Monthly Archives: March 2017

Shrink sweet sizes? Really? When ALL other foods already contain super-fattening drugs?

Woman with rolling pin
Lay off the sugar if you like – but those super-fattening drugs are in everything else you eat

Public Health England might want to rethink this one. Because shrinking sweet sizes to cut obesity will most likely achieve nothing.

Nothing except irate sweet eaters who eat double to compensate.

Oh sure, the sugar in sweets DOES contribute to making us all fatter.

But one Snickers bar a week is not exactly going to blow us up like an elephant.

It takes several a day – on top of pigging out on everything else – to do that.

Gorging ourselves stupid. Eating too much – of everything. Absorbing too much for our bodies to take, so they bulk up.

Exactly what farmers do to get animals ready for market. As quickly as possible – money, money, money.

Gut bacteria on the fritz

Which is why they feed them drugs to fatten them up. Deliberately obese-ifying them. From an egg to a roasting chicken in 6 weeks. From newborn calf to an Aberdeen Angus steak in 14 months.

And the drugs they use are antibiotics. Added to feedstuffs in small doses. Just right to tip animals’ gut bacteria into always wanting food. Becoming more efficient at extracting nutrients from it too. The proven way to bulk up fast.

Proven, right?

Because aren’t drugs frequently tested on animals before they’re let loose on humans? To see if they work properly – or head off any Frankenstein side-effects?

Yes, well. Farmers worldwide have proved the case well and truly – and do so every day.  As they have done since antibiotics were discovered 50 years ago. Today they’re using 240,000 tonnes of the stuff a year.

Which is how they produce the 19 billion chickens, 1.4 billion cattle, 1 billion pigs and 1 billion sheep that keep us fed.

And how they pushed food production to feed us all. From the 2½ billion people we were 50 years ago – to the7½ billion we are today. All off exactly the same available land.

Get the picture? The planet isn’t any bigger since back then – what’s different is the antibiotics.

So yes, proven. Antibiotics obese-ify animals, which means they obese-ify us too. The world’s most efficient super-fattening growth boosters. Which is how come today two thirds of us are porkers.

Proven super-fatteners

Proven beyond doubt.

Which sort of says that cutting sweet sizes down by a fifth isn’t exactly going to crack it. People will get fat anyway, from the other stuff that they eat. Fat and getting fatter, even if they’ve never chomped a Snickers.

Now of course, the powers that be will tell you this isn’t possible. That there aren’t any antibiotics in the foods we eat. Farmers feed them to their animals, yes – but doses are withdrawn weeks before market and all meat is antibiotics-free.

If only. Because to feed 7½ billion people requires factory farm methods to sustain enough food supply.

CAFOs these farms are called – Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. Animals crowded into intensive growing areas – so much on top of each other that antibiotics are necessary just to help them survive.

OK, so health authorities know this. And they’re concerned too, for the effect any antibiotics in the meat might have on humans. Specifically carcinogenic, toxic or allergenic effects.

Antimicrobal resistance & MRLs

And of course superbugs. Harmful bacteria that have become immune to antibiotics and cannot be treated. Top of the list being carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE), neisseria gonorrhoeae, clostridium difficile, multi drug-resistant acinetobacter – and the only one most of us have heard of – methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

All of which raise the scary reality that modern medicine is back to the Dark Ages. Soon heart bypass surgery, C-section births and hip replacements will no longer possible because the drugs won’t work against infection.

That said, there’s still antibiotics in our food. Because while levels are reduced to make it safe for us to eat, they’re not removed entirely. Trace residues are still allowed as long as they conform to legal Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs).

Still there in our food, but only in little bits.

Precisely the way antibiotics are administered to livestock to obese-ify them.

And precisely the way we ingest them when we eat animal meat. Little drip-drip doses, just enough to tip our gut bacteria out of balance and our appetites jammed on full throttle.

If only it stopped there.

Universally obese

You see, most animals only absorb 20% of the food value that they eat. The rest is excreted as waste – Nature’s way of providing nutrients to enrich the soil and promote plant life.

Manure and fertiliser for plant crops. Vital at today’s population volumes. So that antibiotics-laden enrichment finds its way into everything else that we eat. Grains crops, cereals, vegetables, fruit – often in higher concentrations than with animal meat.

And not monitored either because nobody twigs there’s antibiotics in their food source.

It’s also how antibiotics in animal meat sneak back – in higher volumes than regulations allow.

Not all meat is monitored and tested, the logistics are impossible. Any checks are intermittent and random.

Meanwhile, the calf that’s eating grass or feed from sugar beet is still chowing down its daily dose of antibiotics. Grown back into its food by the very manure it pooed out in the first place.

And in water too, because the stuff seeps down into the water table, to be carried in streams to our river system. So when our drinking water comes from the Thames, it quite probably has antibiotics in it.

Sugar tax or sugar hoax?

Harsh reality, huh?

And we haven’t had a Snickers or a Coke since the start of this page – yet already we’re full of antibiotics making us fatter.

Not good, PSE. Not good at all. And there’s a sugar craving coming on.

Better watch the Great British Bake Off.

We can’t eat sweets, so we’ll have to get our hit some other way.

Picture Copyright: sumners / 123RF Stock Photo

HR’s new bankroll: hack proof staff health in the cloud – so no virus can crash your business again

Rocket penguin
Light-hearted escaping with the cloud – a cloud of hydrogen peroxide that is, the one that knocks out viruses and bacteria to keep workplaces healthy and safe

How much of a bankroll?

We’re talking thousands, maybe even tens of thousands.

It’s HR’s unexpected contribution to the bottom line. Maximising staff productivity up to a third more than you’re getting now – all on the same salary budget.

Easy-peasy too – by putting staff health in the cloud. An overnight bankroll from sickness costs.

Er, but it’s not the kind of cloud you might expect. Or the kind of virus.

Serious cloud, serious virus

This cloud is hydrogen peroxide, our own body’s natural killer of germs – rolling in all-penetrating mist through your workspace. Ionised so it reaches everywhere and grabbing with its electrostatic charge.

And the virus is biological – far more treacherous than any browser hacker or Trojan. One outbreak of norovirus could have your whole staff writhing with cramps for days. Spewing their guts out with projectile vomit- or ripping them apart with hell-fire diarrhoea.

Bacteria, viruses, fungi, mould – they none of them stand a chance.

The hydrogen peroxide oxidises them – destroying their cell structure. In a just a few minutes, your whole place is sterile.

Hmm, sterile – all germs knocked out, dead. No chance for anyone to catch a bug or infection, the workspace is safe.

Which means no-one going off sick from illness caught at work. No sick pay, no replacement staff costs – everyone’s at their desk working.

No unwell at work costs either. The price you pay for underpowered staff trying to do their jobs while they’re feeling like death. Taking ten times longer, making mistakes, snapping at customers, jeopardising business through sheer lack of concentration.

Computer crashes, fixable – staff crashes, hospital

That’s where the thousands come in. Not so much the absences, more the soldiering on against all odds – and inevitably making a hash of it. Ten times more than ordinary sick costs if you add it up. Thousands and thousands – and tens of thousands.

All that expenditure – and it happens to every organisation and every employee, everywhere. Drip, drip, more and more unfulfilled salary resource, unstoppably down the drain, every day.

Except now HR can snatch it back – a bankroll present to you of one-third more staff productivity. More effort, more input, for the same money you’re already paying – because now your staff capabilities are fully realised.

Because your most valuable assets are properly protected. Shielded from every kind of bug – common colds and flu, respiratory infections, tummy upsets and various kinds of gastroenteritis. And the serious illnesses too – legionella, TB, or even worse.

Over to you

You provide the daily sterilising – piggy-backed with regular cleaning perhaps, or from your own Hypersteriliser machine (a press-button automatic jobbie that does the place in minutes).

Your staff just get on with the job. Unhackable by bacteria or viruses.

A productivity bankroll out of the blue – just by being in the cloud.

Picture Copyright: lightwise / 123RF Stock Photo

Get the right cleaning service and they’ll SAVE you a fortune

Cleaning team with Halo
Real cleaning includes getting rid of germs – push-button easy with a Hypersteriliser like this one

Getting it right means choosing a service that does more than mop and sponge.

It’s your duty of care to provide a secure working environment for staff – and that should include protection from germs.

For example, you wouldn’t expect them to work in surroundings with mould damage. Nor would you want to expose them to legionella – in fact by law, you have to safeguard them against it.

Which underlines the basic business rule about cleaning services: cheap is expensive.

Make that VERY expensive.

Unwell at work – the high cost of presenteeism

Because having staff out of action from a bug they picked up at work has a knock-on effect way beyond paying for sick leave or replacement staff.

Your hero types will drag themselves to their desks even if they’re not 100%. And nobody performs at their best if they’re unwell at work. Things get missed, service levels slip and critical deadlines go for a ball of chalk.

Big bucks, you’re right – the perils of presenteeism.

So while a quick run-round with vacuum cleaner and sponge might make the place look tidy, it’s unlikely to do the job you really need – to get rid of germs.

No, that doesn’t mean the doom and gloom scenario of a deep clean every night. Or the place reeking of bleach so that your head spins.

As any top-line cleaning service can tell you, eliminating germs can be quick, easy and safe. Just mist the place up with ionised hydrogen peroxide and the germ count drops to zero.

Well to 99.9999% at least – a 6-Log Sterility Assurance Level.

No viruses, no bacteria, no fungi, no mould – they’re all oxidised to nothing.

Checking for proof

How can you tell?

Well you can’t see germs, they’re too small. But sample testing at various locations around your premises should all prove germ-free.

Your nose will confirm it too. Germs smell when they’re at work, the key giveaway that they’re there. Treat the place with hydrogen peroxide and smells disappear – instead there’s a neutral freshness.

The other giveaway is mould – if you’re unfortunate to have any. Around the air conditioner maybe, where water drips from the condenser. After treatment, those black shadow marks turn grey. The stuff is dead and easily brushed away.

Best of all though, is that your staff are safe. Their health is protected and they know you’ve gone out of your way to do it. Much more significant than feng shui treatment with colour schemes and furniture.

Better even than gym membership or medical care. You’ve taken steps to PREVENT illness before it happens – putting their health first.

The upbeat power of health

That does things to their morale and psyche. Activates the feel-good of being actively healthy and WANTING to get cracking. They’re committed, full of energy and busting to achieve.

It’s motivation not possible any other way. The kind that fuels commitment and voluntarily going for best. A competitive edge that happens literally overnight.

Not bad for a lowly cleaning service, hey? Though they’re not exactly lowly.

As the right choice, they provide the right facilities at the right time. And it doesn’t get righter than keeping germs out of the workplace.

It all adds up – being right.

Saving money because staff don’t go off sick so often. They’re at their desks with their finger on the pulse.

No downside costs from being unwell at work either. They’re in control and at full strength, delivering everything you pay them for.

And MAKING money from positive vibes. A bunch of professionals healthy and well – fully motivated and going for it.

Ready to take on the world.

Picture Copyright: andreypopov / 123RF Stock Photo

The shocking ransom you’re already paying for staff common colds

Ransom in a briefcase
Held to ransom by staff unwell at work – a cost you don’t see, but you’re already paying for it.

Don’t believe it’s a ransom?

Better get out your calculator.

The average adult comes down with four colds a year.

Not the kind of thing to need staying in bed for, so they come to work sniffle-snuffle, trying to ignore it.

And typically they’ll sit with that cold for seven days – and often a lot longer.

OK, so that’s 28 days a year – being at work, nursing a cold. Tissues all over the desk, exploding into sneezes every five minutes – going through the motions, trying to get some work done.

Hold that thought, going through the motions.  Not easy when they’re not feeling well, headache pounding, perhaps running a fever, barely able to speak with hoarse voice and constant coughing.

Iffy under-powered work levels

And what’s the quality of the work they’re capable of, feeling like that? 50% of normal? Less?

How good is their commitment to push hard, their attention to detail, their ability to relate to others without being ratty or irritable?

If they were off sick, they’d be costing you around £87 a day on average – from the CIPD’s annual survey into absence management.

28 days at £87 a day – more than the national minimum wage – that’s £2,436. A good month’s salary for some.

Almost a month-and-a-half in working days too.

But they’re not off sick, they’re at work. And remember, ALL staff members get colds. So that for every 12 months salary you pay, only 10½ are at full power.

The rest are bleary-eyed going through the motions at 50% strength or less, which is why being unwell at work costs 10 times more than staying at home sick.

Now you see why we say it’s a ransom. Because effectively, that £2,346 becomes £23,460 – and that’s for every staff member! There’s big money here, leaking away in thousands.

The unseen liability – on contact

Not that you’d notice, you’re paying the salaries anyway and getting a cold is no big deal. It’s par for the course. The penny never drops that you’re down in productivity and your poor staffer is costing you.

Opportunities get missed, jobs take longer to do or need to be done again, service levels slip – simply because it’s so difficult to focus and apply one’s all.

It gets worse.

Because other staff members are going to come down with it too.

No, not because of the sneezes and breathing over everyone – though that can happen.

Because of all the things the sufferer touches that other staffers touch too. Door handles, light switches, lift buttons, keypads, touch screens, documents – and the start button on the photocopier.

Yep, most transmission is via the hands – and then touching the sensitive areas around the eyes and mouth. Washing hands pretty well stops it, except for several horrific and very yucky truths:

Which means it’s not just a common cold that staff are at risk of – it’s other downers too. Other respiratory problems like MERS, SARS or legionella (a disease notifiable by law). Tummy upsets from salmonella, campylobacter, norovirus and e.coli.

Colds take them down for 28 days a year. Other bugs hit them almost the same. That’s THREE WORKING MONTHS out of every year – you’re bankrolling germs to become millionnaires!

Sidestep the ransom

All that money – ALREADY going down the drain. All those staffers, suffering in YOUR workplace – and what are you doing about it?

No, we’re not blaming you. Being unwell at work is so normal, most of us never even think about it. Or the shocking amounts of money that disappear without trace. Like we said, a ransom. And it’s an invisible overhead. The cost of doing business with germs.

Take out the germs though, and you can grab that ransom back. Eliminate all viruses and bacteria, all fungi and mould, every day from your workplace.

With zero germ threshold, there ARE  no bugs for anyone to catch. Not on surfaces, not in the air, not anywhere. They’ve all been oxidised to nothing with hydrogen peroxide – a neat trick your cleaning service can easily add to the daily routine they’re already offering.

Time to start winning

Right – now your premises are safe, secure – and sterile.

Staffers will still come in unwell of course, you can’t stop them picking up bugs elsewhere. And parents with kids are exposed to colds far more than the rest of us. 12 times a year on average – from the other 350-odd kids at school.

But at least you know you’re protecting staff as well as you can. Protecting your cash resources as well, maximising your talent, strengthening your bottom line in a way you never thought of before. By avoiding a ransom you should never  have to pay.

Oh yes – and if anybody still comes in with a cold, trying to be a hero, send them home.

It’ll cost you 10 times less than letting them stay at work, so you’re still ahead.

Picture Copyright: hedgehog / 123RF Stock Photo

Better health, better productivity, better profits – and you’re still dragging heels over daily germ protection?

Thinking exec
Decisions, decisions – not hard when you think of the money getting rid of germs can make

Going to wait till a headache and scratchy throat slow your own productivity?

Or dump the whole idea because you’ve never done it before, so why start now?

Besides, since you’ve already actioned generous sick pay, what do germs have to do with it?

Let’s go back to your headache.

Like, how’s your business brain functioning with all that pounding? Difficult to concentrate when your mind’s like boiled knitting – but the job’s time-sensitive, so you’ve got to decide now.

Uh huh. And how good is the quality of that decision? How good is the quality of anything if you’re unwell at work? You’re not yourself, your reflexes are shot, you’re loose cannon more than asset. How long before you do some real damage?

Unwell at work costs money

Extreme thinking maybe, but you can see it happening.

Unwell at work is way more hazardous than booking off sick – and happens ten times more often. 57.5 days a year on average – and that’s per staff member. Nearly THREE WORKING MONTHS.

You’re paying twelve month salaries – but against 57.5 days of unwell at work, staff can only deliver nine. The rest of the time they’re at their desks,  battling to go through the motions. 50% productivity or less – how much business sense is that?

OK, maybe their illness came from outside, but why take chances?

Sitting there, they’re going to spread it around – coughs, sneezes, or simply handling the same documents. Pretty soon the whole place will come down with the same thing. A couple of the weaker ones off sick maybe, but most of them heroes, soldiering on.

Inevitable really, with professionally revved-up people working close together, sharing the same office space, breathing the same air. All concentrated nicely where germs can find the most victims and spread most effectively.

But at what cost in mistakes, lost business, slipped quality standards or missed deadlines?

Invisible losses – all unnecessary

All of which you’re paying for – so heroes they might be, they might as well not be there. At a cost of ten times your absenteeism allowance, however generous. Plus money down the tubes from unwanted screw-ups.

And all largely preventable – just by getting rid of the germs.

All of them in your workplace – viruses, bacteria, fungi, mould, the lot – 99.9999% of them, oxidised to nothing.  Gone completely – from all surfaces, the walls, the floor, the ceiling – the air itself.

Taken out everywhere by omni-dispersing hydrogen peroxide mist – the same stuff our own bodies produce to fight infection.

Sure, there’ll still be staff who bring in their own. Bugs picked up from dropping the kids at school, collywobbles from touching the grab handles on the tube.

But in their place of work, when they come in every morning, the whole place is sterile. A germ-free zero threshold where they’re safe and secure.

Safe from the minor illnesses that slow them down and impair their judgement.

And safe from more serious bugs, like SARS or legionnaire’s disease – both notifiable diseases and your legal duty to protect them against.  With heavy fines or even prison awaiting if you don’t.

Feel-good dividend

Plus there’s the upside.

With no germs to slow them down, staff can now turn in a full year’s productivity instead of nine months – up by a third at no extra cost to you, it’s already part of their pay packets.

On top of which is the feel-good factor – the tidal wave of get-up-and-go that happens when close colleagues all vibe well together – healthy, positive and wanting to achieve.

A few hundred quid on your regular cleaning bill – and you’ve not just rescued productivity, you’ve shot it into orbit. In efficiency alone you’re ahead of the game – and how good is that going to look on your balance sheet?

So – germ protection, yeah? Keeping your staff healthy. Your legal duty and serious business sense.

Are you going to sit around thinking some more, or grab yourself some profits?

Picture Copyright: lighthunter / 123RF Stock Photo

Get a third more from your staff without paying any extra – and they’ll love you for it

Counting the pennies
It’s money you’ve already spent – but you get it back with interest. Full staff effort 100% of the time, everybody motivated and going for it

Good staff, are they? All solid professionals.

Worth every penny that you pay them.

If only you were  getting full value.

You’re not, you know. And here’s why.

You’ve allowed for holidays, right? And probably around six days sick leave.

Yes, that’s about a month off, because you’re understanding and reasonable – part of the cost of doing business.

But you’ve left out the rest.

Those days when they’re not feeling all that hot. Scratchy throat maybe – a headache and a sniffle. Or a churning gut ache that has them running to the loo.

The unwell-at-work overhead

Yes, but they’re pros. Committed and going for it.

So they force themselves to work, come what may. Clenched teeth and popping paracetamol – but at their desks and determined. A compliment to your motivational skills.

Better ask yourself though, how productive they are, feeling like that. Up to speed, yes. But struggling to keep going – battling to keep focus, cross-eyed following detail.

Sure you recognise the symptoms – you’ve been there yourself. You’re at work, but not really – underpowered and you know it, going through the motions.

Presenteeism, it’s called. Being unwell at work. Like absenteeism, but way more common. Up to 57.5 days a year, according to a GCC study validated by the World Health Organization. Almost ten times more than days off sick, nearly three working months.

And that’s the average.

Bottom line on salaries – you’re paying for twelve months on every staff member. But in actual productivity, you’re only getting nine.

Sloppy work costs money

That’s not all you’re paying for either.

There’s the quality of work and the consequences of not being fully alert. Mistakes get made when staff aren’t on the ball. Deadlines get missed, customers get second best, service standards slip – the costs can be ginormous.

You can’t penalise your staff though. Being unwell is a fact of life. It’s not their fault. Or yours either.

Actually, without pussy-footing around, probably both of you are to blame.

All you have to ask is, why? Why are staff unwell at work?

For staff members, ten-to-one it’s a lapse of hygiene. Most if not all minor illnesses are caused by dirty hands – or transmitted to hands in a dirty environment. Trouble is, since germs are so small they’re invisible, our hands don’t LOOK dirty, even when they are.

Which kind of explains why:

It also underlines the harsh reality – that most minor illnesses, colds, flu, tummy bugs, etc – are all self-inflicted.

Better hygiene, or lose money

OK, you can’t force staff into better habits. But put bottles of antibacterial gel or handy wipes on every desk where they can’t miss them, and the problem should reduce big time.

That’s not all though, because it’s you who provides the workplace. Part of your duty of care is to ensure staff are safe when they’re in there. From germs – as well as hot and cold, dark conditions and pelting rain.

It is the law, for instance, to protect staff from legionnaire’s disease – just one kind of bacteria out of the billions we are exposed to every day. Neglect this, and you could be heavily fined, possibly even go to prison.

And there’s plenty of other germs that are just as inconvenient or deadly.

Salmonella, norovirus, campylobacter or e.coli are all stomach bugs easily picked up off light switches, door handles, keyboards or touch screens. Catch one of them in your workplace and your entire staff could be down for days.

There’s also the air that staff breathe – 80% of the space within the workplace that never gets cleaned – most cleaning services just don’t have the capability. Yet workplace air is how bugs like colds and flu transfer – not forgetting legionnaire’s disease.

And there’s always germs to pick up. Our own body cells are outnumbered by colonised bacteria more than ten times over – and every one of us trails our own “signature” cloud of germs around with us.

All change, all win

Get rid of the germs and the whole ballgame changes.

If staff aren’t exposed to germs, they can’t get sick. They don’t take days off – and they don’t drag themselves into work unwell, fumbling through their jobs and infecting their colleagues. At a stroke, those 57.5 days of presenteeism – almost three working months – no longer happen.

You get 100% of your staff, 100% of the time – a whole third up on the 75% of the time you get now.

So how’s it done?

Quite simply, by sterilising the place. Oxidising all germs to oblivion so they’re harmless. All bacteria, all viruses, all fungi, all moulds – gone.

Your own cleaning service can do it, on top of their usual schedule after staff have gone home.  Simply mist the place up with hydrogen peroxide and the deed is done. No germs anywhere, your staff are safe.

And safe means secure. Staff feel confident. They’re healthy and well, full of energy and go. They WANT to do things, to achieve, to excel. Like endorphins kicking in after a session at the gym, they respond to the feel-good of being up and ready for anything.

They love their job, they love their colleagues, they love you.

Double or quits

So it’s your choice.

Stay as you are now and hope your staff keep healthy. Or make sure there’s no doubt of it and win yourself a third more productivity with your existing resources – absolutely free.

More productivity, minimal cost and everybody motivated.

Makes you think how all that drive and commitment would look on your balance sheet, hey?

Picture Copyright: jayfish / 123RF Stock Photo

Being fat is not natural – it’s because we constantly OD on antibiotics

Doughnut girl
Not natural to OD. Those cravings are not natural either – they’re put there by antibiotics

Believe all you like about sugar and junk foods. Our whole lives we OD on the most efficient fat booster ever invented.

It’s antibiotics that make us fat, guaranteed. And we keep taking them every day, with every mouthful, willy-nilly. OD is right.

Huh? Antibiotics?

You bet.

Because farmers found out a long time ago that antibiotics promote growth extra-fast, extra-big. So now they get shovelled into farm animals like there’s no tomorrow.

240,000 tonnes a year at last count.

Not as a medicine – though that helps in the intense but unsanitary factory farms where the animals live.

No, no – as a super-performing fatten-up additive to feedstuff. From an egg to a roasting chicken in 6 weeks. Or from newborn calf to an Aberdeen Angus steak in 14 months.

Our daily OD

And that’s the same stuff we’re eating, with every mouthful we take. Our daily OD.

How come?

Because there’s antibiotics in the meat that those animals provide. And in the manure they produce. 80% of what they eat is excreted as waste – to enrich the soil and provide fertiliser.

So there’s antibiotics in the grass those same animals eat too – and their feed crops. Plus everything else that grown with “natural” fertiliser too. Which means grain crops, vegetables, fruit, salady stuff. Even vegetarians chow down antibiotics. They OD too.

Jackpot for the farmers. A massive problem for the rest of us – literally.

Because it’s overuse of antibiotics in agriculture that’s accelerating lethal superbugs that our medical miracle drugs can’t cure.

And the other headache – antibiotic resistance

If you haven’t heard of antibiotic resistance, you will soon. Because next time you’re ill or have an accident, there’s a strong chance any antibiotics used to keep you alive won’t work. The superbugs are immune – and one after another, our top performing antibiotics are proving useless against them.

Which includes colistin – a drug that medics call an antibiotic of last resort – the one docs use when all else fails.

Colistin is not new. It first hit pharmacy shelves in 1959. And it wasn’t so amazing either – toxic to the kidneys. So it sat around for years, not much used. Which means bacteria had little chance to develop resistance to it.

An old drug, not much used – that made it effective when a whole new crop of antibiotic resistant bacteria pitched up. Take that, you varmint, bang! And people got well.

Being old made it cheap as well. So of course farmers grabbed hold of it as soon as they knew. Right now, today, there’s a ker-chunk, ker-chunk factory in China producing 10,000 TONS OF IT a year.

The 10,000 ton OD

10,000 TONS of our last ditch lifesaver! All going into pigs and chickens – to make bigger, fatter livestock – and bigger, fatter Chinese.

Because our metabolisms are basically no different to animals’. So inevitably we will get fat too, as our gut-bacteria is graunched out of proper balanced operation.

First those antibiotics will boost ghrelin, a bacteria-produced hormone that triggers appetite. Then they choke off leptin, another bacteria-produced hormone that suppresses appetite when we’ve had enough. Ready to OD on food as well as antibiotics.

With nothing to stop us going for second helpings, we climb in without realising. Double ham and eggs, double burger and chips, it happens before we know it.

And just like the animals, our bodies start ABSORBING more than they should – becoming more efficient at extracting nutrients from the food we eat. Except we don’t need that stuff – and we’ve eaten too much anyway.

And THAT’S where the spare tyre comes from – not what we eat, or how much we eat, but what we physically take in. Basically TOO MUCH.

OD antibiotics and OD food.

Not natural at all and a major headache for doctors worldwide. Because one of these days we will wake up and no MEDICAL antibiotics will work at all.

No more heart bypasses, hip operations, C-section childbirths, nothing. You could even die from infection caused by a paper cut. Back to the Dark Ages.

Plus of course, fat becomes obesity – and we’re on the road to diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Oops – which means antibiotics are killing us more than rescuing us.

Time to find alternatives. Herbal remedies if that works for you – or a whole different kind of science.  Our money’s on phages – but that’s a whole other story.

Let’s hope it happens soon. Two thirds of us Brits are now overweight or obese – and a third of our kids.

No more ODs – we’re fed up with being fat.

Picture Copyright: jayfish / 123RF Stock Photo

Productivity boost: our £290 billon antidote for presenteeism

Chasing profits
£290 billion – the cost to UK of being unwell at work. Make that go away and you’re chasing big bucks

It’s ours, and it’s right in front of us. A whole £290 billion worth.

Unwell at work costs out the door. Everybody up and going flat out. About as efficient as it’s ever going to get. Every penny of everyone’s salary working for you.

Not actually the end of presenteeism – that dicey compulsion to be at work instead of staying sick in bed. More like a sidestep – an effective way to avoid it.

Germ avoidance – Workplace Hygiene 101

Antidote, yes.

Because you can’t be unwell at work if you don’t get sick in the first place.

Yeah, right. So where does the £290 billion come in? If that’s the kind of money we’re saving, how come every business in the country isn’t bankrupt already?

Because all the time, they’re absorbing that cost. The invisible overhead disguised as part of salary appropriations. Like absentee costs but worse – the sick costs which business experts PwC calculate at £29 million a year.

The CIPD spell it out further – reckoning on a median cost for absence due to sickness of £522 per employee over 6 days per year – depending on the activity sector. Basically £87 per staff member per  day.

Ah, but absenteeism is a small fraction.

Unwell at work – the biggest money drain

The real overhead is in presenteeism – paying out for all those days that staff underperform by coming to work unwell. Ten times more according to a GCC study validated by the World Health Organization. A staggering 57.5 days a year – almost three working months.

OK, so ten times £29 billion is £290 billion – the cost to the nation of all those days struggling through the work day at half-power. The all-up sickness cost is even more if you add absenteeism – £319 billion. But with this kind of saving to make, who’s counting?

So now we have your attention with these megabuck figures, what’s the big breakthrough solution?

Like we said, avoidance. Protecting staff from becoming ill in the first place. An antidote.

Up front we have to say that nothing can be done outside business. People will pick up bugs wherever their lives take them and there’s not a lot we can do about it out there.

Indoor health protection

It’s a different story at work. Because it’s indoors, the whole environment is enclosed. A double-edged sword if you think about it. Staff all share the same space, breathe the same air. If any one of them goes down with something – they all can.

But you don’t let them.

Every night when the cleaning crew come in, you add a new element to the schedule.

Sterilising.

On top of cleaning desks, emptying bins and vacuuming, the whole place is rendered germ-free. Viruses, bacteria, mould and fungi eliminated by oxidising with hydrogen peroxide.

Next morning, when staff come in, the workplace is safe and sterile. No germs to catch or pass around. No chance to fall ill. Part of your duty of care – like making sure they’re warm and dry, with proper ventilation, and light to work by.

Required by law

Part of your legal commitment too, if you consider legionnaire’s disease – just one bacteria out of billions, but a potentially lethal one. As an employer, you are responsible for protecting staff from this nasty under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 – which makes you liable should any of them fall ill.

You can relax though. As a bacteria, airborne legionnaire’s disease is destroyed just as thoroughly as all others. To a 6-Log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of all germs obliterated. The antidote in action.

Your staff might still fall ill – but not at work. With the germ threshold reduced to zero every night, there’s not much chance to. Nor will they sit there battling with ailments =- aches and pains and tummy cramps and stuff. They’re back to being 100%, pretty well all of the time.

Laughing all the way…

57.5 days of under-powered output that will save you – almost three working months. Which if we’ve done our sums right restores a third more productivity out of nowhere, all on the same salary.

Not bad for an antidote, hey?

Now what will you do with your share of £290 billion?

Picture Copyright: alphaspirit / 123RF Stock Photo

Eating out food poisoning: dodgy hygiene culprit exposed

Pizza selfie
Self-inflicted misery – self-accused too. The phone for that selfie has her greasy fingerprints all over it. And mobiles are the most germ-laden of all

Culprit is right.

Dodgy hygiene can kill a restaurant reputation. Somebody screws up and the customers stop coming. So who’s the likeliest suspect in any food poisoning scandal?

We’ll give you a clue.

You’ll find the culprit among whoever hasn’t washed their hands.

The one-sided blame-game

Kinda crucial in the food preparation business.

So it can’t be kitchen staff, they’d get fired if they took that chance. Not the serving staff either, for the same reason.

Which leaves who – the manager? The sweeper-upper? But neither of them ever touches food.

There’s one person who does though. And they seldom if ever wash their hands before handling anything. Yet they’re the ones most likely to squeal if food poisoning strikes.

Cramps, vomiting, diarrhoea – must have been something they ate.

Yep, we mean the customer.  Frequently first to complain, even more often last to accept any blame.

Fingers of suspicion

But look at them. Did they wash their hands when they came in? When they sat down? When they ordered? Or when their food arrived? Plenty of opportunity – and pretty well all restaurant have washrooms.

How about before they got to the place? Out in the street, on the tube or bus?

Or before that. When they left home or parked their car?

How about when they went to the loo?

So is it any surprise they feel a bit queasy after an evening of eating out?

Sure, their cramps are real and horrible. The upchucks and runs aren’t much fun either.

But if you think about it, aren’t their woes more often than not self-inflicted?

There are regulations about restaurants – or any food joint. Bye-laws to follow, standards to keep up, inspections to pass. Yes food poisoning happens, but there’s a lot of safeguards in place deliberately to prevent it.

Not so in the customer’s case. There’s no restrictions at all.

Which makes it doubly dodgy. Bad habits make many a new culprit.

Yet how many restaurants get bad-mouthed for salmonella, norovirus, campylobacter or e. coli? As if there’s staff wilfully using unrefrigerated, out-of-date food prepared with hands steeped in old WD40 and serving it undercooked.

Unaware, unhygienic, unsafe

Unrealistic, right? And not exactly fair.

Hunting a culprit where there most likely isn’t one. Unwilling to accept any personal blame or liability. Falsely accused.

But not out of any maliciousness. It’s just that washing hands and careful hygiene is not on anyone’s radar.

Every restaurant patron knows about germs. But you sit and watch – a whole evening can go by and not one of them will make the effort to wash their hands before eating.

And they’re the ones jumping up and down about food poisoning!

OK, there’s always exceptions. Food joints that get careless – with ropey washrooms you might never want to know about. But the customers still take risks – not washing their hands, evidently trusting that they have cast-iron stomachs.

Finger-lickin’ dicey

It gets iffier still when you consider how many foods are eaten with just fingers – burgers, sarnies, pizzas, chicken, fish and chips – and all varieties of curry.

If nothing else, we owe it to ourselves to carry hand gel or wipes for when we can’t get to facilities. Or to use at table before touching anything. Nobody’s going to mind if you sit there carefully giving your hands the once-over. They might even admire you for it.

Better than being the culprit for an unpleasant experience – knowing or otherwise.

Picture Copyright: ammentorp / 123RF Stock Photo

How your cleaning service can boost your bottom line

Upward sales
When there’s no germs around, there’s no holding back – everything is get-up-and-go, right down to your bottom line

Who can’t do with a bottom line boost?

Especially at minimal cost.

F’rinstance, what are you spending on cleaning right now? A few hundred? A couple of thousand?

It’s still low on the overheads list, right? Somewhere between the stationery budget (does anyone still use paper these days?) and tea and biscuits for the kitchen.

A necessary expense though. Who wants to live with grimy desks or overflowing waste bins? Not exactly inspiring, is it?

More than the necessary

So every night, your regular hit team comes in and blitzes the place. Quick whizz round with the vacuum cleaner, wipe down all the surfaces, empty the bins, and gone. Commercial charring.

And we’re suggesting these folks can boost your bottom line?

Too right.

Because even if you doubled their fee, you probably wouldn’t feel it.

But then instead of a lick and a promise, they could do you a REAL service. Tidy the place up and…

Get rid of germs.

Hang on a minute, get rid of germs?

What for?

It’s not as if the place is infested or anything. Nobody’s dead or dying. Nobody’s sick either. Everyone’s at their desks, getting on with it.

Quality of interest, quality of work

OK, so how’s their motivation?

Responding well to working in clean, pleasant surroundings, are they?

Amazing what feel-good does for morale and productivity. Which is why so much is spent on ambiance and décor. Nice colour scheme, good lighting, comfortable furniture. All good, right?

All contribute to the bottom line.

So does getting rid of germs.

Of course, by reducing sickness absences. By reducing sickness at work as well.

We’ve all been there. Feeling a bit ropey, not really ourselves – but not sick enough to justify calling it in and taking time off.

Presenteeism, it’s called. The not so pleasant reality of being unwell at work. Definitely off colour, but coming in to work anyway. Feeling like death but getting on with it anyway – as far as anyone can through clenched teeth.

57.5 days a year we’re like that, most of us. Never a day off, but plenty of days less than good. Almost three working months of underpowered pushing and not really getting anywhere.

Motivation shot, productivity down the tubes. All anyone wants to do is crawl home, gulp the tablets and shut the world out.

The difference between clean and safe

So yes, get rid of germs.

It’s them that causing us to feel miserable – the source of our sniffles, aches and tummy twinges.

Maybe we picked them up at work, maybe we didn’t.

Though with so many of us working on top of each other, we’re certainly passing them around. Infectious, catching. No feel-good when we feel bad. No feel anything except lousy – a sure kill-all for productivity.

Rubbish for the bottom line too. Because feeling lousy cannot produce good work. With low quality work and commitment through the floorboards, it actually costs the business plenty.

Ooh! Who cares, as long as five o’clock rolls round as quickly as possible?

Problem? Solution!

Aha! But wave the magic wand and the problem goes away.

Stop feeling unwell and people get their mojo back. They WANT to do stuff, feel like going places and getting somewhere. Even breaking records and grabbing the lead.

All possible when there’s no germs around to slow anybody down.

So get your cleaning company to make sure there aren’t any. They’re already getting rid of the dirt, let them get rid of the germs as well. Pay them the extra, and breathe more life into that bottom line.

No, no, not rubbing and scrubbing and bleach. Too labour-intensive, takes hours, costs a bomb, and leaves the place stinking of bleach.

Better to use hydrogen peroxide with one of those Hypersteriliser thingies. Oxidise germs to nothing in forty minutes flat, just by pressing a button. No viruses, no bacteria, no fungi, no mould. No bugs to catch, or smells either, the whole place is sterile.

Productivity plus

OK, so what does that do to staff morale?

The place where they work is cleaned every night – AND all germs removed.

Which shows exactly how much does the management care or what. Way more effectively than feng shui surroundings, gym membership, fruit at reception, or Elton John playing in the corridors.

All of which cost more than cleaning or tea and biscuits – that bottom line again.

But look at the plusses. No more absenteeism costs, presenteeism costs, or lapses of concentration costs. No more productivity losses either.

Your crew are up for anything, gung-ho and feeling good, ready to conquer the world.  Up to speed enough to turn your bottom line on its head.

Not bad for a lowly cleaning service, hey?

Go on, pay them the extra. You’ll get it back with interest and then some.

Picture Copyright: vgstudio / 123RF Stock Photo