Antibiotics don’t work – our immune systems are shot too

Doctor's hand

You can’t get ill if you don’t catch germs in the first place

Blame it on our super-slick 21st Century lifestyle.

The one that cocoons us from the world, shielding us from harm and often reality.

It’s not like that in Asia. Or Africa. Or South America.

Or anywhere without our idyllic standard of living.

Mollycoddled weaklings

We’re so protected we have no resistance to anything that comes along – a baby could knock us over with a feather.

We’re too big deal, see. Too shielded for our own good.

That’s the key reason antibiotics don’t work anymore.

We’re so used to popping them for the slightest hiccup, we use them like sugar in our tea.

And with that volume of use, no wonder all the microbes and harmful pathogens have developed resistance. It’s kinda like putting shoes on before they go out for them. They all do it.

More fool us.

Because now when we take an antibiotic for something, it just sits there and looks at us.

“You mean you want me to protect you, drive out the evil nasties? Sorry, too much PT.”

It’s our own fault too. Our own stupidity.

You won’t find a youngster from Islamabad or Bogota behaving like us when we were kids.

We’re microbes too, you see. Sort of.

Millions of cells all bunched together, marching around – with all kinds of jumped up ideas about ourselves.

We’re cells, they’re cells, every living thing is cells.

Just act naturally

Which means we’d better co-operate and get on. It’s total oblivion otherwise.

And we do.

Everything we are and do is a trade-off with other living cells wanting to survive, just like us.

We’re surrounded by viruses and bacteria – billions and billions of them.

They even live IN us, they’re PART of us.

Like, there are more bacteria in our mouths than there are people on Earth.

They need to be there too. To aid digestion. To feed off all the gunge that could otherwise make us ill. To fight off harmful intruders. Basically for our own good.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t clean your teeth.

But as you already know, it won’t kill you if you don’t.

In fact, weirdly, it could even kill you if you do.

You give it the business with your toothbrush, right? Then you rinse off and put it away till next time.

Clean is dirty

Mistake right there – which could be the death of you.

Because moist surfaces open to the air are exactly what viruses and bacteria need to breed and thrive.

They do the same on your washing-up scourer. And the dish-cloth you dry your plates with. Your bathroom sponge. Your facecloth. Your towel.

The very things you use to clean are the most hazardous threats yet. Premier League germ spreader systems. (Tweet this) More dangerous than you could possibly imagine.

Of course, your five-year-old Bangladeshi kid knows nothing of this.

He’s too busy out with his pals, playing in the open air. Throwing stones, climbing trees, eating dirt. The things that kids do when they’re on their own. All perfectly natural.

Good clean dirt

Building up their immune systems, if you must know.

With good, clean dirt that will one day save their lives. Developing natural resistance and bigging it up. Always with some kind of sniffle or tummy twinge – ever wondered why kids are so snotty-nosed?

That’s normal  everyday tit-for-tat in the microbiology world. The daily trade-off between living organisms. Like cowpox knocks you back with a runny nose, but protects you big time from smallpox.

None of which happens, sitting indoors playing on an X-box. Or socking into chicken nuggets behind centrally-heated double glazing.

So when an ordinary common-or-garden pathogen rocks up – norovirus, say, or campylobacter – you’ve got no defence. Both give you gastroenteritis – queasy tummy, the runs, heaving your guts out.

No cast-iron stomach for you, you didn’t chomp mud when you were five.

OK, so we’re at hazard. Our antibiotics are tits up, and our immune systems have gone for a ball of chalk.

Yeah, we could take our chances and maybe die.

Or we could strike back.

Once we’ve got an infection, it’s more or less up to our own bodies to fight it off.
If we’re dirty enough, we can beat even Ebola – the upside of why some people survive.

Risky though. Better to sidestep altogether and not take chances in the first place. You can’t get infected if there’s no germs to infect.

We have a defence

Which is why sterilising everything is so effective. Especially our living space when we’re indoors. There might be sick people around, but their germs don’t have to linger for the rest of us to catch.

Blitz the place with hydrogen peroxide mist and that’s exactly what happens.

Germs don’t escape, they’re annihilated where they are, their cell structure ripped to shreds by oxidisation.

Twenty minutes, and we’re safe – whether antibiotics or our immune systems work, or not.

That easy, huh?

See! We’re not as badly off as the doom-mongers say we are.

Originally posted on 16 August 2018 @ 12:21 pm

NHS vs TB: winning the war against the world’s oldest killer

Disaster Man
TB might be deadly, but we can still win

Bad things don’t get much badder.

So bad that London is the recognised TB capital of Europe – the second most common cause of death world-wide after HIV/AIDS.

Consumption it used to be called. The wasting disease of the poor in Dickensian times.

But TB’s been around a hell of a lot longer than that.

Curse of the ancients

It tops the Who’s Who of killer diseases back to biblical times and beyond: tuberculosis (TB), leprosy, cholera, smallpox, rabies, malaria, pneumonia, influenza, measles and the Black Plague.

In fact tubercular decay has been found in the spines of Egyptian mummies from 3000 BC.

It’s the longest-running bacteria war in the history of humanity.

But it’s one we can win in nearly every case. Even for those so down on their luck the only way forward seems like feet-first.

The anti-TB hit team

You may not have heard of Find&Treat – another team of NHS heroes who work nationwide, fighting TB for those who need it most – homeless people, drug abusers, alcoholics, helpless migrants and ex-cons.

No, they’re not a Halloween outfit. They’re dedicated professionals – out there with mobile X-ray units day and night to locate the 10,000 sufferers every year with confirmed TB.

It’s no surprise it’s the disease of the poor.

We all of us interact with bacteria everyday – some good, some bad – a miraculous balance held in check by our immune systems.

But things work against you when you’re a have-not.

Not enough food, not enough liquids, no defence against the cold, zero chance to keep yourself clean.

Any one of those can throw the body out of balance.

Next thing, the cough that spells the end – unspeakable stuff in your spit, very often blood.

Except it’s fixable with drugs and proper care.

TB can be beaten (Tweet this)

Streptomycin in combination with others to get round antibiotic resistance – bedaquiline and delamanid and many others – a vital defence against MDR-TB (multiple drug-resistant tuberculosis).

And if that doesn’t work, there’s surgery – removing fluid-filled bullae from the lungs – simultaneously reducing the number of bacteria and increasing drug-exposure to the remainder. Take that, you murderous scum.

But getting well is not easy – especially if you’re sleeping rough and living on the streets.

Which is where the Peers come in – recovered TB patients who know how hard it is to find support. So they give it themselves in advice and encouragement, persuading the homeless to get checked and receive treatment.

Been there, done that, got better.

Nasty though, TB. Highly contagious.

Remember “cough and sneezes spread diseases” – the 1942 slogan to counter people pulling sickies?

It’s airborne and deadly, easily picked up by anyone, particularly in cities – crowded places where people live and breathe on top of each other.

Except that’s preventable too.

TB prevention

As a bacteria, TB can be clobbered by hydrogen peroxide spray. Lingering germs in the air are destroyed as they swirl around – oxidised to shreds so their individual cells rip apart.

You can’t stop a sneeze passing the bacteria on, but you can sterilise the room in which a sufferer has been – all viruses and bacteria destroyed with 99.9999% efficiency.

TB capital of Europe?

London has faced worse things – and is still winning.

Let those folk who bad-mouth the NHS think on that – next time they start coughing.

Originally posted on 15 August 2018 @ 12:17 pm

Je suis Charlie, every day of your life

French flag eye
The French inspiration – eyes open, always watchful

Je suis Charlie, three little words.

Overnight it’s become the world’s rally against terrorism of any kind, anywhere. An uplifting tribute to ordinary French people – and a defiant rejection of brutality, intolerance and violence.

If those big deals Blair and Bush had dared to show half such courage after 9/11, we would not face the senseless conflict that we do today.

Inspired vigilance

Thank you France, if only we can be as strong as you.

Because threats by fanatics are not the only terrorism we face.

Just as evil as the atrocities in Paris is the daily slaughter of innocent people overpowered by Ebola – and the invisible conflicts that each of us face at every moment against viruses and bacteria.

In Paris, ordinary people just like us were cut down in a hail of bullets.

But spare a thought for those in hospital, often in pain and anguish, slowly succumbing to disease or infection that nobody wanted or provoked.

It might not look like it, but the world is a dangerous place.

Thanks to the stupidities of former leaders – who wilfully exploded the world into the dissension it faces today – a terrorist’s bullet could hit any one of us, at any minute.

But through our own lack of watchfulness, a germ could strike us down dead just as effectively.

Invisible terrorists

All it takes is a lapse in hygiene habits, not washing hands or carelessness with food – and we are in trouble.

And germs are not like fanatics. They are everywhere, all the time – billions and billions of them surrounding every one of us.

The slightest little mistake or accident – even a paper cut – is all they need to invade our bodies and take us down.

And no, doctors and medicine can’t always fix it.

Because, horror of horrors, antibiotics don’t always work any more. Fifty years of relying on them for everything have given germs the chance to develop resistance.

You might go into hospital for a hernia operation, only to die from MRSA – methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus – one of the most deadly hospital acquired infections.

Of course, yes, it should never happen, you should always be safe in medical care.

Ever-present danger

But operations make people vulnerable – so many defenceless bodies, all in one place – all with cuts and wounds for germs to get in and do their dirty work. So you could be more at risk in hospital than anywhere else.

It shouldn’t happen, but it does – and what can the poor medics do when the antibiotic applied to control infection comes up against a germ that ignores it?
It’s terrorism, plain and simple. And much more deadly.

Because when a terrorist pulls the trigger, there’s the possibility he can miss.

But germs don’t miss. Once they’re in, they’re in – and it’s up to your own body to fight them. And germs are very efficient at making you die. Plus there’s no secret intelligence service to warn you of their presence, no police or military to protect you.

It’s not all doom and gloom though.

There are more than six billion of us, and we WANT to survive.

Time to up our game

Which makes prevention way better than cure. If we don’t get sick, germs can’t touch us. (Tweet this)

Better to assume they’re always there. That we always need to take precautions.
Washing hands. Being careful of everything we come in contact with. Everything we eat. Everything we breathe.

And sterilising our surroundings, to make doubly sure. Every room we’re in, totally free of harmful pathogens. Nothing in the air. Nothing on any surface. Nothing lurking in cracks or crevices.

Je suis Charlie. We have a lot to thank those wonderful French people for.

Their solidarity and courage is a vivid reminder that we must always be watchful.

A terrorist can strike at any moment. So can a virus or bacteria.

En garde!

Originally posted on 13 August 2018 @ 11:28 am

NHS rescue: let’s reclaim all norovirus shutdowns

Girl in mask

With all medics flat out busy, who needs norovirus too?

Whoa there, people! A&E in tents, patients brought in by fire engines  – isn’t it time to take down that rotten norovirus?

No, it’s not risky – and yes, it can be done.

Pick up the phone now and chances are good you can get those wards back in action by the end of the day.

Emergency on top of emergency

Because with all hands already at the pump, could anything be more screamingly urgent?

Like last month, Southampton General had eight wards closed – forty beds not available right in the middle of a crisis.

This week it’s Croydon University with three wards shut, another four partially, and 28 staff reporting symptoms.

All it needs is…

OK, let’s not go there.

Sterilised safe

The answer is to sterilise those wards quick with ionised hydrogen peroxide.

If the ward is already shut and patients are out, you can probably claim it back in an hour – all bacteria and viruses gone – 99.9999% germ free, to a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 6.

If the ward is occupied, it can be done in sealed-off sections, doubling up the beds for the 40 odd minutes the stuff needs to work and time to vent out afterwards. Again 99.9999% germ free, to a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 6.

To good to be true?

Ask the team at Salford Royal, where they started using the stuff in the haemotology unit back in 2013.

When the hospital’s record in reducing infection levels became so impressive they earned a special report on the BBC’s Breakfast TV.

Super-oxidiser

So how does ionised hydrogen peroxide work?

An automated dispersal unit about the size of a small wheelie-bin releases a super-fine mist of charged particles finer than water. The mist is boosted with colloidal silver, actively grabbing at bacteria and virus cells – ripping them apart and oxidising their guts out.

Spread is everywhere, treating the total room – the entire air space – as well as under, around and behind all furniture and fittings.

In just seconds it kills all the nasties: MRSA, c. difficile, e. coli and of course norovirus. Ebola too, though you’ve probably got that well isolated.

Twenty minutes and the place is sterile, safe for everyone. (Tweet this)

Useful stuff when you think of these infections and how resistant they’re becoming to antibiotics. Prevention instead of cure.

Because yes, the new discovery of Teixobactin might pull us back from a return to the Dark Ages, but it will still take a while to get here.

Results now, now, now

To get hydrogen peroxide treatment right NOW, the guy with the hot line is Jon Knight on his mobile at 07776 451222.

You’re already heroes, coping with all this – you don’t need a norovirus wipeout, just as you start seeing daylight.

Originally posted on 12 August 2018 @ 11:13 am

‘Tis the season to be jolly careful about hygiene

Sad Santa kid
Don’t take chances – nobody wants a bug for Christmas

You better watch out – flu and norovirus are coming to town. And bringing a whole load of their friends with them.

Both are highly contagious.

Both transfer easily on contact – mistletoe, kiss-kiss, shake hands, hug-hug, back-slap.

Which means your festive season could be over before it starts – friends and family with you.

The cruise ship curse

Norovirus particularly, gets in on the act preparing food – norovirus, gastroenteritis, food poisoning, stomach flu, call it what you will. And there’s nothing festive about it – vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, headache and fatigue, a real party pooper.

Nine hospitals have already closed wards because of it – not enough beds for people with complications. Young children and old people who dehydrate, which can very quickly become life threatening.

Associated nasties

Flu is not nice either – the end of jollity and just as catching.

Don’t take chances when the sneezing starts. You’ll never know what kind you have until it hits you – and it could be a killer. The global outbreak of 1918 killed 50 million people, more than twice the casualties in the whole of World War One.

Yeah, yeah, it’s Mad Friday and everybody’s having fun.

Ho, ho, ho – food and drink and lots of it.

So a few precautions are not just a good idea – they’re absolutely essential.

Hike up your hygiene

Like washing you hands for a start. As often as you can think about it.

Germs love getting in through our body’s access ports – mouth, nose, eyes, ears. And we touch our faces up to 3,000 times a day – 3 to 5 times every waking minute.

Better still, clobber all germs before they start.

It takes just twenty minutes to mist up a room with hydrogen peroxide. An actively charged super-oxidiser, it grabs viruses and bacteria out of the air and rips them  apart by shoving oxygen at them.  All germs gone, the place is completely sterile.

Kind of crucial when you remember that neither flu nor norovirus respond to antibiotics. You can’t stop them once they’ve got you, so you’ve got to strike first.

And germs are ALWAYS around. There’s never a time when you can forget about them.

But now that you know, you’re good to go.

Let’s get this party started.

Originally posted on 9 August 2018 @ 9:43 am

You’ve got to be sick, sick, to need the NHS

Heart attack woman

If it’s not a sickie, how long will you last in denial?

Sick as in not well, feeling ill, under the weather.

Because if you’re well, or only slightly poorly, you’ve no business wasting NHS time.

This is winter, see? When the NHS is really over-stretched.

Cold weather, lots of breathing problems, the seasonal bash of norovirus – and boozed-up party-goers with injuries from fights, accidents or liver-crashes.

A&E meltdown

All on top of the usual load of people needing operations, treatment for disease, controlled recuperation, or long-term care.

If none of these are you , then stay the hell out. Trivial problems just kick the whole system into overload.

Unless of course, you’re one of those workaholics in denial. Taking a big chance, but trying not to think about it.

You know you’re sick, but you’re swamped at work. Or maybe you fear for your job if you take time off.

Wellness doesn’t help

Yeah, yeah, so your company has a wellness programme. You go to the gym, follow their salady diets, fake the medicals or duck them.

But you’re at your desk six days a week at 7 am, work through regularly until 10 pm, always burning the candle at both ends.

Always with a sniffle too, because your resistance is low. Tired out of your mind, with no resilience. Tummy complaining, but you drag yourself around. How long before you give yourself a heat attack?

You need a doctor and you know it. And you’re probably dragging your colleagues down with you – a misplaced work ethic that costs UK businesses £29 BILLION a year.

You see, just by being ill you put others at hazard.

Your company might have wellness procedures and care about health.

Colleagues at risk

But betcha a million quid they’ve got nothing to get rid of harmful germs spreading around in the workplace. A quick vacuum and a wipedown and that’s your lot. All those viruses and bacteria just waiting to bring somebody down.

And the rate you’re going, you could trigger an epidemic.

Which means you need the NHS as a matter of urgency. And your employer needs to hike up hygiene levels before half the staff join you.

Like HEPA filters in the air conditioning to take out the germs.  Or a nightly mist-up with hydrogen peroxide to make the whole place sterile. Or both, for 24 hour protection. More effective than exercises in leotards, tracking your weight, and making you eat grapes.

So that if you insist on going to work, at least those around you stand a fighting chance.

Bet on yourself

Go on, get yourself to the doctor. You’re genuine, not pulling a sickie. And the whole NHS exists exactly for people like you. You’ve proved your worth, now invest in yourself.

DO IT!

And if your boss still can’t come to terms with that, you’re working in the wrong place anyway.

Do it NOW, before something happens and you can’t.

Ever.

Originally posted on 8 August 2018 @ 9:19 am

Squeaky clean hospital, narrow squeak in surgery

Ballet in a box
Escaping germs is always a close squeak

A simple operation.

Routine, routine, routine.

Except there’s nothing routine in cutting your body open and sewing up a few repairs.

Invasive surgery they call it. Like being carved up on the battlefield, but under anaesthetic.

Always a risk

Yes, it saves lives – in this case, yours.

But all the time your body is at hazard, and it’s only the skills of the experts that keep you alive.

Not just experts with a scalpel either.

The mop and bucket brigade are also keeping you from death.

Because of the germs.

Billions and billions of viruses and bacteria floating around all of us every day – in the air around our bodies, in our homes – and in the hospital where they’re going to do the op.

Hospital battlefield

It IS a battlefield too – right across the consulting room, the operating theatre, the recovery room and the observation ward. A constant war to prevent infection getting into your cut. The cut that saved your life, but could still kill you if the germs get in.

HAIs they call them – Hospital Acquired Infections. And you might wonder how such disasters are possible if medical professionals are doing their job properly.

The truth is that they are – to higher standards than any other occupation. If the world ran to the demanding requirements of the medical profession, we’d all be living in perfection.

Thing is though, that HAIs are not just a medical issue. They’re a hygiene one.
There are more people in hospital with cuts and tubes and wires into their bodies than anywhere else. And every breach in the body defences is a chance for germs to slip in.

Stopping them is next to impossible. Like the air we all breathe, they’re a fact of life.

Anti-antibiotics

Which is why post-op, you drift out of the anaesthetic pumped full of antibiotics.

No significant surgery of any kind is possible without them. The germs are so pervasive and fast, every patient would die on the operating table.

Which makes every hospital a war-zone. A constant onslaught against viruses and bacteria – hostile organisms so small they’re invisible – you can never tell whether they’re there or not.

But count on it, they always are.

So hospitals don’t just need to be clean and KEPT clean. They need a special kind of clean. Because the enemy is everywhere – on surfaces, furniture, drapes, skin and clothing. Swirling through the air too. If you’ve ever watched minute motes of dust floating in sunlight, you’ll understand.

A hospital is a huge place too – requiring a monumental effort to keep clean.

Doing it all to the same standard is impossible, but this is where miracles happen every day.

They need them too.

Antibiotics are vital to saving your life – but fifty years of depending on them more and more has led to overuse. Result – mutating bacteria have found a way to become resistant to them too.

So HAIs are increasingly in the news. Today the No 1 villain is MRSA – Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus – the surgeon’s nightmare. The No 2 is Clostridium Difficile.

You will be tested for both repeatedly – before, during and after your procedure. Between them they kill around 2,000 people a year in the UK, just these two.

Against the enemy

Fortunately you’re not totally dependant on Mrs Mop to keep you safe. Hospital cleaning is science and there’s more to it than disinfectant and detergent.

Operating theatres have HEPA filters – High-Efficiency Particulate Air scrubbers so fine they can remove 99.97% of particles down to 0.03 of a micron – a single MRSA cell is 0.06.

Increasingly, ultra violet light is used too. In high intensity pulses generated in the short-wave UV-C band, the light attacks viruses and bacteria by destroying their DNA. All germs within range are dead in around ten minutes.

Hydrogen peroxide is even more effective. No shadows, no “dead” areas. Misted up into a super-fine ionised spray it reaches everywhere, drawn by static charge. Germs are destroyed by oxidising them – ripped apart by oxygen atoms and destroyed down to just 1 microorganism in a million.

Yes, your surgery is a serious thing, but your body will pull through – the doctors and nurses will make sure of it. Your narrow escape is in avoiding the germs – always a risk, even with defences in place.

A squeak you’ll be glad to be out of.

Originally posted on 3 August 2018 @ 7:31 am

Killer viruses: get yourself some protection

Eye make up
You do it every day and it could be utterly deadly

Blink and you might miss it.

Tucked away amongst today’s latest is a nifty device to sterilise make-up brushes . A few minutes and no more bacteria.

Never thought of it before?

Right in your face

Actually make-up brushes are a major source of possible infection – especially in salons, used on multiple clients. That unexpected rash or worse started right in front of the mirror.

With use, make-up oil and dirt build up on your brushes, trapping all kinds of bacteria that spread over your face. Sure, you notice that they get dirty, so from time to time you probably wash them.

Because they take ages to dry, more bacteria develops within the hairs, making things worse not better. You use the brush again, close to your mouth, eyes and nose, all passages that viruses and bacteria exploit to invade your body. Next thing, rhinovirus or goodness knows what.

Ultra violet magic

So this latest Brush Medic gadget takes care of it – basically a mini vanity-slab-top drying cabinet with a UV generator built in. The ultra violet light irradiates the brushes, killing viruses and bacteria by destroying their DNA. Next time you use your brush, it’s sterilised safe.

Uh huh.

That takes care of your face, but what about the rest of you? And how about where you live – the kitchen, the bathroom, the bedroom? If germs can build up on your face, aren’t they everywhere?

All around, and inside you

If you could see them, you might be terrified. Because billions and billions of them surround us every day. We’re not aware of them because they’re too small to notice – smaller than the smallest grain of dust. And every one of us pulls around an aura of 3 million or so, every single second.

So why aren’t you sick?

Well one microbe by itself can’t do very much, your body’s protection system is way to clever. Your skin for instance has an acid mantle, that’s why its pH balance is so important. A single germ lands on you and it’s quickly history.

But not when they gang up on you, like in spray from a sneeze. And not when they find a way into your body through a cut or something you eat. They can even get in through your eye if you rub it, exposing the sensitive moist part.

Ah, but this Brush Medic doohickey has started something with its UV generator. Ultra violet light gets used everywhere to kill germs. Those brave medics who’ve gone to Africa to fight the Ebola disease go through a UV tunnel every day before work.

Beyond your face

Closer to home, you can get a handheld UV sanitising wand you can wave around, zapping germs as it goes. It’s fine for a once-over, like a spray of aerosol Dettol. Sanitising, not sterilising – bringing the risk down to one germ in a hundred.

The medical jobbies have way more firepower, using pulsed xenon to generate shortwave ultra violet – so potent that people using it have to keep clear. Real sterilising power down to one germ in a hundred thousand.

But like we said, germs are everywhere. And you can’t go humping a great ultra violet unit on castors with you everywhere you go. Like what happens where a lot of people get together in the same place? Restaurants, offices, schools, wherever.

Well in most places, nothing – as you probably know. People don’t think of germs, so they don’t do anything about them.

Not so wise when you think about what they do to you.

Medicine-resistant germs

Yes, you can get sick and possibly die. But don’t count on your doctor to rescue you. Right now the whole medical profession is in a flat spin because germs are becoming resistant to antibiotics. You don’t get better because your medicines won’t work.

Ah, but that’s why the make-up brush gadget is so good. It stops you getting infections before they start. And if the medicines don’t work, prevention is better than cure.

Grown-up hair bleach

Which is where another super germ-fighter comes into play – one you’re going to start seeing often. It’s a wheelie-bin sized auto-robot that mists up enclosed spaces with an ultra-fine hydrogen peroxide spray. Yes, the same hydrogen peroxide that whitens teeth and bleaches hair.

That fine spray is ionised so it reaches everywhere – up, under, around, inside. With a static charge that grabs at viruses and bacteria like a magnetic snatch. At the same moment, it releases oxygen atoms, oxidising the germs so it rips their cells to shreds. Serious sterilising down to one germ in a million.

All you do is close the windows and doors, press the button and get out. Twenty minutes later the place is sterile. The restaurant kitchen, the school toilets, the hotel room, the tanning salon, the fish and chip shop.

Worth keeping an eye on when you read about campylobacter, or norovirus, or whatever else is doing the rounds.

Gems are never safe, but you can be.

Originally posted on 31 July 2018 @ 6:18 am

Deadlier than Ebola et al – Panic

Panicky woman
Relax, you’ll only catch it if you’re careless

Dread diseases are all around. But you don’t see people dropping like flies, do you?

Headlines scream and a shiver goes down your spine. There’s a case of avian flu up in Yorkshire – 6,000 poor ducks getting the chop. H5N1 possibly, or H7N9. Maybe B747 or A380 – the numbers are meaningless, but not the implication.

We’re all going to die.

Or not.

Isolated outbreaks

Because that one case is already taken care of. Yes, there’s turkey farms all round, but don’t worry – we’ll all be safe for Christmas. At least, that’s the story.

But just to set your mind at rest, the Dutch have had a case too. H5N8, this time – not R2D2. And wait for it, this month there’s further cases in Germany, China, Japan and South Korea.

What about Ebola? Don’t people know there’s an epidemic on?

Well, no – and that’s not surprising.

Safe in the West

Most of us lead a reasonably healthy lifestyle – well protected by tight industry standards. If there’s anything in the food chain that threatens us, it’s usually such an exception no wonder the headlines scream.

A tarantula in a bunch of bananas from Waitrose. And don’t forget how obsessed we are about sell-by dates. The supermarkets are too – but they could get fined or even lose their licence – so let’s keep our perception firmly fixed on “paranoid”.

Because there’s no doubt about it, Ebola’s going to be here on the next flight from Sierra Leone. And that sore throat we’ve got is not going to shift with a quick swig of Histalix.

Yup, it’s panic stations de luxe. And way more contagious than any disease.

Already we’ve had flight crews lock passengers in the loo because of vomiting. Forget flight nerves or air turbulence. Or why there’s the bag that’s found in every seat pocket. Lock ’em up and call the health services, fumigate the place now!

Then there’s that bloke in the Underground. Looks a bit leery – sweating, eyes rolling round his head, unsteady on his feet. And the smell, strong and bitter, like liquorice and disinfectant. He must have come from some hospital. Just get out at the next station and wash your hands ASAP.

Ah!

Common sense by default

At least we’re washing our hands!

If there’s one good thing about Ebola, it’s that we won’t come down with norovirus because we skip washing hands after going to the loo. The pushy ones are even telling us to do it and getting away with it. “Hey, wash your hands. You don’t want to come down with Ebola, do you?”

More ignorance and paranoia, right there.

Pretty well any kind of contact is hazardous. Difficult to achieve though, with the nearest case approximately 3,000 miles away. Doesn’t stop us going crazy though, does it?

Seen the rubber-neckers veering away from crime scene investigators in their CSI outfits yet? Some poor dear had her bag snatched and fell. Put everyone in a tizz.

Don’t be so surprised, check the mind-set.

Because it’s not a crime scene at all, is it? The authorities are covering something up. That’s why the cops are there, moving people on. Nothing to see here? The whole street will be down with it before the end of the day.

Uh, huh.

Like the poster says, “Keep Calm & Carry On.”

The Six O’Clock News is not a horror show, it’s just the six o’clock news. And about the only thing that’s going to impact any of us is that petrol is going up – again.

Take two tablets and call me in the morning…

Time to get a grip.

And be thankful that the health professionals who look after us – especially the much-maligned NHS – are more than capable of protecting us, even if an outbreak does happen within our shores.

They can’t protect us from ourselves though.

But hey, this paracetamol stuff is amazing.

Originally posted on 27 July 2018 @ 5:47 am

Hospital: Keep Away!

Prison phone
Hospital visiting hours – except it’s not a crime to catch a bug

It’s the double-edged sword of antibiotics. We can’t live with them – and we can’t live without them.

Because just about every surgical procedure there is relies on antibiotics to prevent infection.

And alarm bells are ringing. The number of pathogens resistant to antibiotics is growing.

20 years for a cure

Faced with a new Dark Age, medics are pushing for research into more effective drugs. But proper development and testing can take 20 years.

Humanity can’t wait that long.

We need something now – a higher level of hygiene in everything we do.

But nobody says it’s easy. Even sterile measures can introduce infection to surgical procedures. Particularly post-op – less easy without the rigorous scrub-ups, sterilised instruments and dressings,  or the HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filtered airflow.

Which brings us to the Big Q.

Quarantine

Isolation.

A UV tunnel at all entrances to kill surface germs. Continuous deep clean and scrub down with effective germ-killers like formaldehyde and bleach.

Better still, with airborne hydrogen peroxide which destroys every virus and bacteria it touches.

The downside is, it’s mostly the patient who is the source of infection – an existing condition, or brought in on their person when admitted.

So are visitors. You yourself are a source of infection too. Strip naked and power-shower, you’re still a threat to anyone with open wounds.

So are hospital staff. Germs surround us wherever we go, it’s a fact of life.

Sterile is not enough

We can sterilise the hospital environment – the air, the beds, the equipment, the wards – but we can’t sterilise the people.

Which could mean out with the hazmat suits – for visitors and hospital staff.

Or visiting granny could get more like visiting prison.

On the phone, behind plate glass. Patients in no-go areas. No physical contact.

To keep you safe. To keep them safe.

Except being sick is not a crime. Nor is catching some nasty bug.

Of course it won’t happen. We’re not that inhuman.

Don’t take chances

Unless we get an epidemic. Like in 1918, when flu took out a third of the planet and killed 50 million people – almost the population of Britain.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Forget to wash your hands five years from now – and maybe you won’t come back.

Let’s be careful out there.

Originally posted on 24 July 2018 @ 4:42 am