Category Archives: If Only

Slow motion suicide – always getting closer with every meal you eat

Shocked eaters
Get real – everything you eat makes you fat, not just junk food. And getting fat will kill you – in 10 or 20 years’ time

That’s right, suicide. The act of killing yourself.

Because you can’t beat bacteria, however hard you try.

Like with antibiotics – our life-saving miracle drugs.

They’re made to kill bacteria, sure – but only in the short term.

Stick around a few years, and those all-surviving microbes will be back with immunity. Mutated into superbugs with built-in antibiotic resistance. Get sick with one of those and nothing can save you.

The ultimate survivors

Because, as the oldest surviving life forms on the planet, bacteria always win.

For instance, right back in 1928 Alexander Fleming discovered the first antibiotic, penicillin. Yet just twelve years later, penicillin-resistant staph emerged, in 1940.

It’s been the same ever since.

  • Tetracycline introduced 1950, resistance identified 1959.
  • Erythromycin introduced 1953, resistance identified 1968.
  • Methicillin introduced 1960, resistance identified 1962.
  • Gentamycin introduced 1967, resistance identified 1979.
  • Vancomycin introduced 1972, resistance identified 1988.
  • Ceftazidime introduced 1985, resistance identified 1987.
  • Levofloxacin introduced 1996, resistance identified THE SAME YEAR.
  • Ceftaroline introduced 2010, resistance identified 2011.
Armageddon One

Which is why our top-level medics are going crazy. Because antibiotic resistant superbugs are constantly turning up in our food. We eat the food, and those superbugs are inside our systems.

Sometimes they strike immediately, sometimes they take their time. But all the while, they’re there – and there’s no drug in the medicine cupboard that doctors can use to stop them.

How did it get like this?

Well, amazing as antibiotics are at saving lives – they’re even more amazing at making animals fat. From an egg to a roasting chicken in 6 weeks. From newborn calf to an Aberdeen Angus steak in 14 months.

Which is why farming uses 240,000 TONNES of antibiotics every year.

And how antibiotics get into everything we eat.

Pumped full of antibiotics themselves, the animals are the start of a whole food production nutrition chain. The manure they make is used to fertilise plants and food crops – all natural, so that even includes organics.

The manure leaches into the soil too, so it finds its way into the water table. From there into streams and rivers – into our water supply and irrigation systems – and into the kitchen tap.

So that everything we put in our mouths – food and drink – contains residual doses of antibiotics, deliberately put there to make things grow.

Armageddon Two

Which is what they do to our bodies too – make them grow. Impossible to resist, we’re being fed the greatest growth boosters ever invented.

And exactly as expected, we get fat. Which is why two thirds of British adults are now seriously overweight or obese. Plus one third of our kids.

Which is where the slow motion suicide comes in.

Most diseases and infections happen quickly. Days or weeks to incubate, usually only months to claim their victims.

But obesity is a slow killer.

First the complications from carrying all that weight. Weakened bones, muscular problems, structural failure.

Then respiration issues, gulping for air, heart double-timing for more oxygen, breathing problems and asthma.

Next,  it’s fat secretions around the pancreas. Insulin deficiencies leading to diabetes. Heart disease and cancer inevitably follow.

Slow, slower, slowest…

But not quickly.

All this happens slowly over tens of years. Without our bodies feeling it happen – yet all the while, driven by antibiotics. Eating more than we should, putting on more and more weight. Not even conscious that we’re doing it.

Until one day, hello Size Eighteen and a body that’s 20 stone plus.

And every day, worse and worse.

Often in pain, feeling weaker, less capable- wheezing and waddling our way through the day. Until we collapse on the bed that’s harder and harder to leave. Lapsing into deadly but unwitting suicide, every bit as successful as a .38 calibre bullet.

Miracle life-savers – yeah right.

Without our knowing it, antibiotics are bringing the death sentence to every one of us.

OK, so our doctors are worried about antibiotic resistant superbugs. Hoo-ray.

Meanwhile, our obesity epidemic spreads unchecked. Dismissively put down to junk food and sedentary lifestyles. Fat people are vilified for a condition they did not ask for and cannot control.

So, suicide

And nothing gets done.

Suicide, plain and simple.

I overeat, you overeat, he/she overeats, we overeat, they overeat.

You have been warned.

Picture Copyright: auremar / 123RF Stock Photo

Woohoo, back to school! But norovirus says NO

Crosspatch at gate
School’s closed because norovirus keeps coming back and back – why can’t somebody DO something?

No school, no friends, no play, no fun.

Just staying at home, feeling horrid.

A whole week after that nasty tummy bug. Sick like your whole insides want to come out. Fiery poo, squirting round like a hosepipe. Cramps like your tummy is broken into little pieces, all churning round.

Quarantine, Mummy calls it. But I’ve been OK for days now.

It’s because they can’t get the school clean.

Cheap cleanups won’t stop norovirus coming back

Those two Year 6 boys were sick all over the place – all down the corridor and right through Reception. It was on the carpet and splattered up the walls.

Then that stupid Mrs Ferguson let her class out and they ran all over it. Just the smell was enough to make you sick.

But being home and suddenly sick was worse. Just going to play with my Pokemon and my tummy exploded.

I cried ‘cos it went everywhere and Mummy made us all stay home. Even Daddy never went to work.

Anyway the holidays were horrible – and now school is closed. Why can’t they clean it properly?

Mrs Callum, she’s the bursar, told Mummy they had a whole team in over the break. Face masks, overalls and rubber boots, scrubbing everything with that ewey bleach stuff.

It didn’t work ‘cos the caretaker, Mr Absun, went in there and got sick, working in the hall. So Mrs Callum got cross and they had to do it again – then SHE got sick after going in to have a look.

Keeping paying until it’s right

Mummy says that’s when the Council sent in the steam cleaners.

Two days they were at it, then Mrs Callum got sick AGAIN. So now the school’s in quarantine, just like I am at home. They’re leaving it 10 days for all the germs to go away.

Except Mummy says that won’t work either – she looked it up on her iPad and this norovirus stuff can last for up to a month if they don’t clean it off properly. You pick it up on your fingers and pouf – it’s back!

Meanwhile I’m sitting at home every day and I’m bored. And Mummy’s very nice staying here to look after me – but she doesn’t want to be here either. What’s the matter with them, why can’t they make it go away?

Because it goes everywhere, Mummy says. In all the cracks where the cleaners can’t reach.

And I know she and Daddy are cross, because the school has asked them for money to pay for it. Daddy had his fierce look, asking why they should pay for something that doesn’t work. He wanted to throw things, but Mummy took them away from him.

Every year, again and again

It was the same last year when Linda Marshall came back from that holiday in the Caribbean. Their family got sick on a cruise ship and brought it back with them. Daddy got cross then too, ‘cos I didn’t get it, but Damon did – my younger brother in Linda’s class.

Daddy’s really fed up. Says the school should have something to cope with stuff like this. Or the Council should. It’s not like this tummy sickness happens every day – but three-four times a year somebody sicks up at school, then we all get sick or have to stay away, and nobody does anything.

They need a machine, Daddy says. Something that you press a button and it makes all the germs go away.* Otherwise they’ll keep paying money and nothing ever happens.

Oh I wish that school would open and I can play with my friends again!

*There IS a machine – and you can see it here. It kills all germs everywhere indoors in about 40 minutes. Sterile, so they can’t come back again. Grabbed out of their hiding places and oxidised to nothing by hydrogen peroxide.

Picture Copyright: dekanaryas / 123RF Stock Photo and corund / 123RF Stock Photo

Why most deep cleans are not as deep as you think

Sceptical businesswoman
Shouldn’t a deep clean sterilise a room AND the air that’s in it?

Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? Deep clean.

Definitely the thing for emergencies and beginning-of-project preparations. To make things safe and free from risk of infection. More high-powered than a regular wash down.

Somehow you imagine that scrubbing is longer and harder. That everything is stripped to its bare bones, then reassembled. That super octane chemicals are involved – face mask and breathing apparatus territory, you can just see the stuff fuming off the walls.

If only

Back to earth, spaceman.

Yes, most deep cleans involve more rubbing and scrubbing, but not a hell of a lot else. They may also include more areas – high contact surfaces like door handles, keypads and remote controls – in addition to the usual worktops and floors.

The big expectation of course is that they do more than remove dirt. The whole purpose of the exercise is to kill germs – not just clean, but safe. Two jobs at once, wipe away the visible dirt, clobber the nasty microbes.

Yeah, right.

Time to actually work

Ask yourself one question. What’s the contact time?

Removing dirt is a physical thing – wipe, wipe, it’s visibly gone. Not the same with germs. Bacteria, viruses, fungi, moulds – they all know how to hang on. They’re too small to see anyway, so it’s impossible to know if they’re there.

Count on it, they are. And they’re only going to get clobbered if the active whatever in the miracle gop being used has sufficient time to do its job. Wham, bam, thank you ma’am is not going to crack it.

So if the job looks like it’s just wipe, wipe, finish, you can bet that germs have hardly been touched. Just because you can smell bleach doesn’t mean it’s doing anything. It needs a contact time of at least ten minutes before anything happens – and that depends on how concentrated it is too.

Yes, bleach makes your eyes water and rips the top of your head off, but as a germ-killer it’s a medium-weight also-ran. And ten minutes with even half a bottle of the stuff dumped in a bucket of water is still nowhere near enough.

Worse in fact, because the bleach kills some of the germs but not all of them. And bacteria particularly are masters at survival. The stronger ones that don’t die off keep multiplying as bacteria always do.

Twenty minutes and there’s a whole new bleach-resistant variety on the go – accelerating madly if where they are is warm and damp – like a countertop in a centrally-heated kitchen, briskly wiped down with a moist rag.

Not good enough.

Demand more

Which means shifting to a more high-powered kind of germ-killer – glutaraldehyde, formaldehyde, ortho-phthalaldehyde, peracetic acid or hydrogen peroxide – most of which drop the necessary contact time down to 30 seconds – again depending on strength and method of application.

Problem right there. Formaldehyde is regulated as a carcinogen and banned across the European Union. Glutaraldehyde is highly toxic and unstable in storage. Ortho-phthalaldehyde (OPA) stains the skin. And peracetic acid corrodes brass, copper, steel and iron.

Which leaves hydrogen peroxide – the same stuff that our own bodies produce naturally to fight infection. It attacks viruses and bacteria by oxidising them, reverting back to small quantities of harmless oxygen and water.

Now we’re cooking with gas.

Antimicrobial air force

Quite literally if the stuff is sprayed into the air after physical scrubbing of worktops, floors and other surfaces has already removed physical dirt. Because the expectation of a deep clean is not just that it disinfects all surfaces, it ought to STERILISE THE ROOM.

And doing the surfaces is only part of the job – pretty well 80% of any room is the air space we move around in. Never touched by ordinary cleaning methods, but alive with all kinds of unseen material – dust, fluff, the air we breathe – and billions and billions of viruses and bacteria.

Which makes treating the air the main part of the job – exactly what airborne hydrogen peroxide does.

It gets even better. If the hydrogen peroxide is ionised – charged with high voltage electricity as it’s dispersed – it changes state from a gas vapour to a plasma, forcing its individual particles away from each other and actively grabbing at airborne viruses and bacteria as it does so.

Becoming a plasma unlocks other high-powered antimicrobials too – hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, ozone (a more voracious oxidiser than hydrogen peroxide), and ultraviolet.

Viruses and bacteria don’t stand a chance. Allowing forty minutes for effective dispersal and proper contact time across the entire space, ALL of them are dead down to less than one in a million – 99.9999% destroyed. Or as the medics prefer to put it, a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 6.

Sound like a proper deep clean to you?

OK, now you just need a Hypersteriliser to achieve it – a small but nifty wheelie-bin sized automatic unit that makes total room sterility as easy as pie. If your cleaning service isn’t using one, better jump up and down until they do.

Deep clean means NO MORE GERMS, not just scratching the surface.

Picture Copyright: auremar / 123RF Stock Photo

Work-place germs 0: Germs on hands 10m

Girl stops play
Sure, clean the place like crazy –
but don’t forget your hands

Hang on a minute.

Zero germs in the work-place?

Surprise, surprise – the brass snuck in last night with a Hypersteriliser and nixed all viruses and bacteria into the Nether Void – oxidised to nothing by hydrogen peroxide mist.

Wha…?

Don’t worry, it’s strictly kosher.

The biggest issue

You see, absenteeism came up Big Time in the last management meeting. Sales down. Profits down. Too many sick leave pay-outs.

Too many sickies – period.

HR said it was normal for this time of year. But the IT guys said Them Down the Road have had nobody off – how come us and not them?

And the bean–counters said the hell with that, either the numbers come down or it’s out with the P45s.

HR panicked, but Facilities Management were on the ball.

That workshop they went on?

Scary video presented by a research heavy at the Royal Society of Public Health. Germs in the loo, germs on computer keyboards – staff picking up germs, like 10 million on their hands, every moment of every day.

Clobbering all germs

So they got a Hypersteriliser and fizzed it up. In the old workshop where the damp is? Mould on the walls, clobbered overnight. Black as coal when they started, pale grey the next morning. Wiped off with a soft brush. No smell either, normal like it should be – except it’s always freezing cold in there.

So last night, the office. The usual go-round with the vacuum cleaner/wipe-down team. Then the full-on germ-killing hit – main bullpen, meeting room and the kitchen/coffee area – forty minutes each with ionised hydrogen peroxide plasma.

All viruses and bacteria gone – annihilated from all surfaces – and even the air itself.

Yeah well, you can’t see germs, so it’s hard to tell.

The vinegar smell was gone though – who had fish and chips at their desk? And that off-chicken pong by the photocopier? No sign of that either.

Sterile start

So the day starts with zero germ threshold. Totally sterile. Anybody with an underlying medical problem? Nothing’s going to get to you this time. No picking up stuff from keyboards, phones or light switches either – no, no, norovirus, nothing there.

But everybody’s gotta wash their hands before they start. Straight in off the street, their hands will be loaded – from strap-hanging in the tube, grab-handles on the bus, the sticky jam doughnut at Starbucks. And most gruesome of all (gasp), not washing after the loo.

Shocking, yes. But – better believe it – most of us just don’t.

Which is why there’s also a pack of antiseptic hand-wipes on every desk, waiting for you.

If you’re too mad keen to get started first thing, then the wash-room can come to you. Just make sure you use them before you touch anything. It might not be you that gets e.coli – but don’t wish it on your mates.

In fact, use ’em whenever you think of it. Before finger-drool from that awesome sandwich gets all over your mouse, or fallen crumbs start gathering hungry bacteria round the edge of your in-tray.

And always after the loo, of course. Except now it’s easy – those wipes are in your face – right there as you get back to your desk.

Boosting the balance sheet

So – germs, absenteeism, checking the numbers

What goes around, comes around. Which in this case means nothing. No colds, no flu, no tummy bugs, no infected paper cuts. Sterile office and sterile fingers keep you safe – the sterile air you breath too. Bottom line looking good.

Nothing to challenge your own bacteria either – the billions and billions of good microbes we all have inside us and around us, helping our bodies keep healthy and well. Sales figures looking up too.

Any of those other germs want a return match, they’re going to lose.

A big chomp of pizza – and 3.971 million germs

Pizza girl
Are you having 3.971 million germs
with that?

Yum!

Eating with your fingers.

Is anything better?

You bet.

Eating with your fingers AFTER YOU’VE WASHED THEM.

Germs for sure

Because however nice your chosen favourite is – it’s not worth the tummy cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea that visits you at 2.00 in the morning.

E. coli, norovirus – take your pick.

It could be any one of thousands bacteria or viruses on your fingers at any one time.

Collected through your morning until now…

Off the money in your purse, your Oyster card, the STOP button on the bus, the door handle of the coffee shop, the face of your mobile, the front door to your office, the lift call button, your computer on switch, the keyboard on your desk, the mail in your In-tray, your desk itself, your office phone, the photocopier start switch, the door to the loo, the tissue paper you use there, the flush handle, the bag of doughnuts for coffee break, the parcel from the printing company, the felt-tip pens for the update board, your face, your lipstick for touch-up, the conference room table, the overhead projector, the overhead slides from sales, the meeting microphone on/off, the stairway banisters, the lunch-time news-sheet, the pizza-joint window choosing while you queue in the street, the bag they put it in to take back to your desk…

Er, excuse us.

Where was “wash your hands” in all that?

Our minds go blank

Don’t look so surprised. Most of us forget, even though we’re sticklers for clean.

Yet everything we touch, every second of every day, is covered in viruses and bacteria.

We are too. Billions of them on our skin and clothing.

Billions more inside us too. Over 6 billion in our mouths, more than the number of people on Earth. More than 100 trillion in our gut – partners in helping us digest.

So when we pick up that pizza with our fingers, there’s plenty stuff for us to swallow that we’re not supposed to.

Yes, we’ve got bacteria inside us already – but the right ones, they’re supposed to be there. And most of the time, even the wrong ones are OK – our immune systems are too strong to let them take hold.

But the stuff on our fingers is dodgy. Often in quantities big enough to give us grief. And often really yucky stuff we’d rather not know about. Like if you didn’t wash your hands when you went to the loo, there could be poo on there.

Hold it!

Don’t take that bite!

Put it down and wash your hands first.

Be safe.

And don’t reckon you can blame the pizza company if you come down with something.

Those pizza oven are way too hot for germs to survive – 800°F, or even more.

And nobody touched your super-size slice. Straight off the pizza shovel, gloved hands on the cutter wheel, into the box, and bagged into your own hands.

Wash your hands and everything’s hunky. Quattro stagioni perfetto.

Forget and take a chance – you could be in hospital sooner than you think.

More than 800 people die from norovirus every year. More than 5,000 from e.coli. Add c.difficile, Delhi Belly and rotavirus – the numbers jump to over 80,000.

Don’t be one of them.

A wrong-way encounter with any of these nasties will be more than you can chew.

After you with the soap.

Germ-free offices make pots more money

Ecstatic businesswoman
Winning is addictive. And the feel-good is contagious

We’re kidding, right?

No way the numbers add up.

So what if 131 million working days are lost to sick leave every year? That’s not going to break the bank – 4.4 days per employee, one week out of 52, not even 2%.

Yeah – except none of those employees works in isolation. There’s colleagues like you, sitting at a desk less than 10 feet away – well inside cough, splutter range.

Oops, it’s catching

Which means whatever they get, you get too. Sod’s law.

Sure, sure, but all part of the same statistic. Only 4.4, right?

You wish.

Because being sick for real – not just pulling a sickie – is more than one or two days off, isn’t it?

There’s the four-five days incubation, before you come down with it. Not feeling yourself, dragging yourself into work, head all over the place, sweats and chills at the same time, tummy roiling with World War Three.

Impossible to work like that. Not you at your best, hey? What would you say, 50% under par? More? Less than half a person, going through the motions – and all the time you’re doing that, how many others are there inside YOUR 10 foot cough, splutter range?

You shouldn’t be there, right? You owe it to your colleagues – and your bosses. You’re a walking germ-alodium and you ought to stay away.

So what do you prove, walking round, infecting everyone? That you’re a hero? Get real.

And the rest

Plus of course, there’s the other four-five days when you get back. Still feeling like death warmed up, still way under par. Not convalescing, you do that at home. More like guilt-tripping because you know they’re running under-staffed. Or maybe you’re worried about job security.

Which makes the numbers more under-claim rosy than they should be, doesn’t it? A bigger cost, even lower productivity. Instead of 4.4 days a year, you’re performing like less than half of yourself for another ten – altogether three weeks of your expertise whipped away, gone.

And that’s not counting mistakes you might make because you’re not 100% on the ball. Or things you miss while you’re battling to concentrate. They have a price tag too. Lost income certainly, maybe a lost contract too. Or forfeits of some kind because your work doesn’t come up to scratch.

The real downside

OK, so if straight statistics mean the country is losing £29 billion a year from sick days – reality is at least five to ten times more than that, around £150 billion.

To put that in perspective, say you’re a mid-level minnow at £2,500 a month and your valued expertise generates 10 times more than that. Your worth to the company is £27,500 a month. Take out the three weeks of under-performing and that’s just under £18,500. Down the tubes, gone. Because you weren’t functioning on all four.

But hold it. Those ONS statistics mean every worker in the country loses 4.4 days a year – every single one.

So if there’s ten more of you in the office, that’s £185,000 a year, assuming you’re all at the same level. Add the boss in there – and say, a couple of the more high-powered sales stars – and that easily tops half a mill.

Half a million quid, every year – just for parking off, sick!

How many companies can afford that? And what if where you work has more than ten people?

Light in the tunnel

Which makes it kind of crazy that it’s all unnecessary, doesn’t it?

Because for less than the cost of just one of you, that all-involving career outfit you’re working for could have not one but TWO Hypersteriliser machines misting up the place every night and reducing the presence of all viruses and bacteria to zero. No germs, boom – in around forty minutes per room.

And what would that do? Chop the chance of any of you catching an infection at work by at least half, maybe more.

No, it won’t wave a magic wand if you’re sick already – or stop you coming down with something if it’s already inside you.

But it will stop new stuff – all of it.

And if you all give up bad habits like eating at your desk – about the worst place to catch germs in the universe from the guck that accumulates and is never cleaned away – there’s even less chance of getting sick, ever.

Especially if you all wash your hands on top of it – and keep sanitising gel handy.

Uh huh. A total U-turn in office hygiene.

Because now instead of losing money, the place starts making it. Not exactly germ-free, but almost.

When success strikes

Feeling well means that everyone is functioning at 100 per. Stuff gets done, efficiency rises. You all start looking like winners. Which of course, you are.

Snowball time. Everything just keeps getting better.

Your offices feel like a good place to be, so morale takes a hike. Onwards and upwards becomes a reality. Going the extra mile is done with a smile. The competitive edge. You’re better than anyone else and you know it.

All of you.

And what does that do to the balance sheet?

See the boss’s smile. See him give you a whole extra three weeks off.

Wait a minute, wasn’t that how long you were out of it – dragging yourself around, sick as a dog?

See the boss smile again. Feel yourself do it too.

The place can afford it now – a clean bill of health. These are germ-free offices and it shows.

Drive against germs triggers big bucks boom

Happy accountant
No germs, no sickness –
you can feel it in your bank balance

Bonuses all round.

Stock options, shares.

More money than anybody knows what to do with.

When things start going right, the sky’s the limit.

On top of the world

Which is what happens when people feel 100% healthy and on top of things.

No more pulling sickies. No more dragging yourself into work, feeling like boiled knitting.

You’re up and going, the feel-good factor kicks in –ain’t nothing gonna stop you and your colleagues taking on the world.

You wish.

Pre-winter blues

This time of year, everybody’s on the edge.

Back from holiday, still queasy from that tummy attack in the last few days. First sign of cold weather and the start of the sniffles.

You just know in your bones, it can only go downhill.

If it’s not you off ill, it’s your work-mates. Tummy or flu, whatever’s going round. And sure as hell, everybody’s going to pass them all on – especially in that bullpen office you all work in.

Yeah, you get paid sick leave – and the company has insurance. Small mercies, doing everybody’s head in.

Until some mid-level management type flips out that all these germs are doing nobody any good – and quality of life is going down the tubes. Enough already, the rot stops here.

Money, money, money

First they do the sums. Bottom line, it’s a wonder all companies aren’t broke.

Sickness cost the UK a whopping £29 BILLION in 2013 alone – a big bucks kiss of death to startups and SMEs.

That’s 131 million days lost to sickness every year – 27 million to coughs and sneezes, 15 million to worry and anxiety.

Then the penny drops.

People have computers, right? They can do their jobs better, faster – worth the investment.

BETTER, FASTER – hold that thought.

Investment in health

So where’s the investment in health and wellbeing to make them better and faster in personal performance too?

Enter, your company’s first Hypersteriliser – half the cost of the small car assigned to each sales rep. And way more significant to productivity.

Whatever germs are in the office – any viruses or bacteria lingering at the end of the day – they’re all gone in forty minutes per room. Every single treated area is totally sterile before staffers come in next morning.

OK, but that won’t clobber whatever new germs people might bring in with them from the great outside. We all carry germ-clouds around with us, wherever we go – most good, but some bad. Kinda why we have a germ problem in the first place.

But with a germ threshold starting at zero, any transferable infections should come down more than 50%, hospital tests already prove it.

50% of £27 million for coughs and sneezes is no small change. And that’s just a start

Work hygiene – phase two

Bung a tube of sanitising hand wipes on every desk – and a major cause of Workplace Acquired Infections (WAIs) is also nipped in the bud.

Discourage drinking and eating at workstations – a proper break in a relaxed area is more inspirational anyway – and the daytime germ count drops even more. Not the zero threshold the day started with, but close.

Ah, and there’s the knock-on effect.

When people feel well, they perform better – more motivated, more resilient, more ready to achieve things. Qualities all companies know are priceless.

It ripples out from there. Greater worth in engagement with customers and suppliers. Bigger reputation and standing.

Sky’s the limit

Better still, health issues are on hold up the line as well – cough, sniffle, tummyache whatever – the company heavyweights start feeling good too. Everyone’s on full song. Like, no more projects in jeopardy because the boss is sick. He’s on the plane to China with the new prototype designs six weeks early.

Feel-good inspires. Feel-good motivates. Feel-good sells. Feel-good brings big bucks.

Kinda worth it, having a go at all those germs, don’t you think?

Helicopter Mums brace for predictable school flu

Anxio0us woman pilot
Whatever’s going down, no way any of that’s happening to my kids

What goes around, comes around.

Which makes it kind of inevitable that whatever of this year’s flu variations little Johnny brought back on that long-haul holiday in Australia, Holly and Maisie are going to come down with it.

It’s the season

Thirty kids in the same classroom for most of the day, windows closed because it’s British summer time, and too early for the central heating to turn on – there’s a swirling mush of germs in there just waiting to grab the right victim.

Not necessarily picked up during the day either – because little Johnny’s Mum trained him to sneeze into his elbow and avoid spreading germs. No air-to-air contact there.

Nothing off his desk either – because little Johnny’s Mum always has a go at him about washing his hands. The other kids think he’s hyper, but little Johnny’s Mum is kinda big and thick-set – and they’ve heard she referees rugby matches.

Forgotten habit

Not that they do the hand wash thing themselves, but they leave little Johnny alone and let him get on with it. Besides, it’s raining outside and little Johnny makes it one too many for indoor football. Plus he’s not looking so good, so leave him out of it.

Isolation but not quarantine.

Because when all those kids go home, they leave their bio-trace behind them, part of their personal biomes.

Not heard of biomes?

That’s the bio-cloud each and every one of us carries around with us. We’re not really ourselves you see, more bacteria than human – our body cells are outnumbered by resident bacteria colonies more than 10 to 1.

Our other selves

Over 100 trillion of these guys live harmoniously inside us, deep down in our gut. We do the eating – they do the heavy lifting of food digestion and assimilating it into the bloodstream. Weird but it works – a synergistic partnership we’ve lived with since we were prehistoric slime.

Trillions more of them cluster outside us – on our skin, in our clothes, and trailing around us in a kind of flowing aura. As we move around, this bio-cloud follows us – an invisible mish-mash of viruses and bacteria – some good, some bad. All swirling around and wisping, like biological smoke.

Walk into a room and this bio-cloud immediately takes possession of the space, making it our own. Twenty minutes, and the room is ours, as samples from any biological probe will quickly prove. More of us – and there’s a jumble, the clouds constantly fighting to outdo each other.

Walk out of the room though, and whole eddies of this mish-mash are left behind. Floating and drifting because they’re lighter than air – only 0.00002 of a millimetre across – they hover just like the kids’ own helicopter Mums, waiting for somebody new to walk in and be colonised.

Spread and multiply

Lingering germs, right?

Which is how come any one of the kids in that class could catch a bug, even if little Johnny is kept home. The flu virus that does it can survive in the air for up to a week if it has to. Plenty time to grab another victim and spread.

More flu germs in the air, more chance to catch them – no wonder whole schools of kids come down with it. Except the littlie ones of course, they get the flu jab up to the age of four.

Yeah, but too young for Johnny.

Heavy sighs from the helicopter Mums. They’ve seen it happen every year.

But it doesn’t have to.

Hygiene hero to the rescue

Zap the classroom with a Hypersteriliser each night and the place is completely sterile. All viruses and bacteria totally destroyed, nothing from little Johnny’s biome to pass on to anyone.

Totally safe, it works by misting up the room with a fine plasma mist of hydrogen peroxide. The germs get oxidised and die, turning the stuff back into oxygen and water – the water evaporates – room cleared, job done.

Less chance of picking up an infection, less chance of a bug that brings down the whole school.

There’s still the hand washing thing of course.

And just because little Johnny does it, doesn’t mean everyone else does. Never mind coughs and sneezes, it’s dirty hands that spread infections faster than anything. Those other kids better wise up fast or they’re going to look pretty miserable.

Which of course is what helicopter Mums are for – even if they don’t all referee rugby.

Oh yeah, which reminds us – enjoy the World Cup!

You’re nicked! How germ CSI fingers you for crime

Female cop
We know it was you –
your germs are all over it

They haven’t made the real Bio-Cop movie yet, though there is a fake trailer for it.

But you can betcha, it’s only a matter of time.

And more likely to be a CSI forensic drama than a horror flick with gruesome germs crawling all over the bad guys.

Science fact

Because reality is, the science fiction of it is fast becoming science fact – and it’s already possible to ID a perpetrator from germs left behind at the crime scene – who they are, where they’ve been, what they’ve been eating and who they might have interacted with.

The buzz-word in this new crime genre is “biome” – the unique germ-cloud or aura we all carry around with us. A personal microbial signature that IDs us far more accurately than a finger print or DNA.

You see, it’s not just that we’re full of germs – our bodies colonised by bacteria that outnumber our own human cells by 10 to 1.

We exude these bacteria too – they’re on us and around us, billowing about us wherever we go.

You was there

And the combination of bacteria we each put out is individually and separately different – according to who we are, where we were born, how we grew up, what we eat, where we live, the places we’ve been – and even the mood we’re in.

Which kinda says don’t pull any funny business like a Hatton Gardens jewellery heist – the cops will nail you so fast, it’s as if you left your personal calling card right there at the crime scene. And biologically speaking, that’s exactly what you’ve done.

Of course readers of this blog already know about personal germ-clouds and auras – “biome” is just a posher way of describing them. And recognising that they’re there is key to the most effective protection against germs we’ve seen yet – oxidising them out of existence with hydrogen peroxide.

Evidence in the air

Because we don’t just pull our germ-clouds around with us – they give off all the time, leaving swirls of themselves behind – a biological smoke trail that lingers everywhere we’ve been.

Best demonstration of that is the aromatic compounds given off by the bacteria on our skin when they metabolise. They make a unique scent dogs can recognise, so the cops can track us. Mosquitoes home in on it too – an “all you can eat” invitation triggered by the smell of our sweat.

And it’s from those lingering germ-clouds that we can easily catch a bug. Everyone goes home from the office at the end of the day – but their germ-cloud traces are still there. They’re waiting for us in the morning too – and over time they build up.

So if somebody’s got bird flu, or norovirus, or any of the really contagious nasties – we can pick it up too. Exposed to it all day with no clue that it’s there – a nightmare outbreak round the office and no-one knows why.

Which is why the hydrogen peroxide treatment. To extinguish the residual germ-clouds left behind after everyone knocks off.

And not just any hydrogen peroxide treatment either.

Serious protection

We mean with a Hypersteriliser.

Misting the place up with an electrostatically charged release of ionised gas plasma that super-actively disperses itself everywhere in all directions – right into every crack and crevice – reaching out and grabbing pathogens on the fly – oxidising all viruses and bacteria stone cold dead.

Result, the whole place is sterile. Safe and biologically neutral when folks clock in next morning. No germs to catch, no illnesses to suffer – unless people have already got them.

OK, so the technology isn’t there yet to prove you woofed the office stapler. But in the meantime you’re safe and protected from germs – all push-button easy.

Be a crime not to take care yourself and your mates like that, don’t you think?

Not enough dirt as a kid? Time for a poo transplant!

Holding tummy
Get rid of the bad stuff and replace it with good

The more we look at our own bodies, the more amazing they get.

We might have sophisticated modern technology in our hospitals – able to diagnose and treat with the most intricate procedures.

But a good healthy baby can pretty well survive without any of them.

Do it all solo

Born into a world of just earth, wind and fire – and a mother’s caring love – it thrives exactly like cavemen’s offspring, millions of years ago.

What! No bath every day in body temperature water? No constantly-changed, irritation-free nappy? No sterilised bottles? No disinfected surroundings? No Calpol!

None of that while growing up either. Like farm kids today. Out in the open, doing stuff and enjoying life. Getting dirty, breaking bones, having a ball. All the the things that Elf & Safety would never allow if they were at school with city kids.

Result? Almost never ill. Tummies like cast-iron. Stiffened resistance to colds and flu. No allergies of any kind. Good, healthy, stop-at-nothing adults.

Nothing like any of us city-types, hey? Sick as a dog at the first sign of cold weather. Sensitive to all kinds of change in food. Slightest sign of any bug going round and we catch it – in bed for weeks, hospital, saline drips, the works.

Hygiene hypothesis

Medics call it the hygiene hypothesis – the notion that growing up dirty teaches the immune system resistance – how to recognise dangerous germs and defend against them.

Because us city slickers have none of that. We grow up in surroundings clean and pure, so our bodies never face any challenges. Even though each one of us has this hyper-tuned defensive immune system, just ready to take on any evil pathogens.

We’re not just us, you see. We’re actually in partnership with a whole load of germs that live in our bodies – 100 trillion of them at rough count, around ten times the number of our own body cells.

Which means one heck of a lot of getting to know who’s who that the immune system has to learn, growing up. Who’s good, who’s bad, who can help if things go pear-shaped. Who’s on our side.

Kind of important to get that balance right. Bad germs live in us just as much as good ones, held in balance so everything stays OK.

Keeping the balance

But every so often something skews that balance. Stress at work or in a relationship – worry, anxiety, obsession, longing. Next thing acid tummy, nerves shot to pieces, mind going dilly – stress.

And here’s this hyperactive immune system just itching to jump in and help – gung ho to clobber anything, so it chooses the first thing it comes across. Which kind of explains why we’re getting such strange allergies.

Attack!

There’s no holding back those immune cells. Which might trigger a reaction to all kinds of things – milk, nuts, eggs. Or even weirder things – why?

Because they’re there – water, money, mobile phones, underwear, sex, computers, exercise, even food and drink. There is also actually a man who is allergic to Nigel Farage, the politician.

So when you say the Six O’Clock News makes you sick, you could actually be right.

It could even be worse than that. A gastrointestinal disorder that your body just can’t throw off. Clostridium difficile or c.diff is so unpleasant, you might feel you want to die. All that goo inside you is out of balance, and without help, you’ll never come right.

Which is where the poo transplant comes in. If you can’t get rid of the wrong bacteria, or fight them off – it’s time to replace yours with good healthy poo, good bacteria, that can.

The power of poo

And not just for c.diff, but for colitis or any other intestinal disorder – even for conditions that haven’t been fully diagnosed yet. Sometimes literally the difference between life and death.

Sounds outrageous doesn’t it? Except human beings have been doing it for thousands of years. The Chinese used it to treat food poisoning and severe diarrhoea – a golden soup drunk so that bad bacteria were replaced by good bacteria from someone healthy. Bedouin Arabs still use fresh camel dung to cure bacterial dysentery.

A yucky idea, but it works!

Wash your hands

But so does being meticulously clean afterwards – which is why you must never forget to wash your hands. Always after going to the loo, always before eating food – because the fastest way to come down with any illness at all is to allow it into your system.

Your fingers touch everything and germs aren’t fussy. From stuff you swallow, from touching your mouth, from touching the sensitive areas on your face – they’ll stop at nothing to get in and grab a hold. And they’ll do that, whether you ate dirt as a kid or not.

Good health, good hygiene – and may you live long and happy.