Category Archives: If Only

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.

Don’t get sick or have an accident. You may never get well again

Man hit by car
Staying safe is getting harder

Don’t believe it?

Well now, just think. How many medical issues have you ever had that did NOT involve medicine?

Especially an injury or corrective surgery. Can’t take chances with infection, right? So there’s usually a ton of antibiotics pumped into you, to make sure you’re safe.

Same thing if you catch a bug and your body takes strain. The Doc has you on get-better medicine so fast, you’re back in action in days – or if it’s serious, a couple of weeks tops.

Except if you’ve checked the headlines lately, the medicos are not looking so positive.
The antibiotics are holding up for now, but more and more nasties are successfully developing immunity. You get the shot or take the pills – and pretty much nothing happens.

Which means you don’t get better. Infection doesn’t get corrected. You could even get sicker.

Suddenly all that hand-washing stuff has new significance, not so? And your mind goes doolally wondering how effective clean hands are against raging MRSA. Or if you want to be really panicky – full-blown Ebola fresh off the plane from Gatwick.

If you said “Not a lot”, you’d be right.  And disinfecting everything in sight is not going to help much either. Because once a resistant bug finds its way into your system, you’re on your own.

So you’ve got to stop it happening in the first place. Destroy germs before they destroy you.

Which means where you are, and everywhere around you. Not just the worktops, floors and surfaces – the space you move around in too. Because there’s more germs in the air than there are anywhere else. It’s 80% of your room space – and they’re riding the breeze, every little microscopic waft of it.

But you do have a defence

One sure way to stop germs is with a superfine mist of hydrogen peroxide.
Yup, the same stuff your own body produces to fight infection.

Except out in the open it’s one-on-one, so that viruses and bacteria don’t stand a chance. The hydrogen peroxide has them for breakfast – totally destroyed, gone.

Yes, gone. Killed by oxidising. The oxygen atoms released in the spray simply rip them to pieces.

So at least now , if you do have a mishap, you’re in sterile surroundings. Less chance of anything taking you over and bringing you down.

Reassuring while those hard-working med teams bust a gut researching for super-performance medicines to keep us all safe, all the time.

Just be careful out there.

Originally posted 2014-08-05 17:49:49.

Now in your high street: the sterilised supermarket

Island in red germs
A sterilised oasis in a sea of germs

You know that sign you get in the loo at hotels and airports? The one that tells you when the place was last inspected?

Well, I was outside my local supermarket, waiting for the rain to stop, when I saw something similar next to the front door.

Except it wasn’t the same.

Instead of “last cleaned”,  it said “last sterilised”.

“Sterilised”. As in “all germs removed”. Like a hospital operating room.

And the sign meant the whole supermarket – plus the warehouse area and cold store – and the staff area upstairs. I know ‘cos I went in and asked the manager. A bit unusual wasn’t it, for a neighbourhood grocer’s?

The manager had this evil grin. They’re a family operation, holding their own in the war for the high street.

“It’s our secret weapon,” he said. “And we’ve got the big names cold. Next time you read about some fridge that hasn’t been cleaned, or mice in the meat section, you’re gonna remember this place and how we’re sterilised every night.”

Every night? I was surprised. Wasn’t it only necessary once a week or something?

The manager was amazing. Busy bloke, yet he took time to natter – “forward facing customer skills” I think they call it. Anyway he had ’em, in spades.

Yes, every night, because germs are all around all the time. You can fit a billion of them on the head of a pin, they’re too small to see. But we drag them around with us – on our skin, on our clothes, followed by a hovering cloud of hazard, wherever we go.

Which means that the store might be germ-free when they open the doors. But by the end of the day it needs doing again. Just like all the counters have to be washed, the floors swept and the shelves disinfected. The daily hygiene habit for business.

Then I asked him how it was done.

And that was amazing too. Because the whole thing was touch-free, nobody lifted a finger. They cleaned the place first, then rolled in this thing like an electronic wheelie bin, and hit a button.

Apparently what it does is mist up the place with hydrogen peroxide, clouds of it everywhere – all through the shop and the shelves and chillers – right into the cracks and crevices too.

Now I remember hydrogen peroxide. My gran used to put it on cuts and scrapes when we were little. Same story, to kill the germs. It used to fizz and foam like crazy. Kind of cool and it didn’t sting. Too iffy for today’s ‘elf and safety wonks.

This fog, it seems, is pretty high tech. It’s a super-fine mist, way thinner than steam or water vapour. And it’s ionised, so it attracts itself to airborne particles like floating microbes, clings fast to surfaces like worktops and shelves – underneath as much as on top – all the hidden areas that tend to get neglected.

It gets better. Cos the stuff is boosted with colloidal silver, another known germ-fighter from the old days. This boosts performance big time, because no known bacteria can survive against even minute traces of silver, especially in its colloidal state.

Forty-five minutes is all it takes. They have three of these machines misting up the place at the same time – the shop first, then the cold store, then the warehouse – in pace with staff clocking off to go home.

Impressive stuff. Which means the manager’s right. I’m not going to go spend my bucks in the superstore, even though they do cost less. I’m going to my local in the high street – a sterilised oasis in a sea of germs  – and I don’t have to use that self-service checkout which drives me crazy.

No point taking chances when I don’t have to.

Originally posted 2014-08-05 17:08:43.