Category Archives: Safe & Sterilised

Ooh! Norovirus does the dirty on your wallet too

Businesswoman worried
Being sick costs money – and who can afford an unhealthy bank balance?

It’s that time of year again.

Not that norovirus ever takes time off.

Ask any cruise ship passenger, this stomach-churning nasty strikes in warm weather as well as cold. Blue sky holiday? Holiday blues, more like.

Norovirus season

Right now it’s on the rampage again. Sixty children out of action at a New Forest school last week. Another 32 off yesterday.

90 out of the school’s 350 total – a whole quarter absent and the place is still open!

It might not be an epidemic, but it’s pretty damn close. Because – highly contagious and a hardy survivor – norovirus never lets go.

Contagious is right – 1,000 times more virulent than any flu virus. And if you’ve ever seen how fast coughs and sneezes spread through a bunch of junior school kids, you’ll know what a runaway wildfire flu can be.

Plus norovirus takes 24 hours to happen. So infected kids can mingle with the healthy ones without anybody knowing. The slightest touch is enough to transfer it. Playing tag with stomach cramps and diarrhoea.

The hands have it

Then there’s the fomites. The things children touch that others touch too. Desks, chairs, pencils, pens, door handles, computer keyboards, gym equipment, toys, and everything in the lunch hall.

Norovirus can survive on surfaces without a human host for a week, ten days, or more. Any child touching them catches the bug and perpetuates the spread. Touching other surfaces and other kids, keeping the infection going.

Which is where the costs start snowballing.

Most norovirus outbreaks focus on medical issues. But the money side is just as bad.

In a people-intensive place like a junior school, it’s not just children who go off sick, it’s teachers too. But they have to be paid for, even though they’re not there. So do the supply teachers who come in to substitute for them – assuming the school remains open.

If it gets really serious, closing the school is another cost. The whole staff have to be paid, even though they’re doing nothing.

Piling on the pounds

Then there’s containment. No school can keep the books balanced if it’s closed. So specialist crews have to go in and disinfect the place. Crews that cost money.

They need to be thorough. Most “deep clean” procedures have little or no effect. The virus hangs on in cracks and crevices – even in the air itself. And if the contact time with bleach or whatever the purifying agent being used is too short, the infection bounces back again.

In 2002, the Holland America cruise liner Amsterdam suffered repeat outbreaks on four consecutive cruises, despite rigorous cleaning. A whole cruise liner aborting its mission, four times in a row. 1,380 passengers at a time. 1,380 refunds, 1,380 grumpy complaints to friends who chose other cruise lines.

Plenty, plenty lost revenue.

The deep cleans didn’t work. So the only thing was to take the ship out of commission and disinfect thoroughly – a major income-earning unit off-line for more than a week. With expensive hand treatment right down to the fomites of bedding, TV remotes, bibles – and all the poker chips and currency in the casino.

Not good enough

The New Forest school could easily be the same. Germ-killing bleach is fine if it gets everywhere, but normal wipe-clean methods never do. The virus lives on, under, behind, or on top of things. In inaccessible places, clinging to the walls, the ceilings, the light fittings.

Which means JAM (Just Add Money) and the school remains closed. Because the job has to be done again. And again. Until it’s either fumigated properly, or so long passes that the virus dies out.

Meanwhile, the infected children are all at home. Not in isolation either, there’s other family. Mums running ragged, probably with other children to worry about too. And Dads, escaping to the office, but not immune either. All at risk, because who of any of them ever remembers to keep washing their hands?

So businesses in Southampton, Bournemouth – and all around south Hampshire where these Dads work – start having norovirus outbreaks as well. Key staff off sick and not producing. Work projects stalled, orders not being filled, revenue not coming in.

Suddenly, a price tag that could run into millions. And misery – financial and otherwise – for thousands of people along the South Coast.

All because little Jimmy, or Kieron, or Sally-Anne, or Marguerite did not wash their hands – nine times out of ten, the way norovirus starts in the first place – the Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease.

Can it all be avoided? The outbreak contained? All these costs controlled? Life return to normal?

It could be a long process – and a lot of pounds down the drain before anything happens.

To the rescue

Unless of course, Hypersterilisers are brought into play – not just for health’s sake, but to protect everybody’s bank balance.

These deceptively innocent-looking machines destroy ALL viruses and bacteria in a room in around forty minutes. Their super-fine spray of ionised hydrogen peroxide plasma is electrically charged to reach into every remote corner and crevice, grabbing and oxidising germs to oblivion as it does so.

It might take a while to do a whole school – overnight perhaps, running each machine from one room to the next. But once it’s done, the whole place is sterile – no germs of any kind – totally safe.

Of course, once the children come back, they bring their germs with them. Most of the time, OK – assuming they’ve recovered – but often carrying others. Flu, other tummy bugs, MRSA – all kinds of bugs that can’t be detected, because they’re too small to see.

And they’re there alright. Each of us trails a bio-cloud of germs with us wherever we go – and leaves traces behind, wherever we’ve been.

Nae problem.

First, a rigorous drive to get everyone to wash their hands – always after the loo, always before food. Next, nightly treatment with a Hypersteriliser to clobber any germs.

Next morning, back to safe again. No more costs – and bank balances as healthy as the kids.

Originally posted 2015-09-30 14:22:58.

Keep hand-wipes handy – or get wiped out!

Cabin attendant
Welcome aboard. Please make sure your hands are germ-free for take-off!

Seat 11B is a nice place to be.

Next to your squeeze. In front of the wing. Nice big window to check the scene on approach.

Weekend getaway. Or company perk.

Good to get some time to yourself.

Just don’t touch that tray-table in front of you.

At least, not until you’ve wiped it.

Not with a tissue either, but with those antiseptic hand-wipes your bought before boarding.

Unwanted passengers

That THING carries more germs than anywhere else on the plane. Eight times more than the flush button in the loo. And way more than any place in your home – 2,155 colony-forming bacteria per square inch.

That’s 337,796 bacteria crammed onto your lap-sized 16½ by 9½ inch eating space!

Not surprising when you see how some people leave the place when they get off. And the poor airline’s only got twenty minutes on the ground before they’re up and flying again. No chance.

OK, so you’re not going to eat. Spoil your dinner at that posh restaurant you’re going to when you land.

Spoil your dinner anyway if you touch that thing without wiping it down.

But just sitting there with your iPad means the backs of your hands are in contact. And you’re not going to believe it, the average person touches their face 3 to 5 times every waking minute – an unconscious reflex that all of us have.

So you may not ingest those germs from eating, they’ll get in anyway through your mouth or eye openings – you do it to yourself without knowing.

And what surprises can you expect to find?

Stowaway germs

Poo for a start. Those tray tables sometimes get used to change nappies. But poo anyway because so few people wash their hands after going to the loo. Which means high risk of everybody’s holiday favourite norovirus at the very least.

Rhinoviruses (common cold types), influenza, MRSA, E-coli and listeria too.

So it’s not just the tray table you’re going to wipe is it?

You’re going to do your hands too – probably more than once. Whenever you think about it. Whenever you touch something that could harbour germs.

And since it’s a few hours before you land, you’ll have time to reflect on the need to keep doing it when you get off the plane too.

That posh restaurant for example, your special reward for yourself. There’s other people there too, all dolled up to the nines like you.

Impressive, yes. But when did they last wash their hands?

Maybe they showered coming straight from the office. Or maybe they just togged up and ran. Don’t want to waste valuable drinking time – sorry, socialising time.

Unseen party-killers

Except part of this place’s charm is self-service. Eat-as-much-as-you-like – smorgasbord, salad bar, you name it. And all those other people are touching the same serving spoons and forks that you are. You with your antiseptic-wiped hands, them straight in off the street.

Which is why you keep wipes on you all the time of course. You can’t always get to a washroom. And they wipe goo off your hands, which always seems to get on there when you don’t want it – something those antiseptic gels just can’t.

Worth it too – it only takes a few moments. And the food is every bit as amazing as you hoped it would be.

Those other folk from the plane are eating here too. Another getaway couple. Give them a wave. They’re not carrying wipes like you are, so that e.coli attack is going to mess up their whole time here.

Shoulda-woulda-coulda.

All the time, always

Yup, now you’re thinking, it should be a life-time habit.

Not just for your hands. Not just for your tray table. There’s your office desk as well. Didn’t you read somewhere that the average office desk has 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat?

Come to that, the office should get a Hypersteriliser as well. So should this restaurant. Sterilise the place properly.

People walk around with 10 million viruses and bacteria on their hands most of the time – trailing a whole bio-cloud of several trillion others. Locked in here overnight, they’re just waiting for new victims to walk in tomorrow.

But not if they’re knocked out with hydrogen peroxide plasma. The whole place is sterile – safe like your hands are.

Hmm, what will that couple do when the e.coli strikes?

Claim food poisoning? Sue the restaurant? They wipe themselves out, then they want to wipe out their hosts.

Which could never be you of course.

Your hands are clean.

Originally posted 2015-09-21 12:44:53.

El Nino freezeups coming: brace for superflu threat

All frosted up
Don’t worry, superflu can’t get you –
as long as you can protect yourself

Brr!

The way this winter is already shaping up, get ready for superflu.

No, no, not the German pop group, you’ll find them here.

National Danger

We mean pandemic superflu – 30 million of us out of action and 80,000 dead. Listed as the UK’s biggest danger after “catastrophic terrorist attacks” in the National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies.

Certainly looks like we’re getting the weather for it. The El Nino effect is already happening in the Pacific – which means super-cold winter like we saw in 2010.

What makes it a superflu?

However hard medics and researchers try to second guess it, we’re just never ready. For either a superflu virus, or any other kind of fast-spreading superbug.

Yes, we can clobber existing strains – this year’s vaccine protects against the H1N1 “swine flu” virus that struck in 2009, plus two other predicted variants.

Deadly mutants

But the trouble is, viruses keep mutating all the time. As fast as we come up with the vaccines to throw at them, they develop resistance and start again.

And there are lots of strains. For instance, H5N1 is a deadly virulent bird flu that originated in Asia. It’s rare, but 60% of the people who catch it die.

To make things worse – like the common cold – all flu types spread rapidly. Which is why a pandemic is top of the hit list for natural disasters. When a new flu strain strikes, it takes six months to develop a new vaccine against it.

During that time of course, everyone is exposed. Unprotected except for their own daily hygiene habits. Which is where the worst-case scenario figures come from – 30 million infected, 80,000 dead.

Uh huh.

So we’re not just going to be cold, we have to be prepared.

To up our daily hygiene habits and keep those germs at bay.

Get ready

It starts with soap and water. And now it’s deadly serious. Not just a rinse under the tap, but a proper rub and scrub every time we put ourselves at risk.

Always before meals – and always after the loo. Because this winter, our lives could depend on it.

Our surroundings need anti-germ treatment too. We spend winter all closed up and indoors – sharing the same space, breathing the same air. Any germs in that lot and we’re in for it.

Best is a Hypersteriliser.

Mist up the place with ionised hydrogen peroxide and no viruses or bacteria stand a chance. In just forty minutes, they’re oxidised to nothing and the room is totally sterilised, safe.

All germs are gone – to a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 6. That’s 99.9999% destroyed, or 1 in a million.

OK, so the germs are coming.

But they always are.

So it’s not just superflu we’re protecting ourselves against, it’s all the other bugs as well. Especially the superbugs – the nasty ones that have become resistant to antibiotics and other medicines.

MRSA, c.difficile – that other winter misery-guts, norovirus – and all the others.

Vaccine or not, our own hygiene can protect us – come what may.

But don’t forget to rug up well.

It’s going to be cold out there.

Originally posted 2015-09-15 13:31:50.

Colleagues back with holiday bug? You’re next!

Depressed businesswoman
Count on it – whatever they got, you’re coming down with it too

Be glad you didn’t meet them at the airport.

The whole plane-load came down with this one.

Holiday hangover

Loos backed up, overflowing air sick bags – even the flight crew were looking green. A real hero of a pilot too.

Not you, thank goodness – and it was even on the six o’clock news.

Three days to your own holiday and you’re not eating any of that foreign stuff. Strictly good British graze for you, no messing about.

Er, except it’s not over, till it’s over.

Sure your mates are home safe right now. Getting over it with stacks of Imodium and Buscopan. Quarantined and out of it, so everyone in the office is safe.

Glad to see them when they’re better too. Not nice to be ill. Not nice to double up more than you planned on either – extra work when you’re trying to get clear.

But they’re your pals and you like them, so you do it with a smile.

And they like you too, so you score with the pressies – holiday souvenirs to laugh over when the tummy cramps and diarrhoea are finally gone. Some kind of norovirus the Doc said.

Yeah right, just stay off the foreign food.

As if.

What goes around, comes around

Because next thing, you’re down with the same bug too. Out of action, honking your guts out, and you haven’t even packed your bags yet.

Quick! On the phone to the airline. Are you ATOL protected? What about your insurance? You’ve GOT to cancel. Aargh!

Next thing is, why? Why you?

Your mates brought back a bug, they stayed home till they were clean, then you got it. How come?

Look no further those pressies – fridge magnets, coffee mug, T-shirt, pen, music box, bottle of booze, beach towel, souvenir hat, whatever. Fomites, all of them.

So what’s fomites?

The things you touch, that other people touch, that carry germs. Which is everything else in the office too, right? Including the door handles, lift buttons, computer keyboards, phones, light switches, photocopier, you name it.

Because it’s a nasty fact of life that though nobody’s sick, the germs that can make them that way can live for sometimes weeks out in the open.

And not just on fomites.

In the air too

We each of us trail around our own personal bio-aura of bacteria – our signature cloud of microorganisms unique to us – viruses, bacteria, fungi, moulds, dust, whatever.

And this stuff is so light it can hover and linger in the air for days and weeks, waiting to land on somebody and find a new home.

You.

Uh huh.

Your pals came back to work clean, but the bio-aura they brought from home could still carry the bug they suffered. They’re safe, but not your work place.

Yup, the whole office is bugged – inhabited by the same norovirus nasty that flew back from holiday with them.

Which means the only way you’re going to avoid coming down with it – and everybody else who hasn’t yet had a dose – is to nail all those viruses and bacteria before they nail you.

Effective debugging

Not every office has a Hypersteriliser yet.

But with dangerous germs so easily transferred by jet travel – and medical science discovering more and more of them are resistant to antibiotics – such machines could soon become as familiar as window blinds.

Because without major effort or turning the place upside down, one Hypersteriliser can make any room totally sterile and safe from germs in as little forty minutes. No viruses, no bacteria – every microorganism in the place, gone.

It does it by misting up the place with ionised hydrogen peroxide – the same stuff that may have sparked life itself on Earth – actively spreading through the air, into cracks and crevices, oxidising viruses and bacteria to nothing.

Haven’t got one in your office yet?

Let’s hope they get one, before too many people go on leave. Or before winter comes with its latest version of bird flu.

Unless they do – and unless you’re meticulous about always washing your hands – you’re next, for sure.

Originally posted 2015-07-24 16:49:44.

Why germs only attack you SOME of the time

Carefree woman
Easy does it – most of the time germs can’t touch you

Take your eye off the ball and things go pear-shaped, right?

A momentary lapse of concentration.

Kinda how it works in your body too.

Oh oh, glitch

A momentary hiccup in your immune system and oops! That’s a nasty infection you’ve got there, better take something for it.

Momentary because your body is surrounded by teeming microbes all the time. Billions and billions of them in the air, on the ground, and on all the things you touch. So many, it’s impossible not to be in contact with them every second of your existence.

Constantly immersed – and constantly under siege.

Mostly by neutral stuff, but by good and bad too – viruses, bacteria, moulds, dust mites, fungi, spores, pollen – all successfully deflected away by the body’s fantastic immune system.

Be glad. Because inside our bodies there’s a bunch of bacteria too. Whole specialised colonies dedicated uniquely to every one of us. Outnumbering our own human body cells by 10 to 1 – or according to some scientists, even 100 to 1.

Most of these are the good guys, the gofers that do our body’s grunt work for us – processing food, digesting it, manufacturing the natural chemicals we need to do stuff – like even dopamine and serotonin, to keep the brain firing on all four.

OK so far, everything’s going fine.

The whoops moment

But life goes on – and a lot of things happen in every day. We grow up, get educated, find a job, get married or involved, go on holiday, have kids, buy a house, become famous – and life around us is usually pretty harmless.

Except now and then comes the hiccup – the glitch that triggers an immune system alert. Germs like MRSA, transferred from someone else – by touch, or through a cut, or from something we carelessly pick up with unwashed hands.

Even then, we usually pretty safe. Immune systems can cope with MRSA and most other pathogens that life throws at us – sometimes unaware that anything’s happened.

As long as we’re OK, of course. Not vulnerable from some underlying medical condition, impairment of our immune capabilities, or reduction of the bacteria we would normally use to inhibit the bad guys having a go at our bodies.

You see our soft spot, don’t you? Our Achilles’ heel, the one everyday drawback in our defences?

Right, first time. Just about everything in our existence we touch with our hands. Things around us, things we use, things we eat – our hands handle the whole lot. And whatever’s on our hands touches our face – 2,000 to 3,000 times a day.

Which means germs through our eyes, in our nose, or down our mouths – unless we’ve washed our hands. The good guys, yes – the harmless guys too.

And the bad guys who want to take us out – typhoid, cholera, Ebola, e.coli, norovirus – there’s a billion billion pathogens out there only too happy to make us dead.

Under attack

Forget to wash your hands and the germs will go at you for sure. Not just something you picked up, but infection by negligence. You caused it, not accident. You didn’t look after your body – and falling ill is how you pay for it.

Yes, that’s harsh – but unfortunately true. People who keep their hands clean don’t get sick. Not usually.

But being unlucky happens too – particularly since we all live together most of the time – sharing the same space, working, relaxing, eating and drinking.

And while WE might be OK, others might not be. Their germ-clouds are not all safe, there’s bad guys in there. We could breathe them in, absorb them by touch, or swallow them without knowing.

Which is why “wash your hands” applies to the environment we live in too – the indoor lifestyle we’ve always stuck to, ever since caveman days.

Overkill defence

To some people that means go at everything with bleach. Scrub down every surface, kill the germs with stuff so potent it takes the roof of your head off. Not good if you’re asthmatic, or even just sensitive. And who can live with the howling headache?

It’s not good enough either. Because though it gets rid of germs on tables and things, it does nothing to the rest – so tiny and light, they’re suspended in the air. Untouched and hovering in 80% of the room space, no wonder coughs and sneezes go round a place so quickly – schoolrooms, offices, restaurants, cinemas, hospitals – wherever there’s people gathered together.

The safe way

Only one sure way to get rid of them – use a Hypersteriliser. Like washing hands for the total room space, only a lot more effective. Eliminating ALL viruses and bacteria by oxidising them in an ionised mist of hydrogen peroxide.

Germ neutral, totally sterile. You and your body’s own bacteria cloud are totally safe.

Until of course, somebody walks in trailing something else to have a go at you.

But you’ll wash your hands of that, won’t you?

It’s the holiday season now. Happy, happy!

And keep well.

Originally posted 2015-07-17 14:23:45.

Good germs, bad germs – just make sure you’re safe

Good cop - bad cop
Invisible good and bad – one 10,000th of a millimetre in size

A bit of a head-scratcher this. Since our body cells are outnumbered by bacteria 10 to 1.

That’s 100 trillion microbes in the average HEALTHY body – believe it or not – bacteria and human beings getting along just fine.

Which raises a whole issue about keeping safe from germs.

Killing ourselves

Anything we might use to sanitise, disinfect or sterilise could actually attack us – killing some of the very bacteria we need to keep healthy.

You see, we’re not infested by these germs – like free-loaders out for what they can get. They pay rent to be with us. Especially with food intake and digestion.

That first hunger-driven chomp into a juicy burger meets over 7½ billion bacteria in the first second in your mouth – more than the number of people on Earth.

With every chew and swallow, a whole mess of processing takes place, preparing your food for being turned into energy – by the two to three POUNDS of bacteria that live in your gut.

Without them, no digestion. In fact you’d be pretty ill, all that food with nowhere to go, eventually poisoning your system.

Living with germs

So yeah, germs in our bodies.

Better take it easy with that chlorine bleach in the kitchen. That could bring big trouble – as your nose tells you by the way it bites. The body knows it’s harmful – and the smell you experience is a warning.

But you’ve got to get rid of germs, right? The bad things that kill.

The body is under threat when stuff decomposes or putrefies – blitz it fast, before you get infected!

Actually, there’s a whole bunch of experts who reckon we’re wrong to keep zapping germs. That our paranoia with pathogens indiscriminately kills good and bad alike, destroying useful microbes and upsetting the natural balance.

OK, we’ll buy it – but not all the time.

Away in the Great Outdoors, there’s not much we can do anyway. The wind blows, germs come and go – we could get infected any time.

Except we don’t usually – and one microbe by itself is not enough to take on the whole human body – unless it gets awful lucky. And ordinary air movement disperses germs anyway, so they don’t stand much chance.

Indoors, in danger

Anyway, we don’t live like that most of the time, do we?

We’re indoors, in our “built environment”. Enclosed air spaces, shared living areas. Our bio-auras of germs – the surrounding cloud of microbes we all carry around with us – all intermingling and mixing.

And if any of us happen to be infected with something – contaminating each other.

Which is what happens in a classroom full of kids. Thirty of them together, for up to six hours at a time. Breathing the same air, touching the same objects and each other – bio-auras fully exposed.

So two of them have rhinovirus – perfectly normal variations of the common cold – sneezing and coughing, but determined to stay in the loop. Yeah, well. Most of the other kids are healthy enough – a few days of discomfort if they come down with it. Nothing to worry about.

Except we’re not all equal are we? And we don’t all have the same health levels.

In any group of people you like, a large proportion invariably have some kind of underlying medical condition. Two or three in our classroom of kids – as high as 10% – asthma, TB and one of them with early cancer.

So how fair is it on them when rhinovirus hits – as it probably will, at six hours exposure per day, every day? And how sick will they be with the complications a common cold can bring?

Sure, let’s not destroy all germs everywhere willy-nilly because we’re paranoid about getting sick.

Protection where it counts

But doesn’t it make sense to treat selected areas where we’re more at risk?

With more people on top of each other at school than at home, school is a more likely place to pick up infection.

So is the office, or factory, or supermarket, or train, or bus – higher germ concentrations from a greater number of sources. More infections to choose from, higher odds of catching one.

But one disinfected school room – or even a whole school – does not destroy the eco-balance if it is treated to protect the weak. The greater world is too big – and goes on being just the same outside.

Besides, once our kids move back into their school room after treatment, their own bio-auras will re-populate the “germosphere” very quickly. A tummy bug like e. coli for instance, can double its bacteria every 20 minutes.

Yeah, the kids are still exposed – but not to the same level.

Mist up that schoolroom with sterilising hydrogen peroxide gas plasma from a Hypersteriliser and the germ threshold falls to zero – no viruses, no bacteria, totally sterile – in 40 minutes.

The kids start from totally safe – no lingering germs from yesterday, or the day before – not on surfaces, and not floating around in the air either – the room is totally NEUTRAL.

Germ zero

A lot safer than letting things ride – because some pathogenic nasties can survive outside a body for weeks or more. And wouldn’t it be luck of the draw if it was YOUR kid that came down with it?

Your own flesh and blood – in an isolation ward with with the first case of bubonic plague for 300 years – chance infection by an 8-year-old new kid – an immune carrier from Madagascar, where the disease still affects hundreds, every year.

Good germs, bad germs. Life and death.

Why take chances?

Originally posted 2015-06-30 11:17:48.

Positive edge to beating viruses and bacteria

Woman with jump leads
Positive, negative – the physics of attraction

It’s nothing short of electrifying.

You’d never know because they’re so small, but viruses and bacteria all carry an electrical charge.

Like tiny nano-batteries, they’re positive on the outside and negative on the inside – their own internal power source and life force.

Micro electricity

Even more amazing, their power can make them blink, giving off flashes like Christmas tree lights. If one of their cells contains a voltage-sensitive protein, they glow on and off.

Our all-time favourite, escherichia coli for instance, easily generates a voltage difference – possibly the resource it uses to resist antibiotics.

GOTCHA!

Because positively-charged pathogens like e.coli, norovirus, or even Ebola are sitting targets for anything negatively-charged. Remember magnets at school? Opposite charges attract – so strongly that they reach out and grab.

OK, so grab!

And the grabber we’re talking about is also a super-powerful oxidiser.

Which means instant trouble for “bad guy” viruses and bacteria because they’re anaerobic – they don’t live on oxygen, but glycogen. All the time they’re living inside us – infecting us and killing us – they breathe blood sugar.

Pathogens destroyed

So if an oxidiser with live oxygen atoms suddenly clamps onto them, they’re instant history. The oxygen atoms rip them apart and they die.

Which is what hydrogen peroxide does. IONISED hydrogen peroxide.

Misted up into a super-fine vapour then charged with high-voltage, it changes state from a gas into a plasma – a kind of super-gas that releases a whole load more of extra antimicrobials – hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, ozone and ultraviolet.

This germ-killing cocktail is exactly how it disperses from a Hypersteriliser – a nifty doohickey about the size of a small wheelie-bin, that sterilises enclosed spaces totally free from germs – no viruses, no bacteria, nothing.

Negatively-charged, the mist molecules seek and aggressively latch onto the positively-charged outers of viruses and bacteria, the oxygen does its stuff – end of story.

Except it gets better.

Spreads everywhere

Ionising the hydrogen peroxide means all its molecules are released with the same charge.

Remember magnets again? Like charges repel – so all those molecules are violently trying to escape from each other – forcibly driven apart and away.

Not drifting like an ordinary gas – remember this is a plasma – but actively scattered in all directions, pressed up hard against things, reaching under and behind, stretching deep into cracks and crevices. All the places that germs can lurk where ordinary wipe-down cleaning cannot reach.

And of course, through the air too – 80% of the space in any room – exactly where most germs are. At less than a 10,000th of a millimetre across, they’re so light that they ride every waft of air – just waving your hand around probably stirs up billions.

Yes, you’ve got it. Wherever those viruses and bacteria are – on the ceiling, clinging to the computer cables in the corner, on the underside of the desk – they are suddenly no more. Forty minutes average exposure, and they’re gone.

Ah! But what about the microbes that DO live on oxygen, the aerobic ones?

OK, there are exceptions, but most of these are the good guys – the billions and billions and billions that play a beneficial role in the functioning of Earth’s ecosystem. Bacteria in yoghurt, right? Or sauerkraut with your hot dog.

Among the odd ones out though, is mycobacterium tuberculosis – as it’s name implies, the cause of TB. But there’s a grabber for that too – and all other aerobes. One that also kills by oxidising.

Silver lining

Contained in the same mist that the Hypersteriliser deploys is silver – specifically colloidal silver – silver particles suspended in a liquid. And silver is a known antimicrobial from centuries back – one of the reasons we eat with silver cutlery or carry silver crucifixes to ward off evil spirits.

Bye, bye everything – the whole place is sterile. Safe until the first one of us walks in, trailing our own bio-aura of bacteria around us.

But even then we’re protected. A microscopically thin layer of colloidal silver coats all surfaces in the room – a lasting shield against infection for up to weeks afterwards.

We said positive edge, didn’t we?

Feel safer now?

Originally posted 2015-06-25 12:34:00.

Urgent update to medics: ALL germs are airborne

Woman fighting wind
Reality check – germs, viruses, everything up to a full-blown house can fly

It comes at you as a blast.

A dry, dusty gust in the Underground.

Grit stings your face and flies into your eye.

Your blink – a grain of dust at least as big as an elephant.

You blink again, realisation this time. Airborne dirt maybe 50 microns across. Feels like 50 miles, scratching across your eye.

Riding the wind

The train arrives and you step in.

You do the math – 0.05 of a millimetre. Ten thousand times bigger than a typical germ cell.  Eighty thousand times bigger than the cell of Ebola they discovered in that doctor’s eye two months after he was declared clear.

The train moves off and you pull out a tissue. Your eye is watering like crazy. The train lurches and a corner of the tissue stabs your cornea. Hurts like hell, but you’ve got the dust particle out. A boulder, the size of a small car.

You blink again, feeling better – turning your head from the constant draft through the open window between the cars.

You think hurricane, you think tornado. You’ve seen clips of storms picking up cars. You suddenly remember about jet streams – powerful winds six miles up, blowing a 350-ton Boeing 777 200 mph faster than its normal cruising speed.

And the penny drops.

Everything flies

Just yesterday you read that the MERS outbreak in South Korea could be going airborne.

For sure it could. You’ve just had a boulder several thousand times larger than any MERS cell slam into your eye. One grain of grit out of many. A whole cloud of them blown down the tube tunnel. You even coughed last time, remember? How many grains was that?

And how many cells of MERS could that be, clustered together?

50? 500? 5,000? And still way smaller than your grain of dirt.

A single cell wouldn’t do it of course, the body’s immune system is too good..

But 5,000 cells in a clump? All gulped in with a gasp of air, straight to your lungs – exactly as suspected in the spread of South Korean hospital cases – breathing through ventilator apparatus before diagnosis pointed to contaminated air.

Now your mind is in gear.

Effortless anywhere

If air can move cars, shifting bacteria is nothing.

Literally nothing.

At 20 nanometres, a single cell of rhinovirus is so small it has no gravity. It can ride the air indefinitely – just like billions and billions of other living microbes. Viruses or bacteria, no matter which – even the largest of them is barely a micrometre.

If there’s a fan going in the special care wing of a hospital in super-hot Saudi Arabia (where the virus was first reported), you wouldn’t want to be sitting downwind from a MERS patient.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Germs can transport pretty well anywhere without effort – both “airborne” ones and the types you can only catch on contact. They weigh nothing, so they can linger too.

Wheel the patient out of the room and the germs are still there.

Lingering threats

OK, so a hit team moves in and deep cleans the place – really thorough, complete wipedown of everything with sodium hypochlorite.

But your mind still tells you – germs in the air, germs in the air.

Not good enough – 80% of that room space is air.

They could be lurking at head height. Clustered behind the vital signs monitor. Down the back of the bedside cabinet. Jeepers, everywhere – and the room’s just been cleaned!

Which is when you know you need a Hypersteriliser. Ionised hydrogen peroxide that actively disperses everywhere – right through the air, deep into cracks and crevices. Oxidising germs on contact, ripping apart their cell structure. 40 minutes, and the place is sterile. No viruses, no bacteria anywhere.

So yeah, MERS might be a problem. That whole host of others too – especially those rogues resistant to antibiotics.

They might be airborne, they might be clinging on tight. But we have a defence.

And in this particular room – whenever you want – all germs are dead.

Originally posted 2015-06-22 11:31:16.

Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease ships into So’ton

Sad sailor
Cheer up, this is a cruise –
you’re supposed to be enjoying yourself

They know this bug in Southampton.

Seems every few weeks there’s another cruise ship in to be deep-cleaned and fumigated – another hospital ward closed and out of action.

This time it’s Fred Olsen’s flagship Balmoral again, back less than a month after the last norovirus hit. A setback this fine Norwegian cruise line does not deserve – especially when it looks like a passenger brought it on board with them.

No cure, no warning

But that’s the thing with norovirus – the complete lack of warning. Today you’re right as rain, 48 hours later you’re as sick as a dog.

That poor passenger walked up the gangplank, all fine and dandy – to be struck down with cramps and endless hours on the hopper. And endless more, driving the bus.

Not fair.

Er, almost. At least it’s not the cruise line’s fault.

But that’s the other thing about norovirus. Most of the time we bring it on ourselves.

Oh yes, we do.

Because without a doubt, the biggest cause of norovirus is not washing our hands – which almost all of us forget to do when we’re having fun. Or avoid.

Not a wise mistake to make. Norovirus is easily spread and highly contagious. The Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease.

All those things you touch

You pick it up slamming a taxi door – next moment you’re wolfing a chicken and bacon baguette between meetings and – boom! You didn’t wash your hands, did you? You swallowed the germs. Two days time and you’re hurling your guts out.

Maybe not even a taxi. Between us we have scary bad habits.

So it’s not IF you get norovirus, but WHEN.Wash Hands Logo

Unless you wash your hands – get rid of the germs that surround you every day whenever you can. Otherwise, you get on a cruise ship and it goes round like wildfire.

Well of course it does – there’s thousands of you all living close next-door to each other, sharing the same bathrooms, eating in the same space. It’s a wonder they ever stop it at all.

Unlucky for some

And just occasionally they don’t – like on this latest cruise with the Balmoral.

They could have been unlucky though, as happened to Holland America Line’s Amsterdam, back in 2002. The stuff lingers, you see – can survive on all kinds of surfaces for weeks. And cruise ships are usually turned round in just days – they can’t afford myths.

Four times, one after the other, Amsterdam set out on a new cruise – and four times, one after the other, norovirus made her turn back, hardly into the voyage. There are so many nooks and crevices on a cruise liner, even deep cleaning may not get all of the bug out – they even had to scrub individual poker chips in the casino!

A more effective way

Easier to use Hypersterilisers – a whole batch of them ganged together can do the ship overnight.

They work on ionised hydrogen peroxide, see. Negatively-charged microscopic molecules all repelling each other, forcing themselves into the tightest, smallest, most out-of-the-way places, trying to escape each other.

Riding up into the air too – and hard up against every surface. Underneath and behind too. Actively dispersing like no ordinary disinfectant spray ever can – a supercharged gas plasma grabbing at positively charged viruses and bacteria it meets on the way and oxidising them to destruction.

All viruses, all bacteria – norovirus too. And Ebola, if you’re cruising West Africa.

And safe too – reverting back to just oxygen and water when it’s done. No need for masks like they had to wear on Balmoral – though it can catch your throat when it’s working, so best to stay away for the odd hour.

No smell either – no chemical after-pong or nothing.

A good thing too. Smell is a good give-away that germs are still working – the easy way to tell that food is off. It’s why the loo pongs too – if it’s not clean.

But with hydrogen peroxide, you get zut. Sweet nothing at all.

No norovirus either. All ship-shape and shiny fresh.

Enjoy your trip.

Originally posted 2015-06-18 17:35:08.

You want ALL germs gone or just some of them?

Satisfied woman
If there aren’t any germs, what are we worried about?

Just possibly the craziest thing we do is all live together.

We all want be on top of each other, gathered in tight groups – 37 million in Tokyo, 20 million in New York City, 8.5 million in London – crowds and crowds of us in cities all over the world.

Are we nuts?

How on earth did we decide to do this? It’s not what our bodies are designed for. Physically we’re still hunter-gatherers, meant to be living out in the open. Clustered in groups, yes – but only large enough to ensure survival when very young or old.

Worse, we choose to live in enclosed environments – always surrounded by walls.

Of course, we don’t see it like that, prettied up with windows and doors and décor and bric-a-brac – in fact we kind of like it. Reality is though, that we’re most of the time sealed off from the world outside.

Hemmed in and forced to react with each other, our metabolisms interlink too. All of us in hives, sharing a common existence.

Except we don’t, do we?

We’re not the same

We don’t do the same things, share the same interests, eat the same foods, or follow the same lifestyle. Neither do our bodies – each of which it totally unique and different.

Which boggles the mind when you think of how germs impact on us. Especially since we’re more germs than human ourselves – inhabited by 90 trillion microbes, which outnumber our own body cells by around 10 to 1.

Uh, huh. You understand now why medics see us as so many different biological signatures. The bacteria that colonise one are not the same as those that colonise any other. Our bio-auras are different.

We walk around trailing our unique bacteria-clouds with us, each as distinctively different as our fingerprints and retina scans. Count on it, in the future, CSI forensic teams will be able to ID us by the bio-traces we leave behind – like recognising our perfume, but 100% more pin-point.

Thing is though, with all these bacteria-systems overlapping, we’re constantly exposed to an intensified spectrum of germ challenges – way more than our immune systems would face if we were living out in the sticks where we started.

OK, fine – as long as everything is neutral.

Whoops

But as soon as one of us gets a cold, it tips the balance.

Now just maybe we grew up with our immune systems exposed to colds on such a regular basis, our resistance is higher than anyone else’s. We’re OK, nothing to worry about.

But the Tom, Dick or Harriet living right alongside in our 8.5 million cluster might not have such resistance. The cold – let’s give it its real name, rhinovirus – hits them the way it could never hit us.

And down they go. Cough, sneeze, splutter, gasp.

Yeah, OK. This is where the Good Germs, Bad Germs philosophy comes in – that the body has the resources to fight back – just isolate it at home and let nature takes its course, with proper rest, food and hydration.

Except the dynamic doesn’t work like that when we’re living on top of each other. And not from the germ’s point of view either – we’re germs ourselves remember?

Crowd rules are different

Individually and separately that might make sense. But with 8.5 million of us so close together we can feel each other breathing, our germ-clouds interact way too fast for that.

In the 10 days it takes for the rhinovirus to incubate itself, we’ve passed it on maybe hundreds of times to others whose immune systems are not so acclimatised. And the closer we are, the faster it works.

Which is how a cold goes round a school so fast, your head spins. Well what do you expect, when the kids spend six hours a day together in the same classroom?

Of course we don’t think of all this – it sits at the back of our minds as a kind of brooding concern about hygiene. We do try to do something though – which is where the mop and bucket brigade come in at the end of the day, scrubbing and wiping everything down – and following up with a vacuum cleaner.

Under-responding if you think about it – and basically for surfaces only.

Because the kids might have gone – and their germ-clouds with them. But their bio-trace is still in the air. So are residual touches of the rhinovirus they have in them. Able to survive for weeks at a time and waiting to attach to new bodies when class resumes in the morning.

Yeah, it’s good to let things be natural and let them take their own course. Our own bacteria in balance with the rest of the world – what’s possibly wrong with that?

Bigger populations, bigger threats

But living on top of each other accelerates everything – multiplying its effect in a pressure cooker of fast-acting bio-clashes. Today rhinovirus, tomorrow Ebola.

And how do we deal naturally with that? By withdrawing and isolating, going into quarantine. Not wrong, but difficult to find space for with 8.5 million people on top of each other.

Since we can’t go round asking each bacteria if it’s good or bad for us, we have to clobber the lot. We already recognise this, which is why we’re attacking the place with detergent and bleach.

But if we’re going to do it properly, we’ve got to include the air too. Fish where the fish are – in this case, the micro-organisms so small we don’t even know that they’re there.

Which is why we keep banging the drum for ionised hydrogen peroxide – the one sure way to remove ALL viruses and bacteria totally from the room you’re treating.

Ionised – a different dynamic

And we mean IONISED hydrogen peroxide – not that vapoury stuff you might have experienced before – that double-strength fog that gets pumped in to oxidise germs, and then has to be dried out afterwards.

Remember your school magnetism? It’s the same effect, but multiplied several hundred times in the Hypersteriliser.

Ionising electrifies the hydrogen peroxide particles with the same negative charge, causing them to repel each other. Like a super-gas, actually a plasma – it spreads up and out, under and into, actively trying to get away from itself.

That same charge aggressively reaches out and grabs at viruses and bacteria which have the opposite polarity. Oxygen atoms are released that tear their cell structure to shreds. The charge dissipates – and all that’s left is oxygen and water.

No germs, nothing. Sterilised safe.

Safe, not sorry

OK, yeah. It’s overkill. Brute force tactics.

But with millions to protect, not just a handful, isn’t it better to shoot first and ask questions afterwards?

Because it’s not just you that needs protection. It’s the person next to you, and next to them, and next to them – some with stronger metabolisms, some with weaker – millions of times over.

With all germs gone, at least they stand a better chance.

Originally posted 2015-06-12 13:02:08.