount of time. Due to this effectiveness, various types of UV treatments and specialized UV devices for sterilization have been developed. This can make it difficult to determine what kind of UV device provides the best results for your facility.
Where Can UV be Used?
While UV sterilization can be used as a supplemental infection control strategy for almost any situation, such as disinfecting water and work surfaces as mentioned above, the efficiency of the sterilization make other specialized spaces accessible as well.
One of the best and fastest growing spaces for UV utilization is in hospital construction and renovation. Keeping hospital worksites from spreading pathogens to other patients is key for infection control solutions. UV sterilization techniques help provide a standard that can be hard for manual cleaning to meet. By providing a consistent procedure for disinfection, UV sterilization in hospitals is invaluable.
The efficient use of UV sterilization makes it more than a trend in hospital disinfection and cleaning practices. However, when looking at devices, it is important to find one that is able to meet your needs, however large or small the scale may be. Recent studies have found that the size of the device often isn’t a factor in the effectiveness of the sterilization itself. Rather, there are other factors play a more important role in the value of your UV sterilization device.
How Can UV be Utilized?
Beyond water and surface sterilization, UV can be used as a sterilization technique for other types of disinfection. UV can disinfect the air in isolated spaces, which is particularly beneficial in a hospital setting. Installing UV devices like lamps and lights at the top of rooms and other areas of circulation can disinfect the air as it moves, improving both the air quality and the effectiveness of the UV sterilization.
UV can also sterilize equipment in work spaces. Because UV sterilization isn’t a wet solution like other disinfectants that can leave behind residue, it can be used as a more efficient solution for ensuring that equipment and instruments are effectively cleaned. And, as mentioned before, it can help improve the consistency of cleaning and disinfecting by removing elements of human error that arise with manual cleaning solutions.
Because of the wide range of uses for UV sterilization, determining which device can provide the best solution depends on what type of project you are working on. Keeping in mind that you may want to use your UV sterilization device for multiple disinfection situations, narrowing down what type of utility you need from your device can help you determine the best pick.
What Type of UV Light is Best?
Most UV sterilization devices use UVC light as the source of their disinfecting power. UVC light is an effective solution for sterilization, which is why it is the most widely used light type. However, it can cause some serious damage as well. UVC light can penetrate human skin and cause damage or injury to the person using it, if not careful. UVC light can also cause damage to certain plastics and rubber materials over time.
A better light solution is the UV-FORCE® technology. UV-FORCE uses far-UVC, a different wavelength of the UVC spectrum to provide the same disinfecting strength as UV-C without the dangerous side effects. Far-UVC can also work faster and disinfect more quickly than other disinfecting methods, creating greater efficiency. A recent study confirms what far-UVC promises in terms of safety to people in the workspace, affirming that far-UVC cannot penetrate the skin and cause harm to humans.
Far-UVC is safer for workplace cleanup as well as for human safety. Many regular far-UVC lamps and lights contain mercury in the bulbs, which make disposal hazardous and much more complicated. Far-UVC doesn’t use mercury, and therefore is safer to use and to dispose of.
When picking the right UV sterilizing device, the type of light used in the device is the most important factor in determining which device is the right one for your project. Because of its increased efficiency and improved safety, equipment like our Airborne Disinfection Module with UV-FORCE® and GermBuster Room Air Purifier with UV-FORCE® can be incredible tools for sterilization and disinfection. For more information about the far-UVC light, download our guide.