Bathing Area Conditions that Affect Infection Control
The bathing room itself impacts the infection control issues with air spa bathing systems. These conditions affect the very air quality and can debunk some air spa manufacturer’s claims that their air spas circulate “clean, dry air” through their air lines.
Very often, bathing areas also include a toilet and shower area. Studies have proven that the flushing of a toilet forces millions of harmful bacteria, including e-coli and strep into the air where they can be inhaled by residents and staff. Similarly, shower stalls generate considerable steam and splashing action, causing an “aerosol effect” that also contributes to millions of bacteria becoming airborne. Finally, the bathing systems themselves cause an aerosol effect whereby bacteria that are released into the water during a bath – having come off the resident’s body or off of improperly cleaned equipment – become airborne and inhaled by both the resident and staff. Air spas, due to the bubbling action can actually contribute more significantly to this aerosol effect than can true whirlpools.
As a result, the air in a bathing area is extremely humid, warm, and full of airborne bacteria. Any air spa system operated in this type of environment will correspondingly take in this warm, moist and bacteria-laden air and circulate it through the air lines. As such, these air lines are a perfect area for bacteria to collect, multiply and cause infection control issues. Any air spa system that does not offer a means to clean and disinfect the air lines is contributing to serious infection control issues.