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.


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.

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.


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.

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


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?



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.

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.


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.

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.



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!

Now gut-ache is ready everywhere: the don’t-wash-hands disease

Girl with hands out
They might look clean, yes – but unless you actually wash them…

Look clean, do they?

OK if you’ve just washed them.

Except most people don’t – especially after going to the loo.


They’re in denial about it too.

The dirty hands brigade

Fact: though 99% of people claim to wash their hands, reality is that only 32% of men and 64% of women actually do.

There’s poo on there. Wee too.

So which illness would you like to catch, or pass on?

Choose from norovirus, respiratory illnesses, chicken pox, meningitis, or Group A and B streptococcal infections for starters.

Or how about methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), clostridium difficile (c diff), vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE), escherichia coli (e. coli), pseudomonas or hepatitis A?

Almost all come complete with nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach cramps and severe dehydration. Complications are also available, particularly if you have an existing underlying condition. Death too, is definitely an option.

Basic lack of hygiene

For goodness sake, WHAT IS WRONG WITH US!

It’s not as if washing our hands is so difficult.

Are we forgetful, or just plain deliberately obstinate?

Surely we can’t WANT to be sick?

But it seems like we do.

We know the risks, we know it’s unpleasant – yet we still keep avoiding a basic daily discipline.

That’s it, of course, isn’t it?


Nobody’s going to tell us what to do. We’re not children any more.

Or are we?

Didn’t our mothers teach us basic hygiene?

Show and tell

Why is it necessary for posters to be put up in toilets and bathrooms about how to wash our hands?

Our even how to use a paper towel.

Have we never done it before?

Certainly if 95% of us don’t ever do it properly, it sure looks that way.

And there’s 95% of our sickness and ailments, right there.

The Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease.

A very serious condition for which there is no treatment.

Except maybe, a smack on the head.


Not even a Hypersteriliser can compensate for it.

As quickly as you sterilise a room, some careless unthinking ego-tripper blunders in, wiping their paws all over tables and chairs and door handles and stuff. All the objects other people touch.

And bingo! Suddenly everybody is up-chucking and holding their bellies. Claiming there’s something in the room that gave them an infection.

Yes, there is.

It’s called carelessness.

And now that more and more antibiotics are not working any more – compensating for our over-use because we don’t wash our hands – we deserve all we get.

Wash your hands, or die – is the way we are going. (Tweet this)

We’re not there yet, but we’re getting very close. By the time our kids have grown up, maybe it will be inevitable. A social responsibility we can never wash our hands of – if we want to survive.

Pass the soap, please.

Why wipe-clean won’t wipe out killer germs

Professional cleaners
A world of difference between clean and safe

Powerful stuff, chlorine bleach.

Strong enough to blow the top of your head off.

“Kills all known germs dead,” as the famous Domestos claim said.

And it does.

If you use it properly.

Take that, horrible germ

Except none of us do.

Because there’s one heck of a difference between cleaning and disinfecting. (Tweet this)

Most of us bung some bleach in a bucket of water with some detergent, grab a cloth and wipe away at everything we see that looks dirty.

Everything we SEE.

But you can’t see germs. They’re too small.

Something like salmonella or campylobacter – easily present in uncooked meat, particularly chicken – are only around 5 microns across. Small enough to fall THROUGH an unglazed earthenware plate.

Both are likely to be found on your chopping boards or kitchen counters – spread around all over the place in any drops of water from washing food  beforehand.

Uh, huh. So doesn’t the Domestos or kitchen surface cleaner get rid of them?

Depends on how you use it.

Wipe clean is not enough

If like most of us, you spray and then wipe, getting rid of all the dirty marks – probably not.

Because strong though the germ-killers you are using might be, they need TIME to work.

Usually 2 minutes or more – what the manufacturers call “dwell” time. And if you’ve already diluted your bleach before you start, you should allow even more – a weaker solution needs longer.

Ah, but we don’t do that most of the time do we?

Bleach is pretty potent, we know it attacks all kinds of surfaces if we leave it. So we tend to wipe it on, then dry it off quick with a paper towel.

Not good, Jim.

The stuff needs time to work, plus it ought to be sluiced off. You don’t want traces of bleach getting on to the food that you’re preparing. You could make your whole household very ill.

Also, if you think about it – your wiping cloth gets less potent the more you use it.

Whoops. That can actually make things worse.

Germ spreaders

Not enough time to kill the germs. And actually TRANSFERRING germs to other surfaces.

Pretty bad, hey?

Now imagine the same in a school or restaurant kitchen – professional catering setups serving to hundreds of people. Get salmonella or campylobacter running loose in that lot and you’ve got big problems.

And those are just two of the viruses or bacteria nasties that could be lurking there. There are billions more possible.

Not just on the counter tops or chopping boards either.

In the cracks between the counter and the splashback. Down the front of cupboards and storage lockers. In the gaps between the cookers and the fridges. In and around the edges of things. Under the sink and table surfaces. On the walls, on the floors. The ceiling too.

Oh yeah, and in the air too. Where most of them are. Around 80% of the room space. Where your wiping cloth won’t reach.

Hungry pathogens, hanging around everywhere.

If there’s food around, bacteria will go for it. Not as nice as a warm human body, but stick around, somebody might get careless. There’s plenty to eat in a missed grease spot or gravy spill. So it’s only a matter of time.

Which is how – even in kitchen of the best restaurant in the world – germs can breed and multiply, eventually triggering multiple infections with everyone wondering why.

Safe, secure, sterile

Far better to treat cleaning and disinfecting as separate jobs – and doing both properly.

Cleaning, by eye as usual, is good enough to start.

Followed up by disinfecting every single surface and the air itself. Or even better, sterilising everything.

Impossible, right? It would take an age to wipe all those surfaces, if you could get to them all.

But that’s exactly what a Hypersteriliser does.

Without touching anything – no transfer from one place to another – it mists up an ionised cloud of hydrogen peroxide that spreads everywhere throughout a room and oxidises “all germs dead” in around 40 minutes.

Safer than bleach? You bet, your own body produces hydrogen peroxide to kill infection whenever you get a cut or skin puncture. Oh, and when it’s done killing germs, it reverts back to harmless oxygen and water.

Just get out of the room while it’s working, it can make your eyes and throat a little uncomfortable.

Spreads everywhere?

Forced diffusion

More like a power dispersal.

Because it’s not just hydrogen peroxide mist. Ionising it turns it into a plasma, a kind of super-gas.

In the nozzle of the Hypersteriliser machine, ultra-fine molecules of hydrogen peroxide are charged by high voltage electricity. Each with the same negative charge, they are naturally – and aggressively – repelled from each other. Remember magnets at school?

Spreading as far away as they can get, they fill the room quickly, forcing themselves hard up against everything they touch – and underneath, on top, behind – everywhere they can get. Deep into cracks and crevices too – actively trying to escape from each other.

Bad news for cells of viruses and bacteria, lurking on surfaces or floating in the air. Remember magnets again?

With an opposite positive charge, the hydrogen peroxide molecules are violently attracted to them. They reach out and grab hold, welding themselves together – which causes extra oxygen atoms to be released, ripping into the viruses’ and bacteria’s DNA, destroying their cell structure, making them dead.

Effortless, easy

And all without lifting a finger.

No grunt work, scrubbing and wiping. No overpowering smells. No germs anywhere.

The whole place is sterile.

So now you know wipe-down doesn’t always work, how long are you going to keep doing it the old way?


Good germs, bad germs – we need both to survive

Before-after girl's face
Don’t worry, everything’s OK –
just as long as we keep the balance

This whole page exists because we have a problem with bacteria.

More correctly, we have a problem with hygiene.

If it wasn’t for bacteria we wouldn’t exist – and most bacteria are benign anyway.

Yes, bacteria are dangerous. Yes, they can kill.

Most of the time we co-exist in balance – and maintaining that equilibrium is what keeps us healthy.

Bacteria prejudice

Because we’re psyched to believe all bacteria are bad, it’s creepy to be reminded that they’re crawling all over us – inside and out. We wouldn’t last long however, if they weren’t there.

Our whole digestive system depends on them to extract nutrition from food. One of our key needs is nitrogen, which our bodies are totally unequipped to process. Which is why a bunch of bacteria sits in our gut, munching through nitrogen sources to power us up.

So how about the bad buys?

Time to stand our preconceived thinking on its head.

Our whole existence works on the synergy our bodies have with bacteria – a tit-for-tat relationship that most of the time works just fine. But there are billions and billions of bacteria types – and not all of them work best with humans. The soil might be better, or some kind of tree.

Right and wrong

And that’s when things go pear-shaped. They can’t co-exist because they’re in the wrong place. Wrong reactions happen, things get out of kilter and the body suffers – the bacteria start eating or changing the wrong things and some kind of infection usually results.

In the wrong place? Get rid of it – which is what antibiotics are for.

And since we don’t have any mechanism for encouraging these bacteria to leave peacefully, the only thing we know how to do is kill them. Wrong bacteria out of the way, we start getting better – or more appropriately, we return to balance – over the worst, we’re convalescing.

But killing those wrong bacteria can be brutal, with punishing results for our bodies. One well-known side-effect of antibiotics is diarrhoea. Way out of balance, we get the squitters, which the body voids as harmful waste – including the wrong bacteria. Like norovirus, say – or even nastier – gastroenteritis.

Not nice, being ill

Yes, it happens to all of us at some time – and we know it takes time to come back. The body has to repair the damage before the good guys can get to work. The collywobbles settle down and we’re back to normal.

Or take the other bad guys of the moment, MRSA – methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus to be exact. At any one time, staph bacteria is all over our skin – its function, to keep OTHER harmful intruders out. OK José, everything fine.

But get a cut that lets it into the wrong place and boom! – the body has a problem that the Doc has no medicine to fix. Why? Because with overuse of antibiotics for every little thing for the last 50 years, certain bacteria have learned how to resist them. The price of antibiotics-abuse.

Outside our bodies, of course, is another world. Some environments are safe, others have hazards – wrong bacteria, unable to find the right host, so they choose you and throw your balance out.

Again, we don’t have the mechanism to politely tell these bacteria to go away. We only know how to kill them. And experience has shown us that if we don’t get rid of all of them, they still keep coming. So we hit them with whatever – bleach usually – sodium hypochlorite, formaldehyde, whatever might work.

Brutal tactics

Trouble is, we have to spread it everywhere in our surroundings to clobber them all – good, bad together, we’ve no way of telling the difference. Just so long as we don’t affect anything INSIDE our bodies.

Brutal yes, but this is war – germ war. And we have to protect the bacteria inside us that help us live.

Kinder to practice better hygiene. To wash our hands every time we do stuff that lets the wrong bacteria get to us. But not just for five seconds. Properly, to make sure they all get away – about as long as it takes to sing “Row, row, row your boat” in your head.

After all, we’re all in this together.