Monthly Archives: July 2015

Why you get car sick – and not even in the car!

Worried woman
They’re the germs you never think about – more dangerous than you know

Yeah, yeah, it’s the daily grind we’re all sick off.

M25-itis.

Forward ten yards and wait twenty minutes. Forward another five and another half hour.

Been there, done that, got the parking ticket.

Where’s the freedom?

None of which is why you bought the car in the first place.

You got it for vooma! Because it feels sexy. Because you can go places, do things. Because you rule your own life, baby!

And yes, the open road still exists – it’s still possible to jump in, turn the key and take off.

Yeah, go, go, go.

And are you having chips with that? A whole new world of doing things as they happen – because it’s not just McDonalds who do drive-through. There’s Krispy Kreme Doughnuts as well. Starbucks too.

Plus all those fast-food pit-stop places on the motorways – with everything from pizza to fish & chips to scones and tea. Food on the go is big business and getting bigger.

You have to watch it of course. You don’t want the law eyeballing you while you’re noshing your burger with the engine running. Three points on your licence and a fine is not worth it.

Fast car, fast food, mmm

It’s still great though. Park up somewhere and watch the world go by. Fix your hunger without losing a second of the day. It’s your leisure time and you need to make the most of it.

There is a downside of course. Crumbs, isn’t there always!

And not just crumbs. Bits of garnish, drops of dip, rogue onion rings, greasy wrappers, Coke spills – it can get quite yucky in there. Multiplied by ten if you have kids.

Which means it’s not the motion of the car that’s giving you that queasy feeling. It’s our old friend e.coli – or c.difficile, or norovirus – or any one of a hundred gastrointestinal disorders picked up from the germs lurking where the food spills have gathered.

And for afters

Serious uphill that – cramps, vomiting, diarrhoea. Or even worse if it gets out of hand – dehydration, organ failure – enough to put you in hospital for a couple of weeks.

So two things.

One, you’ve got to clean your car INTERIOR a lot more regularly – especially busy Mums who live in the thing.

And two, there’s always going to be germs, because you can’t clean every second – so you need to follow-up with a good disinfect/sterilise session whenever you can.

Best if you can get it is one of those disinfecting room foggers like Saniguard – an ammonium chloride mist that spreads throughout your whole car (it looks like a sauna in there), not just reaching the cracks and crevices, but destroying any germs in the air as well.

You close all the windows, put the can in the middle of the car, press the button and get the heck out of there. Twenty minutes later, it’s all done. Just let all the fog out and you’re good to go.

Trouble is, the stuff is not always available.

So Plan B is good old Dettol – and their very versatile disinfectant spray.

It won’t kill the airborne germs, the spray is too direct and not made for air dispersal.

But what it will do is a darn good disinfecting job of all surfaces and tricky corners. It’s kind to plastics and leather, needs no wiping, and dries without a trace afterwards. Easy peasy.

Drive safe, drive healthy

You can tell both of these have worked because any smells that might have been present are now gone. And even if you didn’t notice a pong because you were used to being in the car, there will be a pleasant freshness that wasn’t there before.

Yes, it’s a schlep, but it’s got to be done. Like washing your hands and cleaning your teeth every day. Your car is the same. In the war against germs, there’s never any let up.

Anyway, who wants to wind up in ICU just for a quick trip down the B1040?

Colleagues back with holiday bug? You’re next!

Depressed businesswoman
Count on it – whatever they got, you’re coming down with it too

Be glad you didn’t meet them at the airport.

The whole plane-load came down with this one.

Holiday hangover

Loos backed up, overflowing air sick bags – even the flight crew were looking green. A real hero of a pilot too.

Not you, thank goodness – and it was even on the six o’clock news.

Three days to your own holiday and you’re not eating any of that foreign stuff. Strictly good British graze for you, no messing about.

Er, except it’s not over, till it’s over.

Sure your mates are home safe right now. Getting over it with stacks of Imodium and Buscopan. Quarantined and out of it, so everyone in the office is safe.

Glad to see them when they’re better too. Not nice to be ill. Not nice to double up more than you planned on either – extra work when you’re trying to get clear.

But they’re your pals and you like them, so you do it with a smile.

And they like you too, so you score with the pressies – holiday souvenirs to laugh over when the tummy cramps and diarrhoea are finally gone. Some kind of norovirus the Doc said.

Yeah right, just stay off the foreign food.

As if.

What goes around, comes around

Because next thing, you’re down with the same bug too. Out of action, honking your guts out, and you haven’t even packed your bags yet.

Quick! On the phone to the airline. Are you ATOL protected? What about your insurance? You’ve GOT to cancel. Aargh!

Next thing is, why? Why you?

Your mates brought back a bug, they stayed home till they were clean, then you got it. How come?

Look no further those pressies – fridge magnets, coffee mug, T-shirt, pen, music box, bottle of booze, beach towel, souvenir hat, whatever. Fomites, all of them.

So what’s fomites?

The things you touch, that other people touch, that carry germs. Which is everything else in the office too, right? Including the door handles, lift buttons, computer keyboards, phones, light switches, photocopier, you name it.

Because it’s a nasty fact of life that though nobody’s sick, the germs that can make them that way can live for sometimes weeks out in the open.

And not just on fomites.

In the air too

We each of us trail around our own personal bio-aura of bacteria – our signature cloud of microorganisms unique to us – viruses, bacteria, fungi, moulds, dust, whatever.

And this stuff is so light it can hover and linger in the air for days and weeks, waiting to land on somebody and find a new home.

You.

Uh huh.

Your pals came back to work clean, but the bio-aura they brought from home could still carry the bug they suffered. They’re safe, but not your work place.

Yup, the whole office is bugged – inhabited by the same norovirus nasty that flew back from holiday with them.

Which means the only way you’re going to avoid coming down with it – and everybody else who hasn’t yet had a dose – is to nail all those viruses and bacteria before they nail you.

Effective debugging

Not every office has a Hypersteriliser yet.

But with dangerous germs so easily transferred by jet travel – and medical science discovering more and more of them are resistant to antibiotics – such machines could soon become as familiar as window blinds.

Because without major effort or turning the place upside down, one Hypersteriliser can make any room totally sterile and safe from germs in as little forty minutes. No viruses, no bacteria – every microorganism in the place, gone.

It does it by misting up the place with ionised hydrogen peroxide – the same stuff that may have sparked life itself on Earth – actively spreading through the air, into cracks and crevices, oxidising viruses and bacteria to nothing.

Haven’t got one in your office yet?

Let’s hope they get one, before too many people go on leave. Or before winter comes with its latest version of bird flu.

Unless they do – and unless you’re meticulous about always washing your hands – you’re next, for sure.

Not washing hands is like not wearing a seat belt

Woman fasteing seat belt
Splish-splash or clunk-click – soap and water can save your life too

It’s truer than you know, that your life is in your hands.

Because your hands are your life.

Helpless, hopeless

Without them, you could do very little.

All those everyday things would be impossible – eating, drinking, touching, feeling, holding, carrying, lifting, taking, giving.

Not much of a life when they’re gone, hey?

Which practically means that you rely on your hands for everything about living. Your physical involvement to the whole world around you.

You touch everything. And everything touches you.

Which gets a bit awkward sometimes. Yucky stuff sticks to your fingers and won’t come off. Or mud and dirt. Or noxious poo.

And because you can SEE the crud on your hands, you wash them off. Good, Jim.

Microscopic life threats

But how about when you can’t see stuff?

Because that doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Yes, viruses and bacteria – that kind of junk. So small, you can’t see them without a microscope – and even then you need the high-powered kind.

So what? you say. You’ve read somewhere we’re all surrounded with germs – billions and billions of them all the time. You’re still perfectly fine and healthy, what difference does one more make?

Ah, that depends on the germ. The wrong one in the wrong place, and you look pretty stupid.

For instance, you wouldn’t want to get typhoid or cholera on you, right? Or those ones you keep reading about like HIV or Ebola?

Uh huh. So how do you know you’re NOT getting one, right now?

So that when you touch your face – which all of us do 2,000 to 3,000 times a day – an infection can’t get in through the soft tissue of your eyes, nose and mouth, turning you into a basket case, or vegetable, or worse?

The wrong kind of bacteria

Sure, you’re surrounded by bacteria, your body’s even colonised with them – 10 times more of them than there are of you, 100 trillion cells. But they’re all in harmony, all in balance. Without them, you’d soon be in trouble – they’re SUPPOSED to be there.

But it only takes one of the bad guys to put you in hospital. Oxygen, blood transfusions, antibiotics.

And then they find out, like Ebola, that the damn stuff is resistant to everything. None of the medicines work. Whoops, sorry!

Yeah, like you weren’t wearing a seat belt. Or you went to sleep on the dotted line in the middle of the road. Exactly the same chance you take when you don’t wash your hands.

Most of the time you get away with it.

Crash, bang, wallop

Then one day out of the blue, somebody rear-ends you in a multiple shunt because of motorway fog. Straight through the windscreen – and your head and five ribs suddenly discover why they call it the “hard shoulder”.

Sure, the guy you hit was in the wrong place at wrong time.

So was the methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus in the web between your finger and thumb. You aren’t coming back from a dose of that stuff unless you’re very, very lucky and have very, very good doctors.

Because no medicine works on it – you and your immune system are on your own.

Not so smart-ass now that you’re always surrounded by bacteria, hey? It only takes one.

The same in your car. One little thing out of place.

You don’t know that a stone’s cut your brake lines and you’ve no way of stopping. Or the driver of that HGV is about to have a heart attack, and smash through the central Armco, head-on into you.

No soap and water. No clunk-click. Same difference.

Waiting to happen

It can happen any time – and it will.

The same with the germs around you, in your working and living space. Some on your hands, some you breathe in.

Not every place stops them with a Hypersteriliser and its ionised hydrogen peroxide mist – the crash helmet to go with the seat belt.

So you can’t always assume all germs are taken out and you’re safe.

Which means do it, every time you think of it. Wash your hands – especially after the loo and before food.

Your life depends on it, better believe it.

Because when it finally does happen, the cramps, upchucks and diarrhoea you go through from even something “harmless” like norovirus, is a million times worse than the £100 fixed penalty fine for forgetting your seat belt.

Why germs only attack you SOME of the time

Carefree woman
Easy does it – most of the time germs can’t touch you

Take your eye off the ball and things go pear-shaped, right?

A momentary lapse of concentration.

Kinda how it works in your body too.

Oh oh, glitch

A momentary hiccup in your immune system and oops! That’s a nasty infection you’ve got there, better take something for it.

Momentary because your body is surrounded by teeming microbes all the time. Billions and billions of them in the air, on the ground, and on all the things you touch. So many, it’s impossible not to be in contact with them every second of your existence.

Constantly immersed – and constantly under siege.

Mostly by neutral stuff, but by good and bad too – viruses, bacteria, moulds, dust mites, fungi, spores, pollen – all successfully deflected away by the body’s fantastic immune system.

Be glad. Because inside our bodies there’s a bunch of bacteria too. Whole specialised colonies dedicated uniquely to every one of us. Outnumbering our own human body cells by 10 to 1 – or according to some scientists, even 100 to 1.

Most of these are the good guys, the gofers that do our body’s grunt work for us – processing food, digesting it, manufacturing the natural chemicals we need to do stuff – like even dopamine and serotonin, to keep the brain firing on all four.

OK so far, everything’s going fine.

The whoops moment

But life goes on – and a lot of things happen in every day. We grow up, get educated, find a job, get married or involved, go on holiday, have kids, buy a house, become famous – and life around us is usually pretty harmless.

Except now and then comes the hiccup – the glitch that triggers an immune system alert. Germs like MRSA, transferred from someone else – by touch, or through a cut, or from something we carelessly pick up with unwashed hands.

Even then, we usually pretty safe. Immune systems can cope with MRSA and most other pathogens that life throws at us – sometimes unaware that anything’s happened.

As long as we’re OK, of course. Not vulnerable from some underlying medical condition, impairment of our immune capabilities, or reduction of the bacteria we would normally use to inhibit the bad guys having a go at our bodies.

You see our soft spot, don’t you? Our Achilles’ heel, the one everyday drawback in our defences?

Right, first time. Just about everything in our existence we touch with our hands. Things around us, things we use, things we eat – our hands handle the whole lot. And whatever’s on our hands touches our face – 2,000 to 3,000 times a day.

Which means germs through our eyes, in our nose, or down our mouths – unless we’ve washed our hands. The good guys, yes – the harmless guys too.

And the bad guys who want to take us out – typhoid, cholera, Ebola, e.coli, norovirus – there’s a billion billion pathogens out there only too happy to make us dead.

Under attack

Forget to wash your hands and the germs will go at you for sure. Not just something you picked up, but infection by negligence. You caused it, not accident. You didn’t look after your body – and falling ill is how you pay for it.

Yes, that’s harsh – but unfortunately true. People who keep their hands clean don’t get sick. Not usually.

But being unlucky happens too – particularly since we all live together most of the time – sharing the same space, working, relaxing, eating and drinking.

And while WE might be OK, others might not be. Their germ-clouds are not all safe, there’s bad guys in there. We could breathe them in, absorb them by touch, or swallow them without knowing.

Which is why “wash your hands” applies to the environment we live in too – the indoor lifestyle we’ve always stuck to, ever since caveman days.

Overkill defence

To some people that means go at everything with bleach. Scrub down every surface, kill the germs with stuff so potent it takes the roof of your head off. Not good if you’re asthmatic, or even just sensitive. And who can live with the howling headache?

It’s not good enough either. Because though it gets rid of germs on tables and things, it does nothing to the rest – so tiny and light, they’re suspended in the air. Untouched and hovering in 80% of the room space, no wonder coughs and sneezes go round a place so quickly – schoolrooms, offices, restaurants, cinemas, hospitals – wherever there’s people gathered together.

The safe way

Only one sure way to get rid of them – use a Hypersteriliser. Like washing hands for the total room space, only a lot more effective. Eliminating ALL viruses and bacteria by oxidising them in an ionised mist of hydrogen peroxide.

Germ neutral, totally sterile. You and your body’s own bacteria cloud are totally safe.

Until of course, somebody walks in trailing something else to have a go at you.

But you’ll wash your hands of that, won’t you?

It’s the holiday season now. Happy, happy!

And keep well.

Holiday health hazards – it’s all in your hands

PIsa pizza girl
Lip-smacking, finger-licking, germ-spreading, whoops!

Step away from the street vendor!

Yes, it’s the most amazing croqueta de jamón in the whole world. And the same guy does the meanest shawarma ever.

But step away, NOW!

Fast food alert

No, not because the food is iffy. And not because that trolley is unhealthy. Tourism is big business, so everything gets checked with a magnifying glass. Watch out for the cops on their quad bikes, doing surprise inspections. It’s not the vendor you should be worried about.

It’s you.

Like, you’re hungry and you’re about to scoff yourself stupid. Street food on the way to the beach and a genuine all-over tan.

So when did you last wash your hands?

When you got up? Before breakfast? When you did your teeth?

And how long ago was that?

How many streets have you been down since? Did you grab the boat rail when you climbed aboard? You put suntan lotion all over that guy’s back – did you get it off your fingers?

And is that your beach bag lying on the deck? Reckon they hosed it down this morning? Before all the flip-flops and bare feet? And how about that beach you sat on?

Plus you high-fived with those Italian guys, chucked coconuts at the fair stall, hung on tight on the white-knuckle roller coaster – are you sure you’re ready for that croqueta de jamón?

Because if you come down with a bug or something, it’s not going to be the vendor’s fault.

The price of sloppy hygiene

It’s going to be yours.

And how’s he to compensate that your hygiene is so lax?

Yet chances are, while you’re groaning with tummy cramps, that you’ll blame him for your troubles.

Always dodgy in the street, you never know where anything’s been. Foreign food anyway, your system’s not used to it. You can never trust these places.

Yeah, right.

A load of bull, isn’t it?

Because you know when you washed your hands. And now something’s happened, you’re super embarrassed by it.

Like, how can you admit that you didn’t? Or that you don’t look after yourself regularly? You and the crowd that you’re with – your family, your mates? Ew!

But that’s not you, is it?

You’re on holiday, hyped up, getting out and doing stuff – you know you need to take care.

So you wash your hands every chance you can get. Like Jack Nicholson in The Bucket List, never trust a fart. Never pass up the opportunity to keep clean – because you never know what’s coming next.

Every time you go to the loo, of course. 30 euros in the turnstile, you might as well.

And excuse yourself to go to the bathroom before you eat anything. It makes space for more and you know you’re safe.

Pocket backup

Plus carry a hand gel, just to make sure. Your holiday is a whole eating experience, you don’t want to miss out.

Uh, huh. You get the picture now.

That mob at the hotel, groaning with norovirus. Going to sue the tour operator, are they? And you SAW the woman never went near the taps when she went for a sprinkle.

Clean is as clean does – and you’re ahead of the game. So when you climb on that jet to go home, it’s not you saying “never again”.

It’s a great big world out there – and you’re going to put your finger in every pie.

Go on, enjoy. Your hands are clean.

Spotless workplace, but always down with bugs?

Tensed woman
It’s what you CAN’T see that’s the problem

Posh new prem, all spiffy glass and chrome.

So it can’t be sick building syndrome. Or can it?

Incredibly, up to half of new and renovated buildings can have this problem – an unwanted and unexpected side effect in creating a green, airtight thermo-efficient environment.

Mould inside the walls – from moisture trapped there, in sealed air gaps. Or weak air circulation, underpowered lighting, external vibration – from tube lines under the basement.

Invisible threats

Can’t be – the place is brand spanking new, built by a top designer, no expense spared. How come?

Somehow germs have got in and they’re not going away – staff are down with flu and tummy bugs, over and over again.

The cleaning team are on the case and keep the place immaculate – floors always vacuumed, waste carefully removed, surfaces wiped with antiseptic solution.

So why isn’t that good enough? How do those rotten bugs keep coming?

Two things.

Just because the place LOOKS clean doesn’t mean it is. And most of the time, even a deep clean does only 20% of the job. (Tweet this)

Too many bad guys

You can’t see germs, but they’re all over the place, everywhere. Our own bodies are host to more than 100 trillion of them – and we drag them around in a bio-cloud wherever we go – viruses and bacteria, good guys and bad guys – mostly good.

The key word is “everywhere” – on us, inside us, around us, underneath us, behind us.

Now pause just a second, and remember how things operate.

Last week, right? A whole mob of you in the conference room, big planning session with the guys in the Paris and New York offices, online in the same meeting. Mammoth session, all day non-stop and into the smally wee hours. Big wow factor, kept alive by pizza and coffee.

Uh huh, and the cleaning team made it look like the place had never been used. Amazing.

Imperfect perfectionists

Except, did they clean UNDER the conference table? The actual underside? And did they do under the chairs – everybody fiddled with the swivel and backrest knobs, when were they last ever looked at?

How about the video projector, slung from the ceiling – 20 people in the room for 18 hours, wouldn’t there be gunge up there?

Come to that, how about the air itself? 20 people for 18 hours – each with a germ cloud of minimum 3 billion microbes – around two thousand billion viruses and bacteria that weren’t there before, all able to survive up to 7 days and more.

Floating on the air, lurking, waiting – in 80% of the room space. Untouched by the very efficient surface wipe-clean and vacuum. Still there days later, circulating round in the HVAC system – set to warm for the great British summer, perfect for germ reproduction.

Cough, sneeze, run for the loo.

And not surprising. The place looks clean, but isn’t.

Start with you

Same as your hands. Polished nails, beautifully manicured, not a mark on them.

But when did you last wash them?

Out of sight, out of mind, huh? Except germs are so small, they’re out of sight IN PLAIN VIEW – untouched and thriving right in front of our noses.

OK, hands you can fix, with soap and water – always after the loo and always before eating.

And the workplace you can fix too, with a Hypersteriliser.

After the wipe-down from the cleaning squad, it hits the germs with an ionised spray of hydrogen peroxide. While all of you lot are home watching telly – or partying like mad because the conference job beat all records.

The stuff spreads everywhere because its microscopic particles are charged – actively pushing to escape from each other through the air, rushing up and out into every crack and crevice. The same charge snatches at viruses and bacteria on the fly – all of them – oxidising them to oblivion.

40 minutes later – depending on room-size – zero germ threshold, totally bio-neutral.

Totally safe too.

No residual chemicals, no residual germs. Your immaculate workplace ready for all of you, with no carry-over from yesterday.

Same thing in a sick building, though it can’t fix the lighting or the Underground.

No more sniffles? That’s more like it!

Time to get back to ruling the world.

Why your gut feel could be righter than you think

Pleased woman
Yes, go with your gut –
it knows better than you

You’re already familiar with it.

The butterflies in your stomach before you do something big.

A job interview, marriage proposal, or your first bungee jump.

Your tummy talks to your head – all nervous and scared. Kinda natural, there’s 100 trillion bacteria living in your gut – we’re only 10% human really – and their No 1 priority is to survive. They don’t want you to put the body in danger – don’t do this, walk away, no!

Who’s the boss?

Except you don’t, do you? Your head rules and you do it anyway. But your recognise your gut is right most of the time – it’s just that this time is special.

And how often doesn’t it happen that you have to acknowledge your gut feel is right?

How can that be, it’s just a mess of intestines isn’t it? How can that possibly influence what your brain is thinking?

Not what it’s thinking, but how it responds.

Inside the body, different bacteria do different things – and they’re as essential to our survival as water is to plants – a living symbiosis we cannot do without.

So while some bacteria help with digestion and providing the body with nutrients, others have other functions – secreting neurochemicals such as dopamine, serotonin and gamma aminobutyric acid, all of which influence mood.

We know the consequences only too well. If the gut’s out of balance, we experience depression and anxiety.

It goes from there.

Because our own behaviour determines that balance.

Germs in charge

Most of the time we read the gut’s signals correctly. But getting them wrong or ignoring them can land us in big trouble – obesity, asthma or even cancer.

So getting them right is kinda vital. Eat the right foods, exercise the body, avoid smoking and drinking. Sound familiar?

Gut feel always told us how we should live – and now research is catching up to prove we were right.

But it’s not just inside our bodies that bacteria are active. They surround us constantly in a swarming cloud outside too – an aura that is biologically unique to every one of us, infinitely more precise than a fingerprint or a retina scan.

A pushy bunch too, determined to assert themselves wherever the body happens to be.

It takes only minutes for our bio-aura to populate a room. If we stay there for long, all trace of anything previous is quickly obliterated – displaced by our own particular blend of good bacteria, also-ran freeloader bacteria, and bad bacteria – plus of course whatever viruses we’re toting around too.

Incriminating evidence

All this trails around after us. Lingering wherever we’ve been – a tell-tale of exactly who we are and what we’ve been up to – our positives and negatives waiting to be explored by (or attack) whoever comes along next.

Which means if we’re toting among other things any pathogens that may be harmful – though we might be immune ourselves, we leave them lurking for someone else.

A cold or flu virus that maybe hasn’t broken yet. Norovirus from the dodgy stir-fry off that street-vendor – already making tummy twinges and lying in wait on the keypad we used for secure entry (unwashed fingers) – and drifting in the air round the door it operates.

Residual pathogens, waiting in ambush. Multiplied several times over by all of us working in the same office.

Any unbalanced body walking into that lot will be pulling a sickie tomorrow for sure – a real one.

Germ protection

Which is why, though we live in a world of bacteria and are 90% germs ourselves, we still need to protect ourselves from the bad guys – harmful viruses and bacteria in the wrong place – our living and working environment.

Not much we can do all together while we’re working.

But when the day ends and we all go down in the lift – strong traces of our residual bio-auras are still there – a high germ threshold waiting to trap us in the morning.

Except not this time. Because after work, it’s protection control with a Hypersteriliser.

The place gets misted up with ionised hydrogen peroxide – and 40 minutes later, all viruses and bacteria are gone – safe and sterile, totally germ neutral.

OK, so a lot of innocent bacteria might get lost in the process – there are too many to ask which are good and which are bad, and separate them so they’re harmless. Sterile means sterile, which means ALL bacteria are gone.

Not really a problem, because none of our personal bacteria are harmed – we’ll re-populate the rest in the morning when we clock back in with our bio-auras. Ten minutes and there’ll be a good healthy bio-universe in the office just like yesterday. But with no bad guys.

Which gut feel tells us has GOT to be right.

You’re nicked! How germ CSI fingers you for crime

Female cop
We know it was you –
your germs are all over it

They haven’t made the real Bio-Cop movie yet, though there is a fake trailer for it.

But you can betcha, it’s only a matter of time.

And more likely to be a CSI forensic drama than a horror flick with gruesome germs crawling all over the bad guys.

Science fact

Because reality is, the science fiction of it is fast becoming science fact – and it’s already possible to ID a perpetrator from germs left behind at the crime scene – who they are, where they’ve been, what they’ve been eating and who they might have interacted with.

The buzz-word in this new crime genre is “biome” – the unique germ-cloud or aura we all carry around with us. A personal microbial signature that IDs us far more accurately than a finger print or DNA.

You see, it’s not just that we’re full of germs – our bodies colonised by bacteria that outnumber our own human cells by 10 to 1.

We exude these bacteria too – they’re on us and around us, billowing about us wherever we go.

You was there

And the combination of bacteria we each put out is individually and separately different – according to who we are, where we were born, how we grew up, what we eat, where we live, the places we’ve been – and even the mood we’re in.

Which kinda says don’t pull any funny business like a Hatton Gardens jewellery heist – the cops will nail you so fast, it’s as if you left your personal calling card right there at the crime scene. And biologically speaking, that’s exactly what you’ve done.

Of course readers of this blog already know about personal germ-clouds and auras – “biome” is just a posher way of describing them. And recognising that they’re there is key to the most effective protection against germs we’ve seen yet – oxidising them out of existence with hydrogen peroxide.

Evidence in the air

Because we don’t just pull our germ-clouds around with us – they give off all the time, leaving swirls of themselves behind – a biological smoke trail that lingers everywhere we’ve been.

Best demonstration of that is the aromatic compounds given off by the bacteria on our skin when they metabolise. They make a unique scent dogs can recognise, so the cops can track us. Mosquitoes home in on it too – an “all you can eat” invitation triggered by the smell of our sweat.

And it’s from those lingering germ-clouds that we can easily catch a bug. Everyone goes home from the office at the end of the day – but their germ-cloud traces are still there. They’re waiting for us in the morning too – and over time they build up.

So if somebody’s got bird flu, or norovirus, or any of the really contagious nasties – we can pick it up too. Exposed to it all day with no clue that it’s there – a nightmare outbreak round the office and no-one knows why.

Which is why the hydrogen peroxide treatment. To extinguish the residual germ-clouds left behind after everyone knocks off.

And not just any hydrogen peroxide treatment either.

Serious protection

We mean with a Hypersteriliser.

Misting the place up with an electrostatically charged release of ionised gas plasma that super-actively disperses itself everywhere in all directions – right into every crack and crevice – reaching out and grabbing pathogens on the fly – oxidising all viruses and bacteria stone cold dead.

Result, the whole place is sterile. Safe and biologically neutral when folks clock in next morning. No germs to catch, no illnesses to suffer – unless people have already got them.

OK, so the technology isn’t there yet to prove you woofed the office stapler. But in the meantime you’re safe and protected from germs – all push-button easy.

Be a crime not to take care yourself and your mates like that, don’t you think?

All those germs still stressing you out? Why?

Girl shrugs shoulders
If we’re more bacteria than human,
why are we worried about ourselves?

Get a grip, not all germs are bad.

That pot of probiotic yoghurt you’re climbing into for a start. Full of good healthy bacteria to aid digestion in your gut. Where they’ll join the other 100 trillion bacteria already there.

You’re not actually yourself, you see. Or not who you think you are.

The real you is different

Because bacteria resident in the body outnumber human cells more than 10 to 1 – so tiny, 20 billion or so can fit on the head of a pin – and we’re each of us carrying around enough to fill a large soup can.

So you’re more bacteria than human – so what’s all the stress about?

OK, there’s good germs and bad germs.

And the trick for us human beings (humbos) is to live with them, not against them. Find the trade-off that streamlines the way for everything we do and think – yup, bacteria influence the brain too, we’re all under mind control.

A bit of a switcheroo, hey? Because maybe whoever we are is really the bacteria – and as the resident bacteria, we control the humbo, our own personal robot.

Uh huh. A very sensitive robot, easily knocked out of balance. To be looked after with great care, like a gun. Because treated the wrong way, it can blow up in your face.

Bang, not nice

Like cleaning – which when you think about it, is simply the business of putting everything in the right place. Dirt in the wrong place, things can go wrong. Germs in the wrong place, same difference.

Except this humbo robot thingy moves around in a whole WORLD of viruses and bacteria. The air around you alone teems with 1,800 different TYPES of bacteria – too many to think of putting a figure too. And we ourselves just by being there generate around 37 million more bacteria per hour.

You got it, that means bacteria and viruses are everywhere, right?

On your clothes, on your face, underfoot, all over the food you put in your mouth (yummy probiotic yoghurt, peach flavour) – and because they touch everything and move everything around for you – on your hands.

On the things that your hands touch too – they’re called fomites. Your mobile, computer keyboard, pens, door handles, knife and fork, everything around you.

Your own face too, which is how most of the bad germs get into your body – through the soft, sensitive tissue of your eyes, nose and mouth – which, if you’re like the rest of us, you touch 2,000 – 3,000 times a day.

Your hands have it

All of which presents another mind-boggling perspective – that your life is in your hands, literally, all the time.

Dirty or germ-infested hands – the body becomes contaminated, the bacteria balance goes for a loop. And you join the other humbos writhing on the floor with norovirus, or Ebola, or whatever else it was you ALLOWED to get in and infect you.

Dead right, washing your hands saves your life – every time you do it.

Yet 95% of us never wash our hands properly, or even think about it – we’re too full of being busy humbos to think about protecting out bacterial balance. Things to do, got to get on, no time for anything – go, go, go.

The same for the environment we’re in.

Out in the open, we stand a better chance. The wind blows, rain falls, bad germs have a tough time catching up with us.

But we don’t live out in the open – and haven’t for millions of years.

Modern cave-dwellers

Our lives are indoors 90% of the time – mostly with others, at home and at work. Sharing our living space, eating together – multiplying all kinds of opportunity to cross-contaminate each other.

Us and our bioplumes of bacteria. Good and bad germs lingering in the air long after we’re gone – picking up bugs from each other even though we’re not in the same place any more. Residual infection.

Which means, like your hands, clean the room – your life depends on it.

Except rooms are little more complicated – at least with the water-and-sponge wipe-down methods we use most of the time. Sort of OK for floors and surfaces, but rubbish for anything else – like the 80% air space that surrounds us and never gets touched.

Protecting air force

Unless of course, you use a Hypersteriliser – the only way to reach into all the cracks and crevices of our living space – and knock out bad germs lingering in the air. Putting out an ultra-fine mist of ionised hydrogen peroxide that grabs viruses and bacteria on the fly, oxidising them to nothing.

No viruses, no bacteria – the room is sterile. No bad germs in the wrong place. Safe.

No good germs either, but don’t worry. As people come and go – their bioplumes with them, filling the space with their bio-auras – the good bacteria will be back.

They are us, after all. And we control the humbos, not the other way around.

So like we said, why are you stressing?

 

Wash your hands and you get to live another day

Hip hop dancer
Clean hands! No germs!
Another day to celebrate!

Splish, splash, done. Now to have some fun.

Because germs are a real downer.

Feeling good one minute, feeling grim the next.

And you could even wind up dead.

Down the plughole

All because – just once – you missed out on the soap and water.

Nah! It’s never going to happen to you, is it?

You’re pretty clean most of the time anyway.

Check your hands, not a mark on them. Like you wouldn’t eat with dirt on them, would you? And not straight from the loo and down the hatch either.

Ew!

Not healthy. Not sexy.

But we all forget to do it all the time. You’re in a rush, you’re having a good time. And maybe, maybe, you just missed out washing yourself once or twice.

You only live once

Except it only takes once for germs to get a hold. Through your mouth. From wiping your eye. They’re not fussy.

And being dead is not sexy either. Neither is rolling in agony with guts ache. Or your head pounding. Or both. Sometimes so bad that you worry you might NOT die.

Or you might be paralysed, deformed, stuck in a wheelchair, or out of your mind.

A hell of a chance to take, isn’t it?

Yet with 100 trillion bacteria already living INSIDE your body – and trillions and trillions more always all around – those are the odds you’re up against.

An easy choice though, hey?

A proper go with soap and water gets rid of 99.9% of them. Drying off properly even more, because germs thrive on wet surfaces.

As quick as it takes to sing to yourself: Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, may you always live in sunshine, Happy Birthday to you.

Happy Birthday?

All for you

Sure, with no germs on you – no viruses or bacteria – you get to celebrate being alive again.

Another day.

Another one out of 22,000 – which is all most of us get.

Just by washing your hands.

So easy peasy, a child could do it.

Which kind of says – if it isn’t a lifetime habit already, it should be.

So you can enjoy the good times.

Because being sick isn’t fun. Out of it and lying in bed, sometimes for months – depending on what you’ve got. Not like an accident you have no control over. Stuck there because a germ was ALLOWED to find its way into you.

No way, José

Preventable, avoidable, unnecessary.

Just by washing your hands.

Do it now, while you think about it. Always after the loo and before you eat.

Yes, you’ve made it to another day.

Now enjoy it!