Beyond Biohazard Cleanup In Los Angeles: Preventing Illness

As a nurse and specialist for biohazard cleanup in Los Angeles and Southern California, I know a lot about infectious diseases, and since it’s “cold and flu season,” I wanted to share some handy illness prevention tips.

According to a recent CDC report, there were more than 16.8 million visits to physician’s offices for infectious diseases in 2016. Infectious diseases are caused by certain types of bacteria, viruses or organisms that cause harm or death if a human is in contact through ingestion, inhalation, or mucous membrane absorption. Infectious diseases such as Clostridium difficile, MRSA, Hepatitis and Staph are highly contagious and easily passed between people.

Pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and fungi are invisible to the naked eye and are impossible to detect unless you detect an actively infected individual or contamination is highly suspect. If a family member, co-worker or cohabitant have been diagnosed with an infectious disease or are showing symptoms it is imperative that the living space be contained and decontaminated.

Any items touched or used are possible contaminants and, in many cases, the pathogens may be airborne. Surfaces, personal items and even air space need to be properly decontaminated by a biohazard cleanup company that is licensed and experienced to conduct such work. Not doing so puts anyone exposed to the environment at risk of contracting the infectious disease. The BioClean Team provides this type of biohazard cleanup in Los Angeles County, as well as throughout Southern California.

Here’s a quick at some of the most common infectious diseases:

MRSA is an acronym for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. MRSA is a type of Staphylococcus bacteria that is resistant to certain “cillin” antibiotics, such as penicillin and amoxicillin. Most MRSA infections are skin, mucous, or wound infections; however, the more severe and life-threatening infections often will occur in healthcare facilities affecting immunocompromised individuals, elderly and the very young.

MRSA can be found in wounds, mucous membranes such as nares (nostrils) or mouth, and lives on hard surfaces for days to weeks. MRSA bacteria can live on surfaces for longer than some other bacteria and viruses because they survive better without moisture.

2. C. Diff
Clostridium difficile (C. Diff) are very hardy bacteria that cause intestinal illness and excessive diarrhea. There are many bacteria and viruses that can cause intestinal illness, so it is important to be tested if C. Diff is suspected. Common pathogens that lead to intestinal illnesses include bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella, C. Diff and campylobacter, as well as viruses such as norovirus and rotavirus. C. Diff is particularly dangerous because it causes excessive watery diarrhea which rids the body of electrolytes and hydration. This can be deadly in the elderly, immunocompromised or the very young.

While other stomach illness pathogens such as salmonella and campylobacter survive only for short periods of around 1 to 4 hours on hard surfaces, C. Diff, can survive for up to five months on hard surfaces. C. Diff is highly contagious and is passed through fecal oral contamination, meaning, if you touch a surface with this pathogen that another person has touched and then touch your face, mouth, or nose, you have a high probability of contracting C. Diff. As stated before, the elderly and immunocompromised have the greatest risk of contracting C. Diff. Handwashing is VERY important as C. Diff is affected by soap and water, but has shown resistance to hand sanitizers. These bacteria will NOT be killed by sanitizing your hands with over-the-counter hand sanitizers.

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that affect the nose, throat and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Symptoms of flu involve muscle aches and soreness, headache and fever.
There are potentially 144 different subtypes of influenza A viruses, not to mention Influenza B, C and D. The virus is constantly mutating making it very difficult to find a suitable preventative.

Influenza can be deadly for adults 65 and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions, pregnant women and children younger than 5 years. Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes.

Help protect yourself and others from the flu:
• Stay away from people who are sick with the flu.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand rub (hand sanitizer).
• Try not to touch your nose, mouth or eyes. This helps keep germs from spreading.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze – whether or not you have the flu. Throw the tissue in the trash. Wash your hands.
• Clean surfaces and objects that may have flu germs on them, such as doorknobs.
• If you have the flu, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. (Your fever should be gone without using a fever-reducing medicine.)
• If you or a loved one has a respiratory illness, contact The BioClean Team for decontamination of hard surfaces to reduce the risk of exposure, contaminants and infection. We provide decontamination and biohazard cleanup in Los Angeles County, as well as all other counties in Southern California.

4. Hepatitis A, B & C
The Hepatitis A virus, which causes liver damage, has become very common among the homeless community. Major cities have seen an increase in these cases due to the rise of homelessness and homeless encampments. San Diego recently implemented portable hand-washing stations through the downtown area due to the Hepatitis A epidemic.
Hepatitis A is also fecal oral, which means it is transmitted from feces to mouth and through the consumption of contaminated water and food. Decreased hand washing and unsanitary conditions make Hepatitis A more likely to spread.

The Hepatitis A virus often is transmitted when an infected person uses the bathroom and doesn’t follow proper hand -washing protocol. One reason that Hepatitis A is so prevalent in the homeless communities is that, unfortunately, the homeless have limited ways to wash their hands after defecating and often are eating expired food from contaminated areas.

The Hepatitis B virus is a viral infection that attacks the liver and can cause both acute and chronic disease. The virus is highly contagious and transmitted through contact with the blood or other body fluids (feces, saliva, urine, vomit) of an infected person. Blood often is found in feces, urine and vomit.

According to the CDC, most persons with Hepatitis B acquire the infection as adolescents or adults through parenteral drug use, occupational exposures and household contact with a person who has an acute infection or with a chronic carrier.

The Hepatitis C virus is a blood-borne virus, and the most common modes of infection are through exposure to small quantities of blood. This may happen through injection drug use, unsafe injection practices, unsafe health care and the transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products. There currently is no vaccine for Hepatitis C, and it is the most chronic and life threatening of the three forms of hepatitis.

Only those with blood-borne pathogen training and certifications in proper PPE (personal protective equipment) should clean blood, feces, saliva, urine or vomit due to the possibility of contracting Hepatitis A, B or C.

The BioClean Team is well versed in viral decontamination. Technicians are trained within the same guidelines as hospital staff as the owner is a registered nurse with a background in microbiology and more than 10 years of experience in infection control and pathogens. The BioClean Team will decontaminate hard surfaces using appropriate decontamination chemicals far more powerful than over-the-counter cleaners. Contaminated porous surfaces must be removed and disposed of according to the protocol set out by the California Department of Public Health.

If you need decontamination cleanup or biohazard cleanup in Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, Riverside or San Bernardino counties, the BioClean Team can help. Feel free to contact us at any time, and we are available 24/7/365.

Biohazard Cleanup In San Diego & Southern California

Thinking of calling a cheap handyman to fix an odor problem? Not so fast . . . You may need to call us for biohazard cleanup in San Diego or anywhere else in Southern California.

All too often, a property owner comes across a situation where either a family member or tenant has left the place in a state of disaster. Property damage and remediation may not just be dependent on the physical items left inside. One may think damage is relative to broken appliances, holes in walls, piles of junk or leftover trash, when the true problem is a lingering smell or odor that easily could pose a health risk.

So wait . . . sniff, sniff . . . WHAT IS THAT SMELL?

It’s not always easy for sellers, owners, or managers to identify smells that might be problematic. All too often we come in after a “cleaning service” has tried to wipe down walls and surfaces, painted over problem areas, and possibly even replaced carpet in the space to no avail. This is financially draining for the owner because he or she essentially has to pay twice to resolve the problem. Our biohazard cleanup technicians are IIRC certified odor technicians. They have been trained on technical odor identification and remediation using the proper techniques and treatment options based on the source.

We bid and remediate approximately 2-4 odor jobs per week and typically, we have to undo what a cleaning service or handyman has done, and then provide protocol remediation services. Biohazard cleanup in San Diego and Southern California isn’t just a thorough cleaning; it’s a scientific process that removes whatever toxins are causing an odor or bad smell, restoring the property to habitable condition.

There will ALWAYS be a lingering odor if you do not TREAT the source.

The BIOClean Team can provide biohazard cleanup in San Diego and Southern California for any type of odor, including some of the following common odor issues.

Pet Odor
Cat urine crystalizes as it dries producing that pungent ammonia smell that stings your nostrils, burns your eyes, and can cause massive headaches. Cat urine can be as destructive as a plumbing leak, if not worse. Multiple cats in a space often become territorial and claustrophobic. They mark territory on ledges, corners, shelves or in and around furniture. While one cat can be damaging, a multi-cat hoarding home is devastating. Porous material such as drywall will absorb the urine and allow the urine to saturate beams and sill plates. Often, we have to remove drywall to the studs before finding the source and treating it with the proper chemicals. We will have to treat floors, studs, sills and remove anything that is too saturated to salvage. Over the counter cleaning supplies WILL NOT clean cat or dog urine or remediate that odor.

Tobacco Odor
Nicotine from cigarettes and cigars coats everything in an oily layer of yellow tinge. The smell will linger in air vents, drywall, any porous surfaces (couches, carpets, drapes, clothing, pillows, etc.). Items must be removed and treatable areas must be treated with the approbate remediation technique. Over the counter cleaning supplies will not remove tobacco stains or smell. Paint will not cover up tobacco odor.

Decomposition or Traumatic Death
Obviously, this is a traumatic issue, but it is one we handle many times throughout the year. When a body decomposes the cells start to burst and leak interstitial fluid from the corpse. Humans have more than ten gallons of liquid in their body, so slowly seeping this ten gallons of fluids, blood, and lipids into the surrounding areas where the body lies is significantly damaging.

The BIOClean Team is held to the highest standards as certified trauma scene practitioners, our technicians are trained to identify all sources of contamination, provide treatment with a three-tiered chemical system, and fully remediate any biohazards.

Once the source is removed and properly decontaminated, our technicians then go about tracking down malodor in any lingering porous materials, air vents, and other possible contaminates. Fly regurgitates are especially common in a prolonged undiscovered death scene and can contaminate areas that may not be considered part of a hot zone.

As the property owner, or representative, your main priority is to get your unit turned over, rented or sold. As the main home owner, your priority is to return to a habitable living condition. In order to obtain a competitive offer or market value rents, you should consider a biohazard cleanup and odor remediation as a significant return on investment. While you may spend several hundred dollars on odor remediation and biohazard cleanup, the increase in property value or rent value you may receive will be well worth the cleanup expense.

The BIOClean Team performs major cleanups and post-disaster restorations of residential and commercial properties, and we handle biohazard cleanup in San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties, including Palm Springs. We have completed hundreds of remediations and there is no job too small or too large. Our owner, a registered nurse, is a problem solver and loves challenges. The BIOClean Team’s IICRC and OSHA-certified technicians have more than ten years of experience in odor remediation, biohazard cleanup, waste management, trauma scene management and medical waste management. If you need biohazard cleanup anywhere in Southern California, you can call on us 24/7/365.

Death Cleanup In San Diego: How We Can Help

Death cleanup services in San Diego and Southern California might be a service you’d never think you would need, but you would be surprised how often it’s necessary.

The story typically begins with someone asking, “What’s going on at that house next door?” Your neighbor’s grass is growing increasingly taller or turning dry and brown, as shrubbery and trees grow out of control. The newspapers are piling up. There’s an odor coming from the home. What do you do?

There could be several possible reasons for this type of scenario. Either your neighbor is a hermit and a possibly a hoarder and has no interest in maintaining their property, or there is something very wrong.

Your first step should be to think about how well you know your neighbor. Are they typically friendly and usually out and about? Is this pattern of behavior unusual? Did they take pride in their home up until a few weeks ago? If the condition of the home is abnormal for your neighbor and you’ve always been on cordial terms, consider knocking on their door and attempting to contact them directly.

If you have contact information for their friends and family, you also could call and update them about the situation and express your concern. When all else fails, call the local police department dispatch for a “welfare check,” and they will come and investigate.

Hopefully this is not worst-case scenario. If it is however, be prepared for law-enforcement to expect a statement from you. Be available and forthcoming. Do not disturb anything around the home. After the police have commenced their investigation, you or the family can contact us for discrete death cleanup services in San Diego County, Orange Country, Riverside County, San Bernardino County and Los Angeles County.

Even if this wasn’t the worst-case scenario, you may find that your neighbor needs medical or psychological help, and you also may find that the interior of the home, like the exterior, is in extremely poor condition.  You may find a hoarding situation or perhaps months of neglect have led to the growth of mold and other toxins. Perhaps the home is overrun with pets, food has been left out to spoil or plumbing no longer works properly.

If this is the case, a good bioremediation company is crucial to returning the home to livability. If your neighbor was injured or ill and has been hospitalized, many families will take this opportunity to return the home to habitable condition and arrange for home health services or alternative living arrangements.

It is extremely important to hire a trustworthy company during this time. After all, you need to ensure that valuables and keepsakes are accounted for and gently. In addition to death cleanup in San Diego and Southern California, The BioClean Team can help restore the interior of a home to a safe and habitable condition, removing mold, waste and other toxins.

We also take pride in finding treasures and valuables that homeowner may have forgotten even exist, and we handle all of your loved one’s possessions with care. We will also look for legal documents and files that may be of importance in the coming months.

After bio-remediation is complete, we will hand over valuables and documents to a trusted family member, friend, realtor or attorney for safe keeping. Leaving these items in a vacant home can entice burglars to the site, and when we leave, we want to ensure that the house is not exposed to theft or vandalism.

Through the years, we have handled all types of bioremediation, from death cleanup in San Diego to hoarding cleanup and beyond. We find that it is crucial that neighbors keep a close eye on the vacant property after bioremediation is complete.

We have completed multiple cleanouts where the home later was overrun by squatters or vandalized. Neighbors can help by maintaining vigilance and other tactics, such as adding motion sensor lights to the exterior home and placing interior lamps and lights on timers, also makes it appear that the home is not vacant. The best protection would be to use the aforementioned lighting, along with neighborhood watch and a monitored alarm system. Keep in mind that when vandalism and theft occurs or squatters move in, this affects the neighborhood property value, so it’s smart to have all neighbors working as a team to ensure that a vacant home is untouched.

All in all, we should all be looking out for each other regardless of circumstance. Getting to know your neighbors and their habits, as well as exchanging contact information, can help reduce the likelihood of a tragic situation. But if you find that a “worst-case scenario” has occurred, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at any time day or night.

The BioClean Team prides itself on its motto “service first” and lives by the Golden Rule. We provide compassionate, caring and comprehensive death cleanup in San Diego and throughout Southern California. We employ only experienced professionals for our services, and don’t outsource or contract with part-time employees. We fully understand that these situations are highly distressing and do our best to provide fast, efficient and discrete services.

In addition to any type of death cleanup in San Diego and Southern California, we also provide compassionate hoarding cleanup services. Our company was founded by an experienced nurse, who understands the necessity for a caring approach in addition to the necessity for bioremediation and the removal of excessive amounts of personal effects. If you need death cleanup services, suicide cleanup services or hoarding cleanup services, we are here to help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Steps to take when a loved one has passed… and has remained undiscovered for several days.

This can be a confusing and emotional time in your life. First of all, please know, we are here for you to answer any questions, even if you do not use our services. Our motto at The BIOClean Team is “Service First”. We are here as a resource during these troubled times, and are very sorry for what you are going through.

  1. First things first: We understand you have lost a family member and the circumstances may be less than desirable. If you are the one who has discovered your loved one, please STOP, retrace your steps and dial 9-1-1. DO NOT touch anything. Not only is it hazardous, but you may be disrupting crucial evidence that law enforcement and the coroner will want to document as is.
  2. Remove yourself from the immediate scene and wait for law enforcement.
  3. Once law enforcement has arrived, inform them of your findings. They will want your statement again, so remain present or available via phone if the scene is emotionally overwhelming for you. Call another family member to assist you as needed, but try to keep the scene clear of a large group that may hinder officials.
  4. Questions to ask law enforcement and the coroner:
    1. Approximately how long was the family member in this state? This assists us in our assessment of how extreme the remediation will be.
    2. Will there be any issue with clearing the scene so I may have retrieve the belongings? This allows us an understanding of when the scene may be released for bio-hazard remediation.
  5. Once the scene has been cleared (can be same day, a few days, or even sometimes weeks) inform a bioremediation company such as The BIOClean Team about the pending clearance so that the company, or we, may arrive as quickly as possible to return you to normal as quickly as possible. Our goal is to get you back to baseline as soon as possible.

We understand this is a difficult time for your family both emotionally, physically, and financially. The emotional toll it takes losing a loved one, and especially being involved in the discovery process is the very reason you should call a trusted and reputable BIOremediation company. There is often little regulation and unscrupulous individuals have popped up with no training, nor certifications supporting their knowledge of OSHA standards, pathogens, decontamination, biohazard transport, nor knowledge of California’s vast health department requirements. ALL technicians at The BIOClean Team are fully vetted, trained, and certified. The owner has been in the industry for over ten years and is a registered nurse who worked in multiple trauma hospitals and emergency rooms in southern California. This first-hand knowledge of trauma, OSHA, biohazardous remediation, coupled with working alongside first responders on a daily basis makes The BIOClean Team one of the most knowledgeable and compassionate companies available today. They have wealth of resources and are committed to “Service First”, meaning, no matter who you decide is the best choice for your family to assist with your cleanup needs, the owner will make herself available as a resource to answer any questions you may have. Off the books. Anytime. “Service First