Diddums! It’s toenail panic at A&E

Bare foot
Ow! Really? Unnecessary A&E visits are costing £100 million a year

Sure it hurts.

But it’s not life-threatening, is it?

Not even a major trauma.

More like an aching nag as you go through the day. It even disappears when you’re not thinking about it.

Everyday non-event

Hardly there at all.

Yet you’re one of the 138 people who crowded into your local A&E this morning – and grinding your teeth as the four-hour waiting period winds on and on.

Grrr!

But just look at that crowd.

Desperation stakes, right?

Just trying to keep pace with a mob like that is why the NHS is hiring overflow doctors at £3,200 a shift and nurses at £1,900 a day.

And before you throw a blue fit, the kind of shift these people are in for is twelve hours. Half a day on your feet, snatched moments for a bite to eat, no chance for coffee – and what do you mean, time to go to the loo?

Well how else to solve the overload except throw money at it?

Your money when it comes down to it – it comes off your taxes.

Yes, it’s damn stupid – but just be careful where you point that finger in choosing why this is happening.

Not enough doctors, why?

Too many patients, why?

Bored, selfish, couldn’t care less

Because all this heaving mass of people reckon A&E is where they need to be.

Accident and Emergency – excuse our snigger.

Not crisis handling centres of last resort but first stop for minor worries and social difficulties.

How minor?

A call to the local Doc reveals – Missed Appointments for February:

  • Doctor 217
  • Nurse 56
  • Blood Tests 55

Too busy with Turkish dancing classes. Or Pilates. Or bridge at the Leisure Centre.

T&N, not A&E

Twinges and Niggles, more like.

And failure of everywhere else to take care of the problem.

No sticking plasters in the bathroom cabinet. Too lazy to go to the chemist. Not prepared to wait at the GP’s clinic. So mosey on down to A&E.

It’s the same with all the emergency services.

They’re there to handle real issues – people dying or under bodily threat.

But ask the cops or the fire brigade.

Overwhelmed by trivia or mischief-making nonsense.

How many hoax calls? You won’t believe it.

Like calling 999 for hiccups, or reporting a stolen snowman.

Your local A&E is the same.

And like all the other blue light services, the professionals who operate it cannot take a chance that maybe your problem isn’t serious.

Total waste of time

Your toenail won’t kill, but everybody in A&E gets handled as though it might.

The only people who will listen to you, right?

The only people who give a damn about whether you’re OK, or not OK – because the rest of us are too caught up in ourselves, or too selfish to even lift a finger.

Yes, there are real issues that happen in A&E. Real life-and-death cases, right there, on the spot.

And we are all of us amazingly fortunate that we have such high powered professionals to catch us when we drop.

Which means A&E is not the problem, we are. (Tweet this)

Man up

Fifty years ago, half our aches and pains would not even have been looked at. Not because doctors back then didn’t have the skills, but because nobody considered them significant.

Part of being grown-up. Man up and forget about it was how most people thought. And going to the Doc was only when it was serious.

Now it’s toenails at A&E.

OK, if that’s the way we Brits have decided we want it, we mustn’t whinge if it costs us a bob or two in taxes.

It’s our fault, not A&E’s.

Originally posted on 7 September 2018 @ 12:55 am

Ebola can’t kill love. Nor can Covid-19.

Mother & Daughter
Imagine: all the love in the world and not being able to touch

It’s like being in prison. All your personal freedoms taken away. No contact with anyone – especially those you love.

And being under house arrest, all at the same time.

Because in a drastic bid to stop the spread of this dreadful disease, Ernest Koroma, President of Sierra Leone, has imposed a three-day curfew on all citizens – nobody can leave their home until 6.00 pm next Sunday, March 29.

No doubt about it, this is hell for the people of West Africa.

The end of the world

ANY contact is deadly. No hugs, no kisses, no caresses.

No soothing touch, or reassuring hand hold. No wiping fevered brows, or cleaning away vomit. No handling bloodied clothes or sheets. No physical care of any kind.

Worst of all, no washing the bodies of the dead in time-honoured respect.

Just the slightest touch and the disease transfers.

Inside two weeks, you’ll be dead yourself.

Not just heart-breaking, but beyond comprehension.

Because how can it ever make any sense to a people whose whole life is hands-on – touching and feeling and holding – all the soothing, reassuring gestures that people need when they are down? Or even just being themselves together with others?

Courage and resilience

But West Africans are strong people. Remarkably, they can even laugh at it.

A whole culture has sprung up based on non-contact. The no-touch Ebola handshake – the no-hold Ebola hug – friends just grin and take it in their stride.

Well there has to be something to smile about. The only way to survive this terrible disease is to put a ban on love.

Only love at a distance – caring words, eyes across a room.

Imagine being locked up together with your loved ones for three days and everything physical is forbidden.

And the lock is your own, closed shut to support your country. Voluntarily turning your back on all that life is about.

How many of us could even come close to achieving that for 72 hours – and day after day beyond that if any one of the family is sick?

Yet that is the sacrifice these unfortunate people have to make.

The love doesn’t die, it goes on forever. (Tweet this)

Love is the greatest

But the people die and suffer horribly for showing it. Whoever thought that touch could mean so much?

Which is why special walls display handprints across Liberia, Sierra Leone and everywhere else that Ebola is rife. The mark of survivors who have come through it and pledge themselves to helping others.

Nobody can stop love. But they can find other ways of showing it.

Originally posted on 6 September 2018

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 6 September 2018 @ 12:24 am

Originally posted on 6 September 2018 @ 12:24 am

Is that a virus waiting for you in the waiting room?

Bored waiting
Yep, it’s a virus – and it’s got your name on it

Fancy place the local Doc has got.

Done up all nice in this old Edwardian house.

Six of them in partnership, some on-the-ball practice managers to run it –  even a dispensary, right there on the prem.

Impressive.

Too bad about the waiting rooms though.

Germs in waiting

Ten minutes in the one, and everybody gets norovirus. Walk into the other, and the sneeze hits in seconds.

Not really as bad as that, of course.

But that’s how it seems.

And if you think about it, why are you surprised?

A bunch of people all sitting, waiting – not all with aches and pains.

There’s the splutters and tummy cramps too.

Ten minutes, twenty. How long does it take?

Household hygiene, not good enough

Staring at each other in rows round the walls of this one-time ex-dining room. Carpet on the floor, drapes at the windows, radiator under the window – and that’s your lot.

Easy once-over with the Dyson when they close at 5.00. Wap, wap, with the dustcloth, job done. Exactly like public offices and waiting rooms all up and down the country.

Except there’s still stuff floating in the air. Swirling round when people come in. Settling and swirling, coming down on that old fireplace where they keep the NHS brochures. Attaching to the walls.

A grab-bag of common-or-garden cooking viruses, the usual suspects.

Rhinovirus, because it’s that time of the year. Norovirus, because the posh people in this practice do cruise ships and this year it’s Cancun with those exotic cantinas and the hot enchiladas.

You’re going to get it

A walk-in germ-factory, in other words. And a shock for the Docs that people think so.

But totally inevitable.

And totally fixable.

Because it’s the simplest thing in the world to wheel in a Hypersteriliser after the Dyson. (Tweet this)

Hit the button, shut the door, and 40 minutes later the place is sterile.

Both waiting rooms done before going home for tea.

No viruses, no bacteria – a germ threshold at total zero.

Stop a few coughs and tummy runs, that. Save the Docs time and ease up on dispensary staff too. What’s not to like?

Easy-peasy

All for around a tenner a pop – and the patients wind up among the healthiest in the country.

Worth a bob or two in goodwill, hey?

Can we book you in for next week?

Originally posted on 29 August 2018 @ 8:12 pm

If nobody’s smoking, why are you coughing?

Cigarette woman
Passive germs are just as deadly as passive smoke

Cough, splutter, choke.

No doubt about it. You’ve got someone’s second-hand germs.

Well nobody smokes at work, right?

And nobody smokes at home. You haven’t been near a pub or bar – and nobody you know even thinks about it.

Non-smoker’s cough

So how else have you got this smoker’s-type cough that makes you feel so lousy?

Wakey, wakey.

It’s not just cigarette smoke that hangs in the air. And it’s not just stale tobacco that pongs up the place.

Germs can’t read that “No Smoking” sign – but if they could, they’d be laughing.

Because there’s billions and billions of germs all around us, all the time. Oh yes, there are, don’t kid yourself.

But we don’t think of them, do we? Out of sight, out of mind.

Invisible in the air

You can’t see cigarette smoke either, after the first few seconds. And yes, it’s deadly too – but those other germs you can’t see can bring on sickness and misery ten times worse.

Ten times worse than lung cancer?

Take your pick of cholera, typhoid, Ebola, malaria, yellow fever, or whatever.

Or just plain norovirus if you’re lucky – Delhi belly or equivalent. A few days and you’re over it.

But why are you still taking chances?

So far, you’ve escaped the ills of smoking – the cancer, the asthma, the COPD.

No smoke around you – and people respect the law.

But where’s the sign that says “No Germs”? “No Viruses”. “No Bacteria.” “Pathogens will be prosecuted?”

No wonder people go off sick – none of us are doing anything about it.

It is an offence to spread germs in these premises

We’ve gone all legal and outlawed smoke from enclosed spaces, but we’re still doing nothing about the rest.

Look no further than your own office space. How many of you are working in there -20? 30?

And how’s your office hygiene coping with the germs they bring in every day – on their clothes, on their shoes – carried in with their tummies, or breathed out from puffing up the stairs?

No, that nightly go-round with the vacuum cleaner, emptying the waste bins and quick wipe-down of all the desks isn’t going to crack it. In fact germs thrive on moist surfaces, so they quite possibly multiply.

Hazardous? You bet.

Try Googling it.

Average Desk Harbors 400 Times More Bacteria Than Average Toilet Seat.

Office workers are exposed to more germs from their phones and keyboards than toilet seats, scientists reveal.

Might as well call in sick before you start – you’re going to get it, whether you like it or not.

Well no, because our immune systems are accustomed to this kind of abuse. It’s only when we’re down that things happen to us. We over-work, over-eat,  have an accident, or get depressed.

The second the body goes out of balance, those germs are in there like a flash.

But of course, that’s if your office isn’t booby-trapped already. Sick building syndrome, legionnaire’s disease – they’re both demonstrations of environmental germs at work.

Boom! That’s you gone.

But only if you let it.

Seeing the light

Companies are starting to wise up to lifting hygiene levels at work. And, gasp, even some government departments.

The place gets cleaned every night – and then blitzed with a Hypersteriliser. One hour of exposure to hydrogen peroxide and the germ threshold drops to zero. (Tweet this)

There you go, germs gone, nary an infection anywhere.

No viruses or bacteria of any kind until the staff rock up tomorrow morning. Then they’re back in force, of course – on their clothes, on their shoes, you get the picture.

But at least the desks are sterile and safe to use. The place is neutral. Nothing lingers in the air or the heating system. The coffee machine and biscuit cupboard are free of all hazards – unless you scald yourself on a latte.

So if you’re going to catch a bug, at least it won’t be off your desk or the photocopier. Except Jones from Accounts had better watch herself, coughing all over everyone like that.

Needs a few days off, poor dear. Passive germs are active in the Underground.

Originally posted on 27 August 2018 @ 7:30 pm

The difference between clean and safe

Mum and baby hands
Most of the time, clean just isn’t enough

Chores done. Spic and span.

And the floor looks so good you could eat your breakfast off it.

Really?

Prepared to risk a tummy ache for it?

Beyond appearances

For all you know, that floor could be covered in germs. And how would you know? They’re so small you need a microscope to see them.

OK, soap and water does get rid of a lot of stuff . Dirt certainly, you can see that.

And yes, probably a whole stack of germs.

By making that floor – or anything else – clean, you have basically “sanitised” it.

If before you started there were a million germs to a square inch – harmful pathogens, viruses or bacteria – you have now pulled them down to 100,000, a reduction of 90%.

Assuming of course, that you have cleaned thoroughly – not just slopped with a mop and stopped for a coffee.

Personal hygiene

It’s the same with your hands.

A proper clean with soap and water for at least thirty seconds – or with alcohol gel if there’s no facilities – will get rid of 90% of germs.

Medics and science boffins call this a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 1. If you scrub for five minutes or so, like operating staff do, you get rid of 99% – a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 2.

But there’s a catch. All bacteria have the power to divide and multiply. One cell becomes two, two become four, four become sixteen – etcetera.

And since 10% of them are left, they’ll be at it immediately.

Warm, moist conditions accelerate this. So if whatever you’ve just cleaned isn’t dry, those germs will be racing to replace themselves. That 10% of germs can double in 20 minutes. In less than two hours, they could be back to full strength.

And germs like flu viruses can survive on your skin for 24 hours. Other bacteria can survive for weeks. (Tweet this)

Makes you think twice about the towel you use, doesn’t it? If it’s still damp – and it’s likely to be – the next person who comes along is going to pick up whatever you left. That’s why air blade dryers are so much safer – your hands get dry without leaving anything behind.

Thank goodness.

Because out of all the millions and millions of bacteria that might be around (there always are), it only takes 10 cells of something nasty like e.coli to make you very sick indeed.

This means war

So how about if you deliberately set out to kill germs? Use a disinfectant like Domestos or Dettol?

Depending on the strength and preparation of the stuff you’re using, you’ll reduce germ levels – the number of colony forming units of viruses or bacteria – by anything from 99.9% to 99.999%. That’s a Sterility Assurance Level from Log 3 to Log 5. (Just count the number of 9s).

Pretty good, but not really serious if infection is a problem – like when everyone’s come down with norovirus, or flu is spreading like wildfire.

Going the whole hog is to sterilise everything. To destroy all viruses and bacteria completely. Reduce those million germs you started with down to nothing – all non-pathogenic and pathogenic spores, fungi and viruses.

The science boys shake their heads at that, since it’s not always provable. The best they’re prepared to accept is reducing the million down to one, or 99.9999%. This puts us at a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 6.

Making safe

Safe enough?

For sure. And it’s achievable in as little as twenty minutes by misting up the room with ionised hydrogen peroxide.

Ionising makes hydrogen peroxide particles become supercharged – acting far more powerfully than they would otherwise. They kill on contact without needing to saturate the atmosphere. The dry mist reaches everywhere, sterilising the air as well as all surfaces.

Well you don’t get flu by sniffing the table, do you?

And ionised hydrogen peroxide can be used pretty well anywhere in an enclosed space. You just roll in the electronic robot unit – it’s about the size of a small wheelie-bin – close all the doors and windows, hit the button and leave.

Result, a sterilised room with a germ threshold of zero. Your kid’s classroom, your office, your hotel room – anywhere you might be a risk.

Washed your hands?

You’re off to a good start.

Originally posted on 26 August 2018 @ 6:40 pm

Lonely and scared? Never with ambulance crews

Woman crying
Relax, it’s going to be alright – the ambulance crew are here

When did our world become so cruel?

People don’t care. They’re rude and greedy. Shove you aside to grab for themselves.

A shocking example, set from Westminster on down. You can’t blame the yobs when the toffs are doing it too.

Nobody wants to know any more. Love is dead.

Until you call an ambulance

You might have to wait a while though, these NHS ambulance guys are busy.

So busy, those parliamentary do-gooders are falling over themselves to complain about how long it takes.

They’ve never had to queue, nine deep, to deliver an code-blue emergency to an over-worked A&E. Never faced grid-locked traffic, or Lord Muck in the Roller, refusing to move over for lights and siren.

Or been so hard-pressed and over-stretched that London Ambulance have had to fly in a relief squad of 175 paramedics from Oz.

Yeah, they’ll get to you – in maybe more than the 4 hours officially designated. A wild thumbsuck target set by Westminster wonks who never drive themselves.

But what can you expect when traffic in Central London is only 8.98 mph?

They never learn, do they? That’s the same speed as a horse-drawn carriage in 1830.

Dedication and respect

But at least the ambulance people get to you!

And that’s when you find out – they’re the only people in the whole world who care.

Who treat you with respect and consideration.

There you are, terrified, with a rib sticking through your chest.

Who else in the world is so calm, so soothing, so skilled that every movement puts you at your ease? (Tweet this)

You know you’re in good hands.

Even the Aussie blokes say so – top paramedics, selected from Sydney’s best.

Because London is the busiest ambulance service in the world and that’s why they want to work here. 5,000 calls a day is a challenge they can’t resist – remember Crocodile Dundee?

It’s OK

They’re here to help you. To reassure, to care, to get you towards feeling better.

They’re dedicated and professional too.

But who teaches them that wonderful compassion and the skill to restore confidence, only a few short years out of school? The Aussies, the Kiwis, the Poles – or our own home-grown heroes, right here in the Old Country?

Nobody else in the world can care for you better.

Not even your GP, who’s swamped with patients now out-of-hours work is stopped.

And it’s a terrifying world when you don’t know what’s happened to you.

Especially at 2.00 in the morning, when NHS paramedics are the only people on the planet who are concerned that you’re having a panic attack.

They don’t call it love, but that’s what it is.

Compassion and care for fellow human beings, totally selfless and unreserved.

So the NHS is the biggest waste of money in the UK is it?

Political rethink

Try remembering that when you’ve fallen down the stairs and you think you’re going to die.

The only people who are going to help you are wearing NHS badges – and they’re in the middle of a 12-hour shift.

You slag them off, but they still love you.

Even enough to save you from yourself.

Originally posted on 20 August 2018 @ 3:17 pm

Think nobody cares? How about ambulance crews?

Lizzy Pickup
Paramedic Lizzy Pickup pulled an unconscious mum from a blazing house (with thanks to Gazette Live)

Time to review your belief in saints.

There’s two in your rear-view mirror, coming up fast – Mercedes Sprinter, blue lights flashing.

On a shout for some bloke who fell down the stairs at a stag do. Broken collar-bone, nasty head gash, heavy bruises and unconscious.

Real live care

Or they could be on the way to your place – your wife can’t breathe and she’s having a panic attack.

Real people with professional skills and bucket-loads of a quality no-one else has got. (Tweet this)

Compassion.

The only people in the world who give you time when others turn away.

Well think about it.

Two in the morning, who do you call?

Your Doc doesn’t do call-outs any more. The help-lines don’t understand you – or you can’t understand them. Online stuff is confusing – and you’re getting more worried by the second.

Thank goodness

Then the knock at the door.

Relief, reassurance, confidence.

Solid professionals with an easy feel.

World-class paramedics who know what they’re doing.

Strangers who do more to help you than the rest of the world combined.

Because two in the morning is a very scary place when things go wrong.

You need your Mum. You need your Dad. You need a doctor, medicine, encouragement, help.

And here’s two of them all in green – all these things and more.

Ordinary people like the rest of us. But with a caring feel and commitment  no-one could ever teach – kind-heartedness straight from the soul.

Yes, they’re quick. But they take their time. Rushing a patient creates problems.
You’re panicky, your wife can’t talk – so the first thing they get is garbled, disjointed, and not very accurate.

They do the checks – blood pressure, temperature, breathing. Step One, assess and stabilise.

They put her on oxygen, wrap her in a blanket – why didn’t you think of that?

Steady does it

Will they take her to hospital?

Quiet voices, steady, calming.

Colour in her cheeks now, no more gasping for air.

They take their time, but the clock is ticking. There’s a radio alert, tense, urgent.

Your wife smiles. You know the signs. Time to put the kettle on.

The two saints decline – the blonde girl with the pony tail, younger than your daughter. And the dark one with rosy cheeks.

So grown-up, but just kids – looking after the whole world.

Your wife gets tablets and a shot. More like herself and breathing easy. Back to bed, less distressing than A&E.

The two saints go. Twenty minutes and the world returns to normal.

Back to confidence. Back to being you.

They leave without lights or siren. Another ten hours ahead of them before they’re off shift.

The only people in the whole world who care when nobody else does. (Tweet this)

Harder worked than any of us will ever be. More stretched, more challenged. Yet by some miracle, totally dedicated to looking after you and me.

Think about that next time some wazzock bad-mouths them on TV.

They’ll help him too, if he needs it.

Nice to believe in human goodness again.

Originally posted on 14 August 2018 @ 12:06 pm