Dame Sally’s antibiotics nightmare just got bigger

Large girl exercising
Keep on with antibiotics and soon, we’ll all look this way

Actually, it’s not one nightmare, it’s two.

And they haven’t just happened, they’ve been growing for fifty years.

Antibiotics resistance and obesity.

Both “as dangerous as terrorism”. Exploding in slo-mo, right now.

No more miracles

Already half of our antibiotics – the miracle drugs without which modern medicine would be impossible – fail because of superbugs. And with no new “silver bullets” coming down the pipeline, any day now they’ll stop working altogether.

That’s nightmare No 1.

An unstoppable disaster caused by horrendous over-use. Not just by medicine, where antibiotics are prescribed for everything from a heart transplant to repairing a pulled fingernail. But by agriculture across the board, where antibiotics are used at industrial levels to support high intensity farming techniques.

Industrial level?

And the rest. Currently, farmers around the world are shovelling 65,000 tonnes a year into livestock and plant production, skyrocketing sharply to 108,000 tonnes by 2030.

Strictly for animal health, of course – essential to modern, high-yield, concentration camp farming, where herds and flocks breed shoulder-to-shoulder.

With shhh, the very useful side-effect that antibiotics make everything grow twice as big and twice as fast on even less feedstuff. Fattening up for market. Amazing. Growth promotion de luxe.

Which brings us to nightmare No 2.

Bigger, better, fatter

Because it’s not just animals growing fatter, faster – it’s people.

Already 64% of UK adults are classed as overweight or obese – a number that accelerates daily.

More dangerous than terrorism?

Do the math.

How many terrorist bombs would it take to destroy the lives of 13 million people? All of who are at risk of heart disease or stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, gallstones, osteoarthritis, gout and breathing problems, even asthma.

It’s not nice being fat either. So add problems with stress from ridicule, low self esteem, physical inability, possibly suicidal tendencies.

More than half of us written off from “over-eating” – if you believe the experts.

Which is when you begin to realise the real horror staring Dame Sally in the face. Professor Dame Sally Davies, that is – England’s very energetic and concerned Chief Medical Officer.

Over-eating what?

Animals fed on antibiotics to make them grow fatter, is what.

Which poop out manure to make plants grow bigger and fatter, is what too.

Plants that are also fed antibiotics anyway to keep down blight and other diseases.

Growing in soil which drains to our streams, to our rivers, to our reservoirs and into our taps.

So that EVERYTHING we eat or drink is laced with drugs to make US grow fatter, faster too.

Get ready to bulge

Fat, obese and super-obese – that’s where we’re headed. Rapidly becoming the biggest threat to human survival on the planet. And Dame Sally’s biggest ever headache.

Oh sure, SOME fatties are fat because they’re gluttons – obsessed with food so they eat themselves stupid. But even that suggests that something is wrong somewhere, that somehow their systems are glitched so they can’t help themselves.

But where does that leave the rest of us?

Are we really all victims of a sedentary lifestyle – cliché-ridden couch potatoes, scoffing fast food and sugar-laden drinks in front of the TV? That might be the media hype, but what’s the reality?

Don’t some of us eat almost nothing, tiny morsels like a bird, and still get fat? AND can’t drop the weight off, even though we work out for two hours at a time, five days a week?

How come it’s selective – that some of us are, and some of us aren’t? And how come is it that the older we become, the more at risk we seem to be?

Yeah well, it’s them antibiotics what done it.

Our background diet since before childbirth. A steady intake of fatten-you-up drugs in everything we ingest across the entire food spectrum. Absorbed for our whole lifetimes – exactly the same way as all those cows and pigs and sheep and chickens and salmon we’re so fond of.

And remember how antibiotics work – the only thing they actually do.

They kill bacteria.

Miracle drugs, sure.

Except that our bodies are bacteria too – 90% bacteria and 10% human.

And oops, down in our gut, there are upwards of 100 trillion bacteria – the welcoming committee for any antibiotics coming down the hatch. Blasted to hell and gone in the middle of digesting our food for us, producing proteins, and regulating our immune systems – exactly what our amazing bacteria do for us, every day.

The full catastrophe

Obese? Why are we surprised? Our bacteria have been killed off or graunched in the most fearful ways.

But all of our metabolisms are different, so they react differently too. No two of us are the same.

Some extract more nutrition than they need too, some less. Some fail on certain food groups. And all the while, our body resistance goes steadily more haywire, every day more vulnerable, more susceptible to infection and disease.

Allergies for instance, who ever heard of the misery we have now, fifty years ago?

Yeah, so Dame Sally is right about how to handle the antibiotics problem.

Stop everything, now.

STOP!

Start again

And find some kind of alternative food source while residual antibiotics work themselves out of the food chain. For us personally, that’s got to be grow our own at home without fertilisers – supplemented with ocean fish, not those farmed jobs.

Will it trim our waistlines? Probably not, the damage has been done, so those spare tyres are here to stay.

One thing though, without antibiotics as a safety net, we’re going to have to tighten up on our hygiene. Wash hands for everything, eliminate germs in our living space with a Hypersteriliser.

At least we’ll sleep easy with it. No more nightmares, like Dame Sally has now.

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Hypersteriliser units are supplied to businesses and institutions across the UK, notably the haematology and other critical units at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester; Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital; South Warwickshire Hospital; Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital; and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.

The Halo Hypersteriliser system achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. It is the only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. It is also EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

Originally posted on 28 December 2018 @ 10:32 pm

Originally posted on 28 December 2018 @ 10:32 pm

Listen up G20, antibiotics are already off the rails, start funding alternatives

Doctor derailed
Long-term antibiotics are a train smash – for the sake of global health, it’s time to get the G20 back on track

Let’s hope the G20 can get it right.

Meeting in Berlin, world health ministers have agreed to tackle antibiotics resistance.

They need to do a lot more than that, these miracle wonder drugs are now right off the track.

Yeah, OK – antibiotics resistance. Superbugs immune to everything we throw at them. Caused by over use and abuse of antibiotics – two thirds of all prescriptions are unnecessary.

But tightening up procedures is not likely to achieve anything. Not when 70% of antibiotics are not used on humans at all, but on animals.

Not to make them better, but to fatten them up.

How resistance is created

So sure, there’s over use and abuse – 240,000 tonnes of it every year. The world has 7½  billion people to feed and there’s money to be made doing it.

So never mind that an antibiotic like colistin is held back by doctors as a drug of last resort. There’s a factory in China producing 10,000 tonnes of it a year – to fatten up pigs.

Which means superbug immunity is accelerating all the time. On volumes like that, bacteria have plenty of opportunity to develop resistance. And pass their invulnerability on to others.

And it gets worse.

Not only are bacteria resistant to antibiotics, they’re becoming resistant to antiseptics and disinfectants too. So that doctors and care workers THINK they’ve scrubbed and scoured their hands clean – and they’re still covered in superbugs.

Resistance and fatness

Worse still, the antibiotics fed to animals get into the human food chain. Via residues in meat and in manure used for cultivation. In such volumes, every food type is affected – meat, poultry, fish, fruit, vegetables, cereals, grain.

Every human on earth is daily absorbing micro-doses of the most efficient growth promoter every invented. Like animals, people are getting fat. Clinically obese and on the road to diabetes, asthma, heart disease and cancer.

Result – except in the short term, antibiotics are more dangerous than life-saving. They might prevent infection for a heart transplant or a caesarean birth. But the superbugs they spawn already kill 25,000 people a year in the EU – the same as road accidents.

And with the slow death of obesity, antibiotics will kill many millions more.

Start again

All of which should say to the G20 – stop wasting time and money. Antibiotics have outlasted their usefulness, it’s time to find replacements.

Replacement bacteria-killers to protect life. Replacement hygiene methods to ensure safety. And replacement growth promoters to produce food.

They already exist.

Bacteriophages are viruses that kill bacteria. They can be specifically targeted. And they can be quickly modified, mutating just as bacteria mutate to prevent acquiring resistance.

Ionised hydrogen peroxide misting kills ALL germs, not just bacteria – viruses and fungi too. No hospital need ever again run the risk of pathogens not removed before procedures.

Probiotics and in-feed enzymes have  worked as growth promoters in Sweden and Nordic countries since 1986. Maybe not as spectacularly, but certainly successfully. And food production is a big industry, there’ll be no shortage of funds if finding better methods is in need of funding.

So come on G20, how about it?

Drop all this antibiotic stuff and let’s get back on track.

Picture Copyright: designbydx / 123RF Stock Photo

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Hypersteriliser units are supplied to businesses and institutions across the UK, notably the haematology and other critical units at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester; Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital; South Warwickshire Hospital; Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital; and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.

The Halo Hypersteriliser system achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. It is the only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. It is also EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

Originally posted on 22 May 2017 @ 2:43 pm

Originally posted on 22 May 2017 @ 2:43 pm

Could you be criminally charged for infecting your work colleagues?

Bizgirl in handcuffs
It could happen – nicked for not washing your hands

We might not think we act criminally, and certainly not intentionally.

But if colleagues become ill or die from an infection we’ve introduced, can we not be held liable?

It is already an offence to transmit HIV – either knowingly, or unknowingly.

People are never the same once that affliction takes hold of them. So infection constitutes an crime under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.

We’re all of us prone to seemingly limitless diseases, but nothing ever happens unless we’re exposed to them.

We all work and socialise together, which means we often cross-infect each other – passing round the snuffles or an upset tummy without really thinking about it.

Negligence and drug failure

Most of these infections are entirely preventable with proper hand hygiene, which we are unforgivably lax about. So that infection by the usual suspects – escherichia coli, salmonella, clostridium difficile, campylobacter, MRSA, colds, flu and norovirus – is almost inevitable across a year.

As we are at the moment, we sort of take that in our stride.

There’s only one problem.

Without most of us knowing it, our Number One miracle drugs – antibiotics – are rapidly losing the battle against superbugs resistant to them. We’re already at the threshold where they stop working altogether.

Which changes things Big Time, if you think about HIV. Without antibiotics, ANY infection or disease is suddenly life-threatening. Particularly if there is an underlying condition to be made worse – which one way or another, most of us have by the time we reach 25.

Death threat

Which means if you breeze into the office with ANY kind of ailment – even a sniffle that you just laugh off – it could mean the death sentence for one of your colleagues.

And count on it, cross-infection is highly likely. These days, we all work together in big offices of 20 or more. Or smaller spaces all served by the same HVAC system. Constantly exposed to each other’s condition with zero protection.

As we’re now starting to realise, each of us is home to a massive colony of bacteria in, on, and around our bodies at all times – our very own personal and individually unique microbiome.

We carry around a cloud of microbes directly related to who we are, our health, our mental state, our gender, and a zillion other influences. A signature more detailed and accurate than any fingerprint, retina scan or DNA sample.

Not only that, our individual clouds can completely displace and take over from any existing cloud in a matter of hours. So that scientists can determine when we were in a location. Our physical state when we were there. Even what we may have had to eat or drink before we got there.

Biological fingerprint

That gives us each a forensic profile that can only be ours. Irrefutable proof that any infection or ailment we may be carrying is the source of exposure. And cause of colleagues succumbing to a particular illness and deterioration of their life condition.

Now here’s the thing. By analysing the traces of microbiome present in a scene, existing technology is barely a step away from finding us culpable of causing health detriments to others.

If for example, we’re negligent in ensuring proper hand hygiene after a visit to the toilet, are we not criminally responsible for the MRSA of a colleague? And without antibiotics that work any more, is our action not a threat to life – culpable negligence, manslaughter or murder?

Avoiding hygiene felony

Suddenly, not washing your hands could become an Offence Against the Person, punishable by long term or even life imprisonment.

And it’s not just us, but our bosses too.

We might get done for not washing our hands. They could get nicked for not keeping the workplace safe and free from germs.

Again, remembering that this is against the background of total antibiotics failure. Our only defence against serious illness is heightened hygiene discipline.

Which is why bosses will be glad to look at a Hypersteriliser. Press one button and forty minutes later, ALL viruses and bacteria are no more – oxidised to nothing by hydrogen peroxide mist.

The germs will be back next morning of course – our combined microbiomes quickly repopulating the space and laying claim to it.

But germ threshold levels will be reduced – and back down to zero at the end of the day, when repeat treatment annihilates them again. A daily discipline, just like cleaning your teeth.

Yes, daily.

Because think about it. If we all have the opportunity to eliminate germs to make us all safer, it must be criminally wrong not to use it.

Sterile is secure.

Picture Copyright: elnur / 123RF Stock Photo

When will we ever get serious about hygiene?

Girl with Serious Warning
So hygiene is not sexy – neither is being dead

Serious? We never think about hygiene – let alone that it could kill us.

Washing hands, keeping clean – it’s boring, nag-nag nannying stuff. Not for grown-ups with jobs to do and lives to run.

Not sexy. Totally uncool.

Wishy-washy doesn’t touch us

We never connect hygiene with when we’re sick either.

Somehow germs get to us without any of our own doing. Nothing to do with us, we’re innocent as driven snow.

Yeah, right.

Reality is, it’s usually something we’ve eaten, or breathed in, or allowed to get infected through an injury we haven’t tended properly. And nine times out of ten in circumstances where things weren’t clean, germs were breeding and we walked right into them.

Caused by ourselves – by our hygiene blind spot.

Yeah, boring. Soap and water, who needs it?

Yet the penny never drops that we’re playing with our lives. That from germs already on our skin, even a simple paper cut could develop into sepsis, that we could be dead inside a week.

Feel-good tops being clean

No, we’re not serious. Which makes us stupid.

Because hygiene, to one level or another, saves our lives every day.

Including default hygiene. Stuff we do that we don’t even think about.

For instance, we don’t wash to get clean, do we? Too super-boring for speech.

But ritual and indulgence – that’s something else.

The long, soaking bath, the invigorating morning shower. Neither are about getting clean – we’re into the feel-good hype and extravagance of it, exactly like the soap ads offer. Treat yourself, relax, enjoy a moment of luxury.

Yeah OK, so we’re clean. But what kind of germ defence is that?

We can’t carry it with us into the day, can we? No lingering in a long, hot tub after making a Number Two at the office – that just isn’t practical. Wrong time, wrong place – we’re at work, gotta perform, go, go, go.

Which puts hygiene out of sight and out of mind, right the way through until our moment of indulgence again.

Most of the time, we get away with it too. Our bodies’ immune systems work overtime to keep us safe, glitching slightly with allergies and intolerances, but otherwise fine.

Horrible habits

Meanwhile, our bad habits run unchecked and out of control:

Because it’s not important is why. There’s billions and billions of germs all around us every day, any one of which could kill us or make us vegetables. We don’t see them, so we don’t recognise them for what they are.

Life threats.

And we just imagine that as long as we LOOK clean, therefore we are.

So we flounce through the day without a care in the world – only going near a wash basin when our bodies demand the toilet. Inconvenient, so we rush it as quickly as possible – keen to get back to the buzz of living.

Wash hands? Not even on the radar.

Not surprising either with all the limp-wristed appeals around us to do something about it.

PLEASE WASH YOUR HANDS has no sense of urgency.

No scare factor either. WASH YOUR HANDS OR DIE is a lot more appropriate.

Particularly when more and more of our miracle drugs are no longer able to pull us back from the jaws of death to compensate for our sloppy hygiene.

Antibiotic resistance is already a global nightmare. And when antibiotics no longer work, washing our hands becomes our ONLY defence against misadventures with dirt and deadly pathogens.

Dead is dead, better to live

OK, so we need to make hygiene urgent. To impress upon ourselves we really are seriously at hazard unless we see the light. Folksy symbols of washing hands won’t crack it – besides the message is boring.Electricity warning

We don’t pussy-foot around with electricity for example. Dead is dead – just as all-conclusive by a dose of harmful bacteria as it is by 30,000 volts.

And dead is what can happen to us if we don’t wash our hands.

Not that it always does – we’re more likely to be ill, sometimes seriously.

E. coli, for example naturally lives in our lower intestine and most strains are harmless. On top of diarrhoea and dehydration however, virulent strains can cause gastroenteritis, urinary tract infections, and neonatal meningitis. Few people die from it, but any of those symptoms can develop complications and kill.

And count on it, faecal traces of e. coli are inevitable on many of our trips to the loo – and that’s just one of the many trillions of bacteria we have living in our digestive tract. One of the bugs we have clinging to our fingers.

Not all of them are friendly, so the life threat from sloppy hygiene is very real and we need to change our mind-set.

Get serious or face the consequences, will we ever learn?

Nobody wants to die though, so better pass the soap.

Picture Copyright: ostill / 123RF Stock Photo

No more saving lives, bacteria win: end of the road for antibiotics

Worried med team
Antibiotics dilemma: short-term lifesavers, long-term killers

It’s already started and nothing can stop it. Bacteria are winning, as doctors always knew they would.

Survivors for billions and billions of years, we dared to think we could fight them and beat them. Dazzled by the brilliance of antibiotic healing, we were too proud to see the reality underneath – that every day they were actually killing us more and more

Not so super

Now our miracle lifesavers have met their kryptonite. Super powers gone, melted into nothings, they’re unmasked as the killers they always were.

Because that’s all that antibiotics ever did – kill bacteria.

First the bad bacteria that made us ill, making us think they really made us better.  Lifesavers, amazing.

Then the good bacteria we all have in our gut, so essential to our systems that they’re 90% of the bodies we inhabit. Not that we knew that at the time. Or even worried about it that much.

Bad bacteria dead, good. Good bacteria dead, bad.

Whoops.

But that was before we even thought about gut bacteria. Or even knew we had any. Or that they were so vital to our existence. Or that exposing them to antibiotics would destroy or disable key bodily functions we had no idea they influenced. Digestion, hunger control, chemical balance, immune system management.

Actually, we’re still not taking that seriously enough. Titanic has already hit the iceberg and instead we’re anguishing about antibiotics resistance – still clinging to antibiotics as miracle drugs, even though they’re not working any more because bacteria have mutated to become immune to them.

Wake up, everybody – that ship is already sinking.

Bacteria always win

Because bacteria have won and always will – it’s only a matter of when. Even Alexander Fleming admitted that they would, right back in 1928 when he discovered penicillin.

And just check out how quickly they do it.

Penicillin-resistant staph emerged in 1940, just twelve years later – when antibiotics were still in their infancy, not used on the scale they are today. Then as usage ramped up, resistance developed faster, some strains happening almost overnight.

  • Tetracycline introduced 1950, resistance identified 1959.
  • Erythromycin introduced 1953, resistance identified 1968.
  • Methicillin introduced 1960, resistance identified 1962.
  • Gentamycin introduced 1967, resistance identified 1979.
  • Vancomycin introduced 1972, resistance identified 1988.
  • Ceftazidime introduced 1985, resistance identified 1987.
  • Levofloxacin introduced 1996, resistance identified THE SAME YEAR.
  • Ceftaroline introduced 2010, resistance identified 2011.

And these are just the short list!

Food, food, food

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the big discovery was that antibiotics promoted growth of animals and plants Big Time. Four times as big, in a quarter of the time, on the same amount of feed.

These were the original  fattening drugs – fed to farm animals every day in sub-therapeutic doses that ensured continued growth – overriding natural hunger controls so that animals gorged and gorged, supersize ready for market.

And of course, pooed out onto the ground to be used as fertiliser for feed crops and other plant types, maintaining antibiotics levels right through the food chain to our dinner tables.

Which means that we eat them too, so they make US fat  – which is how come two thirds of adults are now overweight or obese, with killer illnesses like diabetes, cancer and heart disease to look forward to –thousands of times more deadly than all antibiotics resistant superbugs put together.

Time to fight back

Oh sure, we could develop new antibiotics to cope with newly-resistant bacteria strains – a few short-term wins if we could meet the cost. Save a few thousand lives before bacteria mutated again and nixed everything back to zero.

Well, not exactly zero because our continuing daily sub-therapeutic food doses would still ensure we succumbed to diabetes, cancer, heart disease or any of the many other deadly killers once thought eradicated, now poised for a comeback – TB, pneumonia, typhoid, cholera, bubonic plague, back to the Dark Ages.

Our only defence?

That’s back to the Dark Ages too – illness avoidance, but with a modern twist.

Avoiding germs means making sure there aren’t any – you can’t catch them if there aren’t any around.

So, soap and water, back to washing our hands. Every opportunity we get, scrub, rinse, dry.

And not just our hands, but the spaces around us – the things we touch, the air we move through, our enclosed and shared daily indoor world. Protected by ionised hydrogen peroxide mist that destroys all viruses and bacteria by oxidising them to oblivion.

Safe, sterile, secure spaces where our weakened bodies and our precious gut bacteria, ravaged by a lifetime’s exposure to antibiotics in our food, are no longer threatened by external bacteria intent on destroying us.

Next stop, getting the antibiotics OUT of our food. No easy task with anywhere from 65,000 to 240,000 tonnes of them being pumped into agriculture every year (per the Prime Minister’s specially requested review ) – enabling population numbers a staggering 5 billion higher than half a century ago.

Lots of big money, lots of vested interests, lots of incentive to do nothing.

But don’t worry, bacteria will take care of that too.

With antibiotics still in our food, long term illnesses will continue to rise. So will death rates from an increasing number of dread diseases. Maybe by the time half of us are killed off, we’ll come to our senses and stop using the damned things.

They’ve let us play God for long enough, now it’s time to start paying.

Picture Copyright: matthewephotography / 123RF Stock Photo

The drugs don’t work – so keep germs away, or die

Medical researcher
The miracle’s not happening any more – antibiotics are starting to kill us

You read that right, the drugs don’t work.

And you’d better believe it, because it’s coming true.

The Verve sang about it on their album Urban Hymns.

Slightly more scary, there’s a book about it as well – by no less a person than Dr Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer of England,  somebody who ought to know.

Take a pill, it does nothing. That’s where we’re going.

Everything’s a risk

Which means a sore throat could kill you – so could a paper cut.

Even worse, we could be dying already – FROM PILLS WE’VE ALREADY TAKEN. Antibiotics we had years ago as a kid – a miracle cure back then, but slowly killing us now.

And even if we didn’t take them, they’re still working away at our innards, gulped down unconsciously with every mouthful of food we eat. Every day a little more, drip, drip, drip. Because – surprise, surprise – there’s antibiotics in all our food.

What the hell’s going on?

Two things, neither of them good.

Antibiotic resistance

The one Dame Sally is worried about is antibiotic resistance. Because of massive over-use, all kinds of harmful bacteria have evolved that are immune to antibiotics. They’ve mutated and mutated so that whatever illness they cause is unstoppable. If our bodies aren’t strong enough to resist, we’ll die.The drugs don't work

And it’s not just illness. Every routine surgical procedure relies on antibiotics to prevent infection. Heart surgery, hip replacement, gastric bypass – all of them are impossible without infection control. Medicine is on the brink of returning to the Dark Ages.

Antibiotic contamination

The other thing is long-term. We ingest small doses of antibiotics with everything we eat – residual traces of growth boosters used by farmers to fatten up livestock quicker and plant crops yield more strongly.

You read that right too. Growth boosters. Added to animal feed and plant fertiliser in industrial quantities. Super-charging the manure that’s used for everything from grazing grass, to vegetable crops, to grain production – you name it.

How can you tell?

Look around and ask yourself, aren’t more of us overweight than we ever used to be? And not just a little portly round the middle either – but seriously bulging everywhere, at all stages of obesity.

Antibiotics did that – just like they did for the cows and chickens and pigs they were fed to. They got fat, so we get fat too. Fatter and fatter and fatter as the residual doses collectively mount up. Seriously obese.

Which means we’re seriously at risk of what obesity triggers – type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, asthma – all kinds of slow, debilitating ailments that will eventually kill us. Caused by the very same miracle drugs we thought were life savers.

Keep healthy, or else

All of a sudden, our health and everything concerned with protecting it, have become a major issue – like driving on bald tyres. Everything is OK as long as nothing happens. But if it does, we’re going to crash Big Time.

Luckily, we do have defences.

No 1 – wash our hands at every opportunity. Germs surround us and are on everything we touch – so unless we keep them clean, our hands are constantly transferring viruses and bacteria to our mouth, eyes and nose, the easiest doorways for infection to get in.

No 2 – eliminate germs around us. We all carry germs with us and our living spaces are full of them. But they don’t have to be. Mopping and scrubbing gets rid of only a few – we need to be sure of the cracks and crevices. Plus we need to treat the air – probably 80% of any room space that is never usually touched.

Easy with a Hypersteriliser though. That fine mist of ionised hydrogen peroxide destroys all viruses and bacteria by oxidising them to pieces. Forty minutes and the place is sterile – safe from germs down to less than 1 air particle in a million.

No 3 – be watchful. How many times do we cut ourselves because we’re not paying attention? If accidents don’t happen, germs don’t get a look in.

No 4 – go organic. Stop eating mass-produced foods that have antibiotics in them. Not easy at first, you have to find a reliable source. Certainly if you grow your own and eat ocean fresh fish – not the farmed jobs – you’re off to a good start.

Yeah, the drugs don’t work. But if we’re watchful and we’re careful, most of the time we don’t need them. And hopefully we’re healthier and stronger, so if anything does happen, we can rise above it anyway.

Let the dying happen another day.

Picture Copyright: dolgachov / 123RF Stock Photo

NHS vs TB: winning the war against the world’s oldest killer

Disaster Man
TB might be deadly, but we can still win

Bad things don’t get much badder.

So bad that London is the recognised TB capital of Europe – the second most common cause of death world-wide after HIV/AIDS.

Consumption it used to be called. The wasting disease of the poor in Dickensian times.

But TB’s been around a hell of a lot longer than that.

Curse of the ancients

It tops the Who’s Who of killer diseases back to biblical times and beyond: tuberculosis (TB), leprosy, cholera, smallpox, rabies, malaria, pneumonia, influenza, measles and the Black Plague.

In fact tubercular decay has been found in the spines of Egyptian mummies from 3000 BC.

It’s the longest-running bacteria war in the history of humanity.

But it’s one we can win in nearly every case. Even for those so down on their luck the only way forward seems like feet-first.

The anti-TB hit team

You may not have heard of Find&Treat – another team of NHS heroes who work nationwide, fighting TB for those who need it most – homeless people, drug abusers, alcoholics, helpless migrants and ex-cons.

No, they’re not a Halloween outfit. They’re dedicated professionals – out there with mobile X-ray units day and night to locate the 10,000 sufferers every year with confirmed TB.

It’s no surprise it’s the disease of the poor.

We all of us interact with bacteria everyday – some good, some bad – a miraculous balance held in check by our immune systems.

But things work against you when you’re a have-not.

Not enough food, not enough liquids, no defence against the cold, zero chance to keep yourself clean.

Any one of those can throw the body out of balance.

Next thing, the cough that spells the end – unspeakable stuff in your spit, very often blood.

Except it’s fixable with drugs and proper care.

TB can be beaten (Tweet this)

Streptomycin in combination with others to get round antibiotic resistance – bedaquiline and delamanid and many others – a vital defence against MDR-TB (multiple drug-resistant tuberculosis).

And if that doesn’t work, there’s surgery – removing fluid-filled bullae from the lungs – simultaneously reducing the number of bacteria and increasing drug-exposure to the remainder. Take that, you murderous scum.

But getting well is not easy – especially if you’re sleeping rough and living on the streets.

Which is where the Peers come in – recovered TB patients who know how hard it is to find support. So they give it themselves in advice and encouragement, persuading the homeless to get checked and receive treatment.

Been there, done that, got better.

Nasty though, TB. Highly contagious.

Remember “cough and sneezes spread diseases” – the 1942 slogan to counter people pulling sickies?

It’s airborne and deadly, easily picked up by anyone, particularly in cities – crowded places where people live and breathe on top of each other.

Except that’s preventable too.

TB prevention

As a bacteria, TB can be clobbered by hydrogen peroxide spray. Lingering germs in the air are destroyed as they swirl around – oxidised to shreds so their individual cells rip apart.

You can’t stop a sneeze passing the bacteria on, but you can sterilise the room in which a sufferer has been – all viruses and bacteria destroyed with 99.9999% efficiency.

TB capital of Europe?

London has faced worse things – and is still winning.

Let those folk who bad-mouth the NHS think on that – next time they start coughing.

Now deadly superbugs resist disinfectants too

Biohazard team
Disinfect all you like – once germs resist, nowhere is safe

It’s our own fault really. Teaching bugs how to resist. Believe it or not, by having a go with disinfectants too often.

Too often, or too carelessly?

Because bacteria are survivors, see? They’ve been on this planet longer than any other living thing. So they can cope with extremes. Acid environments, polluted with metals.  Even boiling water.

Which makes resisting disinfectants a bit of a doddle.

Slap-happy routine

Especially when disinfectants come at them every day.  Routine same-old, everybody’s used to it – plenty of slap-happy mistakes.

Not properly applied, so bits get missed. Not strong enough, so not all are killed. Not exposed for long enough, so even more escape.  And always repetitive, so they know what’s coming.

More of the same, get ready. And not all of them are dead from last time.

Not dead, and not driven out –  every time they get stronger. Better able to resist. More used to defending themselves.

Plus, if it gets too hard to resist, they get clever.

Like going up against bleach – the one substance bacteria has a problem with, because it oxidises them.

But not a problem if the bleach is too weak, or not left on for long enough.

Billions of years of being clever

A couple of capfuls in a bucket of water makes a solution that’s not nearly strong enough. And the usual wipe-on, wipe-off won’t leave it there nearly long enough – bleach takes 30 minutes exposure time to be sure of a kill.

Plus, bacteria can live with the smell, even if we humans can’t. The rest is just outlasting the stuff. Ensuring there are enough bacteria around to keep going.

Not a problem when you can regenerate yourself quickly. E. coli for instance – including its deadly O157 variant – can replicate itself every 20 minutes.  If a batch get wiped out, they’re easily back at strength in just hours.

The other trick is to hide behind biofilms – hard-to-remove slime that protects bacteria from contact with the bleach.

Or to unfold a heat-shock protein, Hsp33, which binds and protects other proteins from harm, helping the bacteria to survive.

All of which means, if you’re going to disinfect something, do it properly.

Life’s a bleach – or not

Use bleach, slap it on thick and leave it there for 30 minutes or more. Not always that simple as bleach attacks metals, particularly stainless steel. Your nose will tell you it’s pretty corrosive to other substances too.

Otherwise, you’re teaching the bacteria to resist. Giving it an immunity to further disinfectants used against it in the future. AND teaching it antibiotic resistance as well.

Or there is an easier solution – which no bacteria can resist, no matter what. No viruses or fungi either.

Simply mist the place up with ionised hydrogen peroxide.

Electrostatically charged, the stuff reaches everywhere. Including the air, which never normally gets touched, even though it’s 80% of the average room space. And forced hard up against all those hard-to-reach places your sponge or cleaning cloth can’t get at.

Like bleach, the action is by oxidising. But exposure time is 30 seconds, not 30 minutes.

Because boosted by ionising into a plasma mist, hydrogen peroxide releases a slew of other other antimicrobials. Hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, ozone and ultraviolet.

Oxygen atoms reach out and grab at germs, ripping their cell structure apart.

40 minutes later, and it’s done and dusted. Disinfected AND sterilised.

The mist reverts to eco-friendly oxygen and water, which evaporates – and the whole place is germ-free. 99.9999% gone – no bacteria, no viruses, no fungi – to a 6-Log Sterility Assurance Level.

No slopping around on top of the necessary rubbing and scrubbing. No noxious fumes either.

Hard to resist?

You bet.

Picture Copyright: kadmy / 123RF Stock Photo

Workplace germs never worried us before, why are they so urgent now?

Business germ threat
Not worried about workplace germs? Not if you’ve taken precautions – like sterilising the place every night

The world has changed since we last looked. What worried us then is different to now.

Back then, germs were a fact of life. You caught a cold, you sneezed your way through it. And everyone else caught it too.

Now you catch a cold, you can bring a whole business down.

Heavyweight experts working to a deadline – one of them conks, the whole project goes down the tubes. The whole team off sick, total disaster.

The germs were always there. But with expectations of 100% performance all of the time, that’s rapidly becoming unachievable.

No wonder we’re all worried.

And people assets these days are expensive. They need to be motivated. Constantly persuaded to stay and not join the competition.

The threat we dare not ignore

Which is why bosses spend thousands on workplace wellness programmes. To keep staff sweet and wanting to perform.

With things like flu vaccinations, health and lifestyle coaching, stop smoking programmes, nap rooms, fresh fruit and vegetables, stress reduction programmes, fitness programmes and gym membership, on-site medical clinics, weight loss clinics, therapy and massage, right down to company fitness trackers.

Well, well, well.

Workplace wellness – all about wellbeing.

Nothing about KEEPING staff well and healthy healthy. Or protecting them from stress and health threats. Not the slightest mention of AVOIDING germs.

Yet germs have always been with us – and always will be.

But because we’re expected to perform 100% of the time, nobody would ever dare let a germ slow them down. Not unless it was serious. Doctor, medicine and maybe even hospital. Certainly days off.

Which is unacceptable, and possibly a career threat – would our jobs still be there when we came back?

Unwell at work – more costly than sick leave

So if germs ever strike us, we try to ignore them. Shuffling in to work, feeling like death, determined to go through the motions. “Presenteeism” it’s called – 10 times more costly than regular sick leave.

We grit our teeth and the childhood memories kick in – Nan and Grandad never gave in to colds like this. They had them, sure – but seemed better able to cope. Stronger somehow.

Which indeed they were. More resilient too.

And not because our lifestyles are softer. We don’t have the same immunities that they had. We’re more sensitive. More susceptible to infections as well.

Not that we’re worried about it. We just go to the Doc, get some pills – and hey-ho, it’s off to work we go.

Uh huh.

Those pills.

Antibiotics, right? The magic medicines Nan and Grandad never had. All-round fixer-uppers – we strong-arm the Doc for them for every little ailment. Grow up with them  through all the childhood illnesses. So that by the time they’re twenty, the average teenager has been on antibiotics 17 times.

Which means our bodies have an easier time than our grand-parents’ did. Growing up without the hard fights that they went through. Making us softer, gentler, weaker.

Without all the immunities that they had too.

Atom bombs in our gut

Every time we take antibiotics, our microbiome goes through a major upheaval. Down in our gut are 12 trillion bacteria living in harmony with us – aiding our digestion, creating proteins, managing our immune systems and a thousand other things.

Releasing an antibiotic into that lot is like setting off an atomic bomb. Antibiotics work by killing bacteria – and they do. Taking out the bad guys giving us a hard time – but taking out a lot of the good guys too.

Effective, yes – but not so good at targeting only the right ones. Sure there’s thousands of others to replace the casualties . But often the rarer ones are wiped out completely. And once they’re gone, they’re gone. We recover from our illness, yes – but our bodies never fully return to the way they were.

So that generation to generation, our immunities diminish. The good bacteria that defend us from a particular kind of bad ones just aren’t there any more.

Not really a problem because our lifestyles are so much better than our grand-parents’ were. Better food, better living conditions, better hygiene standards, better medical care.

Except that’s not our only exposure to antibiotics.

Super efficient growth boosters

Because agriculture uses them as growth boosters, they’re in everything we eat as well. Micro-doses in all our meat, fish, vegetables, cereals, grain and fruit.

Which work on our bodies in exactly the same way as the farmers use them for. They fatten us up.

Right there is the greatest overlooked problem of our time. Doctors are worried about our high exposure to antibiotics because bacteria are becoming resistant to them.  More rapidly than they would like, our miracle medicines are no longer making people better.

But they are making them fatter. Fatter and fatter and fatter. It’s staring us right in the face but nobody twigs it. We’re swallowing small amounts of highly efficient growth boosters every day, not realising that’s why two thirds of us are overweight or obese.

And what does obesity do? Sets our not-quite-as-strong-as-our-grandparents’-bodies on the long and very bumpy road to asthma, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. A road on which antibiotics no longer work – our miracle defences are taken away from us.

Which should explain why we ought to be worried about workplace germs.

So many of us herded together in the same space – breathing the same air and touching the same objects. It’s the ideal opportunity to catch each other’s germs and pass them on.

And those germs are there alright. Just as they always have been. In the air and on surfaces we share – touchscreens, keypads, light switches, door handles. Waiting to have a go at our less resilient and increasingly overweight bodies.

The nightly antidote

Yet overnight, those germs can be eliminated. In addition to the usual vacuuming and wipe downs, just follow up by misting with hydrogen peroxide and the whole place is sterilised. Germs are oxidised to nothing, there are simply no illnesses to catch.

OK, so it adds a few hundred to the monthly cleaning bill.

But the thousands saved by not trying to do our jobs tied down by a tummy upset or lingering flu? By not making mistakes or missing vital deadlines? Or infecting our high-powered colleagues on the tight deadline job that MUST be finished on time or the contract falls through the slats?

Yeah, we never worried about workplace germs before.

But we should now.

Unless of course we’re all safe and sterilised.

Then we’re not worried, we’re laughing.

Picture Copyright: wavebreakmediamicro / 123RF Stock Photo and sorad / 123RF Stock Photo