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

Fat, forty and fed-up with it? The food “Mickey Finns” that push us to obesity

Sad and Overweight 2
Our overweight future – thanks to antibiotic fat pills -“Mickey Finns”. Picture: poznyakov / 123RF Stock Photo (First published – 6 January 2017)

One Big Mac won’t make you fat. But you can OD on them. Pushed by “Mickey Finns” that make your body always hungry.

You scoff and scoff like it’s going out of fashion. Too many calories – boom, you’re a porker.

Except it usually happens slower than that. And there’s not a hell of a lot you can do about it.

Chubby in childhood, the pounds keep piling on. Until one day, hello forty and size 16.

It’s the Mickey Finns, see?

Invisible fat pills

None of us realise we’re taking them. They’re slipped so quietly into every meal, not even doctors realise we’re on them. Every mouthful, another little dose. An unseen diet of the most efficient growth promoters on Earth.

Make no error – these are fat boosters, Big Time. Specially chosen because they bulk up bodies fast.

One, by triggering hunger pangs all the time. Two, by never letting the body decide when to stop. And three, by making the body absorb more nutrition than it’s meant to. Nowhere to go, so all that energy is stored as fat.

Nah, we’re talking rubbish, right? Nobody in their right mind would drip-feed growth boosters to the world at large. That would trigger an obesity epidemic.

Quiet please, epidemic in progress

Uh huh.

So would somebody please explain why two thirds of all adults are already seriously overweight or obese? And why one third of our kids are too?

Kinda looks like an epidemic, doesn’t it? Even our Chief Medical Officer* Dame Sally Davies, says so – though she attributes it to sugar.

Sugar as a growth booster?

If it was, there’d be farmers shovelling it into livestock as fast as they could. All those mouths to feed, see? 2½ billion of us worldwide fifty years ago – 7½ billion of us now. And all farmed off the same land area, because the planet hasn’t got any bigger in that time.

But farmers aren’t shovelling sugar, are they? It never even occurs to them.

Tell you what they are shovelling though.

Wholesale growth boosters

Antibiotics – 240,000 tonnes of them worldwide.

Which if we’ve done our maths right, works out to around 10 grams each for every one of the 19 billion chickens, 1.4 billion cattle, 1 billion pigs and 1 billion sheep that currently are required to feed us.

And guess what?

Using antibiotics to boost growth at volumes like that started back in the 70s.

Back when factory farms first took off Big Time. Or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) as the industry calls them. Where antibiotics aren’t just used as growth boosters, they’re vital to keeping animals alive in super-crowded and unhygienic living conditions.

Big money though. From egg to roasting chicken in six weeks. From new born calf to Aberdeen Angus steak in 14 months. Jackpot!

Rise of Mickey Finns

70s, huh? When our current fat 40-year-olds were a twinkle in their parents’ eye.

Back when baby illnesses started regularly getting treated by antibiotics. And when doctors first noticed that antibiotics given at two years old almost guaranteed overweight youngsters by five. Even worse, when teenagers were prescribed antibiotics so often, they’d had them 17 times before they reached 20.

But how about all those animals chomping antibiotics?

Like everything else they eat, most of them get pooed out. 80% in fact, manure to enrich soil and fertilise plant crops. So it’s not just animals ingesting antibiotics, it’s plants too – fruit, cereals, grain crops, vegetables, you name it.

Animal feed crops too. So even though they get pulled off antibiotics before they’re sent to market, those animals are still noshing antibiotics with every meal. Right there in their feedstuff. Mickey Finns for animals.

Which means just about every food type in our supermarkets has antibiotic residues in it. Drip-drip growth boosters, the same as the animals get. And just like them, we’re fattening up too.

But there’s a difference.

The Mickey Finn price tag

Animal lives are short, once they’re fat they get eaten.

Humans are there for the obesity long haul. For the overweight conditions that challenge muscles, joints and breathing. For the type 2 diabetes. For the asthma, cancer and heart disease. All the joys that long term obesity brings.

Mickey Finns. And we thought they were Lifesavers.

Meanwhile all our heavyweight medics are running around, worrying about antibiotic resistance. Who cares if the drugs don’t work, they’re going to kill us anyway.

So how long before the penny drops and we dump them altogether?

* 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.

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.

Reference links checked and working at time of posting. However, some URLs may be taken down or re-sited later. If your link goes nowhere or you get an Error 404 message, please accept our apologies.

Originally posted on 14 May 2018 @ 5:32 pm

Our pandemic time warp: now “normal” is gone, most probably for good

The future is already here – and it’s nothing like we expected. Photo by Sasha • Stories on Unsplash

For a tiny little germ, coronavirus is getting blamed for a lot of things. Job losses, the economy going south, the end of the office job, the collapse of the hospitality sector, the meltdown of the airline industry, just to think of a few.

Yet if we’re honest about it, a lot of these were going to happen anyway. Coronavirus just speeded them up. Telescoped a few decades of inevitable change into an almost overnight revolution.

Not caused by the germ itself of course, but by straight economics. Whenever it’s money at stake, things change regardless how calmitous the difference.

The way we were

Take the office job. Even before the Internet, computer savvy execs were already working from home, frisbee transferring work from office to residence by floppy disk – and that was forty years ago.

“Flexible” working has been a thing for at least the last ten years. And now WFH has shown win-win cost savings, the whole office culture has gone for a ball of chalk.

Employees score better work-life balance, more family time, zero commuting costs, affordable lunches and the end of alarm clock tyranny. Employers gain massively on office rental, improved staff morale, higher productivity and overall commitment.

Right there is a revolution as far-reaching as any we’ve felt before – and driven by the same unbeatable force. Money.

Money talks

For instance, forget the politics, coal mining became too costly, imported natural gas was far cheaper. Same thing with ship building and car making, doing it here was too expensive. Textiles too. Remember how Manchester led the world? These days, designer T-shirts come from China or Bangladesh.

Yeah, so we became a service-business country, everything done on computer. Lockdown no problem, keep calm and carry on from the dining room table.

Except for support businesses – and the inconvenient fact that we’ve become an indulgent society. We like eating out, going to movies, chilling out in the pub – and best of all, at least once a year’s blue sky holiday.

All of which has now gone pear-shaped. Coffee shops can’t survive, ditto sandwich bars. Designer clothes get a miss when day-to-day at home is so easy in tracky bottoms. And climbing on an aeroplane? With furloughs and redundancies, who can afford that?

But here’s a thing. Remember money is the driver.

World competition

So how long will it be before bosses realise that Doreen Smith from Ealing is a good deal, working from home like she is. But how about Pamela Chen in Singapore? Half the salary, AND two qualifications in book-keeping.

And here is where the future starts now. Realising we have to up our game. Just hanging on to everyday means we’ve got to be competitive.

Except we’re not when you look at the money.

Take your pick from India, China, South Korea or almost anywhere – they’re all cheaper. And throw in the work ethic, twice as keen to work overtime or go the extra mile. No contest.

All which says we have to be more careful with the money we have. Because how secure are we?

Being careful

Which, think about it, will make us more frugal about going out – even though we want to – assuming we ever get out of lockdown. More careful about spending on nice-to-haves. Staying home and watching the pennies.

So cut back on the dining out. Climbing on an aeroplane becomes a dream. And these days, even business trips happen on Zoom.

Coronavirus has stampeded the change. And until we get better than the rest of the world for the same price, or come up with a new must-have entirely – like robotics, or AI , or extracting power from hydrogen – “normal” will just be something we can dream about.

All from one tiny little germ.

But there are wins

Coronavirus has brought us plusses though.

With all the emphasis on washing hands, we’re not getting sick from other germs that used to make life miserable. With better hygiene, tummy bugs like norovirus, salmonella and campylobacter have dwindled to nothing. And how few of us are getting common colds or flu?

Best of all though – we may not like it, but it’s happening – we’re getting used to adversity. Tougher at handling things. Getting good at meeting problems and rising above them. Becoming more resilient, resourceful and downright determined.

Never thought we’d say it, but “thank you” coronavirus.

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.

Norovirus: how to stop repeat outbreaks before they start

Norovirus misery
Being sick is bad enough, even worse with a norovirus repeat, over and over again. Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

Norovirus, ugh! Not only does it feel like the end of the world – seems nothing can stop the dreaded repeat outbreak.

Repeat, repeat and repeat – it boomerangs back and back again. Highly contagious, seriously pernicious – despite the most meticulous deep clean procedures.

Which either means it really IS impossible to beat. Or whatever we’re doing to stop it simply isn’t good enough.

Harsh truth when a thorough job usually involves ripping the place apart. Head-blowing bleach stink with hard scrubbing everywhere for hours – and STILL the bug comes back again.

Know your enemy

Yes, but norovirus is no ordinary stomach bug. It’s the ultimate survivor.

For a start, it only takes ten microscopic particles of the virus to start an infection. Compare that with flu, at maybe between ten and forty times that – and you’re looking at a much more vicious enemy.

Vicious is right.

It’s also why norovirus is so violent – crippling cramps, projectile vomiting and explosive diarrhoea.

Exactly right to spread itself as far and wide as possible – the widest opportunity to start new infections with any newcomers who unsuspectingly chance along.

Plus of course, it might only infect on contact – but it DISPERSES through the air.

Well sure, each particle is barely 2 microns across – light enough to ride the air currents in any room for hours or days. Breathe in just ten of them through your mouth, swallow – and chances are you’ll be hanging onto the loo in utter misery, just 12 hours from now.

And those horrid upchucks?

Yes gruesome, but think of how far they reach and spread.

Across the impact area on the furniture and floor, obviously. Exactly the right place to move in with mop and bucket. But how about underneath? Or behind?

And those are just the big gobs of stuff.

How about the individual particles swirling around – settling everywhere or still riding the breeze? Reach those with sponge or squeegee too?

Wipe down the surfaces, yes – but how about in the coils of power cables, or down the back of electronic equipment? How about the sheets of paper lying on the nearest table – the first thing to be removed by unthinking hands?

The floors get scrubbed. The walls too. Every surface is rubbed down within an inch of its life.

But seldom underneath. And seldom in those hard-to-reach places that nobody thinks about. Cracks, crevices – tiny places where a 2 micron particle might survive for weeks on end.

Which means deep clean or not – the infection never went away in the first place.

Start using the room again, and those norovirus particles are only too ready to come out and do their thing. Not gone. And certainly not forgotten. Repeat, repeat and repeat.

Not good enough

And anyhow, how effective is the stuff we’re using?

That bleach solution might be strong enough to rip your head off, but how does it stack up against a survivor like norovirus? A wipe with even a concentrated solution won’t crack it – to kill norovirus, bleach has to be in continuous contact for at least TWENTY minutes.

So even though a surface is treated, it still might not be safe.

Same thing with steam.

You can give yourself a nasty burn if your not careful. But to kill norovirus, even that kind of heat takes TWO minutes of constant contact or more to do the job. Like bacteria, viruses can survive in the frozen Antarctic, or live happily in a seething volcano. What’s a little steam bath, now and then?

And how are you applying it? With a waving hosepipe?

Well, yes. Because if you did apply superhot steam to everything continuously for two minutes, it would be sodden through and probably useless – shorted out or fused, if it’s anything electric.

And have you seen what bleach does to surfaces with prolonged contact? Shrivelled up or corroded very quickly.

Which puts us where? Hours of work down the drain and the bug still present. Repeat, repeat and repeat.

We think we’re safe, but norovirus is just biding its time. Ready for its repeat performance, just when you thought it was safe.

Money, money, money – not just health

Don’t worry, we’re not the only ones. How about an expensive investment like a cruise ship? Hundreds of passengers, sick and ready to sue.

Thousands down the drain and STILL norovirus comes back – like Fred Olsen Line’s Balmoral, struck down SIX times since 2009.

Or Holland America Line’s Caribbean cruise liner Amsterdam – having to cancel four trips in succession because of repeat outbreaks in 1982.   It got so bad, the ship had to be taken out of service to ensure thorough decontamination – and new passengers were even warned before embarking that the ship had previously had problems it couldn’t get rid of.

All of which says, if you want to get rid of norovirus, there’s no pussy-footing around.

Conventional cleaning just won’t work. And that’s all it is anyway – cleaning.

It’s not actually sterilising – making germs dead, so they can’t infect anything.

Repeat, repeat and repeat

The job’s not done and norovirus is still lurking.

OK, so get unconventional.

Think killing germs, not just cleaning.

Especially getting to the airborne stuff that never gets treated anyway. Yet 80% of pretty well every room we live in is nothing else!

You can throw technology at it, like ultraviolet radiation – that will at least do something.

But there’s a downside to that too. Light can’t go round corners, unless you have lots of mirrors. So blitzing a room with UV means either a lot of exposures in different positions – or manhandling great unwieldy pieces of shiny metal (glass would break).

Oh and yes – a variation on the contact time. The potency of UV as a germ-killer falls off rapidly with distance from the light source. Unless everything’s within about ten feet, those pesky norovirus particles won’t be cashing in their chips just yet.

Which leaves fogging.

Like the insect control people do when they fumigate a house – pump a load of germ-killer into the air and let it swirl around. The usual choice is hydrogen peroxide, an effective germ killer and less toxic than most alternatives.

But also fraught with a few problems.

Just getting it into the air doesn’t make it reach behind, underneath or on top of things. There’s nothing to push it into cracks or crevices either.

It will kill the germs alright, norovirus included. But without effective dispersal to reach everywhere, there’s still nothing to prevent repeat outbreaks.

And just consider fogging the place up with a vapour. Lots of moisture to play havoc with sensitive equipment and paper. Enough that a second machine is necessary alongside the fogging one – to dry everything out after the vapour has done its work.

Plus there’s the old question of contact time. As a vapour the stuff is heavier than air, so doesn’t stay airborne long.

To compensate, a strong solution is necessary – 32%, about the maximum permissible without being totally toxic. Yes it kills, but it’s also pretty corrosive – not good on plastics or sensitive surfaces – and certainly not good for computers.

So what, repeat norovirus outbreaks are inevitable – even with technology?

The RIGHT technology

Depends on the technology.

Because it IS possible to mist up the place with a safe solution of just 6% hydrogen peroxide. And have it spread everywhere by ionising it – so it tries to escape from itself, yet reaches out and clamps hold of germs as it does so.

Contact time is less than 2 minutes – because ionising changes the stuff into a plasma, which multiplies its oxidising power several times over. Forty minutes tops, and the whole place is sterile – no germs anywhere, not even norovirus – repeat or no repeat.

OK, yes, this a blatant plug. But if you’re as sick of one norovirus repeat after another as we are, you’ll be glad to know there’s a system that works.

And not just on norovirus either – on everything.

Your way of giving germs the same dirty treatment they give you.

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.

Reference links checked and working at time of posting.  However, some URLs may be taken down or re-sited later. If your link goes nowhere or you get an Error 404 message, please accept our apologies.

Originally posted on 3 April 2018 @ 8:04 am

The real inside story on our unstoppable obesity

Peephole - unstoppable obesity is coming
However you look at it, unless something amazing happens, our obesity epidemic is unstoppable. Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash

Unstoppable and accelerating every day. Obesity already traps two thirds of us in its coils of fat  – and one third of our kids.

Health watchdogs are in a tizz. We’re irresponsible, can’t manage our ravenous appetites. Food producers should be penalised – forced to make portions smaller, with lower food values. And we ourselves, culprits that we are – we should be controlled, limited to what we should eat.

PHE’s new numbers game

400, 600, 600 the new mantra goes. The number of calories we should be “allowed” for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Plus, on top of that, food producers must reduce the calories in foods eaten by families by at least 20% by 2024.

Otherwise – smack-handy, naughty – Public Health England will send us to bed without any supper for the next 50 years.

Spotted the mistake yet? That PHE maybe haven’t thought this through?

All punitive, isn’t it? Dire consequences if we don’t conform.

Yet not a dicky bird about why we’re obese in the first place. Why there’s so many of us – two thirds of adults makes it an epidemic. And why, despite all PHE’s magic numbers, the continuing onslaught of obesity is so relentless and unstoppable.

Jail for fatties

Consider for a start, how the 400, 600, 600 rule might be enforced.

Note the implications – “rule” and “enforced”.

Do PHE think we’re all obese from choice – that we LIKE to go through life looking like a lump of lard?  And what are they going to do – arrest us for being fat?

It’s all our fault, of course. The sedentary lifestyle, pigging out on junk food, never any exercise except for what we lift to our mouths.

Easy to play the blame-game when you’re publicly funded and don’t have to answer for anything – or even produce results. Protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities?

Excuse us, but people have to eat. It’s how their metabolisms work. So how does our new one-size-fits-all 400, 600, 600 rule contribute to our health and wellbeing when our whole equilibrium is balanced to working higher?

Does PHE intend we should impair our capabilities and continue through life as less than we are? Not so fat, but not so smart either. Impaired in the brain department – with no chance ever against the world’s whizz kids of Singapore, Japan and South Korea?

The blame game

Yeah, the blame-game. But we can all play that too.

Because we never used to be so fat, so why are we now?

Twenty years ago obesity was not the unstoppable monster it is now, so what’s different?

And if protecting the nation’s health and wellbeing is so paramount, HOW DID PUBLIC HEALTH ENGLAND LET US GET THIS WAY?

One finger pointing, three fingers pointing back.

Because PHE well knows that the world’s most effective FATTENING RESOURCE is antibiotics. Just a small dose every day promotes growth in food animals by 5%, 10% and more.

It’s why they’re so up in arms about it too. With 240,000 tones of antibiotics shovelled into cattle, pigs, sheep and poultry every year, drug-resistant superbugs are developing so fast, modern medicine could fail completely within five years. No more infection control – back to the Dark Ages.

Oh sure, sure.

It’s precisely because of superbug resistance that antibiotics were banned as growth promoters in the EU from 2006 and in the US from 2017.

PHE in the poo

Except world use of antibiotics in agriculture isn’t coming down, it’s continuing to explode. Because since 50 years ago, food production has had to increase five times over, just to keep up with population growth – from 1½ billion then, to 7½ billion today.

Which makes intensive factory farm methods almost essential to provide enough food – the 19 billion chickens, 1.4 billion cattle, 1 billion sheep and 1 billion pigs that the world consumes annually.

Animals living on top of each other – unsanitary, easily susceptible to all kinds of infections – and in dire need of regular antibiotics, just to stay alive. Which of course, for therapeutic reasons, they are allowed – in both the EU and US.

No growth promoters – but the animals get their fattening-up pills anyway.

And that puts PHE right in the poo.

You see, food animals might be fed all kinds of enriched feedstuffs to make them plump and juicy fast – but it’s a fact of life they don’t absorb all the nutrients they eat. Far from it. Beef cattle for instance excrete 80% to 90% of the nutrients they consume.

Not just nutrients either. It’s everything else their bodies need to get rid of, macro- and micro-minerals, physiological active compounds such as natural and exogenous hormones – and of course, antibiotic residues.

The manure that PHE is mired in.

Highly fertile, animal manure is used across the board to enrich forage which the animals munch right back in again. Plus of course cereal grains, vegetables, fruit and all types of plant crop – directly applied, or absorbed through the soil from manure-laden water seepage, right down to the water table and the streams it feeds.

More antibiotics in – more fatteners included in the foods we eat. Meat, veg, fruit – you name it, chances are it’s got antibiotic residues in it – the world’s most successful growth promoters.

Back in the day

And let’s see now, the first fast-processing American-style broilerhouse for chickens was opened at Aldershot in 1959. By 1990, a quarter of all meat eaten in Britain was poultry.

On top of this, government  campaigns – that means PHE or its predecessor – urged people to eat less red meat, pushing chicken to No 1 on British dinner tables and triggering a 26% rise of intensive farming, particularly in the last six years.

More factory farms, more foods containing antibiotics residues, the world’s top growth promoter. More people getting more obese – and PHE never saw it coming. Never saw to this day the connection between antibiotics fed to animals and an unstoppable obesity epidemic among people.

Protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing. Yeah, right.

And it gets worse.

One of the reasons antibiotics are so good at boosting growth is that they cause the digestive system to absorb nutrients better. Beef cattle might only retain 20% of the nutrients they eat, but a higher proportion goes into making them bigger and fatter on antibiotics than if they’re not.

Same thing with people.

An absorbing problem

Depending on the state of our metabolism, how healthy we are, how hungry we are, how well-built we are, how active we are and a host of other variables – our absorption capability can range anywhere from 10% to 90%.

Which is where the 400, 600, 600 rule begins to make no sense.

In a nutshell, thin people are undernourished because they don’t absorb enough. And fat people are underfed because their bodies aren’t satisfied enough – one slice of bread won’t do the job, so they’ll have two.

And how will PHE police otherwise, lock everybody up?

Check out prisons like HMP Addiewell and inmates take photos of the food they eat. Fish and chips, steak and chips, chicken and chips – slightly more than 600 calories right there.

So is our obesity epidemic completely unstoppable?

From personal experience, the weight can be dropped – at least if you’re strong willed.

Others would certainly find it a lot easier if they had help. A lot more understanding from PHE, a lot more sympathy – and some serious policing of getting antibiotics out of our diet.

Protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing.

How about it, Public Health England?

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.

Reference links checked and working at time of posting.  However, some URLs may be taken down or re-sited later. If your link goes nowhere or you get an Error 404 message, please accept our apologies.

Originally posted on 13 March 2018 @ 6:36 pm

The virtual pay rise: without paying extra, how everyone reacts as if you have

Business team celebrating
Giving everybody feelgood is just like a pay rise – and you save thousands!

It’s feelgood all round. Extra enthusiasm, extra commitment, extra effort – and all on the same salary everybody’s getting now.

Your team are switched on and going for it – pushing productivity through the roof.

Too good to be true?

Actually no, it’s achievable right now – and easier than you think.

The pay rise that costs nothing

Without stretching anybody either. They’re all on the same workload, working the same hours – no slaving into the evening or taking stuff home. Doing exactly the same thing, but doing it better.

You see, it’s not MORE that they’re giving – more effort, more concentration, more input.

The difference is that you’re removing the gremlins that HOLD THEM BACK.

You read that right, HOLD THEM BACK.

Because you might think your team are giving their all – and they might too.

But reality is, they’re underperforming. Always have done.

And always will, unless you do something about it – an experience shared by every business.

You are your own example

You’re even underperforming yourself. You’re a human being, just like them, so you personally feel the same hindrances.

Humour us, and just pause a while.

How do you feel?

A bit of a sniffle because it’s winter. Head a bit stuffy in the heated office. Muscles still twingeing from the weekend’s DIY. Which means you’re not exactly 100 per, are you? You’re a bit down, but you ignore it. Put it to the back of your mind, so you can get on with things.

Full marks for commitment, but how about concentration?

That razor sharp mind that got you where you are is not as quick as it might be, is it? OK with routine, but dragging its heels on the real stuff. Straining for that competitive edge where it counts.

No, it’s not a criticism. And you’re not alone. So don’t worry, we all feel like that.

Not all the time, obviously. But often enough that our functioning is under par a lot of the time, not fully capable of giving our all.

And this might be us on a good day. On a bad one, it’s more of a struggle.

Like when that cold or flu really takes hold. Not so bad that you can’t come to work, but enough to make you seriously miserable inside.

Uh, huh.  So how good is your concentration now?

The world is not co-operating, is it? Making everything more difficult.

For instance, how much longer does it take to do things? How sure are you that you’re doing everything accurately? Bit ratty are you, with colleagues and customers – rubbing a few of them up the wrong way?

There’s a price tag to all that, and it’s impaired productivity. Not up to standard, not up- to scratch, a possible loss-maker on top of the wheelspin that impaired concentration has already caused.

Presenteeism

Presenteeism, it’s called – the downside of being unwell at work. And it happens to all of us more often than we think.

Our own perception is we’re on top of things pretty well all the time. Reality is, research has us underperforming every three days or so.

And right there is why presenteeism costs probably TEN TIMES MORE than absenteeism – £290 billion vs £29 billion. 57.5 days of lost productivity for every employee, every year – almost three working months.

Which is where we come from with a virtual pay rise.

If you could take away the gremlins that make people feel off colour every few days, they would immediately perform better. Instead of being three months short of effort for every salary, you’d get full twelve months’ ration. Productivity up a third, just by removing the hindrances.

In other words, by removing the causes that make people feel off colour in the first place.

By removing the germs that make them feel so challenged.

Take away the gremlins

Germs?

Oh yes. Like it or not, with lots of people working on top of each other, all in the same space, every workplace is riddled with them. We just don’t see them, so we don’t recognise that they’re there.

Meanwhile

Our own personal germ count is even worse, for the same reason – we can’t see germs, so never think that they are there. So gruesome as it is,

OK, so how do you get rid of germs?

That matronly voice is your mother and your mother’s mother, telling you to wash your hands. On top of which, going over your desk with antibacterial wipes is a step in the right direction.

But how about all the high touch objects that everyone shares – light switches, door handles, touch screens, keypads? Start wiping those and you’ll never get any work done, the whole day will be charring out the place.

Which is how it’s done of course, piggy-backed with regular office cleaning outside hours. And done properly, a procedure that eliminates ALL germs completely – the whole place sterile and totally safe, every morning when the team arrives for a new day.

The productivity prize

And here we go with the pay rise again.

Because what happens when there’s no germs around to make the team feel unwell?

  • They feel better, yes – so they’re better able to concentrate. To do it for longer and more incisively.
  • They’re bright-eyed and positive – more in harmony, finding it easier to do things.
  • Holding back? Most of them are quite the opposite – gung-ho and wanting to do things. They have their own careers to push , and can feel themselves doing it.

Which means a whole attitude shift. From bumbling along as normal to wanting to win and going for it.

So ask yourself, what is the quality of their work now – the level of their productivity?

And all without a pay rise – just looking out for their workplace health protection and showing your team that you care personally.

Three working months per team member that could be – in additional work capability. Effort and input you’ve never had before, but been paying for all along. Enough to bankroll a real pay rise if you’ve a mind.

Maybe you should go ahead and give it to them. They’ve earned it.

And with a real pay rise out of the blue, there’ll be nothing to HOLD THEM BACK then.

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.

Reference links checked and working at time of posting.  However, some URLs may be taken down or re-sited later. If your link goes nowhere or you get an Error 404 message, please accept our apologies.

Originally posted on 1 March 2018 @ 3:05 pm

Your child’s sure-fire obesity starter – getting antibiotics before age 2

Chubby girl
Predictable obesity: give them antibiotics before they’re two and they’ll be obese by the time they’re five. Photo by Jakub Kriz on Unsplash

Good, healthy children – the last thing any parent thinks about is a problem with obesity.

Sure, our kids are everything in the world. Which is why we watch them like a hawk, especially in their formative years.

Bringing up little angels

Lots of fresh air and outdoors. Out and about, playing in the dirt, developing the immunities their bodies will need later. Scrubbing the dirt off in regular bath-times. Good, wholesome food and proper mealtimes. Sound, peaceful sleep and lots of it.

Everything we can think of to grow up strong and healthy. And at the first sign of anything wrong, off to the Doc in the very next second – nothing is too urgent or important for our little sweethearts.

Except that’s exactly where things can go pear-shaped.

We’re not doctors ourselves, so at the first sign of anything we panic. We need reassurance, demand action, and refuse to march out without medicine.

So the Doc writes a scrip, very often for antibiotics – because that’s what we know about and will get us out of her hair. Us parents can get quite bolshy sometimes, and no doctor needs the extra PT. Then it’s down to the chemist for amoxicillin or something. Anything, as long as it works – and never a thought about obesity.

Good bacteria, bad bacteria

Things is, a lot of the time antibiotics just aren’t necessary. We might stampede the Doc into giving us some, but unless the treatment is for something bacterial, antibiotics won’t do a dickie-bird.

Not a dickie-bird about whatever the infection is, of course. Because they’re sure doing something to those little insides, you can count on it.

You see, antibiotics do one thing – and that is, kill bacteria.

Bacteria bad, right? That’s why we pressure the Doc into prescribing something to fight them.

There’s only one problem.

We NEED bacteria to stay alive. And not all bacteria are bad. In fact, most of them are very definitely good. Because billions and billions of years ago, our bodies made a partnership with good bacteria to handle most of the grunt work of living, leaving us to get on and have a good time.

As a result, we’re not all human at all – we’re half alien. Of all the cells in our bodies, about 50% are actually bacteria. And down in our gut there are about 100 trillion of them of different types. And all with a purpose – among their many roles, digesting food, creating proteins and managing our immune systems.

Hydrogen bomb

Which makes taking antibiotics a bit like dropping a hydrogen bomb when they get to our gut. Millions and millions of them die – not just the bad ones causing us grief, but a lot of the good ones as well. A broad spectrum antibiotic like amoxycillin is not choosy about WHICH bacteria it kills – it just kills as many as possible.

All of which is catastrophic to developing young bodies.

Bacteria learn from each other, so a lot of the immunities we have are inherited from our mothers – her bacteria teaching ours what to do and how to protect themselves. And how to cope with new hazards like mud and dog poo when we go crawling round, exploring.

Bang, a lot of these bacteria are lost when the antibiotic hits. Some are very populous and reproduce very quickly. Others are rarer, and suffer major setbacks – perhaps the cause of diarrhoea or other side effects. Others are gone completely, never to return – whatever immunities they gave us don’t exist any more.

So how does this impact obesity?

Obesity control jammed ON

Well, among the many things that bacteria control are our hormones.  And most important of these from an obesity viewpoint are ghrelin and leptin.

Ghrelin is the one that tells our brain that we are hungry, it’s time to eat, let’s have some food – the ON switch for our appetite. Leptin is the opposite, telling us we’ve had enough, time to stop eating – the OFF switch.

Take a hit of antibiotics and the two are thrown out of balance. The ghrelin appetite switch remains jammed full ON, and the leptin switch stops working altogether. Result, there’s nothing to stop us eating till we pop. Obesity, here we come.

Bad news for our kids.

There we are rushing in to the Doc, because they have a fever, earache, or any one of a whole slew of childhood infections. Down the hatch with the antibiotics, and they’re off on the slippery slope.  Because as medical experts are starting to find out, children given antibiotics by the age of two are more likely to be obese by the time they’re five.

Follow that up with further treatments – from toddlers to teenagers to young adults – so that by the time they reach twenty, most of our kids have been exposed to antibiotics SEVENTEEN times.

Anti-obesity plans don’t work

That’s 17 times their ghrelin switch has been jammed ON again – and 17 times their leptin safety switch has been made unserviceably OFF. So they eat and eat, with no restriction, only stopping when over-stretched stomachs make them uncomfortable enough to stop. Which is why the recent schools test in the Midlands with healthier lunches and more exercise got absolutely nowhere.

Overeating CAUSED by antibiotics, the sure road to obesity.

Don’t believe it?

A key side effect of antibiotics is that they make things grow – the leptin switch broken in the OFF position, remember?

Which is why in food production, antibiotics are key to hitting the jackpot. Small doses given to cattle, pigs and poultry accelerate their growth – from egg to roasting chicken in six weeks, from new-born calf to Aberdeen Angus steak in just 12 months.

Super-big business for farmers around the world. And you’d better believe it. Today, antibiotics use in food production now tops 240,000 TONNES annually. To feed the 19 billion chickens, 1.4 billion cattle, 1 billion sheep and 1 billion pigs that currently feed US.

Antibiotics with every meal

So it’s not just from medicines that our kids get antibiotics. They’re gobbling up residues in every meal they eat, small traces in their meat and even in their vegetables – exactly like farm animals being fattened up for market.

As you can see by looking at them!

Of course antibiotics as growth boosters in meat are not allowed. Except that modern factory farms are so crowded and unhygienic, antibiotics HAVE to be given or animals will die. Farmers MUST withdraw doses several weeks before market so that residues fall to zero. Because we might catch superbugs, killer bacteria that have learned how to resist antibiotics, for which there is no cure.

Good thinking, but doomed to failure. Because animals still have to eat – and the feedstuffs they get are all fertilised by their own manure, laced through with earlier doses of antibiotics, because they poo out 80% of the nutrients they eat.

Which means it’s not just our kids getting fat. It’s us too. Look around and you’ll realise that two-thirds of us adults are already overweight or into obesity.

Doom and gloom?

So what’s to be done? Are we doomed to get fatter and fatter, until we explode?

Pretty much, as there is no escaping from antibiotics. If farmers were to stop using them, there wouldn’t be enough food for the world and billions of us would starve.

Ironic, no? World famine, for a condition that makes us to overeat.

Which is what the REAL problem is – overeating. Not junk food or sugary drinks – just gutsing ourselves on too much of them. On all that yummy high -energy food – if it were bad for us it would make us ill, wouldn’t it?

And there we are, wondering why we’re starting to bulge.

Two ways out of that. Fit a gastric band, or voluntarily make a conscious effort to eat less.

Two choices, neither of them pleasant.

But it’s either that or obesity, BIG TIME.

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 21 February 2018 @ 5:31 pm

How British businesses walk away from saving £319 billion a year

£319 billion a year – just waiting for British businesses to claim it back. Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it is how the saying goes. An attitude that’s costing British businesses £319 billion a year.

That’s the current price tag for UK absenteeism (£29 billion a year) and presenteeism (£290 billion) combined. Money paid out to cover absentees – people taking off sick from work. And presentees, who cost 10 times more – sick people going to work anyway, and trying to wing it.

British businesses losing out

Not that British businesses are ignoring the problem. Sick leave and low productivity are familiar gripes around every board room table. We’re familiar with the issue, but don’t do anything about it.

Meanwhile £319 billion is not exactly chicken feed. More than twice the cost of the NHS budget – the cost of caring for A WHOLE COUNTRY of sick people – it makes even Brexit look like a sideshow.

Yes, but.

Businesses KNOW the problem. And freeze up tharn, like a rabbit in the headlights.

Sure, illness happens. It’s a downside everybody faces. What can you do?

None of your corporate fitness or wellness programmes, that’s for sure. Already set to be worth £20 billion by 2020, they’re focused more on keeping well people well than physically avoiding illness.

Wellness vs illness prevention

Where is the health protection package that actually prevents illness?

Apart from the flu jab option offered up as an afterthought, you’d be hard pressed to find one.

Which makes even less sense when you think about it.

That British businesses are haemorrhaging cash to the tune of £319 billion a year in illness costs, and just accept it. Yet at the same time are gleefully prepared to spend £22 billion a year on health and wellness.

It’s not as if the cause of illnesses not known either. According to the ONS, more than half of sickness absences are directly related to infections caused by germs – minor illnesses 33.1%; gastrointestinal problems 6.6%; eye, ear, nose and mouth issues 4.5%; respiratory conditions 3.5%; headaches 3.4% and genito-urinary problems 3.0%.

Workplace health hazards

Against that, any attempt to stop germs are pretty well zero, with most workplaces positively teeming with health hazards.

These risks are compounded by low levels of personal hygiene.

Mop and bucket defence?

That leaves the only defence against germs, if any, to the nightly char service. The quick once-over at £20 or £30 an hour to make the place neat and tidy, never really intended for anything to do with health.

A missed opportunity – because for only another £30, the whole place could be sterilised throughout, eliminating all germs entirely. No viruses, no bacteria, no fungi – no illnesses to catch, no need for time off, no underpowered staff unwell at their desks.

Can it really be that easy?

Well at £30 a day, it’s not expensive to fund out, is it?

Not when there’s £319 billion waiting to be clawed back.

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 13 February 2018 @ 6:17 pm

Staff health costs: big losses or huge gains?

Man climbing in
Climb into staff health properly – and you’ll never look back.
Photo by whereslugo on Unsplash

The more you look into it, staff health really is the difference between success and failure.

Yes, most of the time they’re doing OK, getting on with their jobs, keeping the wheels turning.

Except OK is not OK, is it?

OK is mediocre, ordinary, a non-competing nowhere.

Staff health for winners

You need them to be better. To be the champions. Winners at everything they do. To climb out of themselves and make you No 1.

But staff health is not where you start, is it? Not if you’re like most execs.

You’re thinking incentives and motivation. Going the extra mile, putting in more effort.

Rev them up enough and you can rule the world.

Sure, throw money at them and it’s possible. Bonuses, higher salaries, holiday expenses, the sky’s the limit.

Not good for the balance sheet though, without results to justify it. And stretching that far, staff see it for what it is – danger money.

The wellbeing imperative

Alright, so how about feelgood?

Easier on the balance sheet and makes you Mr Nice Guy.

Nice offices, comfortable furniture, soothing décor and a slew of extras for wellbeing. Gym membership, keep fit classes, weight-loss clinics, stop smoking groups, free medical check-ups, whatever shows you’re thinking of them.

Involvement would be good too. Get them to engage. Everybody’s in this together, sharing the road to a glorious destiny.

Nice thinking, but not about staff health is it?

More about souped-up performance. More commitment, longer hours, shorter weekends – the real price tag of the extra mile.

It’s the cliché of modern business. 18 hour days, always-on obsession, emails, social networks, the Internet – the non-stop work ethic.

No time for losers – or winners

Precisely where staff health takes a dive.

Because nobody, including you, can work without proper rest and downtime. To re-engage with family, friends and have a chance to be themselves. To feel what it is to be alive and free – away from the pressures of responsibility.

Eight hours a day is enough, mind and body need to recharge. Better than that, to unwind, relieve the tensions of the day – to relax, reset and reboot.

Without that balance, staff health quickly takes its toll.

Of course, nobody’s booking time off and taking to their bed. They’re not actually sick.

No, not actually – but partially.

Not enough sleep, they can’t concentrate so well. Tired and less resilient, fatigued bodies set them up for colds and flu. Rushed and missed meals make their systems glitch – gastric upsets, ulcers or worse.

Yes, they’re on deck and going for it, as committed as before. But focus is fuzzy, reactions are slowed, perceptions are blunted and reflexes not functioning.

Slow going

Sure, they’re still going the extra mile. Except now it takes longer, because heads aren’t quite right. More effort is needed, more mistakes get made, more things have to get done twice. Inevitably, everything costs more money.

And so it goes, day after day – staff health slowing you down and costing you money.

Except it doesn’t LOOK like that, because that’s how it always is.

Your staff – always over-keen, overstretched, overindulged, overworked. While inside they’re stressed, worried, lacking confidence and not feeling very well.

They are your Ferrari and you’re racing them untuned. Clogged injectors, carboned up manifolds, electronics out of adjustment – and you expect them to win.

Overlook staff health, and you really are for the pits.

Off-tune, off-song

Which is why being unwell at work costs ten times more than being absent and in bed.

Your prize performers are off-song and you’re paying for under-delivery.

57.5 days a year most staff are like that – almost three working months. At their desks, but going through the motions. Partially sick but pretending not to be. Or brazenly sneezing and toughing it out.

Either way, robbing you a quarter of a year’s worth of their capability.

Except it’s you robbing yourself, not putting staff health to the fore.

But what if it wasn’t like that?

Take Five

What if staff health was your No 1 priority – tuned and honed to top performance, ALL THE TIME?

For a start, you’d give them time. To be at ease and deliver their best, comfortably. No more stress, no more friction and relationships going south because there aren’t enough hours for care, consideration and patience.

No more physical illnesses either. They might all be a team and working on top of one another – but there’s no germs to spread, or lingering around. Any viruses or bacteria are eliminated after hours, by sterilising the place when everybody is relaxing.

Which is where staff health really starts paying dividends.

Feeling good and healthy, they really can be more revved up and committed. More bounce to the pounce – more capable of the extra mile, even inside normal business hours.

And guess what?

All about time

All it costs is time – which you were paying for anyway, remember those lost three months? Time, and a little effort making the place germ-free and safe – so your super-tuned thoroughbreds can perform without hazard.

Want more still?

Start thinking involvement and engagement all over again. And this time, watch it work.

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 1 February 2018 @ 2:54 pm

Executive no-brainer: staff unwell-at-work or boosted productivity?

Executive decision
Lose or win, it’s a no-brainer. Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash

It has to be the easiest decision ever. The ultimate no-brainer.

Absorb the costs of staff unwell at work and the mistakes they make. Or bank the bonus of staff always at full strength.

Lose-win. Game over, now let’s get back to business.

No-brainer. No contest. Sorted.

Well think of it.

Cost of unwellness

On the downside, there’s always unwellness, right?

Staff off sick, on average 6 days a year. Out of commish, off the grid – everybody doubles up or you bring in a temp. Kind of expensive if it’s one of your heavy-hitters out.

Except that’s not the half of it. At least off sick, you know where you stand. It’s when they DON’T go off sick but come to work anyway that’s the hiccup.

Like how unwell are they, really? 10% off the pace? 50%? 80%?

Even they don’t know till they have to step up. The moment of crisis on which everything hangs. Is their head all there, or is it loopy? Do they choose right or wrong? Have they heard correctly or jumbled it up? Will you lose a little, or a lot?

A no-brainer in itself, isn’t it?

Because you can’t really afford under-performing like that. Second-guessing all the time, not daring to take a chance. More liability than asset. Easier if they stayed home.

Hold that thought. That’s the no-brainer bit.

The no-brainer no-brainer

OK, working from home is another issue, Coronavirus has changed the world. But for those staffers still coming in, can you really afford to have them at their desk, sick – as iffy maybe as a complete rookie?

Yes, they’re at work – but ill anyway. Wouldn’t you score more if they weren’t?

Sort of knocks staff discipline on the head, doesn’t it? At least the Nineteenth Century Dickens version of it. Heroes at their post, setting an example. When the truth of it is, they’re a loose cannon, blundering through the day – with more for you to put right than went wrong in the first place.

Another no-brainer. Send them home. No coming back until they’re fully on-song.

Which means you’d better spend some time finding out WHY they’re unwell. Because, do your sums and you’ll find EVERY team member is dragging their heels and off colour 57.5 days a year on average. Almost three working months.

Cost of faking it

Yes, they’re off six days a year with normal sick leave. And off the pace TEN TIMES that if you accept also-ran under-performance, sitting at their desks trying to fake they’re OK.

Uh, huh – so why?

Oh sure, the physical thing. Usually a respiratory or gastric disorder, two to three days of misery – and another two of shaky wheelspin after.

Gulp. Can you afford to give them that kind of time off?

Yet another no-brainer. What if that staffer was a Boeing captain – £350 million worth of aeroplane, 325 trusting souls, 6,000 miles and 10 hours to go, with cargo of £42 million?

Yes, well. To each in their own way, aren’t ALL your staff Boeing captains? They may only fly a spreadsheet, but if they crash and burn doing it?

More serious illnesses than that and you’ll want them to take time off anyway. You can’t run the risk of losing your team permanently.

All in the mind

But maybe it’s not physical at all. Something emotional taking over their spirit. Mental anguish as crippling as any injury. Deep down and personal, but no less real. Like stress, the dreaded black dog most of us meet, sooner or later.

It’s a no-brainer they need time too. To escape and heal. Or to get away and deal with their monsters.

Because they ARE monsters inside their head, larger than life so they can’t think or see straight. Bereavements, financial worries, relationships in trouble, being bullied, low self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy, job insecurity, peer group pressure, social media trolling.

Fail to address them, and your business will fail too. Because nobody can function, trailing that kind of baggage.

Which means time for you to listen, reassure and understand. Time for you to give away, so they can get outside and fix things – 57.5 days of it. To go to the school meeting, consult the sex counsellor, stay home for the delivery, get the car in for MOT before the DVLA closes in.

OK, so what does all this giving time away do?

Time to heal

Make everybody feel better, back to being whole again, everything back to normal. Worth its weight in gold, right? No-brainer there too.

And here’s another one to keep it company. The biggest no-brainer of all.

You know how offices are germ-infested hellholes? Sure you do, all of them, including yours. Every week when news is scarce, the magazines and tabloids are full of it.

Well, what if there were no germs at all? No viruses, no bacteria, no fungi. No nasties for anyone to catch.

Safe and secure

There’d be no-one of sick then, would there? And no-one sitting at their desk, feeling like death. Everyone would be happy and well and raring to go. Revved up and ready for anything. Committed, motivated and inspired by you.

Because you had the savvy to sterilise the place – no more becoming unwell at work. And you gave them time to ease their stress – no more fretting themselves into an ulcer or some kind of a breakdown.

Revved up and going for it, what could be better? And with all their problems magiced away, overnight you’ve got 57.5 days back. Three working months you’ve been paying for all this time- and now suddenly, they’re yours.

Can’t beat that for productivity – a no-brainer all the way.

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 24 January 2018 @ 3:56 pm