Killer viruses: get yourself some protection

Eye make up
You do it every day and it could be utterly deadly

Blink and you might miss it.

Tucked away amongst today’s latest is a nifty device to sterilise make-up brushes . A few minutes and no more bacteria.

Never thought of it before?

Right in your face

Actually make-up brushes are a major source of possible infection – especially in salons, used on multiple clients. That unexpected rash or worse started right in front of the mirror.

With use, make-up oil and dirt build up on your brushes, trapping all kinds of bacteria that spread over your face. Sure, you notice that they get dirty, so from time to time you probably wash them.

Because they take ages to dry, more bacteria develops within the hairs, making things worse not better. You use the brush again, close to your mouth, eyes and nose, all passages that viruses and bacteria exploit to invade your body. Next thing, rhinovirus or goodness knows what.

Ultra violet magic

So this latest Brush Medic gadget takes care of it – basically a mini vanity-slab-top drying cabinet with a UV generator built in. The ultra violet light irradiates the brushes, killing viruses and bacteria by destroying their DNA. Next time you use your brush, it’s sterilised safe.

Uh huh.

That takes care of your face, but what about the rest of you? And how about where you live – the kitchen, the bathroom, the bedroom? If germs can build up on your face, aren’t they everywhere?

All around, and inside you

If you could see them, you might be terrified. Because billions and billions of them surround us every day. We’re not aware of them because they’re too small to notice – smaller than the smallest grain of dust. And every one of us pulls around an aura of 3 million or so, every single second.

So why aren’t you sick?

Well one microbe by itself can’t do very much, your body’s protection system is way to clever. Your skin for instance has an acid mantle, that’s why its pH balance is so important. A single germ lands on you and it’s quickly history.

But not when they gang up on you, like in spray from a sneeze. And not when they find a way into your body through a cut or something you eat. They can even get in through your eye if you rub it, exposing the sensitive moist part.

Ah, but this Brush Medic doohickey has started something with its UV generator. Ultra violet light gets used everywhere to kill germs. Those brave medics who’ve gone to Africa to fight the Ebola disease go through a UV tunnel every day before work.

Beyond your face

Closer to home, you can get a handheld UV sanitising wand you can wave around, zapping germs as it goes. It’s fine for a once-over, like a spray of aerosol Dettol. Sanitising, not sterilising – bringing the risk down to one germ in a hundred.

The medical jobbies have way more firepower, using pulsed xenon to generate shortwave ultra violet – so potent that people using it have to keep clear. Real sterilising power down to one germ in a hundred thousand.

But like we said, germs are everywhere. And you can’t go humping a great ultra violet unit on castors with you everywhere you go. Like what happens where a lot of people get together in the same place? Restaurants, offices, schools, wherever.

Well in most places, nothing – as you probably know. People don’t think of germs, so they don’t do anything about them.

Not so wise when you think about what they do to you.

Medicine-resistant germs

Yes, you can get sick and possibly die. But don’t count on your doctor to rescue you. Right now the whole medical profession is in a flat spin because germs are becoming resistant to antibiotics. You don’t get better because your medicines won’t work.

Ah, but that’s why the make-up brush gadget is so good. It stops you getting infections before they start. And if the medicines don’t work, prevention is better than cure.

Grown-up hair bleach

Which is where another super germ-fighter comes into play – one you’re going to start seeing often. It’s a wheelie-bin sized auto-robot that mists up enclosed spaces with an ultra-fine hydrogen peroxide spray. Yes, the same hydrogen peroxide that whitens teeth and bleaches hair.

That fine spray is ionised so it reaches everywhere – up, under, around, inside. With a static charge that grabs at viruses and bacteria like a magnetic snatch. At the same moment, it releases oxygen atoms, oxidising the germs so it rips their cells to shreds. Serious sterilising down to one germ in a million.

All you do is close the windows and doors, press the button and get out. Twenty minutes later the place is sterile. The restaurant kitchen, the school toilets, the hotel room, the tanning salon, the fish and chip shop.

Worth keeping an eye on when you read about campylobacter, or norovirus, or whatever else is doing the rounds.

Gems are never safe, but you can be.

No, Ebola doesn’t know it’s Christmas

Black baby Christmas
Taking away love is the cruellest death of all

Among the lyrics nay-sayers are objecting to in the new Do they know it’s Christmas song just released by Bob Geldof  & Co is “Where a kiss of love can kill you…”

It’s a heart-breaking reality for the people of West Africa, whose love and compassion is denied them by the highly contagious infect-on-contact nature of the virus.

The dignity of dying

It’s been much reported that the custom of touching and kissing the dying and the dead is a major cause of spreading this dreadful affliction.

How dare we be so heartless and uncaring!

We would all be better people for demonstrating such humanity. To show love to the dying is one of the greatest gifts of all. Unfortunately, with Ebola around, it will kill you.

Except maybe we’re not that uncaring – just misplaced in our thinking and unobservant of the ways of others. And maybe a little insensitive.

Here to help

This week, more volunteers flew into Sierra Leone – thirty NHS professionals, advance guard of over 1,000 highly motivated and committed young people.

As trained medics, it will be ingrained in them that patients must be isolated and contact restricted to professionals wearing proper protection. Not wrong, but itself adding to the crisis.

To locals they are the “spacemen” who take loved ones away, denying them the care and support of their family when they need it most. To avoid such heartbreak, they hide sick family members from them, stealing into the jungle to even more remote havens.

But unfortunately not they’re havens at all.  How ever far they run, Ebola will kill them for their love. Giving and loving is not on the agenda.

Where’s the love?

That makes it a bleak Christmas for everyone. As a celebration of love and compassion it belongs to the world – for Muslims, Buddhists, Jews and Hindus every bit as much as Christians. Love and compassion are qualities we all seek to show in our actions, 365 days a year.

In fitting tribute, in Germany, Japan and several other places round the world there are shops devoted to Christmas all year round. Such glitz and razzmatazz might overpower the underlying love, but the motive is still there. We care, we need to show it, Happy Christmas.

Which brings us back to Sierra Leone. If we need to show compassion anywhere, it’s here.

Yes, it’s amazing what’s happening. Professionals from around the world – particularly Britain – giving of themselves and risking their lives to be there. Money and resources can buy a lot of compassion.

But where is the love the locals need to show their own?

Well-meaning but insensitive

With our Western ways and perceptions, we steal it away from them just as surely as Ebola does. They can’t touch, feel, kiss, or be together. We rip them apart without knowing we are doing so. No wonder they flee to the jungle.

How would we feel if we were denied access to our own? Our own children, soul mate or parents taken away from us – as if we have committed a crime?

This is the REAL Ebola crisis, isn’t it?

How to let people show love.

And how to be genuine about it.

Big deal

So a bunch of pop stars get together to make a fund-raising song – they waive their fee but generate more publicity for themselves than they might otherwise have got on their own.

So the concerned among us make donations – dumping the guilt bucket and wallowing in feelgood.

So the gung-ho professionals arrive in West Africa – troops, medicos, nurses, gofers – boots on the ground, determined to stomp out this terrible virus once and for all.

But where’s the Christmas?

Where do the people of Sierra Leone get to show their love for the family who are suffering and dying? How do they show their love and respect for the dead?

Can we solve it with pastors, imams, rabbis and priests?

The hurt is in the heart

Have we any idea how hard it is to ask those people to let go? To get them to accept that it’s out of their hands, those lives are gone – unless by some lucky chance the medical professionals can bring them back again?

All we can do is think of them and try in every way we can. Recognise they all face the long good-bye and try to put ourselves in their position.

Because unlike them, we’re not good with dead bodies. They scare us, even when they’re our own family. A throwback maybe to 350 years ago, when we ourselves were faced with The Plague and in our ignorance we thought the slightest touch could do for us.

Be kind to these people, they’re humans just like us. Take them to your heart and love them in your own way. If the world shows love, maybe losing a loved one may not be so heart-breaking.

Love is the greatest gift of all and Ebola can’t have it.

Today’s health: queasy tum, germy, flu later

Deluge of germs
Look out! There’s a germ storm coming!

You wear a raincoat if it rains – probably carry an umbrella.

But how about a germcoat?

Every day, every one of us moves around with a personal aura of around 3 million microbes – smaller than raindrops or dust, hanging onto us by our own static charge.

Germ clouds gathering

Some of them are viruses, some of them bacteria. A few of them are even benign.

But count on it, the rest are out to get you any way they can – they just can’t reach you, floating around as individual cells. Your skin is too thick, you blink too often, your nose filters them out, and  you keep your mouth closed.

There’s more of them out there in clouds as well. Billions and billions. Norovirus, rhinovirus, e.coli, campylobacter, salmonella, c.difficile, AIDS – so many, some of them don’t have names yet.

Don’t worry though, as long as they’re not inside your body, you’re safe. Just don’t give them a chance by letting your hands get dirty or wolfing down some dodgy food.

Always at hazard

But it”s not that easy – things can happen.

That bloke next to you in the Underground suddenly explodes and a mist of vapour and ewwy bits flies through the air. Not single germs any more – just one gob of snot is loaded with millions – enough to gang up and enter your body if you’re careless enough.

Luckily you have handiwipes in your bag and can clean the stuff off. You’re only exposed for a few seconds, hopefully you’re OK. Not so easy with the stuff you might breathe, though. You’re right to try to move away.

Right to wipe your hands too. Unconsciously, most of us are always touching our faces – wiping eyes, rubbing cheeks, gesturing up to our mouths. Entry ports for germs if you just let them.

Never thought about any of this?

Out of sight, out of mind

Most people don’t. Out of sight out of mind.

Not like those dark winter clouds above, or the rain splattering down around us.

Germs, microbes, pathogens – they’re all too small to see. Several million could fit on the head of a pin – so to have 3 million or so always floating around us means they’re actually quite sparse – an empty day for them.

You’d freak if they were dyed with colour so you could see them though. Hit by the sudden reality that you’re not as safe as you thought you were. Threatened at every second.

Well, not exactly.

You’re not attacked by wild dogs every time you step outside your front door, are you? Creepy buzzards don’t swoop down from the sky.

The same with germs. Except they’re always with you on the spot and ready, waiting –  while the nearest pack of wild dogs could be several hundred miles away.

You’re no safer indoors, either. You can’t escape a germ cloud like sheltering from the rain.

Wrong.

Safe places

Indoors is the one place where we can make ourselves safest. But – out of sight, out of mind – we never do it.

Out in the open, there’s no holding germs back. And they’re out there all the way up to the troposphere – scientists have found bacteria happily thriving nine miles up and beyond, no problem.

Indoors is different. In a closed environment, we can control the air.

Look at hospital operating theatres, clean rooms and computer data centres. By pumping up the pressure greater than outside, no air or germs can get in, everything is pushed out.

The air can be filtered too. Protected by high-efficiency particulate (HEPA) filters that are fine enough to trap many of the pathogens that threaten us.

Protective measures

We can even sterilise the place – eliminate viruses and bacteria immediately.

The quick way is with short wave ultra violet light. A few seconds exposure at close range and BAM, it attacks the germ cells’ DNA and destroys them.

A whole room of course takes longer  – more time to reach places further from the light.

Better still is hydrogen peroxide, well-known as a germ-killer back in the Nineteenth Century. Souped up for the Twenty-First, it’s even more effective. Experiments have proved that in the gaseous state, it’s many times more efficient.

Difficult to work with though, as it decomposes easily. So the trick is to ionise it in liquid form and spray it out like a mist. Dispersed like this, its performance is formidable.

Ionising gives it a static charge that makes it spread more quickly, ultra-fine so it rises easily and reaches into cracks. The static charge also attracts it to germs, which it kills by oxidising – shoving oxygen atoms at them.

Neither viruses nor bacteria can survive this treatment – their cells are ripped to pieces. In twenty minutes – that’s all it takes – the average room is completely sterile. No germs, nothing.

Makes quite a difference to your health forecast, doesn’t it? If there aren’t any germs around, there’s nothing to touch you. You don’t get sick, you’re totally safe. And all it costs is about a fiver.

So why don’t hospitals, hotels, restaurants and schools use it all the time?

Well, why aren’t you wearing your germcoat?

Out of sight, out of mind. And most of the time, we’re healthy enough to get away with it.

Unless – cough, wheeze, sniffle – we’re careless or unlucky.

Yes Ma’am, this is a worldwide threat

Commando aiming
Malaria is a bigger killer than Ebola

Worse than Ebola? Yes, definitely.

But not so ugly. Not so compelling to our morbid fascination with blood and pain and suffering.

Yesterday, Her Majesty the Queen reminded us* that our top-of-mind preoccupation with Ebola is deflecting us from an even greater threat.

One that kills more victims every day than the current Ebola outbreak has in total.

Malaria.

A threat to us all

You see, Ebola might be lethal, but we CAN actually kill it.

As a virus out in the open, we can attack it by oxidising, which rips its individual cells to pieces. Or we can blitz with ultra violet light, which destroys its DNA.

But malaria is not a virus. It’s a parasite spread by mosquitoes.

And like Ebola at the moment, there is no vaccine for it.

Make no mistake, malaria is way more deadly.

In 2012 the World Health Organisation put half the world at risk from malaria with 207 million cases reported and 627,000 deaths. Most of these were children under 15 – from parasites passed on by their mothers.

In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, 200,000 infants die from it every year.

One child every 60 seconds.

So Her Majesty is right, we’re taking our eye off the ball.

We need to beat both Ebola and malaria in the same way.

Treat cause, not symptoms

Our mothers taught us this, but we never seem to remember – PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE.

Get to both of these killers before they get to us, and we’re safe.

In fact striking the first blow is fast becoming our most effective weapon.

Because right now, health professionals around the world are seriously worried about resistance to both these diseases.

Yesterday was European Antibiotic Awareness Day – underlined by the threat that more and more bacteria are developing immunity to treatment by antibiotics.

Widespread use, particularly through agriculture, has led to many antibiotics becoming completely ineffective. At a stroke, our major defence against infections – particularly in hospital surgical procedures – is gone.

Which means as soon as we find a cure for Ebola, it may be defeated. We need to clobber it first.

It’s the same with malaria.

Get those mosquitoes

Saturation use by agriculture of the insecticide DDT – originally intended as an indoor residual spray (IRS) – led to mosquitoes developing an immunity and a return to epidemic levels in poorer parts of the world like Ivory Coast, Angola, Burkina Faso, Mozambique and Mali. The parasites are also drug resistant.

Sure mosquito nets help, especially those one treated with pyrethroids – made from an organic compound found naturally in the flowers of pyrethrum lilies. Harmless to humans, it attacks the nervous system of the mosquito and kills it.

Problem solved – but with a downside.

It’s also toxic to bees, fish and cats.

Bees pollinate the flowers of fruit trees and other food plants – and already this year bees in Britain are becoming scarce because of the warm, wet summer. Fish of course, are part of a whole long food chain. And cats have a whole army of people on their side.

So it’s back to DDT, as long as it’s used indoors. But pyrethroids work and are highly effective at killing mosquitoes. Along with other insecticides, they just need care.

Same thing with viruses and bacteria. They’re easily oxidised – particularly by ionised hydrogen peroxide. A quick spray of super-fine mist and ALL germs are gone – the whole place is sterilised.

Problem solved again – but also with a downside.

Oxidising kills ALL viruses and bacteria – including the useful ones. So again care has to be taken in how it’s done. Treating empty indoor areas room-by-room works best. Without people present there is no hazard and sterile rooms are safe to use afterwards.

Care and diligence

As long as we are watchful and careful, both Ebola and malaria can be overcome – and other dread diseases besides.

Thank you, Your Majesty, for bringing us up to the mark.

*At the launch a new leadership academy at Chatham House in London.

Deadlier than Ebola et al – Panic

Panicky woman
Relax, you’ll only catch it if you’re careless

Dread diseases are all around. But you don’t see people dropping like flies, do you?

Headlines scream and a shiver goes down your spine. There’s a case of avian flu up in Yorkshire – 6,000 poor ducks getting the chop. H5N1 possibly, or H7N9. Maybe B747 or A380 – the numbers are meaningless, but not the implication.

We’re all going to die.

Or not.

Isolated outbreaks

Because that one case is already taken care of. Yes, there’s turkey farms all round, but don’t worry – we’ll all be safe for Christmas. At least, that’s the story.

But just to set your mind at rest, the Dutch have had a case too. H5N8, this time – not R2D2. And wait for it, this month there’s further cases in Germany, China, Japan and South Korea.

What about Ebola? Don’t people know there’s an epidemic on?

Well, no – and that’s not surprising.

Safe in the West

Most of us lead a reasonably healthy lifestyle – well protected by tight industry standards. If there’s anything in the food chain that threatens us, it’s usually such an exception no wonder the headlines scream.

A tarantula in a bunch of bananas from Waitrose. And don’t forget how obsessed we are about sell-by dates. The supermarkets are too – but they could get fined or even lose their licence – so let’s keep our perception firmly fixed on “paranoid”.

Because there’s no doubt about it, Ebola’s going to be here on the next flight from Sierra Leone. And that sore throat we’ve got is not going to shift with a quick swig of Histalix.

Yup, it’s panic stations de luxe. And way more contagious than any disease.

Already we’ve had flight crews lock passengers in the loo because of vomiting. Forget flight nerves or air turbulence. Or why there’s the bag that’s found in every seat pocket. Lock ’em up and call the health services, fumigate the place now!

Then there’s that bloke in the Underground. Looks a bit leery – sweating, eyes rolling round his head, unsteady on his feet. And the smell, strong and bitter, like liquorice and disinfectant. He must have come from some hospital. Just get out at the next station and wash your hands ASAP.

Ah!

Common sense by default

At least we’re washing our hands!

If there’s one good thing about Ebola, it’s that we won’t come down with norovirus because we skip washing hands after going to the loo. The pushy ones are even telling us to do it and getting away with it. “Hey, wash your hands. You don’t want to come down with Ebola, do you?”

More ignorance and paranoia, right there.

Pretty well any kind of contact is hazardous. Difficult to achieve though, with the nearest case approximately 3,000 miles away. Doesn’t stop us going crazy though, does it?

Seen the rubber-neckers veering away from crime scene investigators in their CSI outfits yet? Some poor dear had her bag snatched and fell. Put everyone in a tizz.

Don’t be so surprised, check the mind-set.

Because it’s not a crime scene at all, is it? The authorities are covering something up. That’s why the cops are there, moving people on. Nothing to see here? The whole street will be down with it before the end of the day.

Uh, huh.

Like the poster says, “Keep Calm & Carry On.”

The Six O’Clock News is not a horror show, it’s just the six o’clock news. And about the only thing that’s going to impact any of us is that petrol is going up – again.

Take two tablets and call me in the morning…

Time to get a grip.

And be thankful that the health professionals who look after us – especially the much-maligned NHS – are more than capable of protecting us, even if an outbreak does happen within our shores.

They can’t protect us from ourselves though.

But hey, this paracetamol stuff is amazing.

Don’t worry, it’s not Ebola – you just need a flu jab

Chicken running in snow
Brrr! Ignoring flu in cold weather could do you a lot of no good

The symptoms look the same in the first ten days. Headache, feverishness, sore throat, fatigue.

And make no mistake, flu CAN be a killer. More people catch it – and more people die from it every year – than all the Ebola cases put together.

Relax – there’s no need to suffer – you can get a flu vaccination just about anywhere.

Protection for everyone

It’s quick and easy too – just about anyone can have it.

And it’s not just the oldies who get it for free.

It’s anyone at serious risk of getting the the flu, expecting mothers, or people with a serious condition like asthma or diabetes.

Even your kids can have it – not from a jab, but a nasal spray.

So if it’s that easy, what are you waiting for?

Winter is coming

Because don’t be taken in by all this mild weather. It might be the warmest year in centuries, but this is Britain in winter – and it WILL change. And when those double figure temperatures dip, that’s when your body is vulnerable.

Your GP can do the jab and so can your chemist. If you’re over 65, you’ve probably already had a text message from the NHS, reminding you to book one.

Yes, you do need to book – there’s a few questions to ask first, to make sure you’ll be OK.

Get it done at your desk

You can even get it done at work. Every year, employers face a staggering £1.1 billion cost for lost working time, so maybe you can strong-arm the boss to have it on your company’s medical scheme like BUPA.

There’s also lots of companies that come in to the office and do it on the spot. A quick two minutes and a deserved coffee break.

If you pop into your chemist, reckon on it costing you about £12.

Some places do charge a bit more, but you’ll get extras like a nasal spray and vitamin C tablets thrown in as part of the deal.

Effective protection

Does it work?

Definitely – though since we’re all different, it’s better for some people than for others.

It depends on the type of flu too. The vaccine will cope with most, but there are thousands of varieties and new ones developing all the time. This year’s includes protection against:

  • H1N1 – the strain that caused the swine flu pandemic in 2009
  • H3N2 – a strain of flu that infects birds which was active in 2011
  • B/Massachusetts/2 – another strain that was active in 2012

It’s because these strains keep changing that you need to have the jab every year.

And it’s worth doing because flu can very quickly get serious if you’re not careful.

Don’t take chances

Risk going out when it’s cold and wet and it could turn into pleurisy or pneumonia.

In 1626, the famous philosopher Francis Bacon died from the after-effects of stuffing a chicken with snow bare-handed, trying to win an argument that cold preserved food better than salt.

The chill that he caught turned to acute pneumonia in a damp bed and that was the end of him. A ghost chicken reportedly haunts Pond Square, Highgate to this day.

Perhaps it’s a way of reminding you.

Don’t be chicken about getting your flu jab!

Vaporised vs Ionised – secrets of a super germ-fighter

Air contest 2
New technology, new performance – how ionised hydrogen peroxide outclasses other methods. Photo by Luis Soler on Unsplash

OK, so you know that misting up the place with hydrogen peroxide kills germs.

Yes, it’s effective – but you’ve probably heard it makes things wet and corrodes certain surfaces. Don’t take chances, step away from the risk.

Not wrong.

Except not exactly right either.

Getting it right

Because there’s hydrogen peroxide and hydrogen peroxide.

And ten-to-one, your experience is with hydrogen peroxide VAPOUR. (HPV)

Seriously potent stuff this, at 35% concentration. Pow!

It requires a vaporiser machine to disperse it into the room being treated. Plus a gaggle of separate aeration units to filter the hydrogen peroxide back out again – AND get rid of the moisture.

Lots of PT, but it works.

Kind of clumsy and time-consuming though. And you’re right to worry about computer connections and plastic finishes on all kinds of sensitive equipment.

Like we said, don’t take chances.

So you back away from it. Take second best with hand scrubbing and ammonium quats. Grind your teeth that there’s still places you’re not treating. Live with the doubt that you’re not fully sterilised, not germ-free.

Not safe, dammit!

But that’s the downside of hydrogen peroxide vapour. Great in principle, but just doesn’t deliver the way it could.

New dimension plasma

A whole new dimension though, if the hydrogen peroxide is IONISED. (iHP)

Same principle, different technology.

The whole place sterilised in one easy go – exactly the way you were hoping.

Potent against germs. Low concentration, so it’s safe with every kind of equipment. Quick and easy. One-machine, one-button effortless. All done and dusted in around 40 minutes.

So easy-peasy, what’s the catch?

Making it safe for starters. 6% against 35% – no longer needing that “Corrosive” hazard tag.

Getting it properly dispersed too, so it reaches everywhere. Germ-killing is only effective if it reaches ALL the right places. Underneath things, behind them, hard up against walls and ceilings – deep into cracks and crevices, where pathogens hide and breed.

And of course, really effective fire power, the full Monty. Germ-killing that takes out everything so there’s nothing left. Safe, secure, sterile.

Way different from the vaporised stuff.

Because you see, just spraying stuff into the air is only half the job.

The real deal

The real deal is engaging the germs. Going into combat.

First off, IONISING charges each hydrogen peroxide particle with the same charge. Like two same poles of a magnet held together, it actively shoves hard to get away from itself. No hanging in the air like air fresheners from a spray can – this stuff powers away in all directions, reaching in everywhere.

Ionising also gives it more oomph.

Sure it starts out as mild 6% solution, the same as you buy at the chemist. But ionising changes its state. No longer a gas or air-borne vapour, a PLASMA.

Which triggers the release of yet more germ-killers – hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, rective nitrogen species, ozone and ultraviolet.

No more wuss bathroom-cabinet antiseptic – suddenly there’s a whole slew of anti-pathogens hundreds of times more powerful.

The charged particles actively reach out and grab oppositely charged bacteria, viruses and fungi – ripping them apart by shoving oxygen atoms at them. Oxidised to pieces, no germs can survive.

The H2O2 particles lose their charge, revert back to vapour, decompose to oxygen and water in such small quantities they immediately evaporate.

No germs, no moisture, no nagging doubts about effectiveness.

So like we said, there’s hydrogen peroxide and hydrogen peroxide.

The hard way and the easy way.

Vaporised or ionised.

Which one will you be using?

About this blog

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Hypersteriliser units are supplied to businesses and institutions across the UK, notably the haematology and other critical units at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester; Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital; South Warwickshire Hospital; Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital; and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.

The Halo Hypersteriliser system achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. It is the only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. It is also EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

Drop dead – antibiotics won’t save you any more

Bandaged mummy
Time to hike up hygiene habits – or it could be the end of us

At time of writing, current world population is 7,274,081,952 and counting – already up 2,300 since starting this sentence. Check it out on the amazing Worldometer.

“Over-population” cry a lot of experts – and in certain circumstances, they might be right. Not for the whole planet, but for the bit they’re putting under the microscope.

Too many people for local food production, not enough water resources – whatever.

Human beings by numbers

One hundred years ago, we weren’t even half that number of people – with a whole great horde of us recently killed in World War One (34 million), or in the Spanish flu epidemic that followed (up to 50 million).

Seems every so often, if we get to be too many, a war or disease comes along and chops us back.

Well yes, but only on a local basis.

An island of us

If you really think there’s too many of us, it’s kind of a jolt to think that every single one of us alive today could fit shoulder to shoulder on the island of Zanzibar – 7,274,082,381 of us (and counting) in just 1,023 square miles.

A lot of things make us so prolific – advancing technology, clever agriculture – and most of all revolutions in medicine.

Joseph Lister’s first insistence about washing hands was in the early 1800s. Our population doubled.

Sir Alexander Fleming’s discovery of pencillin – the first true antibiotic – was a hundred years later. Our population doubled again – and kept right on going.

How far will we get?

That depends on our hygiene levels.

No more miracles

Because the latest nasty is that antiobiotics are not the miracles they once were.

All kinds of bugs have learned how to resist them – and more are developing every day.

One by one, our defences are failing.

Now according to the National Academy of Sciences, neither another World War, nor a global pandemic would be enough to stop our rocketing climb in numbers. We’ll top 10 billion by the end of the century, easy peasy.

Uh huh.

Everything at once

Except how about more than one pandemic at once?  A whole storm of them all at the same time? Like Ebola, the plague, smallpox, SARS, flu, polio and AIDS – all clobbering us together with no treatment against any of them?

Are we about to be wiped out?

Hey! Back to Earth!

It was Lister who pushed our numbers up by telling us to wash out hands, remember?

But be honest, how many of us do that as often as we should?

And how many remember WHY?

To stop the germs getting to us,right? To give those viruses and bacteria no chance to touch us.

Hygiene habits

If we did nothing else – if we washed our hands all the time – we might survive.

But to be certain, we need to hike our hygiene habits a whole lot higher.

It was right back alongside Lister that Louis Jacque Thenard discovered hydrogen peroxide in the Nineteenth Century.

As a germ killer, it was immediately a trailblazer – safe and easy to use, no virus or bacteria could survive contact with it.

Two hundred years later, the technology has moved on.

Force field

Ionised and dispersed into an ultra-fine mist, hydrogen peroxide reaches everywhere, grabbing at pathogens by electrostatic attraction, oxidising their cells to shreds by shoving oxygen atoms at them.

Our antibiotics might not work, but our first line of defence sure as hell does.

Like a force-field round a spaceship, hydrogen peroxide takes out any germ that comes at us. We’ll be OK, though we might not make that magic 10 billion.

Why?

Well, not all of us have access to hydrogen peroxide or the auto-robots that disperse it.  And not all of us will remember to be careful and practice high-level hygiene at all times.

At least we stand a chance though.

So when the Doc looks at you and shakes his head, it might not be the end of the world.

As long as you’re not relying only on antibiotics, you’ll live.

Over-85s rock night clubs, let’s party Big Time

Granny partying
ALIVE, baby! And no germs on me!

Non-stop parties, five nights in a row. Sex like rabbits never knew. Bonkers, the lot of them. So that kids of 50 have no idea what they’re missing.

It’s not just happening, it’s happening more and more. Currently, Britain has 12,000 people aged 100 and over – 191 of them with driving licences.

And why not? Death rates are coming down. Living expectancy is going up. Our seniors are fitter, more alert, and getting more out of life than ever before.

Super-oldies

Some of it is diet. Most of it is exercise. The driving force is attitude. But none of it would be possible without the dramatic rise in hygiene standards since World War Two.

More specifically, we human beings have developed better ways to protect ourselves.

Cars have seat belts and air bags. Ultra-light thermal clothing keeps out the cold. So does double glazing and central heating. Hats and sun-cream hold back harmful UV rays. We all have phones if we need to call for help.

Living fit and healthy past 100 is not just within reach, it’s already a reality.

And all about to go down the tubes.

Doomsday disregard

Because the one protection we have yet to secure for ourselves is against germs.

Oh sure, we’ve got hygiene practices and sterile procedures coming out of our ears.

Joseph Lister wised us up to washing hands back in the Nineteenth Century. Flame sterilisation was even practiced by the Romans.

And of course, we have the miracle of antibiotics. No worries about infection, the Doc has pills to sort it.

Or not.

You see, there’s a problem – antibiotics over-use.

We’ve been bingeing on antibiotics for nearly 100 years now – so that to your average virus or bacteria, they’re strictly ho-hum. Take the pills and nothing happens.

500mg three times a day? Been there, done that.

Killers and more killers

Result – there’s not just killers like MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) – there’s 270,000 different strains of it – particularly prevalent in hospitals.

Why?

Because that’s the most likely place you’ll have open cuts and airways – germ portals into the body. All that life-changing surgery we’ve invented – it could be life-ending overnight.

Scary, huh?

Because if these antibiotic thingies aren’t actually working any more, our life expectancy can sink back to 50 – or even 25 if your work is physical, prone to lots of cuts and scratches.

Well yes, but then antibiotics aren’t really protection are they? And right now there’s a bunch of super-docs working round the clock to make them kill germs again.

If you think about it, antibiotics are fix-its – intended as cures, restoratives to bring the body back to health, compensation for germ-strikes.

They don’t actually stop you catching a germ in the first place – like a crash helmet stops you getting a head injury.

Proper protection

But there’s lots of stuff that can. Germ-killers that can take out viruses and bacteria before they get anywhere near you. Carbolic soap, bleach, formaldehyde – or oxidisers like ozone and hydrogen peroxide. Ultra violet light is also like a death ray.

So what the heck are we doing, letting germs get to us – when we’ve already got all these weapons we can use against them?

Sticking our heads in the sand is what.

Except for health professionals, we all think of hygiene as a schlep.

Oh yes, we do – we’re a nation of soap dodgers. One in five of us doesn’t wash our hands after using the loo.

Even though, with the right mind-set, it can actually be FUN! (Thanks, Northampton General Hospital!)

Up to hygiene plus

On top of which, in just twenty minutes we can STERILISE any room so there’s NO VIRUSES or BACTERIA – all dead and gone – just by touching a button. An auto-robot mists up the place with hydrogen peroxide and makes it safe again.

Feel better? You should – as long as you up your hygiene habit.

Yes you, time to up your game.

Do you want to live to 100 or what?

Hospital: Keep Away!

Prison phone
Hospital visiting hours – except it’s not a crime to catch a bug

It’s the double-edged sword of antibiotics. We can’t live with them – and we can’t live without them.

Because just about every surgical procedure there is relies on antibiotics to prevent infection.

And alarm bells are ringing. The number of pathogens resistant to antibiotics is growing.

20 years for a cure

Faced with a new Dark Age, medics are pushing for research into more effective drugs. But proper development and testing can take 20 years.

Humanity can’t wait that long.

We need something now – a higher level of hygiene in everything we do.

But nobody says it’s easy. Even sterile measures can introduce infection to surgical procedures. Particularly post-op – less easy without the rigorous scrub-ups, sterilised instruments and dressings,  or the HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filtered airflow.

Which brings us to the Big Q.

Quarantine

Isolation.

A UV tunnel at all entrances to kill surface germs. Continuous deep clean and scrub down with effective germ-killers like formaldehyde and bleach.

Better still, with airborne hydrogen peroxide which destroys every virus and bacteria it touches.

The downside is, it’s mostly the patient who is the source of infection – an existing condition, or brought in on their person when admitted.

So are visitors. You yourself are a source of infection too. Strip naked and power-shower, you’re still a threat to anyone with open wounds.

So are hospital staff. Germs surround us wherever we go, it’s a fact of life.

Sterile is not enough

We can sterilise the hospital environment – the air, the beds, the equipment, the wards – but we can’t sterilise the people.

Which could mean out with the hazmat suits – for visitors and hospital staff.

Or visiting granny could get more like visiting prison.

On the phone, behind plate glass. Patients in no-go areas. No physical contact.

To keep you safe. To keep them safe.

Except being sick is not a crime. Nor is catching some nasty bug.

Of course it won’t happen. We’re not that inhuman.

Don’t take chances

Unless we get an epidemic. Like in 1918, when flu took out a third of the planet and killed 50 million people – almost the population of Britain.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Forget to wash your hands five years from now – and maybe you won’t come back.

Let’s be careful out there.