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Understanding Bacteria, Microorganisms, Pathogens, and Viruses: When to Use Professional Biohazard Cleaning

biohazard cleaning

When you think of a biohazard and biohazard cleaning services, you probably immediately picture huge hazmat suits and some disease on the loose. Maybe you see the scene from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” where the villain is preparing to unleash a pathogen into the air. Or maybe you think of labs, needles, and other similar scenes. 

The truth is a biohazard can refer to several different things. Different types of biohazards require different levels of care, all of which are defined by the CDC. Things like bacteria, microorganisms, pathogens, and viruses are what lead to the need for biohazard cleaning services. It is really all about protection from exposure to something dangerous that could be spread easily. 

In this guide, we share more information about understanding biohazards and when you should hire a professional to handle them. 

What is a Biohazard, Exactly? 

The term “biohazard” is short for “biological hazard.” It refers to any type of biological substance, such as bacteria, microorganisms, pathogens, viruses, etc., that could pose a threat to the health of living organisms. This is primarily when it poses a threat to people or animals. If a virus or a toxin could affect human health, it is a biohazard. There are many different forms of biohazards, like:

  • Viruses
  • Biological toxins
  • Spores
  • Fungi
  • Pathogenic microorganisms
  • Substances that are bioactive

And these pathogens or substances can be found in many different forms. It may be from a virus that is spread through bodily fluids. It could also be exposure to a disease from a sharp object like a needle. But that’s not all. Even toxic mold goes on the biohazard list. 

There are many ways that these hazards can be spread, including airborne spreads, human or animal waste, infectious waste, blood, bodily fluids, pathological waste, and others. 

Biohazard Levels and Types of Biohazards

When it comes to protective measures, there are four levels of biohazards specified by the CDC. These levels are staged from the lowest threat to the highest, and the cleaning and treatment follow very specific guidelines based on the level. Here’s a quick overview of the four levels:

  1. Minimal threat to humans but exposure can spread easily. E. coli and chickenpox are good examples. Minimal protection is required. 
  2. Moderate threat to humans and an increase in protection. Examples include things like Staphylococcus or HIV. 
  3. The threat becomes a much higher risk and pathogens can be airborne. Higher protection required. Examples of Level 3 biohazards include tuberculosis, West Nile, yellow fever, and similar bacteria or viruses. 
  4. The highest threat; handled with the utmost protection and care due to life-threatening pathogens that have few to no treatment options. Consider examples such as Ebola, various hemorrhagic viruses, hazardous chemicals, smallpox, etc. 

Biohazards can also be divided into various types and different levels. We shared many examples of types above, but remember that this also covers things like mold/fungi, viruses, bacteria, medical waste, human bodily fluids, animal carcasses, animal droppings, and more. 

Knowing When to Use Biohazard Cleaning Services

Not every chemical spill or sickness falls into the biohazard realm, but many of them do. And when someone bleeds or has an incident that leaves behind other bodily fluids, you simply don’t know what you might be exposed to. Biohazard cleaning is meant to eliminate or reduce the likelihood of exposure to any harmful element we’ve covered. 

But it is important to recognize that you might not always know where there is a biohazard present. That’s why you need to familiarize yourself with the risky scenarios that could present a risk, and hire a biohazard cleaning team when those situations present themselves. Don’t take the risk of cleaning on your own when you know there is the possibility of a hazard. 

These are some prime examples of when to use biohazard cleaning services:

  • Blood or bodily fluids present: this may include a site where there was an injury, as well as things like unattended death, crime scene, and other trauma scenarios
  • Harmful virus exposure: when a known harmful virus exposure occurred, biohazard cleaning should be done to protect everyone else from getting said virus
  • Animal waste or human waste: waste can carry any number of bacteria, viruses, diseases, or pathogens, and you just don’t know what is in them 
  • Hoarding scenarios: a hoarding scenario can be a threat because there is no way to fully know what may be hiding within the trash, piles, and debris
  • Chemical spills: in the event of hazardous chemicals, there are specific protocols to follow

Lean on ONEighty Solutions for Biohazard Cleaning Services

When you know your situation falls into the realm of a biohazard, always protect yourself by hiring someone who is trained and certified to handle the situation. Never put yourself at risk. 

ONEighty Solutions can help with your biohazard cleaning needs. Contact us today to get started. 

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