Category Archives: Safe & Sterilised

Why wipe-clean won’t wipe out killer germs

Professional cleaners
A world of difference between clean and safe

Powerful stuff, chlorine bleach.

Strong enough to blow the top of your head off.

“Kills all known germs dead,” as the famous Domestos claim said.

And it does.

If you use it properly.

Take that, horrible germ

Except none of us do.

Because there’s one heck of a difference between cleaning and disinfecting. (Tweet this)

Most of us bung some bleach in a bucket of water with some detergent, grab a cloth and wipe away at everything we see that looks dirty.

Everything we SEE.

But you can’t see germs. They’re too small.

Something like salmonella or campylobacter – easily present in uncooked meat, particularly chicken – are only around 5 microns across. Small enough to fall THROUGH an unglazed earthenware plate.

Both are likely to be found on your chopping boards or kitchen counters – spread around all over the place in any drops of water from washing food  beforehand.

Uh, huh. So doesn’t the Domestos or kitchen surface cleaner get rid of them?

Depends on how you use it.

Wipe clean is not enough

If like most of us, you spray and then wipe, getting rid of all the dirty marks – probably not.

Because strong though the germ-killers you are using might be, they need TIME to work.

Usually 2 minutes or more – what the manufacturers call “dwell” time. And if you’ve already diluted your bleach before you start, you should allow even more – a weaker solution needs longer.

Ah, but we don’t do that most of the time do we?

Bleach is pretty potent, we know it attacks all kinds of surfaces if we leave it. So we tend to wipe it on, then dry it off quick with a paper towel.

Not good, Jim.

The stuff needs time to work, plus it ought to be sluiced off. You don’t want traces of bleach getting on to the food that you’re preparing. You could make your whole household very ill.

Also, if you think about it – your wiping cloth gets less potent the more you use it.

Whoops. That can actually make things worse.

Germ spreaders

Not enough time to kill the germs. And actually TRANSFERRING germs to other surfaces.

Pretty bad, hey?

Now imagine the same in a school or restaurant kitchen – professional catering setups serving to hundreds of people. Get salmonella or campylobacter running loose in that lot and you’ve got big problems.

And those are just two of the viruses or bacteria nasties that could be lurking there. There are billions more possible.

Not just on the counter tops or chopping boards either.

In the cracks between the counter and the splashback. Down the front of cupboards and storage lockers. In the gaps between the cookers and the fridges. In and around the edges of things. Under the sink and table surfaces. On the walls, on the floors. The ceiling too.

Oh yeah, and in the air too. Where most of them are. Around 80% of the room space. Where your wiping cloth won’t reach.

Hungry pathogens, hanging around everywhere.

If there’s food around, bacteria will go for it. Not as nice as a warm human body, but stick around, somebody might get careless. There’s plenty to eat in a missed grease spot or gravy spill. So it’s only a matter of time.

Which is how – even in kitchen of the best restaurant in the world – germs can breed and multiply, eventually triggering multiple infections with everyone wondering why.

Safe, secure, sterile

Far better to treat cleaning and disinfecting as separate jobs – and doing both properly.

Cleaning, by eye as usual, is good enough to start.

Followed up by disinfecting every single surface and the air itself. Or even better, sterilising everything.

Impossible, right? It would take an age to wipe all those surfaces, if you could get to them all.

But that’s exactly what a Hypersteriliser does.

Without touching anything – no transfer from one place to another – it mists up an ionised cloud of hydrogen peroxide that spreads everywhere throughout a room and oxidises “all germs dead” in around 40 minutes.

Safer than bleach? You bet, your own body produces hydrogen peroxide to kill infection whenever you get a cut or skin puncture. Oh, and when it’s done killing germs, it reverts back to harmless oxygen and water.

Just get out of the room while it’s working, it can make your eyes and throat a little uncomfortable.

Spreads everywhere?

Forced diffusion

More like a power dispersal.

Because it’s not just hydrogen peroxide mist. Ionising it turns it into a plasma, a kind of super-gas.

In the nozzle of the Hypersteriliser machine, ultra-fine molecules of hydrogen peroxide are charged by high voltage electricity. Each with the same negative charge, they are naturally – and aggressively – repelled from each other. Remember magnets at school?

Spreading as far away as they can get, they fill the room quickly, forcing themselves hard up against everything they touch – and underneath, on top, behind – everywhere they can get. Deep into cracks and crevices too – actively trying to escape from each other.

Bad news for cells of viruses and bacteria, lurking on surfaces or floating in the air. Remember magnets again?

With an opposite positive charge, the hydrogen peroxide molecules are violently attracted to them. They reach out and grab hold, welding themselves together – which causes extra oxygen atoms to be released, ripping into the viruses’ and bacteria’s DNA, destroying their cell structure, making them dead.

Effortless, easy

And all without lifting a finger.

No grunt work, scrubbing and wiping. No overpowering smells. No germs anywhere.

The whole place is sterile.

So now you know wipe-down doesn’t always work, how long are you going to keep doing it the old way?

 

Originally posted 2015-05-05 11:59:44.

How to catch a plane without catching a bug

Cabin attendant
Welcome aboard our germ-free flight, no norovirus please!

Ready for take-off?

Ready for this year’s bout of norovirus, or whatever it is you’re in for?

Happens every year, right?

Bugs on a plane. Every passenger’s holiday nightmare. Cabin crew too.

And it keeps happening. However much the airlines say they decontaminate their planes.

Everybody’s sick of it

Sure, on short-hauls – from here to the Med and back – there’s not much time for more than a lick and a promise. A quick wipe-down maybe, empty the toilets, grab all the rubbish out of the gangway.

Sometimes not even that. Come and gone in under twenty minutes. So on-board germs get a return trip. Twice as many people to infect. Victims of time-table urgency.

Back at home base though, every aircraft is supposed to get a thorough deep clean. Nose to tail scrub-out “with sodium hypochlorite diluted to a strength of 100mg/l and a 5% solution of formalin, which is itself a 40% solution of formaldehyde gas in water” exactly per the official World Health Organisation cleaning of aircraft guide.

Wipe-down procedures are laid in detail in this impressive manual. Yet still people keep coming down with bugs – cabin crew particularly, exposed to it more often.

What’s wrong?

Are airlines skimping on the job, or are these procedures simply not good enough?

From the looks of it, a bit of both. So if your airline is cutting corners, good luck to you.

But what about how it’s done?

Check out this short clip of cleaning under the seats.

It might look the business, but remember, space is really tight when you’re a passenger, so a lot of stuff winds up under the seats – shoes, bags, snacks, food debris from inflight meals, magazines, nappies, inflight blanket – you name it. Not just on the floor itself, but pushed up on the underside of seats, against the wall, wherever it’s possible to squash something.

Half the job

Uh, huh. But only the floor is cleaned. Thorough enough, but missing out any smears there might be elsewhere. Go through the WHO manual and you’ll see that detailed though it is, there’s lots of other places get missed too – behind things, under things, in the cracks in between things.

Easy places for germs to lurk. Like norovirus. Or Ebola if your aircraft is flying that way.

Which means that even though your plane might be cleaned and disinfected several times over, it can still harbour germs that can get you – as this Air New Zealand case showed up in 2009.

So why aren’t these measures enough? There are measures for avoiding bugs like norovirus, why aren’t they working?

One reason is our mind-set.

If we don’t catch a bug by breathing it in, we think of it as being spread by physical contact – touching each other, or touching surfaces like grab handles, seat backs and armrests (fomites) – actually contracting it through the skin.

ALL germs are airborne

Ahem. Ever noticed what happens when you swirl around in a dusty room? Clouds of stuff everywhere, sometimes so thick you can’t see – floating around, taking an age to settle back down.

Germs are like that – floating around in the air, all the time. And they’re millions of times smaller than a dust speck – invisible, riding the air in their billions – often small enough to go right through your aircraft’s HEPA air conditioning filters without stopping.

Which means clean all the surfaces without cleaning the interior air, and the airlines are only doing half the job. In the still moments at the gate before you step aboard, these germs have time to settle – ready for your hand to make contact on the seat back, as you steady yourself to sit down.

Hello, norovirus.

Unless of course, your airline is using a Hypersteriliser – a machine that kills germs by spraying them with hydrogen peroxide. A lot safer than sodium hypochlorite or formaldehyde – a banned substance anyway in European biocides.

Vaporised hydrogen peroxide is already proven to be superior in ridding germs from aircraft. But by ionising the hydrogen peroxide into a plasma, the Hypersteriliser is even more effective.

Plus performance germ-killing

Two things happen with ionisation.

The hydrogen peroxide molecules become actively charged, like magnets with the same poles together, immediately trying to escape each other. This forces them to disperse in all directions, up through the air and hard up against all surfaces, burrowing deep into cracks to avoid each other.

The charged molecules are actively attracted to the opposite charge of viruses and bacteria, latching onto them in mid-air or wherever they happen to be – oxidising them to oblivion.

The stuff doesn’t clean the plane – that job still has to be done first. But it does get rid of the germs – all of them – to a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 6.

Your plane is now sterile. 99.9999% of viruses and bacteria – gone. No norovirus, no anything. (Tweet this)

Just the ticket, eh?

You might like to mention this to your airline next time.

It’ll keep you out of trouble – and your cabin crew would be glad to know.

Originally posted 2015-04-23 11:50:32.

Not off work again! Could be infected office

Unhappy businesswoman
It’s not you, it’s the office – repeated illnesses coming back over and over

What is it – cough, sniffle? Or heave, upchuck?

You have our sympathy either way. It’s never nice to be out of it.

And this is a repeat performance?

There’s a lot of it going round, as they say.

Not your fault

Sick building syndrome maybe – when your workplace environment develops an unpleasant and growing condition that can affect people in all kinds of way – headaches, nausea, or even more serious.

Lots of things can cause it – poor air circulation, damp, dust, chemical pollution. Many of which can never come right for structural reasons.

Mould on the walls for instance means water seepage somewhere, and not always a busted pipe. The only thing is to rip the place down and start again.

The price of being social

But not always.

A lot of our ailments are a legacy of working in groups, sharing enclosed spaces – an open-plan office, school classroom, lecture theatre or catering area. Enclosed because it’s cold and wet and dark outside – we need the central heating and electricity.

How many of us are there? 20? 30?

All together in one place because it’s easier to work that way – to talk to each other, interact, stimulate and motivate ourselves. Good thinking, Jim.

Except that pushes up the germ threshold. At least half a dozen of us will have some kind of bug at any one time – either about to knock us out, or wobbling back through recuperation. WAIs – Work Acquired Infections.

Some of us will be more sensitive than others too – more easily clobbered by anything going around.

And yes, it does go around. Not because we’re breathing over each other and touching shared objects (fomites) during the day – the phones, keyboards, documents, coffee machine, whatever. If we’re smart we already know that and wash our hands often.

Oh really? If only that were true.

Against office illnesses

OK, so somehow we all make it through the day – and then we go home.

If we’re working late, we might see the cleaners at their job before we do.

See them vacuum the floors, empty the waste baskets, take out the trash, wipe down the desk tops, spray air freshener. Nice and tidy for the morning.

Hold it right there.

Just because everybody’s gone home doesn’t mean the germ threshold’s gone down.

Whatever viruses and bacteria there are – and there ALWAYS are – are still lingering.

Still on the phones, keyboards, documents, coffee machine, whatever. Still hanging in the air which is around 80% of the room space. Still waiting around for everybody to come back tomorrow.

Uh huh, an infected office and we don’t even know it.

Waiting to get you

Maybe tomorrow we’ll all come down with something – maybe we won’t. A risk we get away with most of the time because our body resistance is good and we lead healthy lives.

It’s still an infected office.

Because vacuum, wipe, spray does nothing to get rid of the germs. The standing germs that are always there. Mostly in the air too. Waiting to be breathed in. Or to grab hold on contact as we walk through them.

Why not? They’re so light they could ride the air for weeks. And even an average bacteria can survive without a host body for anything up to a month.

An infected office, waiting.

So what happens when for some reason our body resistance is down? The baby kept us awake last night, or we had to work seriously late, or we ran 10 kilometres with the lunch-time keep fit mob?

But get rid of the germs and the threat goes away.

No infected office, nobody pulling sickies all the time.

Bunking off now is back to “the dog ate my homework” excuses.

It’s the easiest thing in the world too.

Press button easy

The cleaning team come in, trundling a Hypersteriliser with them.

They swamp the place out as normal, close all the windows and doors, hit the button and leave.

Sixty seconds later, the machine starts misting up the place with ultra-fine ionised hydrogen peroxide – so fine and light it takes on bacteria at their own game.

Because they’re ionised, the fine molecules of hydrogen peroxide spread rapidly – all with the same highly charged energy forcing them to separate from each other.

Super-excited and buzzing, they reach everywhere – driven hard to fill up the entire space – jammed against walls, floors, ceiling and furniture, shoved fiercely into cracks and crevices, trying to get away from each other.

That same charged energy actively attracts them to the opposite charge of viruses and bacteria.

In mid-air, on the fly, or wherever they happen to be, the hydrogen peroxide molecules grab at these germs, thrusting oxygen atoms at them to destroy their DNA and rip apart their cell structure.

World War Three, billions of times over – in a microscope.

Forty minutes later, the place is sterilised safe. The Hypersteriliser shuts down. The mist dissipates into oxygen and water, which promptly evaporates. Eco-friendly natural.

No more infected office. No more bugs to knock you back when you come in in the morning.

Beautiful on the balance sheet

Better still, if you’re the boss – no more absentees, better productivity, a fatter bottom line.

Don’t you love it when a plan comes together?

Originally posted 2015-04-21 12:07:47.

Whole rooms sterile safe like surgical instruments

Girl student raises hand
Safe from viruses and bacteria – in this room the germ threshold is zero

Hotels know the concept.

It’s why glasses in the bathroom are wrapped in paper – and why there’s a band across the loo.

Sanitised for your protection.

Feel-good reassurance that your room is safe and free from germs.

If only

Wouldn’t that be great?

Thing is though, that “sanitised” only means clean.

And there’s a huge difference between clean and safe.

Sure it smells clean. Except all an air freshener does is mask odours.

But hey, clean is good. It’s the first part of setting your mind at rest.

Because better still and right now, sterile surroundings are possible. With scares like Ebola and MRSA around – they’re rapidly becoming part of our everyday. Real hospital operating-room sterile, the same as a heart surgeon’s instruments.

Hospital safe

Easy too – much simpler than the sterilising autoclaves you’ll find in hospitals – which typically require high temperatures and partial vacuums to make them work.

OK, the business of cleaning still has to be done. Dirt is dirt, that requires physical scrubbing, wiping and vacuuming to be removed.

But microscopically small, germs still remain – less than before, but still a hazard. And because you can’t scrub air, they’re still filling the empty space that is most of a room – lighter than air and able to survive for weeks or more.

Time to bring in the Hypersteriliser – about the size of a small wheelie-bin, and just as manoeuvrable. Ready to sterilise your room to the same Log 6 Sterility Assurance Level that hospitals demand. All at the touch of a button.

Like hospital sterilisers, the Hypersteriliser uses ionised hydrogen peroxide gas plasma that destroys virus and bacteria cells by oxidising them into oblivion.

Low temperature ionisation

The difference is ionisation by electricity instead of heat – kinder to sensitive materials, generating less moisture and leaving no residues. And of course, instead of a small cubby-hole, the entire room becomes the sterilising chamber.

The ionised hydrogen peroxide is released into the room in an ultra-fine mist – a safe and ultra-low 6% solution, the same as you might buy in the chemist to whiten your teeth.

The cloud of molecules disperses rapidly in all directions – repelled from each other by the negative charge they all have – forcing them to the far limits of the enclosed space, hard against furniture, equipment, walls, floor and ceiling or any other objects in the room.

And of course, deep into any cracks or crevices that let them escape each other further.

The charge also energises them, releasing ozone, ultraviolet light, hydroxyl radicals and highly reactive oxygen species – oxidising atoms that actively seize harmful pathogens, attracted by their positive charge – latching onto them and ripping them to shreds.

This action dissipates the charge, the hydrogen peroxide reverts to oxygen and small amounts of water, which immediately evaporate.

How do you know it works?

You can’t see germs anyway, so you can’t see when they’re not there either.

But here’s a clue.

One indication that bacteria are active is the smell caused by infection or their reaction with organic substances. After hydrogen peroxide treatment, all odours should be gone.

The other giveaway is mould.

Dirty black and difficult to remove when active, it subsides to a pale grey as its cells die off with oxidising. Its discolouration is still there of course, but now an easy wipe should take it off – job done. No mould, no germs.

What haven’t we told you?

Ah yes, if you’re worried about using chemicals to make the room sterile, remember that hydrogen peroxide is manufactured by the body as its own germ-fighting defence. It’s a chemical yes, but occurs naturally to do exactly the same thing.

So there you have it. A way to make rooms safely sterile in around 20 – 40 minutes, depending on size.

It doesn’t kill the germs we might carry around on our bodies, or inside us.

But it does reduce the germ threshold to zero so we can’t catch anything new when we walk in.

Yes, prevention is better than cure. So here’s a hospital-type way to stay out of hospital and stay healthy too.

Should help with all the pressures they’re having right now. Phew!

Originally posted 2015-04-20 12:11:06.

UV pulse blitzes whole rooms sterile in minutes

Surprised doctor
Making safe and sterile
is a lot faster than you think

Looks are deceptive.

Here’s this machine that, for all the world, could be a compact office photocopier.

Except this particular box of tricks takes out viruses and bacteria – attacking like a death ray to destroy their DNA.

Safe, fast, sterile

Five minutes later, all germs are gone. Everywhere the death ray probed is sterile.

A death ray that is, for viruses and bacteria.

Potent for humans too, as we all know. The energy that powers it is the same that gives you sunburn – ultraviolet light. Overdo the exposure, and you’re in for an uncomfortable time.

But with this nifty Hyperpulse machine, you’re the one calling the shots.

Ultraviolet to the rescue

OK, apart from sunburn you’ve probably experienced UV before – the teenager’s big giggle. It makes that cool purple glow on the dance floor in discotheques – triggering bright fluorescent colours and showing white underwear under dark clothing.

Ah yes, but that’s not the same UV.

Also known as “black light” the show-biz version is longwave ultraviolet – UV-A. Pretty well harmless and very popular for special effects.

The stuff the Hyperpulse emits is way more powerful. Which is why it needs care.

This is UV-C – very short wavelength – on the fringes of becoming X-rays.

And no wonder it kills germs.

No wonder you should stay out of the room when it’s in use too. You don’t want to risk eye or skin damage. But if you’re curious, you can watch safely through a glass window. The short wavelength UV cannot pass through.

HIgh intensity energy

Start the machine with its remote control – and first thing a glass tube pops up out of the top, like an extending periscope. Inside is the xenon light source, the secret of the Hyperpulse’s efficiency.

Back in the good old days, germ-killing UV-C rays were generated by mercury vapour lamps – the same light source as in those ultra-bright streetlamps. The silver ones, not the orange – those are sodium vapour.

Continuous light from the mercury vapour lamps exposed the room being treated to UV-C, killed the germs and the place was sterile. Except it took several hours to do.

Technology has moved on from there, which is how the Shield Hyperpulse gets its name.

Split-second power killing

Like lightning or a photographer’s flashgun, the powerful 200 watt xenon lamp discharges UV-C energy in split-second concentrated bursts – pulsed at one second intervals to regenerate the charge.

It does the same job as the mercury vapour, but in 5 to 10 minutes, depending on room size.

That makes the Hyperpulse perfect for situations demanding rapid turn-around. A super-busy A&E, or a dentist’s surgery. Quick sterile blitz between high volume patients – 10 minutes and the facility is ready for use again.

Impossible by hand in the same time – not even just the high touch areas, like bedside rails, over-bed tables, television controls, bedside and bathroom grab-bars, or the toilet seat in the patient’s bathroom.

Which means, working under pressure in time-crunch conditions, that any form or sterilising doesn’t get done beyond a very quick wipedown. Less than perfect in a world where HAIs are an increasing concern.

Time vs efficiency

There is of course, a downside. A trade-off between quick results and maximum effectiveness. Hence the machine’s only 99,999% germicidal performance or Log 5 kill rate.

Like any light, the pulsed xenon rays cause shadows – areas where the UV-C does not penetrate – the reverse side of beds and treatment room furniture, behind or under objects in it.

One way round this is multiple exposure from different positions, moving the machine in between. Another is to position mirrors where regular coverage is required. Both extending the time to make sterile.

Better still is to supplement Hyperpulse sessions with a nightly follow up by Hypersteriliser – full Log 6 treatment with fine-mist hydrogen peroxide plasma to ensure the entire room is 99.9999% sterile.

Hiking hygiene habits higher

Expect to see more of the Hyperpulse. With antibiotics become less effective as pathogens become resistant to them, preventative hygiene is becoming more vital daily.

Over-stretched A&E working flat out, with worries about c.diff, MRSA, VRE, CRE, or acinetobacter?

99,999% gone in ten minutes.

Originally posted 2015-04-16 11:57:26.

Why go sick when you don’t need to?

Cruise ship passengers
All that money – and the best time of your life – don’t let a bug ruin it all

Think of it as a warning.

As the weather warms and thoughts turn to holidays, the first of this year’s cruise ship tummy bug outbreaks hits the headlines.

Two San Diego-based cruises to Central America and back at £1,000 a pop just for starters. Sick at sea again.

The onboard tummy bug

Norovirus again – and from the looks of it, full-on gastro. Holiday dreams of a fortnight afloat, sunk in a gut-wrenching nightmare. The price of an unguarded moment maybe in a super-cool cantina in Puerto Quetzal or Puerto Vallarta – where the locals have cast-iron tummies and the turistas drop like flies.

Avoidable, yes. The tacos de frijoles have a certain reputation.

But more likely hygiene issues in an misadventure off the beaten track.

And norovirus is highly contagious.

Get back to the ship before the symptoms set in – an enclosed space shared by 3,000 people – and the inevitable happens, everyone is sick.

Because who remembers to wash their hands and take precautions when you’re having fun? And when it’s difficult to find a place at all until you get back to your cabin?

By then of course, it’s too late. Whoever you touched, whoever you shared food and drinks with – the gastro takes hold like wildfire.

Stop it happening again

OK, the cruise people can’t stop the wayward adventure.

But they CAN minimise the outbreak and control the spread – prevent it reaching all 2,000 passengers and 1,000 crew. Fewer people need to fall sick.

All it takes is a number of onboard Hypersterilisers – the whole ship sterilised by hydrogen peroxide plasma – a zero germ threshold throughout, no viruses or bacteria anywhere.

Because this is not the first outbreak on either of the ships, Celebrity Infinity or Legend of the Seas. And gastroenteritis is a major recurring onboard sickness as stressed in the US Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) own schedule for Vessel Sanitation.

A weighty document, it details exactly how a cruise ship should be sanitised after an outbreak. The hard way, by rubbing and scrubbing.

“After both ships docked, crews went to work scrubbing down every inch of the cabins and common rooms.”

Not necessarily that effective. If you think of all the inaccessible nooks and crannies that exist on a cruise ship, there are thousands of places a virus could lurk, even after a deep clean sanitation blitz.

Reinfection threat

Nor can the ship’s HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) air conditioning system do much to filter out the virus. Norovirus cells measure 0.04 microns, but the minimum size a HEPA system can filter out is only 0.3 microns.

Even though the ship has been thoroughly processed, norovirus can survive on hard surfaces for seven days or more.

By which time the ship is back in Central America in the middle of its next cruise – all ready for the new crop of passengers – with no clue where the new outbreak is coming from.

Which is why the Hypersteriliser is so vital.

Force-fed dispersal

The super-fine plasma airborne mist it generates is ionised.

Actively charged, every molecule is vigorously trying to escape from its neighbour. It spreads everywhere by force – the molecules rushing to fill the whole air space and jamming up hard against every surface – underneath, behind, everywhere.

And of course, deep into cracks and crevices.

Even better, the actively charged mist is attracted to viruses and bacteria like a high-powered magnet – grabbing them and ripping them apart by shoving oxygen atoms at them.

No germ can survive, the ship is sterilised. Any source of infection now is brought on board as food or cargo – or on the persons or in the baggage of newly joining passengers.

No bugs next time

No norovirus, no bugs of any kind. Nobody coming down sick. Your holiday is safe.

You might want to mention that to your cruise line before you embark.

Two weeks is a long time to be ill when you’re not seasick.

Originally posted 2015-04-15 11:01:37.

Kiss goodbye to sepsis – today and every day

Lips
For the love of life,
we all need to show we care

Let every pair of beautiful lips remind you.

How beautiful life is. How much love there is in the world.

And how easily it is all taken away – with a simple scratch, a little cut, one of those nothings we never think about.

Infection – kiss of death

Because, little scratch or no, if ever the germs take over, suddenly you’re faced with raging illness.

What’s happening to you, is it a major disease? Ebola, malaria, or polio?

You can’t talk. You can’t stop shivering. Your muscles ache. You can’t go to the loo. You can’t catch your breath. You’re convinced you’re going to die. And your skin suddenly looks awful.

It’s major all right – a major infection called sepsis.

Never heard of it?

One of our biggest killers

Neither had the 37,000 other people it kills every year. Dead from infection that ran out of control and took over their bodies. Dead because antibiotics didn’t work – the bacteria that triggered everything is immune to them.

But that’s why the lips.

A beautiful girl called Emma Straker loved wearing red lipstick. Out of nowhere she came down with sepsis and died, only 19. Red lips are how she’s remembered.

Since then, concerned people everywhere have helped raise money to fight this dreadful affliction. They show their support by taking a selfie with red lips – and posting it with a donation to the UK Sepsis Trust.

Even more so today – because all over the country, it’s Kiss Goodbye to Sepsis Day.

Because with care and early enough treatment, sepsis can be beaten.

Prevention is better than cure

It starts with a simple infection.

So the best possible defence is to avoid contact with germs in the first place – not always easy, not always possible.

But at least germs can be stopped dead in any room BEFORE you step into it – sterilised with hydrogen peroxide.

Zero germ threshold, zero exposure.  All it needs is a Hypersteriliser. Daily treatment so that nothing ever gets a foothold again – in schools, hotels, restaurants, public offices, buses, trains, planes, work places, hospitals, care homes, everywhere.

So that any cut or chest infection or other minor ailment isn’t escalated by other bacteria into a raging, out-of-control monster.

People do survive sepsis. Some completely, some with a lasting disability.

Hygiene – kiss of life

Those lips can remind us that it’s possible – with kisses all over the hospital wards where sepsis is treated – kiss-marks to mark successful recovery.

Just like the walls of palm prints in Africa which proclaim “I survived Ebola”.

Sepsis is whole body infection run out of control. All of us can get it, if we’re unlucky or careless.

And all of us can avoid it – by upping our hygiene habits. (Tweet this)

That really is the kiss of life.

Originally posted 2015-04-10 16:49:32.

How to kill superbugs before superbugs kill you

Happy wman doctor
Superbugs? Yes but antibiotics aren’t the only defence we’ve got

“Look out,” the government says, “there’s a superbug outbreak coming. 80,000 people could die in one go.”

Down in the mouth about it?

Don’t be. Because there’s over 100 billion microbes ALREADY living there. In your mouth, that is – more than 15 times the number of people living on earth.

Germs everywhere

Better believe it. And just one tooth has over 100,000 living on it – greater than the biggest crowd that can fit into Wembley.

So when you start thinking about “the germs are coming”, better calm down before you give yourself a heart attack. They’re already here.

Fact is, though we have big ideas otherwise, we’re just a bunch of microbes ourselves. A whole load of specialised cells living together, walking around, full of ourselves.

Uh huh.

Reality, we’re an alternative version of the Great Barrier Reef -microbes instead of coral polyps, kinda like germs ourselves, at least we share our bodies with them – a complete living microbiome.

We are germs too

We’re riddled with germs – and need to be.

Don’t think of your body as a sterile temple, it’s not. Every inch of us is colonised by bacteria – some good, some bad – but pretty well all of them necessary for our bodies to continue to function.

Your gut, for example, has billions of bacteria that handle digestion. They do the work and our bodies are charged with energy as a result.

The secret is that everything has its place and exists in balance with everything else. Throw the balance out and the body suffers. Which is why this superbug issue gets to be such a problem.

Once upon a time we used to be able to take them out with antibiotics.

Great while they lasted, but the bugs got wise and developed immunity. Easy enough to do when you reproduce yourself several million times an hour, correcting and improving yourself as you go along.

Antibiotics came out of the 50s – so the bugs have had seventy odd years at it. Plenty of time to dream up new defences when those stupid old humans sit on their butt thinking they’ve licked the problem for good.

Superbugs? No wonder.

Continuous mutation

Because effective thought they were, antibiotics couldn’t target everything.

And with continuous mutation, the bugs they were designed to destroy aren’t just immune, they’re not even the same any more.

But we’ve got to be careful, because we’re made of bugs too. We won’t just shoot ourselves in the foot, we could take ourselves out altogether.

So what defence do we have?

Very simple – avoid, avoid, avoid.

Step outside the enclosed environments we live in for an hour or two – and sterilise the whole place.

Not us, our living space. No viruses, no bacteria, nothing. Blitz the lot so they’re gone.

We’re fine and in balance with our existing bacteria already – we don’t need a bunch of new ones screwing things up and making us dead.

But the trick is to do the WHOLE place, not just some of it.

Wiping down surfaces and floors might feel like making things safe, but it’s too hit and miss.

Mostly miss.

It’s a pain to do as well. Hard work, rubbing and scrubbing. And never getting underneath or behind everything. Never being sure there’s nothing lurking in the cracks.

Brute force, with finesse

Which is why we use the Hypersteriliser. It pumps out hydrogen peroxide, which kills all viruses and bacteria, but reverts back to oxygen and water so it doesn’t harm us.

And the Hypersteriliser ionises it into a dry-mist plasma, so it gets everywhere by force – way better than anything we could do with a hand wipe.

Ionising charges the hydrogen peroxide particles so they all go frantic, trying to get away from each other. They’re lighter than air too, so they spread up and out – underneath, behind and into every crack and crevice they can find.

That same charge attracts them to germs like a magnet. They grab out and latch on – in mid-air, on the ceiling, through the coils of cabling behind electronic equipment, everywhere. Oxygen atoms release on contact and all those pathogens are gone.

To do the same job by hand would take forever – but allowing time for the plasma to do its work thoroughly, the average room is clear and safe in around forty minutes.

Of course the superbugs are still out there in the Great Outdoors and you could get unlucky.

Safe at last

But nary a one can survive indoors as long as you sterilise the place first. Not MRSA, not c. difficile, not e. coli, not acinetobacter baumannii or any of the other current crop of nasties. Not even Ebola.

Feel safer now?

Remember to wash your hands too and you should be untouchable.

Good health!

Originally posted 2015-04-08 13:32:13.

Germ-killers aren’t supposed to kill us too

Rush to AandE
Bleach kills germs, but has serious consequences

We’re weird, and getting weirder.

Like, have you ever wondered where we get our masochistic Nineteenth Century convictions about keeping healthy?

Actually, it’s more about the things we use to KEEP us healthy.

Do we really want things to be like this?

Medical mindset

Antiseptics have to sting, medicines  have to taste awful, and disinfectants have to smell so strong they take the roof of your head off.

True isn’t it, that if your tummy medicine doesn’t taste like the end of the world, you KNOW it’s not going to work?

Except that maybe, just maybe, the doctors are coming round to thinking otherwise.

Because buried deep in a recent issue of Occupational & Environmental Medicine is a report about the use of bleach as a disinfectant and the potentially harmful effects it has on children.

Well, hello reality.

Super-toxic

How many of us remember school rooms ponging to high heaven – so strong we got headaches, felt dizzy and please Miss, I don’t feel very well before rushing outside to throw up?

Seems that from way back, our phobia to get rid of germs has driven us to use some pretty toxic preparations – they kill germs, yes – but they do a pretty good number on us too.

Bleach and carbolic  – has your body ever suffered anything quite as noxious in the name of good health? Sure, there’s no germs in the place, but the air is not breathable either.

So it comes as no surprise that the learned O&EM report links bleach with respiratory problems among kids – specifically influenza, tonsillitis, sinusitis, otitis, bronchitis and pneumonia.

In homes and schools where bleach is regularly used, all of these conditions are all too common – even the risk of re-infection is 18% higher too.

Are we mad or what?

The killer germ-killer

Once upon a time the king germ-killer of choice used to be formaldehyde. Effective certainly, but fatal if ingested, highly irritable to the skin and breathing airways, and linked repeatedly to cancer.

This stuff is so toxic it’s now banned pretty well world-wide for general use – and treated as highly hazardous by industry.

Check the side effects of bleach and they’re pretty much the same, yet still we keep using it as a frontline defence. And have you seen what it does to plastics and lots of other materials?

Do we really want our kids’ insides to suffer like that?

Plus it’s difficult and unpleasant to use too. Rubber gloves and face mask.

And even then, it’s only effective as a wipe-down disinfectant. It doesn’t kill all germs, only some – and despite the fumes, does nothing to clobber pathogens floating around in the air – which let’s face it, is 80% of the indoor space around us.

Yes, we’re masochistic.

So here is this clumsy, toxic, evil-smelling stuff that doesn’t exactly do all the things it’s supposed to and we keep on using it.

The safe steriliser

When all the time there’s another Nineteenth Century germ-killer that is so completely safe to use, our own bodies manufacture the stuff to defend against infections – which kills ALL viruses and bacteria – and which leaves no trace of itself after use, the whole place is odour-free and sterile.

Yup, it’s our good friend hydrogen peroxide – the same teeth-whitening, disinfecting and colour-bleaching secret of “bottle blondes” that you can buy over the counter at Boots or Superdrug.

But with a difference.

Souped up in a Hypersteriliser, it ionises to work as a plasma, actively spreading everywhere as a super-fine mist – pushed hard against walls, ceilings, floors, furniture and underneath things too, even deep into cracks and crevices – actively snatching at viruses and bacteria to rip them apart by oxidising them.

And when it’s all over, it reverts back to oxygen and water, which immediately evaporates to nothing. No coughs, no colds, not even a mild twinge of headache. Slightly less hazardous than the other things we try – which could be more closely related to paint-stripper.

Yes, germs are dangerous and need drastic action.

But we don’t have to kill our kids for it. (Tweet this)

Originally posted 2015-04-07 08:12:52.

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.

Originally posted 2015-03-25 13:11:24.