A guide to using antimicrobial in schools
If you’ve been looking at ways to make your school safe in the last few months, you might have come across the word ‘antimicrobial’. That might have been followed swiftly with, ‘what is antimicrobial? Is it any different to antibacterial? What’s it got to do with schools?’ Well, whatever your question about antimicrobials, our guide has got you covered.
What is antimicrobial?
Antimicrobials come in lots of different forms, but their number one job is to protect humans from the spread of microorgansims. ‘What are microorganisms?’ we hear you cry. Well, these are microscopic organisms and the word is usually used to describe bacterium, viruses and fungi. Simply put, antimicrobials stop the spread of nasty bugs that often to spread like wildfire in educational settings.
How can antimicrobials be used in schools?
There are two main groups of antimicrobials. The first is the kind that can be used on or in humans – we commonly see these in the form of antibiotics, but hand sanitiser would also be classed in this group. They are classed as drugs and antiseptics.
The second groups is the kind you might use to clean a house or school. Sprays that are used to clean surfaces and cleaning wipes appear in this group and they’re known as pesticides.
Both groups are likely to appear in your school as way of combating the spread of bacteria and viruses, but they’ll be used in different ways.
What’s the difference between antimicrobials and antibacterial?
Antimicrobials prevent the spread of bacteria, fungi and viruses. Antibacterial just prevent the spread of bacteria.
How do antimicrobial trays work?
If you use Gratnells trays in your school, you’re not alone. Schools (and medical settings) the world over use Gratnell trays. It is possible to coat trays of this sort in an antimicrobial coating. This helps to prevent the spread of bacteria, fungi and viruses. This sort of coating can be applied to almost anything made of plastic. So, if your pupils are using trays to keep their belongings in, these can be made even more preventative against the spread of germs through the use of antimicrobial Gratnells trays. Antimicrobial-treated plastic doesn’t need to be constantly cleaned to protect the user, and the surface of the object is inhabitable for bacteria, fungi and viruses to live on and spread.
Is there such a thing as antimicrobial furniture?
Technology such as SteriTouch® means that even soft furnishings can be coated with an antimicrobial agent. This kind of technology means that classrooms can continue to be comfortable and inviting as well as clean and safe for pupils. GLS Education sells an entire range of SteriTouch soft furnishings for schools and nurseries.
Are antimicrobials preventative against COVID-19?
Antimicrobials are not proven to prevent the spread of COVID-19. That’s the quick answer. Because COVID-19 is such a new virus when it comes to scientific evidence, companies that own technologies such as SteriTouch haven’t had chance to ensure antimicrobials prevent the spread. However, antimicrobials agents do stop the spread of similar viruses such as MRSA and SARs.
How do antimicrobials prevent the spread of bacteria, fungi and viruses?
It sounds dramatic, but most antimicrobials explode bacteria cells. Obviously, this is done on a microscopic level. Other antimicrobials consume the bacteria resources (which the bacteria need to spread). That stops them from multiplying.
We hope we have answered some of your questions regarding antimicrobials and how they might work in your school. GLS is dedicated to providing schools and educational settings the materials and resources they need. Take a look at our antimicrobial range and the SteriTouch® soft furnishings.