The decontamination mat: protection for doctors and patients
What is it, what is it for and why is it important to use
To prevent operating rooms and sterile areas from being contaminated by micro-organisms, protective equipment is used for operators and patients (gowns, gloves, masks, caps etc.) and to protect surroundings (barrier film, sleeves, towels etc.).
Maintaining an aseptic environment is essential for reducing the risk of infection in the operating room and preventing cross-contamination.
One of the ways of ensuring the operating room is pathogen-free is to use a decontamination mat by the entrance.
Purpose of decontamination mat
Surgeons, patients and assistants entering the operating room are potential vehicles for dust and bacteria.
A study—published by the EID (Emerging Infectious Diseases) Journal and available online on the CDC (Center for Disease Control) website—tested air and surface samples collected in hospital wards in Wuhan, China to determine how and to what extent the SARS-Cov-2 virus spreads.
The study found that shoes worn by medical staff cause the virus to spread from one department to another. In addition, the study also showed that there was a considerable viral load in samples taken from the floor of the hospital pharmacy, where no patients were admitted. Therefore, any areas of transit and areas close to operating rooms can be potentially dangerous places in terms of virus and bacteria transmission.
The decontamination mat is designed to prevent bacteria from spreading from one room to another. Ordinarily, a mat is laid down by the entrance to a clean room, operating room or any other setting where potential environmental contamination by hazardous dust, bacteria and fungi must be controlled. Using the decontamination mat ensures greater protection and a safer sterile area as bacteria is removed from the soles of the shoes and dust is blocked.
How is the decontamination mat made
Decontamination mats consist of a series of overlapping sheets. Each sheet has two functions: bactericidal and adhesive. Furthermore, the sheets themselves are numbered so you can check to ensure that they are being changed. Typically, decontamination mats are equipped with an adhesive layer at the bottom, enabling you to stick them to the floor.
Guo Z, Wang Z, Zhang S, Li X, Li L, Li C, et al. Aerosol and Surface Distribution of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 in Hospital Wards, Wuhan, China, 2020. Emerg Infect Dis. 2020;26(7):1583-1591. https://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2607.200885