Sobering Findings Regarding COVID-19 and Aerosols
by Lee Slaton 11/6/2020
A recent review and study provide more information on the effectiveness of pre-procedural rinses in reducing bacterial and viral loads emitted by dental patients—and the care needed in reducing chances of infection in operatories.
The review, published July 13, 2020, examines interventions to reduce aerosolized microbes in dental practices.
It caught my eye because one of the mitigation strategies strongly recommended since the beginning of the pandemic is the use of pre-procedural rinses.
29 clinical trials (comprised of 21 random controlled trials and eight non-randomized studies) were included. A tempered chlorhexidine (CHX) 0.2% rinse prior to routine ultrasonic scaling was found most effective toward reduced postprocedural bacterial load.
My eyes typically cross when confronted with more than one line of scientific jargon, so I included the link to the abstract for you to peruse.
The purpose of the study, published July 1, 2020, was to map and quantify the biological contamination of a dental operatory environment using a biological tracer. As someone without a clinical background, I found this fascinating reading.
If you decide to skip the heavy reading, just know this from the study’s listed takeaways:
“Aerosol particles can remain suspended for up to 30 minutes after the end of an operative procedure, and the coronavirus causing COVID-19 can survive on surfaces for up to 72 hours.”
Once again, here’s a study backing up what infection control experts have been saying since the beginning of the pandemic; namely, aerosols are shown to remain suspended far longer than suspected and have the ability to settle over a wider range in the operatory.
If you’re a dental clinician and don’t read anything else with a scientific bent this week, please take a look at these. They present compelling evidence that support a couple key recommendations made to deal with the pandemic.
Let’s be careful out there!
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