Monthly Archives: September 2018

How much more self-inflicted sickness can you take?

Girl with gun to head
We bring it on ourselves,
but we CAN wash our hands of it

Vomit, run to the loo, tummy cramps.

Loo again, more cramps, heave-ho de luxe.

Recognise it? Your old friend is back.

Enough to make you puke

Norovirus, food poisoning, gastro – whatever the medics are calling it this week.

You have our sympathies, it’s never very nice.

We’re not that sorry though – chances are highly likely you brought it on yourself.

What! How dare we be so heartless?

No, we don’t buy that you ate something and it disagreed with you. More likely we suspicion it was the bug you swallowed with it when you chowed it down.

Transferred off your hand, onto your food, then straight down your gullet.

That’s right, YOU caused it – and you probably never even knew.

Your fingerprints all over it

Because, before that meal, when was the last time you washed your hands?

No, it’s not an accusation.

Blame it on the high-powered lifestyles we’re all expected to lead – stampeding us through our day with hardly time to breathe – even grabbing lunch on the run.

And there’s the cause, right there.

Sure, you had heartburn because you ate so fast. But the upchucks and the runs? Unmistakeably Norovirus the Nasty – highly contagious and transmitted by touch, usually from your hand.

Which is why we call it the Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease.

What’s the bet you had no chance to wash your hands right through morning and into lunch – or even afterwards, with urgent meetings racked up, one after the other?

Wash Hands Logo
We’ve got to re-learn new habits
if we’re going to stay alive

So the germs hit your stomach and had time to kick out. Now you’re feeling like death and want to crawl under a rock.

Totally preventable of course – all you had to do was wash your hands. See what we mean by self-inflicted?

And yes, it did come from your hands.

Check the evidence

Because it’s another most uncomfortable fact that our hygiene habits are almost non-existent.

Yucky fact No 1, 95% of us don’t wash our hands properly after going to the loo.

Yucky fact No 2, 62% of men and 40% of women don’t even bother.

Which means after going for a dump, then galloping to work on the train – holding the same grab-handles as other people who had a dump – then the grime on the escalator handrails, or the taxi door handle – straight into handling the day’s mail from the postie who also had a dump – then a few hours at the keyboard with burger grease and mayonnaise traces and finally scoffing the coronation chicken … you get where this is going.

And though a lot of us do, you can hardly blame it on the shop that made your sarnie.

If you don’t wash your hands more often than you do, you are the cause of your own anguish.

Deadly consequences

And with the way germs are becoming more resistant to antibiotics and other medicines, it’s becoming a case of learn new habits or die.

Die?

Never knew washing your hands could be a life and death issue?

Norovirus kills 80 a year. Salmonella about the same. In fact foodborne diseases take out around 500 people a year.

Sure, it’s possible to clobber germs in the places we live and work so they can’t get to us.

Effective defence

There’s a thing called a Hypersteriliser which destroys all viruses and bacteria by releasing an ultra-fine mist of ionised hydrogen peroxide – germs are ripped apart by oxidising – and minutes later the place is sterile.

Because it’s ionised, the stuff reaches everywhere, attracted by electrostatic charge.

It doesn’t touch what’s on your hands though. Or anything you might bring in on your clothes. And if you’ve already got a cold –or norovirus, which is almost as common – you’re going to have to live with it.

Keep you hands clean though, and you can protect yourself from catching anything new.

No more self-inflicted misery – and a lot happier life.

Originally posted 2015-05-21 16:42:16.

Hand wash ritual to save us all from vomiting bug

Girl showing hands
Super clean, before every meal – super healthy, every day

Know that expression, “if you can’t beat them, join them”?

Applied to the awkward fact that 95% of us don’t wash our hands properly after going to the loo, we don’t like the way it’s looking at us.

Especially when that kind of carelessness brings so many of us down with the vomiting bug, norovirus – aka Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease.

So our suggestion is to turn it around – “if you can’t join them, beat them.”

Reverse psychology

Because frankly, there’s no way we’re going to risk our health out of aversion to a little soap and water. Not if it means stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea – where’s the sense in that?

And it makes least sense of all when we go out for a meal.

A special moment, special food, special friends – suddenly cut short by the awful vomiting bug.

Except it’s our fault, isn’t it?

Grubby paws

When was the last time we washed our hands before we sat down? And all that yuck on them from the loo two hours ago? Small wonder that our tummies go heave-ho as the first mouthfuls go down.

Nicely contaminated by our grubby fingers – they don’t look it, but they are – covered in norovirus or salmonella, too small to see so we kid ourselves that they’re clean anyway.

Next stop, A&E to have our stomachs pumped out.

Or not.

Blame the restaurant

Because no restaurant wants a bad rep for food poisoning when the real cause is so often customers with dirty hands.

So if you can’t join them, beat them, make a ritual out of it – a special hand washing ceremony before anybody eats.

Far-fetched?

Not a bit of it. In some restaurants, it’s already the practice to provide finger bowls – a ritual by themselves. So the idea of washing your hands at table is not so foreign.

And though it’s unusual, they’re not so crazy in popular restaurants either – nobody minds the focus on hygiene, it’s just unexpected.

Which leaves plenty of scope to take it a lot further – if nothing else, people will like it for the novelty.

And though it’s really a serious thing, you can even make it fun. (Thanks again, Northampton General Hospital!)

Halfway there already

On some airlines already, a sealed courtesy-wipe is provided to do hands and face with a meal. Biz-class and above do the same with hot towels.

And in the more exotic Turkish restaurants, part of the whole character is a huge copper basin with hot water brought to the table – and a copper jug to pour water over guests’ hands in a welcoming ritual.

Add scented soap and complimentary towels, and you have a whole hygiene procedure. A restaurant with unique, memorable character too.

Seems other countries have a better take on hygiene than we do. Go to Malaysia, and you’ve got to try “street food” – real, intricate, restaurant quality meals served out in the open, at the roadside.

Scrumptious yes, with your crockery and cutlery brought straight to your table in a basin of boiling water. Haul out your handy tube of gel that you carry always, and your hands are just as safe and sterilised.

A new ritual

Which is why we’re suggesting that a ritual is the thing. We’re already halfway there with the ritual of the phone. Look around you next time you’re out. Everyone on other tables always starts with Facebook or Twitter or something.

OK, so do the same with the gel. Haul it out, pass it round. Make it a feature of being out together. Everyone will know it’s good and hygienic, so there won’t be many refusals.

And if anybody asks why, simply say that nobody’s going to catch Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease if you can help it – not on your watch.

Which is why you do it at home too. These days, folks tend to sit round the TV more than the dinner table. But it’s the easiest thing in the world to pass the gel around.

Habit forming

Before you know it, a quick squidge before eating becomes everyone’s habit – and Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease becomes a rarity more than the norm.

Easy-peasy, huh?

Didn’t know staying healthy could be so simple?

Sure beats being ill when you don’t have to be.

Originally posted 2015-05-20 13:56:09.

Washing up by hand is like doing it in a sewer

Disagreeing woman
Just because a thing looks clean doesn’t mean it is – or that it’s germ-free either

Shocking?

But unfortunately, all too true.

Because you know that cloth or scourer you keep in the sink to scrub the grime off?

It probably has more germs on it than a stack of toilets – 200,000 of them to be exact. The same capacity as a small city sewer.

Germs, germs, germs

And you know why?

Because all it does is scrape food scraps away. Not disinfect or anything.

And unless you wash it out thoroughly with every use – then dry it completely in the microwave – it becomes a fast and continuous breeding place for germs.

Warm, moist, rich in organic nutrients – rinsing food away doesn’t get rid of the microscopic fragments germs feed on – they grow and multiply with every wash, transferring onto everything they touch.

The water you’re using doesn’t help either.

You put the plug in, and the water, squeeze some liquid – and think you’re handling it.

Germ soup

Uh huh. Putting all your crockery and cutlery through the same germ bath, more like.

Unless you wash under running water, which is wasteful – and doesn’t give the detergent opportunity to act.

Rinsing doesn’t help much either. That stream of water is hardly strong enough to prise the germs off. Even if the water’s hot. Because hot enough to kill gems would be hotter than your hands could stand. And anyway, at microscopic level there’s plenty of rough surfaces to hang onto.

Then there’s wiping up afterwards.

Another nightmare.

It might feel right, but that dish towel also transfers germs evenly over everything you wash. And though your dishes look clean, the average germ can probably last on there for up to a week or more.

Norovirus, campylobacter, salmonella, e. coli. Any one of them enough to make you feel very ill – or even put you in hospital.

Far from saving time and water – or being as hygienic as you hoped

Dishwasher efficiency

And all avoidable if you use the dishwasher.

For a start, the water is super-hot to soften food scraps, so the sprayers can blast them away. Way more efficient than that yucky scourer.

The water is constantly changed too – with several rinses and washes. That soup of germs never gets a chance to develop.

There’s less water involved as well. It needs several gallons to fill a kitchen sink – around 6,000 gallons a year on average. But you look – a dishwasher cycles water out of that small tray at the bottom, there’s very little wastage.

Oh, and drying?

Everything sits and air dries – no contamination with that germ-spreading dish cloth. What could be easier?

The germ-go-round

But it’s not just hand washing dishes that spreads germs around. It’s other cleaning chores too.

Because we’re used to scrubbing stuff away, we think that visually clean is often good enough. It looks OK, therefore it is.

If we get worried, we might bung in a disinfectant – but even then, our procedure is still the same. We wipe and scrub until we think it looks right – and that’s it.

But disinfectants can only work if they have enough contact time – and if they’re concentrated enough to do the necessary. Viruses and bacteria are hardened survivors – a quick wipe and a rinse is seldom enough. (Tweet this) And who can live with the sharp lung-piercing smell of ammonia or bleach?

OK, so we have a go at all the surfaces we can think of – worktops, tables, counters, the floor. And again, we reckon that’s it.

Only half the job though, if you think about it. Especially if it’s a food-prep area.

What about under things, or behind them, or stuff that dribbles down where it shouldn’t?

What about the walls or the ceiling? When were they last cleaned? And don’t forget, hot air rises. What sort of gunk could be up there from months of cooking or other activities, waiting to infect something?

Come to think of it, what about the air itself – often 80% of the room space or more?

If it was laden with dust, you’d see it at once – but germs are so small they’re invisible. And they’re there alright, floating around in their billions. We know all about them too – the sore throat and more that happens when we breathe some of them in.

Machine sterilising

Yup, you’re right. Like washing up, hand cleaning doesn’t get rid of germs either. But can you imagine the drama some kind of room washing machine might create?

Which is why there’s a Hypersteriliser.  A wheelie-bin sized machine that sterilises rooms with an ultra-fine mist of hydrogen peroxide gas plasma – ionised so it reaches everywhere by static electric charge – destroying all viruses and bacteria in around 40 minutes.

That easy, and that simple. Which means it’s probably time for coffee.

And anyway, who the heck wants to live in a sewer?

 

 

Originally posted 2015-05-19 12:02:55.

Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease strikes again

Hazmat researcher
It could make you hurl, or it could kill you – not worth the risk of not washing your hands

Another cruise ship?

A holiday Boeing crammed with used air-sick bags?

Unkindest of all, this time it’s the Royal Navy – 70 of our finest youngsters struck down with norovirus at HMS Raleigh in Cornwall. Been going for ten days too, difficult to get rid off.

Which means it’s serious. Because when the Navy deal with medical issues, they do it properly. Isolate the victims, blitz their quarters with disinfectant, restrict all contact.

The Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease

But that’s norovirus for you. Or the vomiting winter bug, whatever you want to call it.

More accurately, the Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease.

Because that’s the biggest cause. And the surest way it spreads. From unwashed hands.

Highly contagious and at home on the perfect environment of our slightly moist hands at a pleasant 37 degrees Celsius – a guaranteed outbreak every time, simply because our personal hygiene is dangerously slapdash.

Oh yes, it is.

A staggering percentage of us NEVER wash our hands after going to the loo. 68% of men, 40% of women.

Even more shocking, NINETY-FIVE PERCENT of us don’t wash our hands properly. A six second rinse under the tap and we reckon we’re done.

Actually worse than useless.

Because though we let germs thrive on our hands by not washing them, WET hands amplify the risk. And there’s nothing like a pair of warm, wet hands for germs to increase and multiply.

Self-destruct reflex?

What’s wrong with us,? Do we have a death wish?

It’s not just that we don’t wash our hands. We then go right ahead and use those same hands to eat with. Transferring the germs onto our food – and then deliberately ingesting it.

Not just norovirus either. It could be whatever our hands have come in contact with. Salmonella, campylobacter, c. difficile, e. coli – any one of which could kill us for our carelessness.

Or if not kill, be very unpleasant. A nasty 6 hours in the barf-room, cramps like you can’t believe, the never-ending runs, and headache from dehydration. Two or three days of the end of the world with your bum on fire all the time.

And we actually WANT this?

We already half-know that norovirus is behind around 50% of all tummy bugs – and we still don’t wash our hands.

We’re even in denial – a lot of the time blaming the cause of our sudden sickness on something else. Exactly why we call it the Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease.

Everyday risk-takers

Take any visit to a restaurant – posh nosh or fast food, it makes no difference.

Just to stay open any of those places has to satisfy pretty strict hygiene laws. They get inspected too. Anything wrong and the place gets shut down.

Which means that in most food places, all of the professionals running it are unlikely to take chances. The kitchen will be meticulously clean and the staff will wash their hands regularly. So will the serving staff, with the maître d’ watching them like a hawk.

Quite possibly the place is sterilised every night too – with one of those Hypersteriliser jobbies. Every day when they open for business, it’s totally germ-free. No viruses, no bacteria, nothing.

You can see where this is going, can’t you?

It’s the diners who don’t wash their hands. The eaters.

Straight in off the street and sitting down at the table with never a thought of hygiene.

With hands that maybe haven’t been washed for hours. Strap-hanging in the tube, pawing escalator hand-rails, in and out of the loo, shaking hands with others doing exactly the same thing.

Which means it isn’t necessarily the pâté de foie gras that’s off. It’s the germs from the breadstick clutched by the grubby paw of the big deal who rocked up by taxi and demanded the table with the best view.

Self-infected – with Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease. How stupid is that? (Tweet this)

The blame game

And then of course, it’s bad-mouthing the restaurant which had nothing to do with it. One accusing finger pointing – and another three pointing back.

But it could be any of us. Because when was the last time you washed your hands in a restaurant before eating? And in a fast food joint?

No, it’s not a joke. In fact chowing down a take-away burger is even more of a risk, because what else are you touching while you do it?

Over-reacting? Don’t count on it.

These days if you come down with anything serious, they’ll bung you on antibiotics.

Only, in case you haven’t heard, the Docs are getting shy of doing that because the bugs have developed resistance – they don’t work any more.

Back to the Dark Ages before antibiotics were invented. All you need is for your norovirus to develop complications, and you’re on a one-way ticket to oblivion.

Life and death

Not worth it for a little soap and water, hey?

Or some of that disinfecting gel, if you can’t get to a bathroom.

Nobody’s going to laugh if you sit at the table and treat your hands. And it works better than those hot towels the posh places offer – safer too.

Your choice.

It might seem like nothing, but it’s actually life and death.

Originally posted 2015-05-18 12:26:12.

Size does matter – how ANY germ can zap you

Doctor with arms folded
Our biggest threats are smaller than we can imagine

Germs are everywhere, right?

In the earth, in water, the air we breathe, on surfaces, in stuff we eat – everywhere to the limits of the biosphere, up to 30,000 feet and beyond.

Inside our bodies too – good germs and bad germs. All in balance, as long as we’re careful.

Or as long as we don’t pick up a bug from outside. A bacteria, a virus – there’s plenty of pathogens out there to cause trouble.

Now here’s a thing.

It’s all in the air

Some germs we catch from breathing, some from food we eat, and some from contact with other people who have an infection.

But all of the time, all of these germs spread by being airborne.

Now before the whole of the BMA comes down on us like a ton of bricks for that statement, let’s offer some supporting evidence.

Cast your mind back to the second week of April, and chances are it was all over your car. It even triggered a widespread health warning from both the Met Office and Defra.

Red dust from the Sahara Desert. Carried here by storms from 2,000 miles away. A yucky mess and a run to the car wash. And exactly why all germs spread by being airborne.

It’s easy to see why. The grain size of a typical sand particle from the Sahara is about 0.06 to 0.5 mm. No problem to the average desert wind at 25 mph – and a total breeze for a sandstorm.

Can’t see us for dust

Uh huh.

0.06 to 0.5 mm. 2,000 miles.

Now if you will, to your microscopes please.

Because 0.5 mm in the world of viruses and bacteria is a monstrous giant – 500 microns.

A human hair by comparison might be only 60 microns – and an Ebola virus over 1,000 times smaller at 0.08 microns, the same size as our winter vomiting favourite, norovirus – which coincidentally in the early stages, presents similar symptoms.

Oops!

It’s worth remembering that the benchmark efficiency measure for the HEPA filters used in the air supply to hospital operating theatres is 0.3 microns.

Which means if Ebola or norovirus cells were floating around, there’s nothing there to stop them getting through.

Aha, right! Neither of these two is airborne in transmission – infection is by direct contact. No immediate problem.

But spread from one place to another? Airborne always!

Smaller travels further

Because if Sahara dust can travel 2,000 miles and get dumped on your car, what about germs that are less than 2% smaller?

Which means, if the winds blow in the right direction, that Ebola could already be here. Floating around, waiting for an opportunity. Norovirus certainly is.

And you’ve seen yourself how fine dust floats even in still air, seemingly unaffected by gravity. At 1,000 times smaller, germs like norovirus or Ebola might never settle – the air around them is too dense for gravity to work.

OK, so here comes a human body, pushing through the air, walking down the street. Whatever germs there are, catch and stick like always – on skin, clothing everywhere.

Single germ cells on the skin’s acid mantle, not a problem. Our immune systems are too rugged, too smart.

Catching germs

But winds blow and air wafts – people, cars and animals pass through it, heating systems vent into it. Those germs don’t stay in one place, they move around – fetch up on other surfaces – walls, doors, through windows, wherever.

And a human hand, wiping across one of these in a grab for a door handle, might scrape 10 or 20 together in a ridge that stays sticking to a finger. Next thing, like we always do 2,000 – 3,000 times a day, that finger wipes an eye, wiggling round to remove street dust.

So what’s the prognosis, Doc?

Infection alert

20 Ebola germ cells clumped together on the moist tissue round the eye – will there be an infection or not? (Tweet this) And if there is, can you imagine the hoo-hah about how it happened?

You can’t see germs. You can’t take chances either. Which is exactly why hospitals are starting to use the Hypersteriliser.

Because the Hypersteriliser’s super-fine mist of ionised hydrogen peroxide takes out ALL viruses and bacteria to a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 6. Hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species – and even ozone – rip them apart by oxidising them. No Ebola, no norovirus, no nothing.

Uh huh, again. An awkward fact of life that even applies to germs.

That size DOESN’T matter – when you’re dead.

Originally posted 2015-05-15 12:16:15.

Delete all germs, Y/N? Or send to cloud?

Woman at keyboard
Ew! Delete all germs! There’s more on your keyboard than there are in the loo!

OK, they got you.

You read a piece in the paper about germs on your desk and scared yourself to death.

Then you took a look at your computer keyboard and called your office cleaning service.

Yes, they do sanitising of IT equipment, including screens and keyboards. Oh, and don’t you want your phones done too? Staff are on the line all the time and need protection.

A big cleaning job

You look at them, at their workstations – in those space-maximising groups of four, clustered together. Lots of work to be done, everyone with double screens, always on the go.

Good on you, you’ve earned a coffee – and the specialist team is coming tomorrow. Delete all germs, yeah!

Wow, but they are impressive. Air blasters that squidge out dust and dirt – all those bits of biscuit that dropped down between the keys. And this virucidal liquid stuff that lifts the gunge of your keys so they look like new when you thought the letters were fading. Oh, and the wipes for screen, yeah!

Twenty minutes, all done.

You watch as the team goes round the rest of the office. Everyone’s raving at their shiny new-look keyboards. You nod to yourself.

It’s not over till it’s over

Then you notice something on the desk behind your screen. A dust bunny. No worries, the usual cleaning team will take care of that when they come in this evening.

Or not.

Difficult to get to, behind all those screens clustered together. Worried about unplugging something too. So their best is thrust with a feather duster, or a quick go-round with the vacuum cleaner hose.

Delete all germs? Well, only sort of.

Cough, cough, splutter.

Dust bunnies in the air – bits of biscuit from the blow-out sessions too.

So just how clean is your office really?

Sure it looks OK, but how safe is it from germs?

You sit there and think about what could be under the desk. Lurking in the cables snarled together where the CPUs are. No vacuuming there either – don’t want to disturb the connections.

Behind the scenes

And what about behind the photo copier? Or the great triple-whammy broadband server up against the pillar? Won’t the air-con circulate all those dust bunnies and biscuit bits? Plus the cough-sneezes from you and everybody else?

It’s not just your desk that’s full of germs – it’s the whole office. (Tweet this)

But if somebody was going to clean and disinfect that lot properly, they’d be wiping and scrubbing all day. And still the air-con would be circulating stuff – round and round in a great invisible cloud.

Aargh!

Surely there’s something that can handle taking the germs out without making it a major mission, or ponging the place up with chlorine bleach?

Fortunately, there is.

Safe from germs

It’s called a Hypersteriliser and it sterilises the whole place completely – no germs no nothing, safe.

You still need the cleaning team, because the machine doesn’t actually clean off dirt.

What it does do is mist the place up with ionised hydrogen peroxide – oxidising viruses and bacteria on contact like microscopic explosions, physically ripping their cells apart.

The stuff gets everywhere too, because the ionising charges the mist particles so they race away, trying to escape each other. Charged with energy, they push and shove – under, behind and deep into any cracks – no germ can escape them.

Forty minutes is all it needs – give or take an oz, depending on room size.

Delete all germs, yes! And way quicker than a whole team of cleaners could ever achieve. (Tweet this)

And all you do is wheel it into place, check it’s juiced up and ready to go, hit the button and get out of there – job done.

So, are you going to accept just the clean keyboard – or do want to hit the whole place?

Breathe deep and think. Your colleagues are depending on this too.

Like, if you don’t do anything, how many more sickies are you going to pull this year?

Originally posted 2015-05-14 15:42:33.

How to make 95% of your illnesses go away

Girl showing off hands
Wash your hands regularly and you
need never go to hospital again

A few ground rules.

Let’s not include upsets caused by your mind. No romantic distresses, job apprehensions, exam nerves or stress-related angst.

We’re talking genuine sicknesses here – like colds, flu or worse. Or tummy bugs that might start with diarrhoea and get nasty from there.

Yeah, you got gut ache

All the way from mild discomfort to hospital stuff – including monsters like typhoid. Pretty well anything you can eat or touch.

Are you ready?

Wash your hands.

That’s it. Just, wash your hands.

Ah, but you’ve got to do it properly. Because though all of us claim we wash our hands, 95% of us don’t do it properly, or even at all.

Don’t believe it?

Researchers at Michigan State University hid in bathrooms and recorded physical evidence. Seems most of us waggle our hands under the tap and that’s it.

Ah, but that’s Yanks, you say. We know better here.

Oh yeah? According to a recent survey right here in UK, 62% of men and 40% of women admitted that they didn’t even bother.

Uh huh. So that’s a whole bunch of us waltzing round with poo and wee on our hands.

You ready for the next yucky? We’re not just waltzing around, but we’re touching our faces 2,000 – 3,000 times a day. Transferring invisible gunk to our eyes, mouth and nose – exactly the same passages germs use to get in – over and over, like we WANT to catch a bug.

Go away, bugs!

Which makes it kind of unsurprising when we do. We’re so unhygienic we DESERVE to come down with something – at least norovirus or one of those other nasties that gives us the runs.

Worse than that, we use those same yucky hands to eat. Sure, they don’t look yucky, but those billions of viruses and bacteria living on there are so small, how the hell would we know?

OK, so you’re ambitious and pushing your career, so busy you often eat at your desk – burger and chips while you check your business pitches – multi-tasking so your bosses love you.

You got it – those same greasy fingers all over your keyboard and phone.

And when was the last time you wiped either of them down – last week, last month, last year? So that’s burger and chips on top of the chicken fajitas from yesterday, and the egg salad mayonnaise on wholewheat from the day before.

No wonder experts reckon you’ve got upwards of 10 million disease-causing bacteria living there – that place is a zoo!

Run to the Doc

So who’s fault is it if one of these bugs riding round on your hands decides to hit you with an infection? You and the other 65 million people living in bonny UK – all gumming up the works to see your GP, or running to A&E with your tummy bug because you can’t get an appointment?

And we have the nerve to say that our NHS services can’t cope!

With not even a guilty conscience that all we have to do is use a little soap and water after the loo and before eating to make all those ailments go away. Aren’t we heartily ashamed of ourselves?

We should be. So to pull our thinking straight about something we all know, here’s a polite hand-washing reminder from America’s health heavyweights, the Centers for Disease Control – the same people who safeguard the world against Ebola, malaria, TB, diabetes and all the other more serious challenges or doctors are fighting with every day.

Easy, huh?

Just wash your hands and everything goes away. (Tweet this)

No probs

You don’t have to buy Imodium because your tummy’s fine. Or get the Doc to check your chest because your lungs are clear. Or have your appendix removed because it’s fine.

Super-boring, nothing to talk about, and you should live to be a hundred.

Not allergic to soap are you? So use a sanitising gel. Carry one with you always, because you can’t always get to a bathroom.

Mind how you go though, clean hands can’t protect you from accidents.

Originally posted 2015-05-13 14:46:59.

Not a cold, an immune system meltdown

Girl makes refusing gesture
It’s not what you think it is – and nothing anybody wants

GPs often miss it, because it looks like something else.

A common cold, a stomach bug, or both together.

Your ordinary old 9-to-5 common ailment.

The disguised killer

And that’s often how it starts. All innocent and predictable.

But quickly downhill from there.

Your temperature spikes – 104F and climbing. Chills and shivering start. Your heart speeds up. So does your breathing. Something’s taking over and your body’s into overdrive.

It’s serious too – your own immune system over-reacting

Kinda like riot police pitching up for a parking offence. And the fire brigade. And all the other emergency services at once.

So what happens? The road gets blocked. Nothing can get through.

That’s your blood supply. Pressure dropping from congestion in your blood vessels. Too many immune molecules milling around, so flow to vital organs becomes restricted. And you’re dehydrating fast, trying to cope with it.

It snowballs alarmingly quickly.

Very sick, very fast

You start feeling dizzy and confused. Nausea and vomiting follow. So does diarrhoea. Your muscles scream in pain and you can’t talk properly. You look at yourself and your skin is cold and clammy, mottled like a mackerel. And your body’s given up on passing water.

This is intensive care stuff. If your meltdown doesn’t stop, you’re going into organ failure.

Hopefully by now the Docs have sussed what it is. Common as hell, but not easily recognised. Because it always masquerades as something else first.

It’s called sepsis – and the medics have got ONE HOUR to get six things done, if you’re not going to peg off altogether (Tweet this):

  • Give oxygen
  • Take blood cultures
  • Give intravenous antibiotics
  • Start intravenous fluid resuscitation
  • Check lactate levels
  • Monitor hourly urine output

If they can stabilise you, you’ll make it. But with sepsis, everything has to happen fast. An immune system meltdown is like the body attacking itself – and it’s so efficient, things get very serious very quickly.

How can you protect yourself?

Difficult to tell.

Your immune system meltdown can trigger in so many ways – all innocent things you hardly notice at the time. A small cut, a sore throat, a tummy twinge.

The sepsis onslaught

For some reason researchers still can’t fathom, your body reacts way out of proportion to normal. Not because there’s anything wrong with you either. It can happen to anyone – young or old, healthy or struggling with an on-going condition.

So about the best thing to do is to keep yourself healthy at all times. Eat  the right things, get proper rest and exercise, avoid smoking and drinking – and keep to healthy environments.

This last is pretty important because nearly half of sepsis cases seem to start with infection in the lungs – we breathe in something and the immune system is triggered.

We can do something about that too. Because these days, it’s possible to sterilise the space we live in so there’s no germs at all – especially the air we breathe.

It’s done with a Hypersteriliser, a wheelie-bin sized machine that mists up room spaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide. The ionising forces it to spread – and latch on to viruses and bacteria wherever they are – in the air, on a surface, or deep in some crack underneath the furniture.

Forty minutes is all it takes, depending on room size. Then ALL germs are dead, oxidised into shreds by the hydrogen peroxide – which reverts to harmless oxygen and water, then evaporates to nothing. Safe from sepsis, safe from anything.

Of course, it won’t stop an immune system meltdown once it starts. But it can stop one from happening in the first place.

 

 

Originally posted 2015-05-12 12:43:52.

You’re already covered in germs, so why aren’t you sick?

Saisfied girl
If your hands are clean, you’re safe for life!

Germs are everywhere.

Outside you, all over your body.

Inside you too – as much as 6 pounds of them. Smaller than the eye can see, which means billions and billions. Like, more than 60 billion in your mouth alone – more than the number of people on Earth.

Yes, you’re covered in germs – and you’re still walking around, happy as Larry.

Living with danger

First off, your immune system is up and running, keeping you out of trouble. Like a Star Trek force-field, it prevents infections happening before they start.

That cut on your hand, for instance. It bled a bit, so you sucked at it until it stopped. Maybe washed it, but that made it bleed more. So you held a tissue over it before it stopped you doing stuff – and then you forgot about it.

A cut, on your hand. Which you use for everything. Getting goo in it, dirt and crud. Petrol even, from filling the car. Dirty water, clean water, hair gel, raw food. See how your force-field protects you?

And it’s stronger, more effective for all the dirt you used to eat as a kid. All the bacteria types it learnt about and sussed how to handle. The body’s bio-database, keeping you healthy.

The 2% bad guys

Second, not all germs are bad. Only around 2% contain harmful pathogens that can actually do you damage. The rest are either benign, just coasting until they find the REAL host they’re looking for, or even actively beneficial.

It’s not just pro-biotic yoghurt that’s good for you. Down in your gut there’s around 4,000 other bacteria types necessary for digestion. The body did a deal with them millennia ago – now they live inside you in perfect synergy – you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.

Thing is though, 2% of billions and billions is still a lot.

Which means you’re still at hazard if you don’t take care.

Snatch hold of a grab-handle in the Underground and you’re probably OK, even though it’s a high-touch object and certainly has germs on it. Just not the bad guys, most of the time.

Grab hold of a bed-rail visiting somebody in hospital though, and it’s another story. It’s a high-touch object too, but in hospital people are ill. A large number of ill people all in one place. So all that hand-washing they bang on about is to protect you as much as them.

And just because you’re safe most of the time doesn’t mean you should take chances.

Wash, wash, wash

Washing your hands after using the loo is like super-important. It’s impossible to avoid getting yuck on them, especially if you do a No 2.

But you’ve got to wash properly, not waggle your fingers under the tap. Use soap and work it around and through your fingers. Keep at it while you run all of “Happy Birthday” through your head. 90% of us never do this – and then wonder why we come down with norovirus or salmonella or e. coli or whatever.

Use a paper towel to dry off with too. Not a cloth one, even at home. Germs cling onto that big time.

And not one of those air dryers either – you know, the hot-blow squeegees? Just look around, on the walls and floor where they’ve got these things. Drops of water, right? Faecal-contaminated water from somebody’s bum.

So keep your hands to yourself and get out of Dodge, ASAP. You’re in a bad location where the 2% boys hang out – which is why public toilets have the bad rep that they do. They might look spic and span, but all that moisture – germs love it, floating around in the air.

And bad germs from our hands probably cause more illnesses than any other sources put together. We touch ourselves and each other – particularly our faces – and the 2% boys climb in through the soft mucous membranes of our eyes, nose and mouth.

Next thing you know, heave-ho, up-chuck, beebaa siren – and they’re rushing you into an over-crowded A&E.

A Little Bit of Soap

Yup, suddenly you’re another statistic for the punch-drunk NHS – continually reeling from admissions like yours – that could all have been prevented by a Little Bit of Soap, like the Jarmels sang in 1961.

If 95% of us don’t wash our hands properly, how many hospital cases could we prevent if we did? (Tweet this)

Which is why, wherever germs threaten, more and more places are starting to use a Hypersteriliser.

No, it won’t clean your hands – nor will it knock out the billions of good germs already inside your body.

But it will take out ALL germs – including the 2% boys – in any room that’s treated with its super-fine germ-killing hydrogen peroxide plasma mist.

No getting sick, no over-crowded hospital – even though you’re still covered in germs.

Have a nice day!

Originally posted 2015-05-11 12:21:21.

Let’s wash our hands of all our troubles

Uncle Fred in hospital bed
It’s a miracle – clean hands and Uncle Fred is well again

Shocked at the figures?

No, no, not for the election.

The ones from NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) – which shockingly reveal that 1 in 16 people being treated by the NHS picks up an HAI (Hospital Acquired Infection).

Not just dirt, germs

You’re right, that means a landslide vote for better hygiene – specifically better hand washing.

Because while doctors and nurses know hand hygiene is a must, looks like the rest of us don’t have a clue.

Only a quarter of us wash our hands more than three times a day – and more than half of us never wash our hands after going to the toilet.

We just waggle our fingers under the tap and reckon that’s good enough. The great British fudge.

Put a filthy habit like that together with going to visit Uncle Fred in hospital – and no wonder the poor bloke winds up with MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) – a serious nasty that can’t be treated by antibiotics.

Oops.

People get ill

We don’t think of ourselves as filthy people. But more and more the evidence is there that just by washing our hands properly, we could make most of our sicknesses and ailments go away. (Tweet this)

Like 95% of them.

Imagine.

95% of our troubles taken off the NHS – we’d have empty beds all over the place and medical staff actually getting a regular good night’s sleep.

The equivalent of a whole new NHS alongside the one we already have.

That’s, wait for it – an investment worth another £100 billion.

£100 BILLION!

More than £1,500 for every man, woman and child in the country.

Better than the lottery

Just from washing our hands.

One heck of a prize for something so simple.

Fun too, if you treat it like those fantastic folks at Northampton General Hospital.

If that’s where Uncle Fred was admitted, looks like he’s in good hands.

Like we said yesterday, pass the soap.

Originally posted 2015-05-08 13:15:53.