UVC light boxes in Carilion NICU keeping germs at bay

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) Preventing the spread of germs is especially important in hospital settings, but it’s even more important for the tiniest of patients.

At Carilion’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, a tiny box helps keep germs and infections at bay from the tiny babies using UVC light.

“UVC light has been well established to disinfect different things in the hospital,” said Kim Ramsey, NICU Nurse.

Now with these new boxes, parents and family members with NICU babies can do it themselves.

“We’ve had them for about a month. We looked into, we wanted some way that we could disinfect parents and visitor phones specifically, because phones are very dirty, but phones are a lifeline for parents and families to be able to communicate with people outside of the unit,” Ramsey said.

It only takes as long as a good handwashing. It’s also as simple as pressing a button.

“You can put anything in there that can be exposed to light. Phones, your pen, your glasses, your watch. We put patient items in there as well. The thermometer, stethoscope, anything that can be moved away from the patient and brought over here, and placed in the box can be cleaned and disinfected,” she said.

This kind of technology is used to stop the spread of infections like C-DIFF, a highly dangerous gastrointestinal infection. Fighting this horrible cold and flu season was just an added bonus.

“We don’t have a lot of cold and flu cases for the babies luckily because we are fastidious with handwashing, which prevents transmission of those kinds of illnesses. So I think we’ve been lucky, but that’s not to say, the technology is very well proven that this works and decreases the risk.”

There’s a small UVC box in each NICU Pod at Carilion Children’s. They were able to purchase these boxes with the help of the community.