Looks are deceptive.
Here’s this machine that, for all the world, could be a compact office photocopier.
Except this particular box of tricks takes out viruses and bacteria – attacking like a death ray to destroy their DNA.
Safe, fast, sterile
Five minutes later, all germs are gone. Everywhere the death ray probed is sterile.
A death ray that is, for viruses and bacteria.
Potent for humans too, as we all know. The energy that powers it is the same that gives you sunburn – ultraviolet light. Overdo the exposure, and you’re in for an uncomfortable time.
But with this nifty Hyperpulse machine, you’re the one calling the shots.
Ultraviolet to the rescue
OK, apart from sunburn you’ve probably experienced UV before – the teenager’s big giggle. It makes that cool purple glow on the dance floor in discotheques – triggering bright fluorescent colours and showing white underwear under dark clothing.
Ah yes, but that’s not the same UV.
Also known as “black light” the show-biz version is longwave ultraviolet – UV-A. Pretty well harmless and very popular for special effects.
The stuff the Hyperpulse emits is way more powerful. Which is why it needs care.
This is UV-C – very short wavelength – on the fringes of becoming X-rays.
And no wonder it kills germs.
No wonder you should stay out of the room when it’s in use too. You don’t want to risk eye or skin damage. But if you’re curious, you can watch safely through a glass window. The short wavelength UV cannot pass through.
HIgh intensity energy
Start the machine with its remote control – and first thing a glass tube pops up out of the top, like an extending periscope. Inside is the xenon light source, the secret of the Hyperpulse’s efficiency.
Back in the good old days, germ-killing UV-C rays were generated by mercury vapour lamps – the same light source as in those ultra-bright streetlamps. The silver ones, not the orange – those are sodium vapour.
Continuous light from the mercury vapour lamps exposed the room being treated to UV-C, killed the germs and the place was sterile. Except it took several hours to do.
Technology has moved on from there, which is how the Shield Hyperpulse gets its name.
Split-second power killing
Like lightning or a photographer’s flashgun, the powerful 200 watt xenon lamp discharges UV-C energy in split-second concentrated bursts – pulsed at one second intervals to regenerate the charge.
It does the same job as the mercury vapour, but in 5 to 10 minutes, depending on room size.
That makes the Hyperpulse perfect for situations demanding rapid turn-around. A super-busy A&E, or a dentist’s surgery. Quick sterile blitz between high volume patients – 10 minutes and the facility is ready for use again.
Impossible by hand in the same time – not even just the high touch areas, like bedside rails, over-bed tables, television controls, bedside and bathroom grab-bars, or the toilet seat in the patient’s bathroom.
Which means, working under pressure in time-crunch conditions, that any form or sterilising doesn’t get done beyond a very quick wipedown. Less than perfect in a world where HAIs are an increasing concern.
Time vs efficiency
There is of course, a downside. A trade-off between quick results and maximum effectiveness. Hence the machine’s only 99,999% germicidal performance or Log 5 kill rate.
Like any light, the pulsed xenon rays cause shadows – areas where the UV-C does not penetrate – the reverse side of beds and treatment room furniture, behind or under objects in it.
One way round this is multiple exposure from different positions, moving the machine in between. Another is to position mirrors where regular coverage is required. Both extending the time to make sterile.
Better still is to supplement Hyperpulse sessions with a nightly follow up by Hypersteriliser – full Log 6 treatment with fine-mist hydrogen peroxide plasma to ensure the entire room is 99.9999% sterile.
Hiking hygiene habits higher
Expect to see more of the Hyperpulse. With antibiotics become less effective as pathogens become resistant to them, preventative hygiene is becoming more vital daily.
Over-stretched A&E working flat out, with worries about c.diff, MRSA, VRE, CRE, or acinetobacter?
99,999% gone in ten minutes.