Category Archives: If Only

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.

Originally posted 2015-03-20 12:09:50.

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?

Originally posted 2015-03-18 12:36:14.

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?

Originally posted 2015-02-03 13:37:08.

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?

 

Originally posted 2014-11-12 13:09:08.

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!

Originally posted 2014-11-05 15:08:04.

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.

Originally posted 2014-10-28 17:45:42.

Hey, that’s the Germ Alarm! Can you really keep your kids safe?

Carbon Monoxide Bomb
You have a carbon monoxide alarm – but germs are every bit as deadly

Deadly stuff, carbon monoxide.

You can’t see it, you can’t smell it, but you don’t take chances. So like a lot of careful people, you fit a carbon monoxide alarm.

But you don’t have a GERM ALARM do you?

Same thing, you can’t see them, you can’t taste them, but they’re there in their billions – all the time, every day – and every bit as deadly as carbon monoxide.

But what do they say?

Ignorance is bliss, right?

Because any room is full of germs and we’re quite happy to walk in without checking.

Or worse, let our kids do it. Thirty children in one classroom – with goodness knows what kind of bugs they’re exposed to.

Scary.

Of course, we don’t really need an alarm.

Viruses and bacteria are ALWAYS there. It’s their natural environment. Just as it’s their natural behaviour to try to invade our bodies and do us down.

So what do we do about it?

A spray of room freshener perhaps? A quick wipe-down with Dettol?

Not exactly the best defence against norovirus, or e. coli – or whatever bug some other kids might have brought back from holiday. Malaria, yellow fever – in some parts of the world they’ve even got polio.

And you can die from pretty well any of them. Or more accurately, your kids can.

But there is a defence against a room full of germs. A totally effective one too.

You see, one thing that no virus or bacteria can survive is being oxidised. Having extra oxygen atoms shoved at them so their cell structure is ripped apart.

Which is what hydrogen peroxide does. The same stuff that disinfects cuts, whitens your teeth and bleaches your hair. Or as a good second choice, ammonium chloride.

And here’s the clever bit. Spray a room with hydrogen peroxide that’s been ionised, and it naturally reaches up and out, dispersing everywhere – through the air, into cracks and crevices – drawn there electrostatically in a mist that’s lighter than water.

It’s naturally drawn to germs too. Latching onto them the same way a magnet grabs iron filings.

Which means they’re gone – over skedover.

The room is sterilised and your children are safe. All for about the same cost as a cup of coffee and a sticky bun. Rescued from germs every day – by a machine about the size of a wheelie bin, that does the job in twenty minutes.

If you get stuck or have an emergency, there’s a handbag-size  ammonium chloride aerosol that does the same job in about the same time.

A bit under-powered alongside hydrogen peroxide, but it clobbers the germs and very effectively. All you do is press the button and leave the room.

Slightly more effective than a carbon monoxide alarm.

It gets rid of the hazard instead of squawking without doing anything.

The Health & Safety people would be proud of you.

But not as much as you are of course, with your kids running round, glowing with health.

Still scared of germs? A very wise attitude.

It’s a big world out there, full of germs, pathogens, microorganisms – whatever you want to call them. And there’s a squeezillion, susquetrillion, megamillion more where those came from

But at least you know it’s safe where your kids are.

Originally posted 2014-09-22 11:03:08.

You’re not killing yourself working – that’s germs doing it for you

Man with headache
It’s germs – you’re not imagining it

The career move was a quantum leap.

From obscurity to marketing director at a single bound. Top banana in one the biggest media companies around.

Next stop fame, fortune and a run at the top spot in perhaps five years.

As if.

The first week was all euphoria. Glad-handing and endless lunches. Not a lot of time in the office.

Week two was the real thing. Head down and getting stuck in.

Round about when the headaches started. And the nausea. A weird feeling of unease. Worst of all, out of nowhere, an overnight lack of confidence.

Where? How?

The condition vanished away from work.

Even the M25 felt better.

Weekends were great. Home with the family, everything went away.

Not so great on Mondays.

By the third week, going to work brought looming dread.

The headaches started in thirty minutes. And the unwanted sensations. Claustrophobia, feeling dirty, a loss of balance, and always impending nausea.

A trip to the Doc didn’t help. Everything fine, fit as a fiddle.

So why was the job so lousy?

It wasn’t the job, it was the building.

Because week four was out at one of the branches. Intensive stuff – crack of dawn start, all day hard at it, after midnight back at the hotel. An adrenalin high, riding the crest of the wave. Exulting in the stuff they got though.

Then back to doom and gloom.

It couldn’t go on. Either something gave, or it was a new job.

And then the report at the back of the filing cabinet. The one that got buried because of the expense. Sick building syndrome. Move somewhere else or pull the place down.

Not options, either of them. Cash flow wouldn’t permit. How else did anyone think the job happened in the first place? Not a whizz-kid from Oxford or LSE, just plain and simple 9-to-5 ordinary.

Except there was a quick-fix for sick building syndrome. Not permanent, but enough to make people feel better. Yes, there were others – and everyone hated the place. Hated the mould and the rising damp. Hated the bugs that they gave off. And the smell.

In marketing they had a whip-round. Bought a triple-whammy machine that sprayed hydrogen peroxide. Killed germs in the air, the blurb said. Sterilised the place so there was nothing there. Right about the time when the balance sheet kicked upwards. The first lift-off in three years.

Sales had a whip-round too – and offered to go halvies. The stuff misted up their office till you could hardly see. But the bugs went.

And the depression. And the feeling of hopelessness.

Best turnover figures in twenty years.

Management got the message after that.

New offices in a new building. Everybody motivated.

Something else seemed to have happened too.

They kept the machine. Bought another two like it.

Something to do with keeping everybody healthy. Nobody ever pulled sickies when the rooms were sprayed.

Amazing that, really. Never getting sick again.

Because this was London, England – where everybody got colds, and colly-wobbles, and goodness know what.

Except not any more.

No germs, no sickness. Not a dickie-bird.

Smiley faces all round.

Originally posted 2014-09-11 15:27:18.

Keeping kids healthy – daydream or nightmare?

Girl with tissue
Germs in the air – catching as long as they’re there

Roula chose Budding Leaf for the name of her nursery school. It seemed perfect for young minds and bodies starting out and growing up.

Mums loved it too. There were plants all over the place and an adventure garden outside for when the weather was good. And every child had a growing patch of their own. A place to grow carrots, or lavender, or whatever.

The first year was fantastic. A nice bunch of children, a glowing write-up in the local glossy, smiling faces at the bank. A real story-book success.

The second year was great too – for the first three days.

Then the coughs and sneezes started. And the upchucks. Went round the little ones like wildfire.

It was the slippery slope. Parents all aggro and swearing, double-parked to rescue their darlings. The awful CLOSED sign. Neighbours looking daggers. Police ranting about causing obstructions. The community people demanding an inspection.

The doc put Roula on Xanax. Her husband took the double scotch option. Neither of them knew what the heck had hit them. First-time victims. Severe After-Holiday-itis.

Why? The whole place was spotless. Roula did the charring herself every afternoon. The front room, the loo, the whole disinfectant and air freshener treatment.

Her husband, Matt, made the connection. Stuck on the wall in the “What I did for the holidays” drawings. Long-distance bugs, brought home on the plane from Phuket, Kerala, Fuerteventura and Orlando. And that twinge of upchuck from little Ravi – that kind of smell never went away.

Aeroplane-flu or runny tummy, it didn’t matter. With the kids all together, they had to come down with it. And the germs hung in the air at the end of the day. Ready to have another go if the first time didn’t work.

Orlando. Disney spells. One of the Mums had brought her a goody-bag. Roula half-looked at it, thinking about the closing notices she would have to send out.

Half-wrapped in a Cruella de Vil T-shirt was an aerosol can. Total release fogger – kills germs in seconds. A curiosity from her friend Siobhan, as OCD about hygiene as she was.

Germs in the air. Roula hadn’t thought of that. Coughing, sneezing, of course. No wipe-down would ever fix it, no matter how thorough. What they breathed was not sterilised.

She put the can in the middle of the floor, shut the windows and doors, pressed the button and left. Then peered in from outside to watch what it did. Billowing clouds of white nothing. Her heart sank.

An hour later she dared to open the door. No cloud, no smell. The lingering pong of upchuck was gone. Nothing else, but it felt fresh, with a slight lemony tang.

Right there and then, her confidence spiked and she took the CLOSED sign off the front door. Budding Leaf was back in business and she would tough it out.

There were stayaways of course. Ravi with his Delhi-belly. Trinity and Andrew with their sniffles. The Allen twins with their funny cough. Half the school.

But the next day was a gas and nobody got sick or anything. The germs were gone.

Of course Roula was on the phone to Siobhan for more of the stuff. And Siobhan didn’t know. She’d lifted it from the room-valeting trolley as a lark. Total room steriliser, had to be good for something.

It took Roula a day on the phone and another on the Internet. Now Budding Leaf gets treated every night with hydrogen peroxide. Cost a bit to set it up, but all the Mums were up for it. Sterilised nursery school – what was not to like?

Budding Leaf is moving next spring. A bigger place round the corner. They need it for all the extra kids. Extra healthy kids. The local glossy made a big thing about that too.

Originally posted 2014-09-01 14:03:05.

There’s restaurants and restaurants – why’s this one so heavenly?

Girl on stairway to light
No germs or bacteria, no collywobbles or funny tummy

It’s a classy place with a famous chef.

Prime location, soft lighting, designer place settings.

And why not? You’ve earned this.

A night out to please every indulgence.

An impressive menu too.

AIR CONDITIONED, it says at the bottom. Well, of course.

STERILISED DAILY.

Sterilised?

You call the maître d’.

Sterilised – has there been a health problem?

You’ve read about these celebrity places.

Surprise inspection – rats in the kitchen, worms in the salad, everybody down with norovirus.

Surprise is right – a pleasant one for you. And a thing of the future, happening now.

Seems the whole restaurant is sterilised for your safety and protection.

You glance round. At the soft drapes and high ceilings. The expensive-looking chandeliers.

You’ve watched Downton Abbey, you know how tricky those things are to clean.

A confident grin from the maître d’.

They have a robot.

A nifty thing on wheels that they roll in when everyone’s gone. Close all the windows and doors and the thing mists up the place – an ultra-fine mist of hydrogen peroxide. Seems no germ can withstand it. Not even this ebola stuff that has everyone in a tizz.

Apparently this mist stuff is ionised too. So it rises up, into, and under everything. With charged particles that grab hold of bacteria and viruses – shoving oxygen atoms at them. Dead and gone, unable to touch anybody – and that means you.

And they do this every day, so you’re safe. The whole restaurant, the kitchen, the loos – even the cloakroom.

When they open the doors, you’re into a place where germs can’t touch you. Unless that bloke with the sneeze on Table Four brought something in with him. Not so likely to get to you though, if the whole place is sterilised.

So you can relax and indulge. Even you with your sensitive tummy. Dare to be different and get away with it.

Like the trout almondine. If you’ll pardon the expression, it’s to die for. Meaning of course that it’s heavenly.

Good choice.

And as you knew when you sat down, you deserve it.

Originally posted 2014-08-12 11:30:34.