Sterilization, the first step
Sterilization means the process by which, we arrive at the (almost) total destruction of any microbial form, that is, the killing of all pathogenic microorganisms both in the vegetative form and in the form of spores.
How does sterilization work?
The various processes destroy the microorganisms causing the lethal alteration of some of their essential components; in particular, sterilization determines the denaturation of proteins and nucleic acids and the degradation of membrane and cell wall components.
When sterilisation is to be carried out
It is necessary to sterilize any object that must come into contact with the skin or mucous membranes of the patient; any device that must be introduced into the body; any device to be introduced into cavities, both sterile and non-sterile, of the body. This applies to both surgical and diagnostic and therapeutic activities.
It should be kept in mind, in fact, that the use of sanitary materials not properly sterilized or disinfected, and therefore contaminated, can cause infections in three different ways, namely:
- transmission of a pathogenic micro-organism from one patient to another;
- transmission of the same pathogenic micro-organism from a health professional to a patient;
- transmission of infection from a patient to a person in the care staff.
The steps of the sterilization process
- Collection and transport of the material to be processed
- Control, verification and maintenance
- Packaging materials