Category Archives: If Only

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.

Why washbasins are useless and obsolete

Ssh hand to lips
It’s no secret – and it’s time we talked about this

No, no, not the washbasin you have in the bathroom at home.

How else are you going to do your teeth, rinse your hair – and all the thousand and one other things that require your ingenuity?

In the big wide world

Away from home though, is a different matter – the washbasins you encounter at work, in the shopping mall, at the airport – and let’s not forget motorway services.

Yes, we can feel that disapproving look. Not your best experience, eh?

Because even in the poshest designer washrooms, it seems this is an issue we’ve never got right. Those washbasins are as much of a switch-off as anything else.

Not to look at – they probably reek Italian chic.

We mean to actually use – to stand in front of the thing and do what you’re supposed to do.

Wash your hands.

Won’t, or don’t?

We’re beginning to understand now why this is an issue so many of us brush aside. Hence the same shocking statistics we’re always banging on about:

We’re not thinking this right, are we? Not addressing the REAL problem.

For which we’re really sorry – we owe you and ourselves a massive apology.

Just try actually washing your hands in any of these away from home washroom places, and you’ll see why. Yeah, they look very swish and impressive, but did anyone ever follow this thing through?

Let’s start with the plug.

Uh huh, usually there isn’t one. Back in the day, people used to swipe them – but nowadays that’s to encourage you to put your hands under running water – more convenient, more hygienic. They even have infrared sensors, so the taps switch on automatically – no touching anything, just hold your hands underneath.

Messy, messy

Problem right there.

Although you’re holding your hands over this large dish-shaped catch area, the water cascades off the back of your hands, slooshing onto the vanity slab around the basin as you move them about.

And if you’re the type who wets your hands before applying soap, you’ll also find water dripping everywhere as you reach for the dispenser.

OK, now you’re into it and getting energetic, working your fingers every which way and over the backs of your hands too. Lots more watery splatter – over the vanity slab and onto the mirror behind.

You might also find, as you move your hands back and forth, that the taps are a little too enthusiastic – water slooshes out of the front of the basin over your clothes – or onto the floor if you’re quick enough to see it coming and step back sharpish.

Right, you’re done and you rinse the soap away – awkwardly at arm’s length to avoid the puddle of water at your feet. Tiles, slippery, accident waiting to happen. Bad, Jim.

The drying nightmare

Your hands are wet, and your next problem is getting them dry. And when we say wet, we mean sopping – they’ve just been under the tap.

So what’s the first thing you do?

Instinctive this – you shake off the excess, just like that wonderful and brilliant man Joe Smith shows us we should.

Yeah, shake it off – just like the family dog. More water splatter, all over the place – and as we’ve observed elsewhere, with germs of all kinds in the drops.

Now you’ve got to dry yourself. But not at the vanity slab you won’t.

Any paper towel stacked on there will be an awful soggy mess. So somewhere else there’s a machine fixed to the wall – either a paper towel dispenser or one of those jet turbine blow jobs. Or worse, a clunka-chunka pull-down linen towel – already wet from other people.

Not the most enjoyable experience of your life, right?

The Ew! factor

Because do you feel clean and refreshed, or somehow short-changed and tainted? The same way you might feel if the actual loo you tried to use stank of noisesome nastiness, and hadn’t been flushed in six months?

Hoo boy! No wonder so many people don’t wash their hands after going to the loo. Or should we say AVOID washing their hands after going to the loo?

Because how would YOU shape up to it – sopping vanity slab, water splatters all around, a spreading puddle on the floor underneath? If you could avoid it, you would, right?

Which why we say that washbasins are useless and obsolete – fine for the Nineteenth Century, but the way of the dodo now.

Waterless sanitising

Because the alternative that already exists – and we all know about – is to avoid yuckiness altogether and use a sanitising gel.

No water to splatter around, spreading more germs than we wash off – no problem with drying.

One quick squidge and we’re away, wiggling it round our fingers until it evaporates. Healthy, hygienic – what’s the problem?

Getting it to you at the right time of course, making it easy to use too.

Your hands have icky stuff on them, yes? So you don’t want to touch anything.

So there needs to be an automatic squidger right there at the loo, to dispense the stuff onto your hands before you move away. One of those infrared sensor thingies could do the job – let it squirt out a handful from underneath one of them.

OK, now you move away, fingers already working the gel. By the time you get to the door, your hands are already dry. And there’s no germs on the handle when you touch it – the INSIDE one, that is – because everybody else’s hands are germ-free too.

Washbasins, yuck.

In this still new and shining Twenty-First Century, why do we still put up with them?

Spreading Corrie virus can be stopped

Girl with TV camera
The show must go on,
contingency plans are already in place

“Deadly manflu virus,” Simon Gregson called it – already signed off for a week as Steve McDonald in TV’s popular soap.

A possible disaster for TV viewers as their favourite programme falters.

Seems the rest of the cast and crew are flaking too, as this mystery illness takes hold in one after another.

Favourite soap in jeopardy?

Will cameras stop?

Not if producer Stuart Blackburn can help it. There are always contingency plans. But so far they stop short of everyone on the Street coughing and spluttering on camera.

Not surprising that it’s spread so fast though.

Sending sick actors off to bed doesn’t take the germs away, whatever they are. Especially on the interior sets – inside the Rover’s Return and everywhere else there’s plenty of places for viruses to hide.

They’re survivors too. Unlike the poor cast. Some types can last for a week or more, clinging to sets and scenery. Microscopically small no-one can see them.

But cough, choke, gag, sneeze – everyone knows they’re there soon enough.

A real headache for the production team. Because lurking germs continue to infect other cast members, even though the first lot are booked off and safe in bed.

A giant-sized job

And can you imagine disinfecting a warehouse-sized building full of intricate nooks and crannies – making sure there’s no germs anywhere on any surface?

Especially up high in the lighting grid. Or round the back of those impressive and convincing scenery walls.

All that electricity. Getting up there with wipe-clean disinfecting liquids is asking for trouble. A sure risk to life and limb too.

Right, it can’t be done.

Not so anyone can be sure.

So is life on the cobbles going to be sniff, splutter for the next few months while this “deadly manflu” does the rounds?

It doesn’t have to be.

A TV studio might be impossible to disinfect by wipe-clean. (Tweet this)

Technology to the rescue

But it’s a breeze with a good fogging system. And a sure-fire way to sterilise the entire place to hospital operating-theatre standards – no viruses or bacteria anywhere. Safe and gone.

It might take a while though. Big studio, lots of space. A couple of hours overnight when everyone’s grabbing some shuteye.

Time enough for a couple of Hypersterilisers to mist up the place and let their magic reach everywhere. A studio is a massive place to treat when you get behind the scenes.

Don’t worry though. Corrie people can be sure it will work.

The mist is hydrogen peroxide, one of the most powerful antimicrobials around.

And it gets everywhere because it’s ionised – a treatment that makes it more like a super-gas – actually a plasma, charged with electrons that get everywhere by physically trying to escape from each other – but grab hold of oppositely charged viruses and bacteria and oxidise them to oblivion.

Sterilised, safe and secure

A one-way ticket if you’re any kind of germ.

But a totally sterilised studio to work in if you’re an actor or camera crew.

99.9999% germ-free. Safe as houses.

Not just the studio either. But dressing rooms, wardrobe, make-up and other work areas – the whole shooting match.

Sure, it might be a few days before Steve and Liz McDonald, Sally Ann and a few others are fully back to normal.

But at least nobody else should come down with it – or anything else. And Kal Nazir can leave the Street without any unhappy lasting experiences.

Your favourite show would be protected.

Get-ahead dentists see the light

Dental nurse
No cavities, no bacteria,
no viruses, no problem

Well, not exactly, because they’ve got the door closed.

With good reason.

That room is being sterilised by high energy pulses of ultraviolet light at wavelengths between 200 and 320 nanometres.

Any germ in there – any virus, any bacteria – is getting its DNA blitzed to hell and gone, with no coming back.

Five minutes and the surgery is ready for the next patient.

Sterilised for every patient

They call the machine that does it The Rumbler.

Because it rumbles on the floor – all finished in oak at Malmsey Dental Practice – quicker for an easy wipe-down. Staff are hot on hygiene at Malmsey, and the patients love it.

More accurately they love Gloria, the petite New Zealand gap-year student they’ve hired to push The Rumbler around.

Practice manager Pat Hunniford’s niece, she came in one day to see the set-up and grabbed the machine when there was an awkward glitch moment between patients.

The entire dental staff fell in love with her smile, and she made the patients feel like a million dollars as she ushered them in to their appointments.

Especially when they realised that The Rumbler she was wheeling around totally sterilised the place.

With that smile and that reassurance, the Malmsey dentists hired Gloria on the spot, the ultimate natural.

Open wide – and no germs

So now Glorious Gloria wheels the machine to each of the surgeries between patients, shushes the dental staff out for their ten-minute breather, activates the machine, checks the waiting room while it runs, then switches off it to rumble into the next surgery and go find the next patients.

Business is booming.

There are four dentists at Malmsey, and two hygienists.

Thanks to Gloria, they’re booked solid for the next two months – and the waiting list for new patients could re-paper reception.

Because Gloria is way more than a pretty face. An intending med student herself, she tells everyone how the UV rays from The Rumbler sterilise each surgery before every patient, so she’s actually keeping them all safe.

With her Hollywood smile – a cosmetic sales incentive all by itself – she explains how nobody must look at the machine while it’s running to avoid any harm.

Safer, stronger, faster

It’s pulsed UV from a powerful xenon bulb that is way more intense, yet safer than the old mercury vapour lamps they used to use. Faster too, which is how they can sterilise every surgery before every patient.

Pat Hunniford organised the appointments system to allow for the time – and staff feel more motivated with the frequent breaks to make phone calls, catch up on gossip, or simply chill in a way they never could anywhere else.

Again and again they tell Gloria she has a guaranteed career in PR, or modelling, or even in show-biz.

But she just flashes that amazing smile and carries on with The Rumbler.

A whole-room autoclave

It’s not a rumbler at all of course, it’s a Hyperpulse – the same size as a small photocopier – with a tall xenon bulb that pops up and down like a periscope when the machine is activated.

Not many practices have the Hyperpulse, but when the dentists realised they could sterilise their whole rooms as well as their instruments for every patient, it quickly became a must-have. (Tweet this)

Meanwhile summer is coming and they know that Glorious Gloria is going to give them the best attendance records yet.

They also know the clock is ticking.

Gloria’s mind is made up – and she fully intends to be first in line when the University of Auckland opens its doors at the end of February next year.

Sad for the dentists. But they also know they have the happiest – and healthiest – dental patients in the whole of UK.

Why can’t you blast computer viruses with hydrogen peroxide?

Angry woman with computer
The only good virus
is a dead virus

Yes, a virus on your computer is the pits.

Especially the kind that don’t roll over dead – that keep re-infecting, over and over again.

Which is why, with apologies, there was no blog yesterday.

And why today’s is hung over with this bit of a rant.

Ctrl-Alt-Del

Because a really pernicious virus is like Ebola.

All the vital functions of your computer start shutting down, the entire system is under attack.

And it’s not just what it does to your day – that’s your whole life going down the tubes.

You don’t come back from Ebola unless you’re very lucky. And you don’t come back from a major computer infestation unless you’re very lucky too.

But here’s the bad part.

You can’t even have a go at your computer with hydrogen peroxide.

Super germ-killer that it is, even the industrial strength 30% solution has no effect on infected hard drives or CPUs.

Infuriating that.

Reliable germ-killer

Because hydrogen peroxide can take out any biological virus or bacteria easy-peasy.

Basically like water with an extra oxygen atom, it rips harmful pathogens apart by oxidising them. The extra oxygen atoms release to tear apart their cell structures beyond any chance of survival.

They are gone.

Especially when you use a Hypersteriliser – the thing that mists up the room for an hour or so and annihilates all the germs. Yes, you’re right, it takes sterilising rooms to a whole new level.

So why haven’t they made one for computers?

Clever thing, that Hypersteriliser.

Instead of just spraying willy-nilly – an iffy and very watery fogging method that needs strong concentrations of hydrogen peroxide to work – it mists up the place with an ultra-fine spray that is finer than water vapour.

Ionised into plasma

Finer than just about anything, because it’s ionised.

More eco-friendly too because it allows lighter concentrations – just 6%, the same as you buy in the chemist for disinfecting cuts and scrapes.

But with a massive difference.

Ionising the hydrogen peroxide changes its state to more like a gas, actually behaving like a plasma. Every molecule acquires an electrical charge, buzzing with energy.

As the micro-mist leaves the nozzle, these molecules jump to escape from each other – two objects with the same charge repel each other, remember your O Level science?

That means they disperse quickly, as far away from each other as they possibly can. But contained by the walls and ceiling of the room, so they pile in wherever they can get. On every surface, horizontal or vertical. Underneath them, behind them, and into every crack and crevice.

All the places that normal wipe cleaning – and disinfection – can’t reach.

It’s a dry mist too. Safe with electrical connections – especially sensitive health-care machines. Tiny voltages are unaffected, there’s no moisture around keyboards or input sockets.

The killer charge

That same charge though, attracts the stuff to every opposite-charged object – tables, work surfaces, instruments, machines, floors, walls, ceilings.

Everything floating in the air too. Like microscopically invisible pathogens – viruses and bacteria swarming around to infect things.

The charged hydrogen peroxide is attracted like a magnet – actively reaching out and grabbing hold.

The oxygen atoms release, and rip the pathogen cells to pieces – end of story.

Well, almost.

Because the stuff is just water with an extra oxygen atom, right? So that’s all that’s left – oxygen and water. But in such small quantities, it evaporates almost immediately.

And the silver bullet

Oh, and yes, did we mention the silver?

To give this ionised hydrogen peroxide triple-whammy hyper performance, colloidal silver boosts its killing power by over three times. Any virus hit by that is dead in an instant – including Ebola.

So why can’t we have this stuff for computers? (Tweet this)

Come on, you geeks. How hard can it be?

Your Doc must speak English – but so must you

Diagnosing Doc
Your Doc can’t suss what’s wrong if you can’t say either

It’s kinda wonderful that our country has so many people of different backgrounds and cultures.

Say what you like about immigration, one thing it does bring us is oxygen.

New attitudes, new ideas, new ways of looking at things.

Determination too.

When you change your country, you start again from nothing.  You know you’ve GOT to succeed.

Johnny Foreigner’s new home

Which of course includes the language.

After all, you chose a new country. You’re the one who has to fit in.

Which gets kinda critical when you go to the Doc. More crucial still if you wind up in A&E.

Because though your medic might be the most highly trained medical observer in the world – it’s you who provides the info for the diagnosis.

You’re the one with the condition, right? It’s you who’s looking for help.

But how good are you at describing what’s wrong? And how good are you at recognising what your own body is telling you?

It’s not just English you have to speak, it’s meaningful sense.

So you’re an Aussie here on vac and you speak the lingo, no probs.

But “Aw, I feel crook,” might not be enough for that bright young doctor from Poland to suss out what’s ailing you.

“It’s me gut, aw geez,” doesn’t help much either, even though you’re rolling around in agony.

Only you can know how your own body feels. So only you can explain it, even though you’re not a doctor, or even close to one.

Fatal mistakes

How accurate is what you say? And how accurate is your Doc’s understanding of it?

If you guess and you’re wrong, things could get serious. Like the pensioner who OD’d, when his German doctor upped his diamorphine dose 20 times.

Language can be a killer, so can your understanding of it. (Tweet this) What you THINK you know.

Take Esteban, desperate to find a job because there’s none in his part of Spain.

Constipado,” he says he feels. And the Doc starts looking at his stomach.

Constipation is what it sounds like, it even says so on Google. Enter “Estoy constipado” and you get the return “I’m constipated.”

Except he’s not constipated, he has a cold. And a cold so bad that he’s sitting in A&E is not likely to be your average cough-sniffle.

Which might be just how our next bird flu epidemic starts.

It’s not the Doc who got the diagnosis wrong. It’s the patient who explained the symptoms wrong.

But how many times has a doctor got into trouble from such a simple misunderstanding?

So contrary to a lot of folks, it’s not discriminating or excluding to insist that everyone speaks the same language. And understands the same idioms.

There are too many times when lives are at stake. Telling the Doc what’s wrong with you. Telling the cop how the accident happened.

The same songsheet

And that applies to locals too.

“It’s me leg, innit?” might not be enough to stop an unnecessary amputation.

N’est pas?

Over-85s rock night clubs Big Time

Granny Partying
ALIVE, baby!
And no germs on me!

Non-stop parties, five nights in a row. Sex like rabbits never knew. Bonkers, the lot of them. So that kids of 50 have no idea what they’re missing.

It’s not just happening, it’s happening more and more. Currently, Britain has 12,000 people aged 100 and over – 191 of them with driving licences.

And why not? Death rates are coming down. Living expectancy is going up. Our seniors are fitter, more alert, and getting more out of life than ever before.

Super-oldies

Some of it is diet. Most of it is exercise. The driving force is attitude. But none of it would be possible without the dramatic rise in hygiene standards since World War Two.

More specifically, we human beings have developed better ways to protect ourselves.

Cars have seat belts and air bags. Ultra-light thermal clothing keeps out the cold. So does double glazing and central heating. Hats and sun-cream hold back harmful UV rays. We all have phones if we need to call for help.

Living fit and healthy past 100 is not just within reach, it’s already a reality.

And all about to go down the tubes.

Doomsday disregard

Because the one protection we have yet to secure for ourselves is against germs.

Oh sure, we’ve got hygiene practices and sterile procedures coming out of our ears.

Joseph Lister wised us up to washing hands back in the Nineteenth Century. Flame sterilisation was even practiced by the Romans.

And of course, we have the miracle of antibiotics. No worries about infection, the Doc has pills to sort it.

Or not.

You see, there’s a problem – antibiotics over-use.

We’ve been bingeing on antibiotics for nearly 100 years now – so that to your average virus or bacteria, they’re strictly ho-hum. Take the pills and nothing happens.

500mg three times a day? Been there, done that.

Killers and more killers

Result – there’s not just killers like MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) – there’s 270,000 different strains of it – particularly prevalent in hospitals.

Why?

Because that’s the most likely place you’ll have open cuts and airways – germ portals into the body. All that life-changing surgery we’ve invented – it could be life-ending overnight.

Scary, huh?

Because if these antibiotic thingies aren’t actually working any more, our life expectancy can sink back to 50 – or even 25 if your work is physical, prone to lots of cuts and scratches.

Well yes, but then antibiotics aren’t really protection are they? And right now there’s a bunch of super-docs working round the clock to make them kill germs again.

If you think about it, antibiotics are fix-its – intended as cures, restoratives to bring the body back to health, compensation for germ-strikes.

They don’t actually stop you catching a germ in the first place – like a crash helmet stops you getting a head injury.

Proper protection

But there’s lots of stuff that can. Germ-killers that can take out viruses and bacteria before they get anywhere near you. Carbolic soap, bleach, formaldehyde – or oxidisers like ozone and hydrogen peroxide. Ultra violet light is also like a death ray.

So what the heck are we doing, letting germs get to us – when we’ve already got all these weapons we can use against them?

Sticking our heads in the sand is what.

Except for health professionals, we all think of hygiene as a schlep.

Oh yes, we do – we’re a nation of soap dodgers. One in five of us doesn’t wash our hands after using the loo.

Even though, with the right mind-set, it can actually be FUN! (Thanks, Northampton General Hospital!)

Up to hygiene plus

On top of which, in just twenty minutes we can STERILISE any room so there’s NO VIRUSES or BACTERIA – all dead and gone – just by touching a button. An auto-robot mists up the place with hydrogen peroxide and makes it safe again.

Feel better? You should – as long as you up your hygiene habit.

Yes you, time to up your game.

Do you want to live to 100 or what?

 

Are antibiotics going to kill us?

Woman worried about pills
Will they save your life
if you need them?

Unlikely, but the pathogen they’re being used against might.

Because increasingly, antibiotics are not working. The virus or bacteria involved has developed a resistance to it.

So what defence to we have? What can we do?

Strangely enough, stop using antibiotics so widely.

And not just among humans. On farms across the UK antibiotics are often shovelled into livestock as fast as possible. They  protect animal health in high-density production areas – an uncomfortable reality causing a number of MPs to consider a ban.

But strict controls for animal antibiotics are already in place across the EU. They may not be used to boost growth for example, a big business motive for many producers.

Even so, pork producers say they cannot work without them, stressing to the House of Commons science and technology committee that a ban “would make pig production in the UK pretty much impossible“.

Poultry producers have already cut back, according to a National Farmers’ Union spokesperson – but to stop losing chicks, last year they had to raise hygiene standards to “better than hospitals”

And there is the direction we’ll eventually have to take – upping hygiene levels.

To underline it, only last week Scottish hospitals reported a virulent super-MRSA has crossed over from cattle to humans, possibly from dairy milk or undercooked beef.

The clock is ticking. Unless we move, antibiotics WILL kill us – not by themselves, but by not working when they are supposed to.

In China, where the avian flu virus H7N9 is a continuing issue, poultry houses are routinely fogged with disinfectant sprays to destroy germs before birds are infected. Hens can’t die if there aren’t any germs.

Which shows – as we’ve already known for yonks – that prevention is better than cure.

At Salford Royal Hospital in Greater Manchester, NHS staff are proving it. With automatic robots that mist patient areas with super-fine hydrogen peroxide. Viruses and bacteria are oxidised to nothing – with a “significant decrease in infections.”

“I am not a qualified physician, and I don’t want to give this injection,” sang Lord Kitchener in 1963.

With germ-killers like hydrogen peroxide around, injections or tablets of antibiotics may no longer be quite so necessary.

Phew, the nasties won’t get you this time!

Ebola rescue within reach

Rope Ladder
Avoid viruses and bacteria – take hygiene habits up a level

Wash your hands before proceeding further. Wash you hands before anything.

Because if Ebola really has you worried, that’s one sure way to avoid getting it.

Reality check

You’re not in Africa and you’re not sick. Sure, the nearest Ebola case is three thousand miles away. And sure, you have no connection with anyone from Sierra Leone, Liberia or Guinea.

But you’re worried all the same and want to be safe. Even though you’re ten times more likely to come down with flu, which kills hundreds of thousands more than Ebola every year – and even now you’re starting a sniffle.

Basic hygiene

OK, so wash your hands. Because if you’re that worried, you’ll already know that Ebola can survive on surfaces like glass for almost two months. And if you’re going to get it, it will be on contact. Touch the glass and you could be in trouble.

A bummer that, because you don’t normally think of it. Clean the tables and chairs, do the floor, use a good powerful bleach so it kills everything.

But forget the window that poor girl visiting from Monrovia leaned up against, wishing she was back home.

Well, she got her wish – to become one of the 520 cases reported in Liberia. let’s hope she makes it.

Clean is not enough

But you have a problem too, don’t you? Because when you go all out to disinfect a room, how many times do you remember the windows?

Or the walls come to that, or the tops of cupboards, the underside of tables, the armrest of chairs, the door handles, the… you can see where this is going.

Yes, cleaning all those surfaces is a good thing. But if you want to be safe, it’s not enough. Not against Ebola, not against anything. 50 days, Ebola can survive on that glass – and that’s according to the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL).

Safe by auto-robot

But you can take it out in twenty minutes. Sterilise the whole room clear of ALL virus and bacteria on all surfaces and in the entire air space too – total neutralisation.

Used increasingly in hospitals and clinics, hydrogen peroxide auto-robot sterilisers are protecting us more and more in every day life too.

A super-fine dry mist of ionised hydrogen peroxide is released into the room, spreading upwards and outwards to permeate across surfaces and into every crack and crevice from the ceiling down.

Germs eliminated

Any viruses or bacteria are grabbed by electrostatic charge and oxidised to oblivion – ripped apart by extra oxygen atoms they have no defence against.

Only water is left, in such small amounts it evaporates immediately. The room is safe – and so are you. No germs, no smells, no hazards.

Which of course includes the window glass – and anything else that might have been touched by anyone.

Didn’t know it was that easy to be that safe?

Count on it – sterilise the rooms around you, and Ebola can’t come near.