With the hit of another wave of COVID-19, it’s crucial to understand how hospital staff are sterilizing their equipment to prevent further spread of the illness. The different methods of sterilization in hospitals can vary from location to location, but here are a few common ways medical professionals disinfect their equipment.
Dry heat is a sterilization method used for medical instruments that cannot withstand moist heat such as steam. Dry heat can penetrate certain pieces of equipment and rid them of all microbial life that might be harmful to patients. It’s a cost-effective way for hospital staff to sterilize their tools, and it’s easy to install in surgery suites.
This method can sterilize medical instruments in a matter of 60 to 150 minutes at varying temperatures. However, staff should monitor specific tools during the process, as some tools can be more resistant to dry heat.
Ethylene Oxide Gas
Ethylene oxide gas (ETO) is a flammable, colorless gas that may be used in hospitals to sterilize equipment as a cheaper alternative to other sterilization options. However, ETO is considered partially toxic to the environment, and particularly to aquatic life. It might be dangerous to humans as well, as it can cause dizziness, confusion, and even unconsciousness. Furthermore, because ETO is highly flammable, it’s strongly advised that medical professionals take proper precautions when handling it to sterilize equipment.
Steam sterilization is perhaps the most common form of sterilization that hospital staff use to remove harmful bacteria from their tools. Many tools, such as autoclave sterilization machines, are used for this more natural and cost-effective way to kill microorganisms. But not all instruments can undergo this type of sterilization, as the high temperature of the steam can cause damage such as corrosion or even combustion to specific tools.
Now that you understand the different methods of sterilization in hospitals, you might feel more comfortable visiting your local hospital to get the help you need if you feel ill.