Infection control has always been a top priority in healthcare settings, preventing or stopping the spread of bacteria and viruses before infection takes hold. Critical in the likes of hospitals and care homes, the importance of infection control has been magnified since the global pandemic. Sensors play a key role in ensuring optimum control is maintained, as any threat of infection spread in healthcare settings is most definitely an emergency. But which ones in particular help to ensure infection is kept at bay?

Control is key

Having a high-level of control over the health and safety of our indoor environments is key. It means that if the unfortunate occurs – i.e., an emergency – the appropriate course of action can be undertaken to prevent occupants’ wellbeing from being compromised. This control is key in healthcare settings such as hospitals and care homes where patient, staff and visitor comfort are top of the agenda.

But how can this control be assured? One of the key ways is building sensors. Sensors closely monitor a building’s performance and are always in dialogue with a BMS (building management system). Sensors are able to detect any untoward changes in an indoor environment that may be a risk, whether that be a pipe leak or smoke detection.

Sensors pick-up on an issue before it takes hold and report back to the BMS so the right path is followed. Acting as an extra pair of eyes, sensors are essential in hospital environments where infection control is paramount.

One type of sensor that is vital in these settings is a relative humidity (RH) sensor. Bacteria can develop in environments where there is a lot of moisture. Humid conditions are therefore the perfect setting for bacteria to multiply. The majority require relative humidity (RH) of 60 percent or more, though some can survive and multiply in >20 percent RH. Decreasing temperature and moisture (relative humidity), creates a less hospitable environment for microorganisms to grow.

Sensors in action

In order to assure infection control, an effective strategy was needed to combat changes in air humidity within Dammam Medical Tower, a hospital in Saudi Arabia. Sontay had just the solution. Its space-mounted relative humidity and temperature (RH&T) sensors use the latest high-accuracy technology to improve and maintain a healthy indoors environment, making them the ideal solution for the hospital’s isolation rooms.

With the presence of Sontay’s sensors, Dammam Medical Tower’s isolation rooms were provided with easy-to-install temperature and humidity sensors at a crucial time during the coronavirus crisis. Installed during a worldwide emergency, these sensors provided precise and constant air regulation in 40 isolation rooms designed to rehabilitate COVID-19 patients whilst keeping other areas of the hospital infection-free.

The role that sensors play in enabling optimum control in emergency situations cannot be understated. They are the all-important extra pair of eyes that monitor indoor conditions and prevent small issues from escalating to larger disasters. Sensors are vital to assuring control in all manner of buildings from commercial offices to manufacturing plants. Yet when it comes to healthcare settings, sensors are integral to a site’s safe operation. As long as they are present, patients, visitors and staff will always be in safe hands.