Tag Archives: antibiotics

Good germs, bad germs – we need both to survive

Before-after girl's face
Don’t worry, everything’s OK –
just as long as we keep the balance

This whole page exists because we have a problem with bacteria.

More correctly, we have a problem with hygiene.

If it wasn’t for bacteria we wouldn’t exist – and most bacteria are benign anyway.

Yes, bacteria are dangerous. Yes, they can kill.

Most of the time we co-exist in balance – and maintaining that equilibrium is what keeps us healthy.

Bacteria prejudice

Because we’re psyched to believe all bacteria are bad, it’s creepy to be reminded that they’re crawling all over us – inside and out. We wouldn’t last long however, if they weren’t there.

Our whole digestive system depends on them to extract nutrition from food. One of our key needs is nitrogen, which our bodies are totally unequipped to process. Which is why a bunch of bacteria sits in our gut, munching through nitrogen sources to power us up.

So how about the bad buys?

Time to stand our preconceived thinking on its head.

Our whole existence works on the synergy our bodies have with bacteria – a tit-for-tat relationship that most of the time works just fine. But there are billions and billions of bacteria types – and not all of them work best with humans. The soil might be better, or some kind of tree.

Right and wrong

And that’s when things go pear-shaped. They can’t co-exist because they’re in the wrong place. Wrong reactions happen, things get out of kilter and the body suffers – the bacteria start eating or changing the wrong things and some kind of infection usually results.

In the wrong place? Get rid of it – which is what antibiotics are for.

And since we don’t have any mechanism for encouraging these bacteria to leave peacefully, the only thing we know how to do is kill them. Wrong bacteria out of the way, we start getting better – or more appropriately, we return to balance – over the worst, we’re convalescing.

But killing those wrong bacteria can be brutal, with punishing results for our bodies. One well-known side-effect of antibiotics is diarrhoea. Way out of balance, we get the squitters, which the body voids as harmful waste – including the wrong bacteria. Like norovirus, say – or even nastier – gastroenteritis.

Not nice, being ill

Yes, it happens to all of us at some time – and we know it takes time to come back. The body has to repair the damage before the good guys can get to work. The collywobbles settle down and we’re back to normal.

Or take the other bad guys of the moment, MRSA – methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus to be exact. At any one time, staph bacteria is all over our skin – its function, to keep OTHER harmful intruders out. OK José, everything fine.

But get a cut that lets it into the wrong place and boom! – the body has a problem that the Doc has no medicine to fix. Why? Because with overuse of antibiotics for every little thing for the last 50 years, certain bacteria have learned how to resist them. The price of antibiotics-abuse.

Outside our bodies, of course, is another world. Some environments are safe, others have hazards – wrong bacteria, unable to find the right host, so they choose you and throw your balance out.

Again, we don’t have the mechanism to politely tell these bacteria to go away. We only know how to kill them. And experience has shown us that if we don’t get rid of all of them, they still keep coming. So we hit them with whatever – bleach usually – sodium hypochlorite, formaldehyde, whatever might work.

Brutal tactics

Trouble is, we have to spread it everywhere in our surroundings to clobber them all – good, bad together, we’ve no way of telling the difference. Just so long as we don’t affect anything INSIDE our bodies.

Brutal yes, but this is war – germ war. And we have to protect the bacteria inside us that help us live.

Kinder to practice better hygiene. To wash our hands every time we do stuff that lets the wrong bacteria get to us. But not just for five seconds. Properly, to make sure they all get away – about as long as it takes to sing “Row, row, row your boat” in your head.

After all, we’re all in this together.

Originally posted 2015-04-24 12:30:22.

How to kill superbugs before superbugs kill you

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

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

Down in the mouth about it?

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

Germs everywhere

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

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

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

Uh huh.

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

We are germs too

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Superbugs? No wonder.

Continuous mutation

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

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

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

So what defence do we have?

Very simple – avoid, avoid, avoid.

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

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

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

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

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

Mostly miss.

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

Brute force, with finesse

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

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

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

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

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

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

Safe at last

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

Feel safer now?

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

Good health!

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

How to keep well when flu jabs don’t work

All frosted up
Flu germs are everywhere –
don’t let them get you

Cold and getting colder.

All that stuff sweeping in from Siberia.

The polar bear’s pyjamas.

Worse, according to Public Health England, this year’s anti-flu vaccine is barely effective – working in only 3% of cases.

Defences are down

Not good, particularly if you’re older.

Because this year’s nasty, a mutation from the H3N2 strain of the flu virus, particularly affects the elderly. (Tweet this)

Despite the £100 million spent on flu vaccination annually, this mutation has smartly glitched the guessing game that world health authorities play every winter – deciding which variants of flu virus will be “fashionable” this year.

You still need a flu jab, because other types are still around and each year’s vaccine can usually clobber about three.

But H3N2 has decided otherwise and mutated so much, that this year’s vaccine is about as effective as water.

Flu is not all

Woe and grief, yes – but it’s a useful wakeup call.

You see, it’s not just this year’s flu vaccine that doesn’t work.

It’s a whole slew of medicines – starting with antibiotics.

Big time mutation across the board has made many pathogens immune to them.

So if you’re rushed to hospital with complications from catching flu – cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis or asthma for example – doctors are going to think twice before giving you anything.

Overuse of antibiotics in the last 50 years means that, increasingly, they stop working altogether.

Maybe not so bad with your flu complications – medics can quickly put you on oxygen.

But it’s a disaster for medicine across the board – just about every major procedure in any hospital could fail without them.

Back to the Dark Ages

Any kind of surgery – any incision or breach of the body’s skin – is suddenly a major infection threat. Which is why the big worry among health experts is HAIs – Hospital Acquired Infections.

You go to hospital to have your hernia repaired. But MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) gets in to your surgery area and you’re lucky to escape with your life.

Exactly the headache every surgeon faces with even the simplest case.

But what can you do?

The flu virus is out there and raging rampant. What’s to stop it getting you?

Better than cure

Prevention is what. Simple avoidance.

Alright, you can’t do much in the big outdoors. If it’s your turn to breathe in some H3N2 cells on the rampage, that’s just unlucky.

You also can’t do much if Hooligan Harry sneezes all over you in the lift or Underground. Especially when us Brits are about the most unhygienic people around and never wash our hands enough.

But you can clobber germs indoors so nothing lingers. Sterilise the place when nobody’s around so the germ threshold sinks to zero.

Twenty minutes misting up the place with hydrogen peroxide spray completely destroys all viruses and bacteria. Any room you treat with this stuff is totally sterile.

Which is a lot better defence in your workplace or home than the quick vacuum and dust that most places get.

And why take chances when you can be totally sure?

Especially with so much flu around.

Every year, between 250,000 and 500,000 people die from it worldwide.

Don’t let one of them be you.

Originally posted 2015-02-06 11:56:41.

There’s cancer in all of us – but don’t let it kill you

Happy woman
Happily ever after starts with you
(Tweet this)

The clock is ticking.

Are you taking care – or taking chances?

Every second could change your life, depending on what you do with it.

And it’s much more of a life and death decision than most of us think.

In your own hands

Latest figures from Cancer Research UK reveal that half of us will get cancer at some stage of our lives. More and more of us are in the older age groups and more susceptible to wear and tear.

How much wear – and how much tear, depends on us of course.

We all know we should lead a healthy life – some of us better than others.

Razzling around and chasing the high spots has a price tag that none of us can avoid.

But while age is the biggest – and most unavoidable – risk, it’s not the cause of cancer.

Being out of balance is.

Losing it

Cancer happens when body cells begin to behave abnormally. A defect, a weakness, and we are in trouble.

Most of the time, damaged cells are flushed out – the body does it daily, part of the rough and tumble of living.

Because cells don’t go rogue by themselves.

An outside shove does it for them, usually triggered by our behaviour or lifestyle.

And the biggest shove of all is one we’re not aware of – always there, day by day, always pushing us.

Stress.

Yeah, right. As if that’s new.

Everybody has work stress, you just have to live with it.

And home stress? It goes with the territory.

Unavoidable stress levels that depend entirely at how good you are at coping with them.

Enter, digital stress

Except that these days, the stress levels we face are higher than ever before.

Fast-paced, results-driven modern living, what do you expect?

And it’s all us, just us.

Another recent study concludes that there is no link between cancer and using mobile phones. No link to electromagnetic fields – computers, powerlines, television.

Uh huh.

Maybe not physically.

But the pressures they unleash are unprecedented.

Full of angst and emotional strain, teenagers constantly stress about relationships. Every text, picture, Facebook post or Twitter tweet is potentially a full-scale breakdown.

Other media aren’t much better. Television, newspapers. Who among us is not appalled, shocked, sickened, or just plain scared of recent terrorist actions in our own cities – let alone the Middle East?

Stress, worry, uncertainty. They all throw the body out of kilter.

Sleepless nights, stomach upsets, headaches. Just the kind of shove that cancer needs.

So it’s not so much that we’re getting old at all.

Heartbreak, heart attack

A bust-up with a boyfriend is the end of the world. Handling it is impossible. Overwhelming grief, loss of appetite, listlessness, reduced will to live – is it surprising that a weakness occurs, the body reacts and damage is done?

Just the kind of damage that gives cancer a foothold – maybe not straight away, but inevitable in the future.

It’s not just cancer either.

Every moment of every day we’re surrounded by billions of viruses and bacteria – many of them inside our bodies.

First sign of weakness and they’re in too – and stressed people are careless, not paying full attention to the world around them.

Preoccupied or distracted, a cut or scrape can so easily happen. Even forgetting to wash hands properly is enough to do it. First sign of sloppy hygiene and infection is in, not wanting to let go.

Which is when the Doc reminds you that antibiotics don’t work as well as the used to – those rotten germs have developed an immunity.

Cancer, bugs, medicines that don’t work. What on earth can you do to survive?

Watch yourself all the time. Keep clean and healthy. Make sure your mind is right.

Sure, some folks have survived smoking and drinking to reach 104.

Long odds though, with plenty of losers along the way.

If you really want to get there yourself, stay balanced.

Don’t let the nasties grind you down.

 

Originally posted 2015-02-04 13:43:54.

Beat the severe flu season – do nothing

Girl doing nothing
Don’t bother me,
I’m keeping everybody else healthy

It’s better than pulling a sickie – and it’s official.

To avoid coming down with this year’s nasty, take yourself out of circulation.

STAY AT HOME!

It seems finally the research wallahs have been hit by common sense.

The “doh” effect

If you take yourself out of the equation, nothing can happen to you.

Not quite the same as your Doc saying take two weeks in the sun. But the nearest thing to it.

Believe it or not, this “procedure” even has a name.

Non-pharmaceutical intervention“.

And it’s the brain-child of four high-powered American study centres: University of California, Arizona State University, Georgia State University and Yale University.

Like, wow.

These guys are serious though,  and so are their recommendations.

Makes sense

Wide-spread flu attacks should be treated as an epidemic and the most effective way to avoid them is “social distancing.”

That’s where the “stay at home” bit comes in.

As evidence, the boffins cite the outbreak of A/H1N1 swine flu in Mexico City in 2009.

Inundated with cases, the federal government shut schools and people stayed home – limiting the number of others they came in contact with.

Kinda obvious isn’t it?

If you’ve got the bug, you can’t give it to anyone except the family.

And if anyone else has got it, they don’t come near you.

You’re laughing.

Prevention

Back to the old philosophy: prevention is better than cure.

So it’s not YOU who should call your boss, because you’re sick and staying home.

It’s YOUR BOSS who should call you, because others are sick and you should stay home. (Tweet this)

A one-word tactic – AVOID.

Way better and more productive than dragging yourself to work, bringing everyone else down with it so the whole export department is out, clogging up your GP for antibiotics that don’t work, then staggering in to an overcrowded A&E because the flu brought complications from working late.

Just think of the price tag too – to you, to your employer, to the NHS, and to the country.

In fact, staying home is MORE productive.

Well, you’ve got broadband haven’t you? So you’re not going to sit there, bored out of your skull with Eastenders.

You can network the office or anywhere in the world – snug as bug under the duvet with a mug of hot chocolate – on flexible hours too, so the heck with the alarm clock.

Skype, Hangouts, what’s the problem?

Plus, plus, plus!

If your employer’s on the ball, he applies AVOID tactics too.

Not just by staying home himself.

But by taking the opportunity to sterilise the offices – remove all viruses and bacteria completely.

No germs at work

No residue bugs hanging around to infect people when they come back.

Easy peasy – mist the place up with hydrogen peroxide ultra-fine spray and all germs are oxidised to nothing.

Flu, norovirus, e.coli, campylobacter, c.difficile, salmonella, legionnaire’s disease, smallpox, Ebola, whatever – all dead and gone and not coming back.

So what’s not to like?

You get time off, paid to put your feet up.

Your offices get purified.

Nobody suffers a moment with coughs or sniffles.

SORTED!

Yes, sure it’s bloody obvious, as the Duke of Edinburgh might say.

So why didn’t we think of this before?

Originally posted 2015-01-23 11:55:41.

Antibiotics don’t work – our immune systems are shot too

Hand with stethoscope
You can’t get ill if you don’t catch germs in the first place

Blame it on our super-slick 21st Century lifestyle.

The one that cocoons us from the world, shielding us from harm and often reality.

It’s not like that in Asia. Or Africa. Or South America.

Or anywhere without our idyllic standard of living.

Mollycoddled weaklings

We’re so protected we have no resistance to anything that comes along – a baby could knock us over with a feather.

We’re too big deal, see. Too shielded for our own good.

That’s the key reason antibiotics don’t work anymore.

We’re so used to popping them for the slightest hiccup, we use them like sugar in our tea.

And with that volume of use, no wonder all the microbes and harmful pathogens have developed resistance. It’s kinda like putting shoes on before they go out for them. They all do it.

More fool us.

Because now when we take an antibiotic for something, it just sits there and looks at us.

“You mean you want me to protect you, drive out the evil nasties? Sorry, too much PT.”

It’s our own fault too. Our own stupidity.

You won’t find a youngster from Islamabad or Bogota behaving like us when we were kids.

We’re microbes too, you see. Sort of.

Millions of cells all bunched together, marching around – with all kinds of jumped up ideas about ourselves.

We’re cells, they’re cells, every living thing is cells.

Just act naturally

Which means we’d better co-operate and get on. It’s total oblivion otherwise.

And we do.

Everything we are and do is a trade-off with other living cells wanting to survive, just like us.

We’re surrounded by viruses and bacteria – billions and billions of them.

They even live IN us, they’re PART of us.

Like, there are more bacteria in our mouths than there are people on Earth.

They need to be there too. To aid digestion. To feed off all the gunge that could otherwise make us ill. To fight off harmful intruders. Basically for our own good.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t clean your teeth.

But as you already know, it won’t kill you if you don’t.

In fact, weirdly, it could even kill you if you do.

You give it the business with your toothbrush, right? Then you rinse off and put it away till next time.

Clean is dirty

Mistake right there – which could be the death of you.

Because moist surfaces open to the air are exactly what viruses and bacteria need to breed and thrive.

They do the same on your washing-up scourer. And the dish-cloth you dry your plates with. Your bathroom sponge. Your facecloth. Your towel.

The very things you use to clean are the most hazardous threats yet. Premier League germ spreader systems. (Tweet this) More dangerous than you could possibly imagine.

Of course, your five-year-old Bangladeshi kid knows nothing of this.

He’s too busy out with his pals, playing in the open air. Throwing stones, climbing trees, eating dirt. The things that kids do when they’re on their own. All perfectly natural.

Good clean dirt

Building up their immune systems, if you must know.

With good, clean dirt that will one day save their lives. Developing natural resistance and bigging it up. Always with some kind of sniffle or tummy twinge – ever wondered why kids are so snotty-nosed?

That’s normal  everyday tit-for-tat in the microbiology world. The daily trade-off between living organisms. Like cowpox knocks you back with a runny nose, but protects you big time from smallpox.

None of which happens, sitting indoors playing on an X-box. Or socking into chicken nuggets behind centrally-heated double glazing.

So when an ordinary common-or-garden pathogen rocks up – norovirus, say, or campylobacter – you’ve got no defence. Both give you gastroenteritis – queasy tummy, the runs, heaving your guts out.

No cast-iron stomach for you, you didn’t chomp mud when you were five.

OK, so we’re at hazard. Our antibiotics are tits up, and our immune systems have gone for a ball of chalk.

Yeah, we could take our chances and maybe die.

Or we could strike back.

Once we’ve got an infection, it’s more or less up to our own bodies to fight it off.
If we’re dirty enough, we can beat even Ebola – the upside of why some people survive.

Risky though. Better to sidestep altogether and not take chances in the first place. You can’t get infected if there’s no germs to infect.

We have a defence

Which is why sterilising everything is so effective. Especially our living space when we’re indoors. There might be sick people around, but their germs don’t have to linger for the rest of us to catch.

Blitz the place with hydrogen peroxide mist and that’s exactly what happens.

Germs don’t escape, they’re annihilated where they are, their cell structure ripped to shreds by oxidisation.

Twenty minutes, and we’re safe – whether antibiotics or our immune systems work, or not.

That easy, huh?

See! We’re not as badly off as the doom-mongers say we are.

Originally posted 2015-01-21 12:01:48.

Je suis Charlie, every day of your life

French flag eye
The French inspiration –
eyes open, always watchful

Je suis Charlie, three little words.

Overnight it’s become the world’s rally against terrorism of any kind, anywhere. An uplifting tribute to ordinary French people – and a defiant rejection of brutality, intolerance and violence.

If those big deals Blair and Bush had dared to show half such courage after 9/11, we would not face the senseless conflict that we do today.

Inspired vigilance

Thank you France, if only we can be as strong as you.

Because threats by fanatics are not the only terrorism we face.

Just as evil as the atrocities in Paris is the daily slaughter of innocent people overpowered by Ebola – and the invisible conflicts that each of us face at every moment against viruses and bacteria.

In Paris, ordinary people just like us were cut down in a hail of bullets.

But spare a thought for those in hospital, often in pain and anguish, slowly succumbing to disease or infection that nobody wanted or provoked.

It might not look like it, but the world is a dangerous place.

Thanks to the stupidities of former leaders – who wilfully exploded the world into the dissension it faces today – a terrorist’s bullet could hit any one of us, at any minute.

But through our own lack of watchfulness, a germ could strike us down dead just as effectively.

Invisible terrorists

All it takes is a lapse in hygiene habits, not washing hands or carelessness with food – and we are in trouble.

And germs are not like fanatics. They are everywhere, all the time – billions and billions of them surrounding every one of us.

The slightest little mistake or accident – even a paper cut – is all they need to invade our bodies and take us down.

And no, doctors and medicine can’t always fix it.

Because, horror of horrors, antibiotics don’t always work any more. Fifty years of relying on them for everything have given germs the chance to develop resistance.

You might go into hospital for a hernia operation, only to die from MRSA – methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus – one of the most deadly hospital acquired infections.

Of course, yes, it should never happen, you should always be safe in medical care.

Ever-present danger

But operations make people vulnerable – so many defenceless bodies, all in one place – all with cuts and wounds for germs to get in and do their dirty work. So you could be more at risk in hospital than anywhere else.

It shouldn’t happen, but it does – and what can the poor medics do when the antibiotic applied to control infection comes up against a germ that ignores it?
It’s terrorism, plain and simple. And much more deadly.

Because when a terrorist pulls the trigger, there’s the possibility he can miss.

But germs don’t miss. Once they’re in, they’re in – and it’s up to your own body to fight them. And germs are very efficient at making you die. Plus there’s no secret intelligence service to warn you of their presence, no police or military to protect you.

It’s not all doom and gloom though.

There are more than six billion of us, and we WANT to survive.

Time to up our game

Which makes prevention way better than cure. If we don’t get sick, germs can’t touch us. (Tweet this)

Better to assume they’re always there. That we always need to take precautions.
Washing hands. Being careful of everything we come in contact with. Everything we eat. Everything we breathe.

And sterilising our surroundings, to make doubly sure. Every room we’re in, totally free of harmful pathogens. Nothing in the air. Nothing on any surface. Nothing lurking in cracks or crevices.

Je suis Charlie. We have a lot to thank those wonderful French people for.

Their solidarity and courage is a vivid reminder that we must always be watchful.

A terrorist can strike at any moment. So can a virus or bacteria.

En garde!

Originally posted 2015-01-12 12:51:44.

Better than your GP – better than A&E

Healthy woman
What if you never had to go to the Doc ever again?

Staying healthy is important, right?

It’s the key to a happy life, doing what you want to do, being yourself – everything.

So would you take pills to help you keep well?

Nearly a quarter of us do, gulping down all kinds of keep-well tablets and nutritional supplements – a booming business expected to be worth £786 million by 2018 according to Euromonitor.

Do nothing – and suffer

But hold up there a minute. If it’s that important, why haven’t you had your flu jab?

More to the point, why haven’t your kids?

It’s free, you know, to under-fours. And not even an injection. A quick sniff from a nasal spray and they’re done.

Yet so far this year, only a third of children in this age group have been vaccinated. And according to chief medical officer Dame Sally Owens, these are the “super-spreaders” – the ones who cause the rest of us to catch the bug, especially grandparents and relatives.

What are we, round the twist or what?

Antibiotics don’t work

Because if we get a sniffle, most of us run to the Doc and demand antibiotics.

And antibiotics don’t work a damn against colds and flu – or any virus for that matter. But we pressure the Doc anyway – adding to the frightening reality that over-use of antibiotics means they don’t work any more.

That’s of course if you can get to the Doc, who’s all bunged up with people like you coughing and sneezing so there’s less time for Mrs Johnson who really has got a problem with her arthritic hip.

No problem, if the Doc’s overcrowded, maybe you’re one of those who runs to A&E at 10.00 in the evening because that’s when your TV programme’s finished. Good luck with getting through the triage wait – you’ll be a while after the girl in cardiac arrest from the three-car accident.

But that’s not you, is it? You’re much more thoughtful. Your local clinic and the A&E are busy places, so you stay home and suffer in silence.

Ill and iller

Except when you’re not well, you’re not well. And not doing something about it can only make things worse – may even make them irrecoverable.

It’s why too many cancer patients in Britain succumb for example. Staying away in the hopes of getting better could be the death of you.

So why run the risk of getting ill at all? If we’re spending over £20 every week or so for a bottle of vitamin tablets, what’s wrong with a flu jab for only £12?

What’s it worth to stay well and never have to visit the Doc at all? Or sit in A&E with some drunk heaving all over you?

No germs, no nothing

Here’s a few sums.

Central heating might set you back £3,000 to shut out winter. Double glazing could cost you £6,000 and over to stop the draughts. And insulation to prevent heat loss, £500. That’s £10K, just to keep warm and comfortable.

So how much for never getting sick because your house is sterile?

No viruses, no bacteria, so there’s nothing around to bring you down. That won’t stop little Katie from bringing something home from school of course. But it will raise the hygiene threshold so there’s less chance of catching anything.

No it doesn’t have to cost £10K, you can buy it for £100 a week. A completely automatic Hypersteriliser that eliminates health hazards completely.

About the size of a small wheelie-bin, it sprays each room with an ultra-fine mist of hydrogen peroxide. The stuff is ionised so it reaches out and grabs germs by static charge, ripping them apart by oxidising them.

Exactly the treatment you would want to give anything that makes you feel so lousy.

No germs in your home, you don’t get sick. No visits to the Doc or A&E. You may not even need the keep-well tablets either. You and your family are safe and protected from all the bugs that make life so miserable. Norovirus, campylobacter, salmonella, e.coli, flu, the works.

There’s beasties out there

You still need to take care of course. Step outside and you’re back in the thick of it. Out in the cold too – and the wind, and the rain, and all the other things that being out of nice, warm central heating can throw at us.

Worth it though, don’t you think – to keep all those nasties away?

Just don’t forget your flu jab.

That girl with the glasses in Accounts is sneezing all over the place.

Originally posted 2014-11-28 14:24:52.

Over-85s rock night clubs Big Time

Granny Partying
ALIVE, baby!
And no germs on me!

Non-stop parties, five nights in a row. Sex like rabbits never knew. Bonkers, the lot of them. So that kids of 50 have no idea what they’re missing.

It’s not just happening, it’s happening more and more. Currently, Britain has 12,000 people aged 100 and over – 191 of them with driving licences.

And why not? Death rates are coming down. Living expectancy is going up. Our seniors are fitter, more alert, and getting more out of life than ever before.

Super-oldies

Some of it is diet. Most of it is exercise. The driving force is attitude. But none of it would be possible without the dramatic rise in hygiene standards since World War Two.

More specifically, we human beings have developed better ways to protect ourselves.

Cars have seat belts and air bags. Ultra-light thermal clothing keeps out the cold. So does double glazing and central heating. Hats and sun-cream hold back harmful UV rays. We all have phones if we need to call for help.

Living fit and healthy past 100 is not just within reach, it’s already a reality.

And all about to go down the tubes.

Doomsday disregard

Because the one protection we have yet to secure for ourselves is against germs.

Oh sure, we’ve got hygiene practices and sterile procedures coming out of our ears.

Joseph Lister wised us up to washing hands back in the Nineteenth Century. Flame sterilisation was even practiced by the Romans.

And of course, we have the miracle of antibiotics. No worries about infection, the Doc has pills to sort it.

Or not.

You see, there’s a problem – antibiotics over-use.

We’ve been bingeing on antibiotics for nearly 100 years now – so that to your average virus or bacteria, they’re strictly ho-hum. Take the pills and nothing happens.

500mg three times a day? Been there, done that.

Killers and more killers

Result – there’s not just killers like MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) – there’s 270,000 different strains of it – particularly prevalent in hospitals.

Why?

Because that’s the most likely place you’ll have open cuts and airways – germ portals into the body. All that life-changing surgery we’ve invented – it could be life-ending overnight.

Scary, huh?

Because if these antibiotic thingies aren’t actually working any more, our life expectancy can sink back to 50 – or even 25 if your work is physical, prone to lots of cuts and scratches.

Well yes, but then antibiotics aren’t really protection are they? And right now there’s a bunch of super-docs working round the clock to make them kill germs again.

If you think about it, antibiotics are fix-its – intended as cures, restoratives to bring the body back to health, compensation for germ-strikes.

They don’t actually stop you catching a germ in the first place – like a crash helmet stops you getting a head injury.

Proper protection

But there’s lots of stuff that can. Germ-killers that can take out viruses and bacteria before they get anywhere near you. Carbolic soap, bleach, formaldehyde – or oxidisers like ozone and hydrogen peroxide. Ultra violet light is also like a death ray.

So what the heck are we doing, letting germs get to us – when we’ve already got all these weapons we can use against them?

Sticking our heads in the sand is what.

Except for health professionals, we all think of hygiene as a schlep.

Oh yes, we do – we’re a nation of soap dodgers. One in five of us doesn’t wash our hands after using the loo.

Even though, with the right mind-set, it can actually be FUN! (Thanks, Northampton General Hospital!)

Up to hygiene plus

On top of which, in just twenty minutes we can STERILISE any room so there’s NO VIRUSES or BACTERIA – all dead and gone – just by touching a button. An auto-robot mists up the place with hydrogen peroxide and makes it safe again.

Feel better? You should – as long as you up your hygiene habit.

Yes you, time to up your game.

Do you want to live to 100 or what?

 

Originally posted 2014-11-12 13:09:08.

Hospital: Keep Away!

Prison phone
Hospital visiting hours –
except it’s not a crime to catch a bug

It’s the double-edged sword of antibiotics. We can’t live with them – and we can’t live without them.

Because just about every surgical procedure there is relies on antibiotics to prevent infection.

And alarm bells are ringing. The number of pathogens resistant to antibiotics is growing.

20 years for a cure

Faced with a new Dark Age, medics are pushing for research into more effective drugs. But proper development and testing can take 20 years.

Humanity can’t wait that long.

We need something now – a higher level of hygiene in everything we do.

But nobody says it’s easy. Even sterile measures can introduce infection to surgical procedures. Particularly post-op – less easy without the rigorous scrub-ups, sterilised instruments and dressings,  or the HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filtered airflow.

Which brings us to the Big Q.

Quarantine

Isolation.

A UV tunnel at all entrances to kill surface germs. Continuous deep clean and scrub down with effective germ-killers like formaldehyde and bleach.

Better still, with airborne hydrogen peroxide which destroys every virus and bacteria it touches.

The downside is, it’s mostly the patient who is the source of infection – an existing condition, or brought in on their person when admitted.

So are visitors. You yourself are a source of infection too. Strip naked and power-shower, you’re still a threat to anyone with open wounds.

So are hospital staff. Germs surround us wherever we go, it’s a fact of life.

Sterile is not enough

We can sterilise the hospital environment – the air, the beds, the equipment, the wards – but we can’t sterilise the people.

Which could mean out with the hazmat suits – for visitors and hospital staff.

Or visiting granny could get more like visiting prison.

On the phone, behind plate glass. Patients in no-go areas. No physical contact.

To keep you safe. To keep them safe.

Except being sick is not a crime. Nor is catching some nasty bug.

Of course it won’t happen. We’re not that inhuman.

Don’t take chances

Unless we get an epidemic. Like in 1918, when flu took out a third of the planet and killed 50 million people – almost the population of Britain.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Forget to wash your hands five years from now – and maybe you won’t come back.

Let’s be careful out there.

Originally posted 2014-11-11 14:21:54.