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4 types of sterilizers used in Hospitals

hospital equipment » ProSalud
What types of sterilizers are there and what are they? Sterilization is a fundamental process to guarantee the elimination of harmful microorganisms, thus ensuring our health and well-being.
Throughout the following articles, we will dive into the different methods and technologies used in sterilization, from advances in the medical industry to practical applications in the home and food industry.
We will discover how these processes have become fundamental pillars to maintain hygiene and safety in different environments.
types of sterilizers » ProSalud

What types of sterilizers are there and what are they?

  1. Autoclave: It is a steam sterilizer that uses high temperatures and pressure to eliminate microorganisms. Autoclaves are widely used in hospitals, clinics and laboratories to sterilize surgical instruments, medical equipment and supplies such as bandages and gauze. Autoclaves are one of the most common and efficient methods of sterilization. They use water vapor at high pressure and temperature to kill bacteria, viruses, fungi and spores. The moist heat generated in the autoclave penetrates the objects and ensures complete sterilization. There are autoclaves of different sizes, from benchtop models used in doctors' offices to high-capacity autoclaves in hospitals.

  2. Dry heat sterilizer: It is one of the types of sterilizers that uses hot air to sterilize medical instruments and equipment. Dry heat penetrates objects and disinfects them by eliminating microorganisms. Unlike autoclaves, dry heat sterilizers use hot air to sterilize objects. These sterilizers are useful for instruments and equipment sensitive to heat and humidity. Dry heat sterilizers are typically slower than autoclaves and require longer cycles to achieve effective sterilization.

  3. Chemical sterilizer: These sterilizers use chemicals, such as ethylene oxide or hydrogen peroxide, to disinfect medical instruments. They are primarily used in situations where heat is not suitable for certain heat-sensitive materials. Chemical sterilizers use chemicals to kill microorganisms. The most common are ethylene oxide and hydrogen peroxide. These sterilizers are useful for objects and equipment sensitive to heat and humidity, such as endoscopes, electronic devices, and plastic materials. However, chemical sterilizers may require additional time for the degassing process to remove chemical residues before objects can be used.

  4. Radiation sterilizer: This type of sterilization uses ionizing radiation, such as gamma rays or x-rays, to kill microorganisms on medical instruments and equipment. Radiation damages the DNA of microorganisms, which prevents their reproduction and survival. Radiation sterilizers use ionizing radiation, such as gamma rays or x-rays, to kill microorganisms on objects. The radiation damages the DNA of microorganisms, which prevents them from reproducing. This method is suitable for a wide range of medical materials and equipment, including surgical instruments, plastic materials and pharmaceutical products. However, radiation sterilizers require specialized facilities and protective equipment to ensure personnel safety and compliance with radiation safety regulations.  

It is important to note that the choice of types of sterilizers depends on the type of instrument or medical equipment that is used in conjunction with it, as well as the specific needs and regulations of each medical environment. Health professionals and infection control specialists are the ones who determine the most appropriate sterilization method in each case.

It should be noted that regardless of the method used, it is essential to follow the specific guidelines and regulations of each country and organization to ensure proper and safe sterilization. Additionally, it is crucial to regularly monitor sterilization processes to verify their effectiveness and maintain accurate records.

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Rich Jesus
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