Doesn’t look like much, does it, this machine? A sort of high-tech wheelie-bin, maybe. But every bioterrorist in the remotest desert hideout will be cursing.
Grinding their teeth that even biological weapons can be thwarted – and their fall-out mostly neutralised.
Because there they are, hoping to unleash a fast-moving airborne pathogen like weaponised anthrax or smallpox.
Dread diseases that could kill more than 30 million people in less than a year.
And this business must-have will stop their attempt dead in its tracks.
OK, it won’t STOP an attack. But press the button on this thing and it takes out ALL airborne germs in around 40 minutes – bacteria, viruses, fungi, mould.
Which includes anthrax, if you remember that US scare post- 9/11. Anthrax, bacillus anthracis, it’s a germ like any other.
So is smallpox, variola vera, another possible bioterrorist choice. Experimented with by scientists during World War II – and actually manufactured as a weapon by the old Soviet Union in Zagorsk during the 80s.
Both are pretty scary – one a bacterium, the other a virus.But both are destroyed with equal ease by this precision Hypersteriliser – in the air or on surfaces. The end of any bioterrorist threat right there.
Activating the machine mists up the whole place with ionised hydrogen peroxide – charged particles that grab at pathogens on the fly, oxidising them to oblivion. Oxygen atoms rip their cell structure apart.
All that’s left is oxygen and tiny quantities of water, which evaporate.
Oh, and an microscopic-thin film of colloidal silver on all surfaces – a barrier against further germ contamination that lasts for up to a week.
Ready for the worst
Could a bioterrorist attack really happen?
It’s increasingly likely, says Microsoft founder and world leader Bill Gates. A greater risk than a nuclear attack – and more deadly than a pandemic. Like the 1918 flu that killed 50 million people – three times the dead of World War I.
Actually stopping an attack though is near impossible. The first of the American 2001 anthrax incidents was triggered by spores released from an ordinary innocent-looking letter. Unpredictable even with the tightest security.
But neutralising the outcome is easy – as long as it happens indoors, the most likely target choice. Releasing a pathogen in open air is iffy and risks quick dissipation by wind – or even surging back and overwhelming the bioterrorist himself.
Indoors though is enclosed space. Safe from outside. Safe too from harmful pathogens because the Hypersteriliser makes sure of it. It just has to be deployed as quickly as possible – before any pathogen has a chance to spread or infect anyone.
Savvy organisations will already have a machine on standby – part of their regular cleaning and workplace hygiene routine. It’s not just bioterrorist attacks we have to worry about, it’s day-to-day germs as well. Like colds and flu for instance.
Sure everybody gets colds – and usually thinks nothing of it. An uncomfortable nuisance for a few days, not worth worrying about.
Unless you count the cost of wonky people trying to do their job when they’re not fully up to it. Far from skiving off from work, they’re doing more harm sitting there suffering and going through the motions.
They wouldn’t drive a car while drunk or intoxicated – but their infection impairs them more than they know. How many mistakes or oversights can they make without even realising it? And how many of their colleagues can they bring down with them, just by breathing the same air?
This article first appeared on the Vitamonk website It is republished here by kind permission of the author.
What do you know about blood sugar levels?
Depending on your experience, you may associate them with kids who have had way too much candy and are frantically running around the house.
Or, if you suffer from diabetes, you probably think of regularly jabbing yourself with a needle to make sure you don’t need to immediately consume a candy bar.
It can be a confusing topic if you don’t know the terms or what normal levels look like. That’s where we come in. In this article, we’re going to give you the what and why of blood sugar. We’re going to dive into what causes blood sugar levels to get high or low, and what what a normal blood sugar level should look like.
Consider this a layman’s guide. It won’t give you every detail (you really should talk to your doctor), but it will guide you through the major points and help you understand what to keep an eye on. Let’s get started.
What’s The Difference Between Sugar and Glucose?
What comes to mind when you think of sugar? Probably the white granular stuff that you would secretly eat when you were a kid, right? But it’s actually more complicated than that. Sugar is the general name given to sweet carbohydrates that dissolve in water.
There are a number of different types of sugars. Your body most frequently uses glucose. Fructose is found in fruit and lactose is found in milk. When you guzzle a big glass of milk or eat an apple, your body takes the lactose or fructose and converts it to glucose. Once everything is converted to glucose, your body can use it for energy.
Starches, like those found in white bread, are sugars stuck together and are converted by your body into glucose.
So far so good, right?
Now, this is important. When people say “blood sugar”, they mean “blood glucose”. The terms can be used interchangeably.
If you really want to be annoying, you can correct them every time they say, “Blood sugar,” and then proceed to give them the above explanation. You probably won’t have many friends after that.
How Is Blood Sugar Measured?
Now we need to discuss how blood sugar is actually measured. In the United States, blood sugar is measured in terms of milligrams of glucose per decilitre of blood (mg/dl). Why couldn’t they put it on a simple 1 to 10 scale or something like that? Because scientists wouldn’t be able to feel important.
But that’s beside the point.
A milligram is a tiny, miniscule amount, around 0.00018 of a teaspoon. A decilitre is only 3⅓ ounces.
In Canada and the United Kingdom, they measure things on a different scale. Of course they do. In the United States they do everything differently.
Canada and the UK measure blood sugar in terms of millimoles per liter (mmol/L). If you happen to be reading a comment or study from those countries, you can multiply the numbers by 18 to get the American numbers.
So, to recap:
In the United States, blood sugar is measured in terms of milligrams per decilitre (mg/dl).
In the UK and Canada, blood sugar is measured in millimoles per litre (mmol/L).
Still with me?
What Are Normal Blood Sugar Levels?
Now let’s talk about normal blood sugar/glucose levels.
First, the levels will vary throughout the day. If you’ve been fasting or just woke up, your levels should be under 100 mg/dl.
Before a meal, your levels should be somewhere between 70-99 mg/dl. Two hours after meals, your levels should be less than 140 mg/dl.
(The UK recommendation for healthy individuals is between 4.0 to 6.0 mmol/L (72 to 108 mg/dL) before meals and up to 7.8 mmol/L (140 mg/dL) 2 hours after meals. For people with diabetes, that changes to 4 to 7 mmol/L for type 1 or type 2 diabetes before meals – and under 9 mmol/L for type 1 diabetes or under 8.5mmol/L for type 2 diabetes after meals.)
To state the obvious, eating increases blood sugar levels. After you eat, your blood sugar levels will be higher than before you ate. Failing to eat causes the levels to fall.
How Does Diabetes Affect Blood Sugar Levels?
To break down sugars and turn them into glucose, your body uses insulin, which is produced by the pancreas. In a person with diabetes, the pancreas either produces too little insulin or none at all. Or, the body is unable to use insulin effectively.
When this happens, blood sugar levels rise and the body is deprived of the energy it normally would receive from glucose.
If you have diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends that you keep your blood sugar levels between 80-130 mg/dl before meals and under 180 mg/dl 1-2 hours after meals.
Ideally, you should try to keep your blood sugar levels close to those of a person without diabetes because it will protect your body against the complications often caused by the disease.
But (and this is crucial), you have to carefully measure and monitor your diet to accomplish this. This is possible but it probably means gorging yourself at the local Chinese buffet is out.
What Happens When Blood Sugar Levels Get Too High Or Low?
Is it really a big deal if glucose levels get too high or too low?
Yes. It really is.
If your glucose levels get too high, you’ll start to get inflammation in your blood vessels and nerves. The longer this inflammation goes unchecked, the more damage it causes to the body and the more complications it creates.
Those without diabetes are able to keep their glucose levels in check automatically through the production of insulin. If you have diabetes, however, your pancreas isn’t producing insulin properly, which means glucose levels can quickly get too high or low.
If your blood sugars fall too low, a condition called hypoglycaemia sets in. This can result in dizziness, confusion, and fainting.
The moral of the story? If you have diabetes, you really MUST regularly monitor your blood sugar levels. If they get out of control, it can cause serious damage to your body, or even death.
How Can You Monitor Your Blood Sugar Levels?
Okay, this is where things get a bit annoying for those who have to monitor blood sugar levels.
One option is to regularly use a fingerstick blood test, which involves pricking yourself with a tiny needle and then using a little strip and a glucose meter to test your blood sugar levels.
If the thought of needles sends you into a sweaty panic, you have the option of a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). A little sensor is inserted under the skin and constantly monitors your blood sugar levels to ensure everything is where it should be.
Neither of those options are particularly fun, but they’re better than the alternative, which is having wildly varying blood sugar levels.
The frequency of testing depends on your circumstances. If you take a fast acting insulin, you’ll want to test regularly. If you take the wrong amount of insulin, your blood sugar can drop too low, which can cause you to get dizzy, confused, or faint.
You don’t want to faint. Especially when driving a car and/or skydiving.
If you have Type 2 diabetes and aren’t taking insulin, it’s up to your doctor on how frequently you will need to test. If you’re trying to keep your blood sugar levels within a tight window, you’ll want to test in a variety of circumstances to see how they affect your body.
For example, test after eating a big meal, after exercising, and after sleeping. Keep records so you can compare these different situations.
If you make any big changes, such as taking a new medicine or beginning a new diet, pay close attention and always tell your doctor.
How Can Diabetes Be Managed?
Thankfully, diabetes isn’t the end of the world. Yes, it may mean you can’t eat an entire box of Milk Duds at the movie theatre, but if you follow a few specific guidelines along with the instructions from your doctor, you’ll be okay.
Pay attention to what you eat. Eat well-balanced meals and pay careful attention to how many carbohydrates you consume. Avoid sweetened beverages (sorry soda lovers) and be sure to carefully coordinate your meals and when you take any medications.
Ketogenic Diet. Many at risk individuals see great results when doing the ketogenic diet for a few months. (and here are a few ketogenic breakfast recipes for you)
Exercise regularly. Consistent physical activity causes your body use insulin more effectively and causes your muscles to use glucose. Talk to your doctor about an exercise plan.
Take medication with the help of your doctor. If you can’t manage your levels through diet and exercise, you can take insulin and other medications. Work closely with your doctor to ensure you’re getting the right medicine.
Avoid stress when possible. Stress can cause a rise in blood sugar levels and can also make it tougher to stick to your carefully planned diet and exercise routine. If you regularly encounter stress, be sure to learn effective coping techniques.
Be careful with alcohol. When your liver is metabolizing alcohol, it can’t counteract falling blood sugar levels. Talk to your doctor to make sure it’s okay for you to drink.
See, that wasn’t so bad, was it? Now you understand blood sugar levels, how to manage them, the consequences of not managing them, and how to manage diabetes.
Yes, it can be a pain to carefully monitor your levels, but it’s important for those with diabetes. Failing to do can create significant long term effects that can seriously damage your body.
Now, go eat that candy bar you’ve been craving. Or don’t. Measure your levels first and do what is best for your body.
A whole week after that nasty tummy bug. Sick like your whole insides want to come out. Fiery poo, squirting round like a hosepipe. Cramps like your tummy is broken into little pieces, all churning round.
Quarantine, Mummy calls it. But I’ve been OK for days now.
It’s because they can’t get the school clean.
Cheap cleanups won’t stop norovirus coming back
Those two Year 6 boys were sick all over the place – all down the corridor and right through Reception. It was on the carpet and splattered up the walls.
Then that stupid Mrs Ferguson let her class out and they ran all over it. Just the smell was enough to make you sick.
But being home and suddenly sick was worse. Just going to play with my Pokemon and my tummy exploded.
I cried ‘cos it went everywhere and Mummy made us all stay home. Even Daddy never went to work.
Anyway the holidays were horrible – and now school is closed. Why can’t they clean it properly?
Mrs Callum, she’s the bursar, told Mummy they had a whole team in over the break. Face masks, overalls and rubber boots, scrubbing everything with that ewey bleach stuff.
It didn’t work ‘cos the caretaker, Mr Absun, went in there and got sick, working in the hall. So Mrs Callum got cross and they had to do it again – then SHE got sick after going in to have a look.
Keeping paying until it’s right
Mummy says that’s when the Council sent in the steam cleaners.
Two days they were at it, then Mrs Callum got sick AGAIN. So now the school’s in quarantine, just like I am at home. They’re leaving it 10 days for all the germs to go away.
Except Mummy says that won’t work either – she looked it up on her iPad and this norovirus stuff can last for up to a month if they don’t clean it off properly. You pick it up on your fingers and pouf – it’s back!
Meanwhile I’m sitting at home every day and I’m bored. And Mummy’s very nice staying here to look after me – but she doesn’t want to be here either. What’s the matter with them, why can’t they make it go away?
Because it goes everywhere, Mummy says. In all the cracks where the cleaners can’t reach.
And I know she and Daddy are cross, because the school has asked them for money to pay for it. Daddy had his fierce look, asking why they should pay for something that doesn’t work. He wanted to throw things, but Mummy took them away from him.
Every year, again and again
It was the same last year when Linda Marshall came back from that holiday in the Caribbean. Their family got sick on a cruise ship and brought it back with them. Daddy got cross then too, ‘cos I didn’t get it, but Damon did – my younger brother in Linda’s class.
Daddy’s really fed up. Says the school should have something to cope with stuff like this. Or the Council should. It’s not like this tummy sickness happens every day – but three-four times a year somebody sicks up at school, then we all get sick or have to stay away, and nobody does anything.
They need a machine, Daddy says. Something that you press a button and it makes all the germs go away.* Otherwise they’ll keep paying money and nothing ever happens.
Oh I wish that school would open and I can play with my friends again!
*There IS a machine – and you can see it here. It kills all germs everywhere indoors in about 40 minutes. Sterile, so they can’t come back again. Grabbed out of their hiding places and oxidised to nothing by hydrogen peroxide.
Because being unwell at work is very often from germs picked up at work.
Large groups of people all working together – sharing the same space, the same air, using and touching the same facilities.
And not really protected at all, if you think about it.
Your cleaning crew come in every evening – and what do they do?
Vacuum around some, empty the waste bins, give the place a quick wipe-down. Nothing that actually gets rid of germs.
Yes, well OK – not in their remit, is it?
Lurking hazards – the downside risk
Meanwhile there’s germs there, all right. Plenty of them too. As scare headlines in the media keep reminding us. 10 million on every desk, for starters. More on the light switches, door handles, keypads and touch screens. You get the picture.
Plus the personal germ clouds that each of us carries around with us. Most of the time benign or harmless – but who knows what they might do to other people?
Plus the awkward fact that none of us are really that good about personal hygiene. If our hands don’t LOOK dirty, we reckon they’re clean. As if we could see a bunch of microbes so small that a billion could fit on the point of a pin!
Harsh germonomics: deep clean £12,000, second deep clean £12,000, steam clean £10,000 – where will it end?
It’s a financial nightmare. A school or public building shut down by norovirus. Seldom, if ever budgeted. Expensive because it keeps coming back. A hard lesson in germonomics.
Keeps coming back?
Time and again, that’s the curse of it.
All the costs of a shut down, staff and parents up in arms. The deep clean team going in. Scrubbing the whole place from top to bottom. Thankfully re-opening. And the first child vomiting and moaning within half a day.
Makes us learn the hard way, norovirus does. Totally unforgiving – ready to boomerang again and again if we let it.
Projectile vomiting that spreads everywhere – far beyond any accident points. Microscopic globules riding the air, reaching into the darkest corners.
The same with its diarrhoea – violent and explosive, dispersing to places we don’t want to know. Unreachable, un-get-at-able – which means un-cleanable. So that any clear up, however professional, doesn’t really stand a chance.
Sure the bleach is strong and potent. Corrosive too and unpleasant to use. So strong it has to be diluted to use – less effective, under-powered, not really performing.
Especially if it has to be done again. And another steam clean on top of it?
Which makes it, what – £30,000? £40,000?
Exactly the kind of cost this school on the Isle of Man are facing from their pre-Easter outbreak.
And exactly the kind of cost we face here from this potent illness that so easily breaks out – possibly FROM A SINGLE CHILD NOT WASHING THEIR HANDS.
A never event, right?
It’s not going to happen – because it hasn’t happened yet. But we’ll know all about it when it does.
Except it’s all largely preventable – even avoidable all together with the right preparation.
Because what kills norovirus better than bleach?
Hydrogen peroxide – the same stuff our own bodies make to fight infections. Disinfectant, teeth whitener and beauty secret of blondes. Two minutes contact time with that stuff and norovirus is extinct. Germonomics in action.
Not just ordinary hydrogen peroxide either. But boosted with silver – another known natural germ-fighter – and ionised into a spray, so it’s an electrically charged mist.
All charged the same, the ionised particles actively push to escape each other – forcibly driving themselves in all directions. Lighter than air, they fill all room space, pushing hard against surfaces and deep into cracks – exactly where the norovirus cells are hiding.
No chance of survival
Like a magnet, that same charge grabs at oppositely-charged norovirus cells, clamping to them in a death-hold. Allowing 40 minutes dispersal time for the average room and the whole place is sterile – no germs of any kind, anywhere.
No norovirus, no colds or flu virus – no TB, no pneumonia, no diphtheria, no poliomyelitis – nothing.
No bacteria, no mould or fungus either. Sterile means sterile – all organisms dead.
Public Health England might want to rethink this one. Because shrinking sweet sizes to cut obesity will most likely achieve nothing.
Nothing except irate sweet eaters who eat double to compensate.
Oh sure, the sugar in sweets DOES contribute to making us all fatter.
But one Snickers bar a week is not exactly going to blow us up like an elephant.
It takes several a day – on top of pigging out on everything else – to do that.
Gorging ourselves stupid. Eating too much – of everything. Absorbing too much for our bodies to take, so they bulk up.
Exactly what farmers do to get animals ready for market. As quickly as possible – money, money, money.
Gut bacteria on the fritz
Which is why they feed them drugs to fatten them up. Deliberately obese-ifying them. From an egg to a roasting chicken in 6 weeks. From newborn calf to an Aberdeen Angus steak in 14 months.
And the drugs they use are antibiotics. Added to feedstuffs in small doses. Just right to tip animals’ gut bacteria into always wanting food. Becoming more efficient at extracting nutrients from it too. The proven way to bulk up fast.
Because aren’t drugs frequently tested on animals before they’re let loose on humans? To see if they work properly – or head off any Frankenstein side-effects?
Yes, well. Farmers worldwide have proved the case well and truly – and do so every day. As they have done since antibiotics were discovered 50 years ago. Today they’re using 240,000 tonnes of the stuff a year.
Which is how they produce the 19 billion chickens, 1.4 billion cattle, 1 billion pigs and 1 billion sheep that keep us fed.
And how they pushed food production to feed us all. From the 2½ billion people we were 50 years ago – to the7½ billion we are today. All off exactly the same available land.
Get the picture? The planet isn’t any bigger since back then – what’s different is the antibiotics.
So yes, proven. Antibiotics obese-ify animals, which means they obese-ify us too. The world’s most efficient super-fattening growth boosters. Which is how come today two thirds of us are porkers.
Proven beyond doubt.
Which sort of says that cutting sweet sizes down by a fifth isn’t exactly going to crack it. People will get fat anyway, from the other stuff that they eat. Fat and getting fatter, even if they’ve never chomped a Snickers.
Now of course, the powers that be will tell you this isn’t possible. That there aren’t any antibiotics in the foods we eat. Farmers feed them to their animals, yes – but doses are withdrawn weeks before market and all meat is antibiotics-free.
If only. Because to feed 7½ billion people requires factory farm methods to sustain enough food supply.
OK, so health authorities know this. And they’re concerned too, for the effect any antibiotics in the meat might have on humans. Specifically carcinogenic, toxic or allergenic effects.
Antimicrobal resistance & MRLs
And of course superbugs. Harmful bacteria that have become immune to antibiotics and cannot be treated. Top of the list being carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE), neisseria gonorrhoeae, clostridium difficile, multi drug-resistant acinetobacter – and the only one most of us have heard of – methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
All of which raise the scary reality that modern medicine is back to the Dark Ages. Soon heart bypass surgery, C-section births and hip replacements will no longer possible because the drugs won’t work against infection.
That said, there’s still antibiotics in our food. Because while levels are reduced to make it safe for us to eat, they’re not removed entirely. Trace residues are still allowed as long as they conform to legal Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs).
Still there in our food, but only in little bits.
Precisely the way antibiotics are administered to livestock to obese-ify them.
And precisely the way we ingest them when we eat animal meat. Little drip-drip doses, just enough to tip our gut bacteria out of balance and our appetites jammed on full throttle.
If only it stopped there.
You see, most animals only absorb 20% of the food value that they eat. The rest is excreted as waste – Nature’s way of providing nutrients to enrich the soil and promote plant life.
Manure and fertiliser for plant crops. Vital at today’s population volumes. So that antibiotics-laden enrichment finds its way into everything else that we eat. Grains crops, cereals, vegetables, fruit – often in higher concentrations than with animal meat.
And not monitored either because nobody twigs there’s antibiotics in their food source.
It’s also how antibiotics in animal meat sneak back – in higher volumes than regulations allow.
Not all meat is monitored and tested, the logistics are impossible. Any checks are intermittent and random.
Meanwhile, the calf that’s eating grass or feed from sugar beet is still chowing down its daily dose of antibiotics. Grown back into its food by the very manure it pooed out in the first place.
And in water too, because the stuff seeps down into the water table, to be carried in streams to our river system. So when our drinking water comes from the Thames, it quite probably has antibiotics in it.
Sugar tax or sugar hoax?
Harsh reality, huh?
And we haven’t had a Snickers or a Coke since the start of this page – yet already we’re full of antibiotics making us fatter.
Not good, PSE. Not good at all. And there’s a sugar craving coming on.
Better watch the Great British Bake Off.
We can’t eat sweets, so we’ll have to get our hit some other way.