No more stowaways – viruses and germs miss the boat

Container ship
Sterilised before departure – another shipload of germs that aren’t coming

You’ll notice it most at the supermarket.

Bananas from Chile, lamb from New Zealand, oranges from Spain, grapes from South Africa – an amazing amount of stuff from overseas.

All shipped in by container, those big 20-foot jobbies you see thundering down the M25. Every day, thousands and thousands of them – stuff to keep us going.

Unwanted passengers too.

Every once in a while there’s a lizard or a tarantula in someone’s shopping. Slightly hazardous to your health.

Unseen passengers too. More dangerous because there’s more of them. Billions and billions of microscopic viruses or bacteria. Often dread diseases waiting for a chance.

But not always.

Most containers get hosed out when they’re unloaded. Gunk and dirt taken out to make sure they’re clean. Good practice, but not good enough. Not these days.

Because germs just love damp places to hide and breed. Especially in warm countries, baked by the sun. In empty containers waiting for a load.

That’s if they get the chance.

More and more shippers choose to sterilise their containers before they’re loaded.

Sometimes with dry ice, sometimes with ozone, some even try super-heated steam.

Most effective is hydrogen peroxide. Sprayed in as a micro-mist finer than water, ionised so it disperses and spreads into every little crevice. In mid-air or on every surface, it finds and clings to harmful pathogens, forcing oxygen atoms at them.

No virus or bacteria can survive being oxidised. Its whole cell structure is ripped to shreds. There’s no smell or odour either – permanently gone.

And to make doubly sure, the hydrogen peroxide is boosted with of colloidal silver, renowned for its germ-killing since the Nineteenth Century. In 40 minutes, that container it totally sterile. Safe and good to go for its journey to your supermarket depot.

Nothing but air and moisture – because when hydrogen peroxide has done its work, it decomposes to oxygen and water. So if there are any unintended passengers – a ladybird on your roses from Kenya – they’re in the boxes from the grower, not anywhere else.

Kind of reassuring isn’t it?

Millions of containers travelling the world for you – and you stay protected.

So when your ship comes in, you know you’re safe.

Originally posted on 24 June 2018 @ 4:09 pm

Super hygiene stops superbugs – non-medical DIY that works

Superhero flying
Super hygiene to the rescue

Anxiety, panic attacks and feeling depressed can all be helped by your doctor. But how about when your doctor gets them?

Sure, there are capsules to be swallow and tablets to take. But that’s treating symptoms, not cause.

Because your doctor’s biggest concern right now is the increasing failure of antibiotics. Or more accurately, the emergence of the all-resistant superbug. If you’re unlucky enough to fall ill, those once reliable medicines are beginning not to work any more.

There’s no panic yet, because health professionals don’t work that way. Most of the hysteria is to sell newspapers. A lot of medicines still work, and doctors soldier on with their life-saving work, the way they have always.

But the clock is ticking. No less a heavy than Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies* points out that developing a new drug and making it safe takes up to twenty years.

Too long, isn’t it? Because people are falling ill now. And not just from diseases. From infections after injury or surgery. From that cut on your leg, shaving in the bath.

Now hold on a minute. Doctors are only treating people who are ill already. Quaint Chinese traditions aside, we can’t ALSO expect them to prevent us getting sick in the first place.

If you’re injured in a road accident, your doctor can patch you up. But it’s the work of local councils, the highways agency, police and the DVLA to keep the roads safe and ensure they don’t happen in the first place. And your own watchfulness, of course.

It’s the same with superbugs. The Doc piles into action if you come down with something. But it’s hygiene laws, sanitation procedures and your own life habits that help you avoid them. A non-medical solution.

Which makes it more a house-keeping issue than a medical one. More like Janitor versus Doctor.

You see, washing and scrubbing is often not enough against superbugs.

We need to up our daily hygiene measures – make them way more effective than they are at the moment.

Washing hands and antibiotics worked fine in the Twentieth Century. To survive in the Twenty-First, we have to do better.

And we can.

Most people don’t know it, but it’s possible to destroy pretty well all viruses and bacteria before they get to us. To sterilise the whole place so there is nothing there to threaten us.

Imagine doing that to schools and crèches. Or hotel rooms and restaurants. Or planes, ships, trains and buses. Or public places, libraries, gyms, theatres – anywhere where people congregate.

You walk in and the whole place is sterile, no germs, no nothing. You’re safe. Or more to the point, your kids are.

That doesn’t mean that little Johnny with a cold is not going to give it to someone. But it does mean there are no lingering pathogens from yesterday or last week. They’ve all been eliminated.

And just for perspective, it’s worth remembering that most viruses can survive for seven days or more – probably their entire life-cycle. Which is why, after a long weekend, an untreated classroom may not be as safe as you think it is.

No, you don’t go at these killers with bleach, scrubbing down counters and floors in a frenzy. Bleach won’t do the job and most microbes are up in the air anyway. 80% of any room is the air space we move around in, with the microbes floating round in their billions.

You got that right. Cleaning countertops, work surfaces and floors is only 20% of the job.

And at just 0.02 microns across – the size of a rhinovirus cell – microorganisms are so light, they’re always in suspension. Waiting to be breathed in or swallowed, or settle on cuts and abrasions – just because they’re in the same place at the same time.

Yes, doctors are worried. But we can do something now.

Most effective is a machine not much bigger than a vacuum cleaner that automatically mists the air in a room with hydrogen peroxide.

Doctors know about hydrogen peroxide – a tried and tested germ-fighter since the Nineteenth Century. The body manufactures it to kill germs internally. But not in quantities enough to kill superbugs.

The “mistifying” machine sprays ionised hydrogen peroxide – finer and lighter than water droplets, able to disperse upwards and outwards – even underneath things that seldom get cleaned.

The stuff destroys pathogens by shoving oxygen atoms at them. Their cell structure is ripped apart and they cannot survive. 45 minutes later, all that’s left is oxygen and the finest film of water.

And a sterilised room, of course – 99,9999% of germs dead, per clinical evaluation tests.

Count on it, as superbugs get smarter, you’re going to see a lot of these machines in the future. You may even have one at home, though they’re a bit on the expensive side at the moment – about the same as a commercial floor cleaning machine.

They’re going to be necessary. Because the bugs don’t just get smarter, they kill better. And it’s you and your loved ones they’re having a go at.

As an effective defence though, hydrogen peroxide works against even the deadliest killers. Keeping you safe by avoidance – more realistic than hoping you’ll get better once you’ve got something.

Think about it. A new level of daily hygiene. A non-medical precaution you can take now.

Not rocket science. Just super hygiene agaist superbugs.

* Note: Professor Dame Sally Davies was England’s Chief Medical Officer from June 2010 to September 2019. As of October 2019, the current Chief Medical Officer is Professor Chris Whitty.

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.

Originally posted on 24 June 2018 @ 4:00 am

Originally posted on 24 June 2018 @ 4:00 am

Hygiene is two thirds of health – so why do we keep dicing with death?

Tightrope
It’s only soap and water, but deadly if we forget it. Photo by Leio McLaren on Unsplash

It’s an old Lebanese proverb, that hygiene is two thirds of health. More accurately, hygiene is the one thing we can all practice that keeps us from death.

The truth of this is everywhere. Look no further than the Great Plague or Black Death – in Fourteenth Century Europe, the greatest health catastrophe ever.

Or how about right now and Covid-19? The “wash hands” defence seems to be working – if not for Coronavirus, then look at sudden decrease in our usual “9-to-5”  ailments. Colds, flu, tummy bugs and the like are pretty well unheard of during this never-ending lockdown.

Poor hygiene, certain death

Bubonic plague, yersinia pestis, was thought to be spread by rats and the fleas that infested them. More recent studies suspect humans themselves, through “ectoparasites”, such as body lice and human fleas. Exposure to any of them – together with the low levels of hygiene that prevailed at that time – and you were lucky not to be a goner.

Because rats were common in Fourteenth Century Europe. So were all manner of diseases and illnesses. Poor hygiene guaranteed it. People crammed in cities on top of each other. Few sewers. Pretty well zero sanitation. Human excrement dumped straight into the streets, then into the rivers that provided drinking water.

Not at all a healthy place to be.

Which is how the Black Death killed 50 million people, 60% of Europe’s population. Three to five days to react to a flea bite. Three to five days breaking out in suppurating buboes – and an 80% chance you would die within hours.

Goodbye cruel world. The end of everything through poor hygiene. Halted only by three days of germ-killing, purifying flames in the Great Fire of London, September 1666.

Halted, but without any advance in hygiene. Still the same lack of sewerage, no access to running water, wearing the same clothes for the whole winter, not even a bath once a year. And all the while, everybody’s body waste and faecal matter was discharged into the Thames.

The Great Stink

So that inevitably, nearly two hundred years after the Great Fire, came the Great Stink.

By that time, London had doubled and quadrupled, then quadrupled again. Newly-laid drains took away the never-ending effluent – increasingly from flushing toilets, the new invention of the age. Flush it away, get rid of the smell, out of sight, out of mind.

Except of course, it still wound up in the Thames. And surprise, surprise, Londoners still weren’t very healthy – the river was still the major source of drinking water.

Exactly how it was before the rats arrived, with cholera from drinking contaminated water back in top spot as the Number One killer. 40,000 died from cholera between 1831 and 1866 – most lethal killer since the Black Death itself – with infant mortality hovering at 50% and children under five not much better.

The summer of 1858 made it even worse. With a once-in-a-century drought and corresponding heatwave –temperatures climbed day after day to 48°C, as hot as North Africa. The Thames shrank to a trickle – and as water levels dropped, exposed more and more layers of faecal matter on the riverbed, baking and fermenting in the summer sun.

The smell, accumulated from hundreds of years of raw sewage, was unbearable.

People avoided the river, now a disgusting brown slurry of poo. The posh and aristocracy moved out of town. MPs abandoned the Houses of Parliament, newly rebuilt after a fire in 1834. But not before passing long-overdue laws for a massive new sewer scheme.

Down the drain

It took twenty years, but thanks to the brilliant engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette – the unique and awe-inspiring Victoria, Albert and Lambeth Embankments were the result, with yawning great sewerage tunnels concealed underneath. All supported by 82 miles of main intercepting sewers, 1,100 miles of street sewers, four pumping stations and two treatment works.

Slowly, the Thames revived, to become one of the cleanest cityscapes in Europe.

The water became safer too – with the discovery by physician Sir John Snow that cholera was spread by polluted water, not airborne. Famously, he persuaded the local authority in Soho, St James Vestry, to remove the handle of the public water pump in Broad Street, identified as the source of the most recent cholera outbreak.

Today London’s drinking water still comes mostly from the Thames, but only after screening, clarification, filtration, aeration, removal of pesticides and organic compounds by Granular Activated Carbon (GAC), ozone dosing, disinfection and ammoniation to ensure its purity.

And in case of another hundred-year drought like the one that brought the Great Stink, London’s water is further supplemented by the reverse osmosis treatment of sea water in a massive new processing plant at Beckton.

All of which keeps us a lot safer than the way we were in Victorian times. So safe that we seldom bother about it. We live in a clean, well-kept environment where the thought of germs is far away, unaware of our lucky escape from the clutches of bubonic plague and cholera.

Both are still around of course. Cholera ready to break out wherever flooding contaminates drinking water. And the plague still lurking in Madagascar, where 2,348 case were confirmed just last November – a mere 13½-hour hop away by Boeing.

Which means a Covid-19 outbreak, or somethjing similar, was probably inevitable.

Out of sight, out of mind

Our thoughts might be far away, but germs aren’t. Viruses, bacteria and fungi are part of our daily life and all around us. We’re even half bacteria ourselves, microorganisms in our gut helping us digest food, create proteins and even manage our immune systems.

So we take chances. Every day dicing with death without even knowing we’re doing it.

We KNOW about germs and how dangerous they are. But because we feel safe, we don’t think about them. So every day we put our lives at risk, as surely as back in Victorian times.

At work we’re careless, heads full of business, too busy to worry about hygiene. Which is why we take no notice that our workplace is teeming with health hazards.

Our personal attitudes aren’t much better. We might have a bath more than once a year, but you’d never think so from the research on our hygiene levels.

Bubonic plague and cholera haven’t gone away, they’re just held back by massive hygiene defence systems.

Even so, from our own behaviour, there’s nothing to stop us from coming down with tummy bugs like norovirus, salmonella, campylobacter and e.coli. Or respiratory illnesses like Aussie flu, MERS, SARS, TB or pneumonia. Any one of which could be the death of us, if modern medicine wasn’t there to catch when we fall.

Makes you think twice about keeping ourselves clean, doesn’t it?

Two thirds of health?

It never feels like it, but forgetting to wash our hands is just as deadly as playing Russian roulette.

May you live long, happy and Covid-19 free.

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.

Originally posted on 9 February 2021 @ 10:29 am

Viruses can’t be deadly if you destroy them first

Kitten hiding
Oh no! Germs are everywhere!

If we believed everything we read, we’d hide under the bed and never come out.

That’s not to deny that things can be pretty ropey. But it sure helps to throw a little common sense at the scares we see.

Like setting Covid-19 aide for a moment, there’s a report that the MERS virus might be airborne instead of transmitted by contact.

That makes it faster and easier to spread. Panicsville.

Well, no. But it’s worth thinking about.

What is MERS? It’s another flu-type bug, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – so far found mostly in Saudi Arabia. A particularly nasty thing to catch because it can kill you.

It’s a serious respiratory illness caused by a type of virus known as a coronavirus (CoV). Yes, from the same stable as the Covid-19 pandemic we have now.

Another flu-virus? Imagine that running round our schools – like SARS and all the other scares we’ve had over the years. Are our kids safe? Should we be worried?

It bears watching, but MERS? No.

In the first place, it seems to have originated through contact with camels, not a regular occurrence on the M25. In the second place, 850 cases sounds bad, but it’s min. Two Boeing-loads. Half an hour’s traffic through the doors at Tesco.

The revelation here is that researchers now think that it may airborne.

At last!

Because if you think about it, ALL viruses and bacteria are airborne. They have to be because of their size. Even the biggest is barely a thousandth the size of a grain of dust. Which means these things are so light they may never settle.

Always in suspension, they’re free to float anywhere and everywhere on the slightest waft of air current. To see this in dynamic suspension, check the eye-opening animation on Cells Alive.

Which means that though infection may be accelerated by human contact – the germs like a nice warm body to make a home in – it may not be spread purely by coughs and sneezes, touching, or exposure to body fluids.

Those pathogens are up there hovering, all the time – and given the right chances, they’ll make something of it. Which explains how a lot of first cases may originate. How else, if there was nobody else around to catch it from?

Sound far-fetched?

Back in the 70s, South African botanist Lyall Watson wrote about spiders discovered in Antarctica during the summer. Not possible because there was no life-support – no trees, no insects, and temperatures that would kill as soon as the sun went. Yet the spiders were there.

Blown by the wind. From South America.

Now if spiders can blow two thousand miles to the southern ice-cap, what kind of bugs might we have floating around us here? In our homes, in our workplace, in our kids’ classrooms at school?

Relax. It’s possible to destroy all viruses and bacteria in the air within about 45 minutes. To sterilise the place utterly.

Your kids’ school might not have it, but there’s a dinky wheelie-bin sized auto-robot that sprays a micro-mist of hydrogen peroxide up into the air, oxidising harmful pathogens to nothing at a sterilisation assurance level of Log 6.

Behind the mumbo-jumbo, that means it kills 99.9999% of germs – ripping them apart by shoving oxygen atoms at them. And that’s both airborne AND on exposed surfaces. Not just on top of, but underneath as well. The bits that don’t get cleaned because they’re out of sight.

So MERS need not be such a worry after all. Except to those poor souls who’ve got it.

To you and me though, it’s another thing to be watchful for. Camels aren’t particularly plentiful where we are. But Covid-19 is. And you can secure the hydrogen peroxide treatment just by picking the phone.

Not a day to stay under the bed. There’s a whole wonderful world out there to enjoy.

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.

Originally posted on 14 May 2018 @ 5:32 pm

Originally posted on 14 May 2018 @ 5:32 pm

The road to healthy business

Luxury coach
Everybody safe, sterilised from germs

Poor Mrs Bremridge.

She took ill on the way back from the matinée at the Royal Theatre. A one-man presentation of Gogol’s Diary of a Madman with James Tibbott – a bit high-brow for her companions but perfect for Molly B. She had quite a career in the West End until Russell swept her off her feet to Kenya.

Billy Young was the coach driver, standing in for Erin because he had the Transit licence and Erin only drove the Scanias – too big deal to handle a load of OAPs.

So it was up to him to do something when Mrs B had her attack.

He didn’t know what it was, but it looked bad, shivering and shaking like she was having a fit. And the moans. It was because she made so much noise that Billy stopped in the first place. Poor old dear looked like she might not make it.

So Billy took no chances. Drove straight to A&E, fighting panic all the way that the others would come down with it too. Some kind of bug, you never knew what it was – and suddenly you’re disabled in a wheelchair with half your gut removed.

Unbelievable, but having a busload of OAPs on their doorstep worked for Mrs B. The triage nurse had her put straight through for treatment without even waiting. Which was how come Billy knew what it was before they left. Malaria apparently – once you had it, attacks kept recurring.

Billy shivered. Not for him. So when he dropped the lot of them at the Civic Centre, he got the bus back to the yard and scrubbed it down with the first things he could find – washing up liquid and bleach from under the sink.

It got to him at home too. Poor Mrs Bremridge, shaking so violently. It spooked him bad and that was no lie. It set him thinking too. Maybe bleach wasn’t enough. What if he caught it, exposed to it all the time because it kept lurking in his bus?

Panic sent him to the Internet – where he found it. An aerosol bomb that misted up enclosed spaces with ammonium chloride. Killed all germs by oxidising them, it said on the label, knocked them down in mid-air. Shut the windows, put the thing in the middle of the floor, hit the button.

It sure misted up the place, a white haze that ghosted the whole of the inside. Trouble was, his Dad caught him at it – it was his company after all. Gave him an earful about filling a perfectly good bus with white smoke.

He calmed down when Billy explained though. Two pints of Best Bitter it took before the Old Man got it. Another two and he reckoned Billy was a genius.  Sterilise the vehicle was what the stuff did, made it safe from germs for everyone who stepped aboard. A business advantage, they’d be rich.

And how many times had Billy himself had to hop over to Germany or the Czech Republic because one of their other drivers had caught a bug from one of the passengers? A whole coach-load marooned in a hotel that they had to pay for, and then argue about with the insurance company.

They bought a job lot of aerosols after that. Enough for their whole fleet to carry every day they were away from home – Billy’s Dad, Len, Erin, Billy himself and Fagin – thirty-five bombs a week minimum.

Their accountant complained of course, but it was worth every penny being able to guarantee that every trip was sterilised. And business went boom, boom!

Then the Old Man got smart. Found a machine that worked cheaper and did the job automatically. Misted up all their buses every night in the yard – with hydrogen peroxide mist which was way more potent. And what the heck, they had to clean the buses anyway, so pushing a button was no effort.

Stopped a lot of people getting ill Billy reckoned. Him and the other drivers for a start. They didn’t seem to come down with the sniffles any more, at least not as much. Of course they still had people throw up on the road, school-kids with motion sickness or whatever.

But thanks to Mrs Bremridge, it was never anything serious. They had sterilised coaches now, the best service on the road. Let those posh London companies chew on that.

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.

Originally posted on 14 May 2018 @ 5:32 pm

Originally posted on 14 May 2018 @ 5:32 pm