What do we do when antibiotics don’t work anymore?
In my profession, I deal with serious bacteria from the sidelines. I’m talking the serious superbugs like MRSA or VRE– the pesky bacteria that could kill a person. As a designer, I must be aware of how I not only layout a space, like a patient room, but be aware of the finishes I’m placing down.
In the healthcare design field, there are plenty of products out there that are gaining traction with “antimicrobial” properties (I use the quotes because I feel there is a lot of work that still needs to be vetted before we, as designers, can feel confident enough to convince our clients that these more expensive products are worth it). Some contain coatings with chemicals and antibacterials, others contain metals (like copper or silver) that inherently kill bacteria, and then there are those that are manufactured to have a micropatterning in which bacteria cannot survive. In our world of design, we strongly consider every product that would get installed on to a project to ensure that we are not harming any of the occupants; whether that be everyday workers in an office, to nurses and patients in a hospital, to even your children at home. Unfortunately, not everything is working.