Tag Archives: antimicrobial resistance

AMR snatches gold from antibiotics – but good old silver always takes silver

Silver cup winner
Second best protection is better than no protection at all

Silver, huh?

Second-best at best. Not even close to antibiotics.

Yeah, but antibiotics are busy going phut.

Too much use, too many expectations, too many chances at getting away with things.

Superbugs are winning

Ask your Doc – AMR – antimicrobial resistance – is the big headache right now. You get injured or seriously ill, what the hell do medics do now?

Because the cupboard is bare – not from running out – from over-use, serious over-use – crikey Moses, agriculture alone round the world uses 65,000 tonnes of the stuff every year.

Mind you, the medical sector is not much better – around a quarter of all antibiotic prescriptions are placebo-type overkill or just plain unnecessary.

No, no, the big problem is that these one-time miracle drugs are beginning not to work any more. The superbugs they’re meant to kill refuse to roll over, dead.

Too smart, see? Immune. Mutated and adapted every generation – which can happen every few minutes – able to resist whatever we throw at them.

Ho, hum, did you feel a breeze just then?

End of the line?

Yeah, an empty cupboard. And no new antibiotics discovered since 1987. No profit in it with a one-off course of three tablets a day for a week. How about one a day, every day for life? THAT’S more like it!

OK, but we’re not dead yet. Antibiotics are still saving lives, still enabling medical experts to do amazing things – brain surgery, organ transplants, joint replacements – right down to C-sections births which are now 1 in 4.

The writing is on the wall though. And the day is fast arriving when our mind-blowing silver bullets run out of fizz. In fact the all-resistant bug – protected by the gene mcr-1 – is already here.

Time to call for back-up. Second best maybe, but better than a poke in the eye with a burnt stick.

Ancient reinforcements

Say hello to silver, an old friend from way back. 400 BC to be exact – and even then it was old hat – when Hippocrates (he of the doctors’ Hippocratic Oath) taught how to use it for healing wounds and controlling disease.

You’re right, silver is not in the same class as modern antibiotics. But it does have antibiotic qualities of its own.

Prolonged exposure to silver seems to clobber most pathogens eventually – slow perhaps, but effective. Which is why the rich would drink from silver cups and eat with silver cutlery. And why wounded soldiers 100 years ago had their sutures sewn with silver thread to reduce infection.

Their dressings were silver too – local application seemed to work better than internal dosing. And still today, you can get waterproof Elastoplast with antiseptic silver in the would pad.

There is even the possibility that silver could boost the performance of our sagging antibiotics – helping to overcome AMR and get some of their mojo back. Tests already show improvements up to 1,000 times better germ-killing power.

Better still, silver is not just antibacterial, it’s antifungal and antiviral as well.  And winners though they still are, antibiotics have never been able to take down viruses.

Thank you, No 2

Second best, yes. But definitely better than nothing.

Put that together with a new awareness of hygiene – necessity will force us to keep ourselves cleaner as the superbugs take over – and our medical future is not so desperate after all.

Given time, it could even get better. Researchers have found that silver interrupts a bacteria cell’s ability to form chemical bonds it needs for survival.

Not unlike what hydrogen peroxide does when misted up in a roomful of pathogens by a Hypersteriliser.

Hmm, no viruses, no bacteria – what’s not to like?

Picture Copyright: feedough / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-02-03 15:10:29.

Once ALL antibiotics go phut, what do we do?

Helpless doctor2
When the drugs don’t work and your system is down, better be seriously careful
with your hygiene

You take the pill, you swallow, it does absolutely nothing.

The Doc changes your meds, and gives you a shot.

Still nothing.

You’re going downhill fast and this bogey is gonna get you.

Miracle drugs failure

Because when antibiotics don’t work – and they’re beginning not to Big Time – there’s not a lot medicine is able to do.

Why DON’T they work?

Shoulda listened to the heavies when they warned us years ago.

Overuse of antibiotics has triggered an unstoppable wave of antimicrobial resistance – superbugs immune to whatever we throw at them. Already there are some that are resistant to ALL antibiotics. Soon that will be the norm. The cupboard is bare. No more miracle drugs to save us from expiry

As Sir Liam Donaldson – England’s Chief Medical Officer before our charismatic Dame Sally Davies – said back in March 2009, “Every antibiotic expected by a patient, every unnecessary prescription written by a doctor, every uncompleted course of antibiotics, and every inappropriate or unnecessary use in animals or agriculture is potentially signing a death warrant for a future patient.”

In other words STOP USING ANTIBIOTICS.

Not good if you’re already on the slippery slope.

But sound advice considering the damage that antibiotics have done.

Double-edged swords

Damage? Aren’t they supposed to be life-savers?

Once upon a time, yes. But that show left town.

You see, antibiotics work by killing bacteria. Which means round about now they’ve been killing bacteria inside our bodies for sixty-five years.

Not wrong, but oops!

We may not know it, but down in our gut, our bodies are home to several hundred trillion bacteria. They outnumber our human cells by more than 10:1 – and as we’re starting to learn more and more, they’re absolutely essential for our survival.

Because it seems they’re not just along for the ride, they do important things that affect our whole bodies. Like handle digestion, produce proteins, regulate our immune system – even shift our emotions and define our habits. And every single one of us has a unique combination of bacteria, as individual as fingerprints.

Plus this microbiota, as researchers call it, is not just any old bunch of bacteria. To keep us healthy it has as wide a diversity as possible – biological experience and instructions for protecting the body, keeping it in tune, and repelling invaders.

Yeah, so?

At war with our gut

For sixty-five years we’ve been throwing antibiotics at it – every time an atom bomb of killing in our gastrointestinal tract. Bad bacteria destroyed, yes – and a whole lot of beneficial ones as well.

Amazingly, our microbiota usually manages to recover. A bit wobbly maybe, to be expected with several million vital bits knocked out. Which kinda explains why it never QUITE gets back to normal.

Bad news for our kids, because they can only go with what we pass on to them. Assaulted by antibiotics on prescription maybe ten times by the time we’re sixteen.

And ALSO drip, drip every single day from the residual antibiotics we ingest from food – more and more and more – because antibiotics are a major growth promoter for livestock and plant crops, so farmers have used them on an industrial scale for the last sixty-five years.

Uh huh.

Which goes to explain why our bodies’ biodiversity is 30 per cent lower than it was 50 years ago. 30% less able to do all the things they used to be able to do, 30% less resilient, 30% more prone to infections and diseases.

Not helped at all by our lazy couch-potato lifestyle, our sugar-laden diet of processed convenience foods, or the fat we put on thanks to antibiotics bulking us up like pigs ready for market.

Yeah, so we get ill with something, bad enough to need an antibiotic – and the things don’t work. Plus our resistance is down 30% from where it should be. What the heck do we do now?

In the poo

Strangely enough, being in the crapper is one answer.

We’re in trouble because our microbiotas are under-powered, right? No miracle drugs to rescue us, and our internal bacteria are under fire.

OK, so first, send in reinforcements – healthy bacteria from someone who is perfectly hale and hearty. Backup and restore in the shape of a poo pill or poo transfer. Because believe it or not, FMT or faecal microbiota transplants are fast becoming an effective way to restore the gut imbalances that make us ill.

In the clear

Next, avoid getting ill in the first place. Steer clear of germs and get rid of them when they threaten.

Which means back to soap and water – washing our hands before and after every activity that could cause trouble – always before food, and always after the loo.

And keeping germs out of our indoor living space too – where we work, where we eat and sleep, where we get together. All easily neutralised with a Hypersteriliser – by a hydrogen peroxide mist that oxidises all viruses and bacteria to nothing on every surface and throughout the air – safe, sterile and secure.

Antibiotics?

Yeah, still a problem for major surgery where infection control is vital.

But for everyday living – as long as we’re careful, we don’t need them.

 

 

Originally posted 2016-01-20 14:57:24.

OK, scumbag norovirus, now the gloves are off

Aggro bizwoman
POW! Straight disciplined hand hygiene wins every time

So you’re the winter vomiting bug, huh?

Big deal.

Reckon we’re not wise to you, hanging out on ATMs, door handles, handrails and shopping trolleys? You and your mates, coronavirus – aka SARS and MERS – flu and staph?

OK, so we touch all of these things all the time anyway. Covered in germs like you.

Winter germ traps

So now it’s freezing cold and we’re wearing gloves, you’re trying to kid us that we don’t know you’re there.

Nice try, dirt-bag – but it won’t work.

Those gloves are getting the treatment with antibacterial wipes after every outing – then they’re coming off. Straight onto a desk or table to dry, so you guys don’t get a chance.

No breeding, right? This means you!

You know what happens then?

Yeah, you think we’re lulled into a false security, don’t you? The gloves are off, now we’re safe.

But the joke’s on you, germ-brain. We’re going to wash our hands straight away too. Handling gloves transfers you to our fingers – so it’s the big bye-bye, we’re giving you the wash-off.

And you know what?

Hands always clean

We’re giving our hands ANOTHER wash or the gel treatment before we put those gloves back on too.

Because, yeah, we know you hang about on surfaces and in the air indoors too – riding in on our clothing, or the bio-aura of personal bacteria we all carry with us.

Uh huh. So we know if there’s low-life germs like you on our hands when we put our gloves on, you’ll be waiting for us INSIDE next time too.

Not smart enough, bozo.

With near-sterile hands, the inside of our gloves stay near-sterile.

And count on it – with a BOLO always out for you and your kind at this time of the year – those gloves are going in the wash just as often as regular clothes.

Thought we’d forget, eh?

Just shove the gloves in our pocket and never think about them from one day to the next? Never wash them, never anything from one year to another. Unless we get yuck on them, lose one, or get a hole in the finger.

Scarves too, you think we’re stupid?

Or you think because we wear classy gloves to work or out on the town, we’re too scared to wash them because they’re made of suede or leather?

Wash and re-wash

Hoo boy, don’t you know we’re on to you?

Thanks to your other pals like MRSA, e.coli and the rest of the mob, we know our meds aren’t working as well as they used to. Antimicrobial resistance, it’s in all the papers. No-go antibiotics, yeah we know about them – why do you think we’re washing our hands every two seconds – because we’re OCD?

The Docs have been warning us for years us about hygiene standards with you lot around – that staying clean is now our best defence, like back in the old days.

And finally, FINALLY, we’re wising up – going back to the old way of doing things. Soap and water, rub and scrub.

Like cleaning leather gloves? Easy-peasy. Leather, silk, suede – we know how.

Even those super-warm Thinsulate gloves too.

AND scarves. AND turning out coat pockets – jackets, skirts, trousers, everything. Clean is the new cool.

Yeah, plus our timing is spot on as well.

Here comes the festive season with everyone anguishing over what gifts to buy…

For her, for him

BOOM! Extra gloves, extra scarves – so there’s always a pair to wear, a pair in the wash, a pair air-drying, and a pair waiting for next time.

And always clean hands to go inside them.

So you’re the famous norovirus. Well bully for you.

Yah, boo, sucks – the Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease.

Just because it’s winter, you can’t fool us any more.

The gloves are off.

 

Originally posted 2015-11-30 14:28:05.

How we’ll survive now antibiotics don’t work

Doctor washing
No more pills – from now on, everything gets done the hard way

Scary stuff this.

No safety net. Like driving on bald tyres.

Any accident, any surgery, any infection, any fever – we’re on our own. Either our immune systems will handle it, or they won’t. Game over.

End of the line

Because now there’s no more failsafe. No last second backup. Real Friday 13th.

No more silly buggers, the Doc can’t save you if your misadventure goes pear-shaped. The cupboard is empty.

Don’t believe it?

Already we’ve got MRSA – methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus – the scourge of every hospital and big bogey of AMR – antimicrobial resistance. This superbug lives naturally in your nose, for goodness sake.

Wipe your face, then touch a cut – and you’re up a gum tree.

Because methicillin, amoxicillin, penicillin, oxacillin – take any of them and the bug might get even stronger.

And MRSA is just one of our regular 9-to-5 infections. Other AMR stars appearing daily include salmonella, streptococcus, c.difficile, TB, gonorrhoea and e.coli. All of them can kill if we’re not careful – and that doesn’t include the heavy brigade like botulism or cholera.

Over-use and abuse

How did these bacteria get so smart?

Well, we’ve been chucking antibiotics at them on an industrial scale for more than 50 years – plenty of time to learn.

Sure thing, a lot of that is in medicine – we’re a growing cult of pill-poppers. These days the average teenager might be on a course of antibiotics say, five times a year.

Hypochondriac grown-ups are worse – or should that be “cyberchondriacs?” The Internet breeds self-diagnosing adults who demand antibiotics so strongly, there’s doctors and chemists who fear for life and limb.

But agriculture is the real villain. 65,000 tons a year and more to bulk up animals for market – beef, pork, mutton, poultry – right across the board. It’s in plants too –from “natural” recycled animal waste. Over-use big time.

Which also means like it or not – carnivore or vegetarian – we’re all on antibiotics already, absorbed through the food chain. And have been ALL OUR LIVES.

Always read the label, remember? Do not take continuously for more than ten days without consulting a physician.

What the heck, we’ve OD’d all our lives!

Living mutations

No wonder our metabolisms are so different from our grandparents’ – weaker, less resilient, more prone to allergies and minor ailments, ballooning to obesity. Our internal bacteria have mutated so much, we’re hardly the same kind of human beings.

Because if it takes only twenty minutes for a bacterium to adapt and evolve to a new generation, that’s around 438,000 mutations learning how to survive antibiotics since they were first used – they should have got it right by now.

So yeah, antibiotics don’t work any more. And since we’re surrounded by billions and billions of bacteria every second – even colonised inside by over 100 trillion – washing our hands is a start.

Wash ’em off so we don’t infect cuts or swallow anything nasty. Wash, wash, wash.

The sloppy hygiene factor

But there’s a problem, and it’s us.

We touch everything everywhere without thinking of these bacteria. From one second to the next, we never think we’re contaminated. Our hands LOOK clean, so we don’t bother.

Sure, we used to get away with it – the Doc back-stopping us with a load of wonder-drugs. But not any more.

So we’re already in big trouble. From our own sloppy hygiene.

It’s not just hands either. Bacteria are everywhere. On everything, under and behind everything, even inside us. And of course, floating through the air – lighter than smoke or specks of dust – swirling, trailing, riding the smallest breeze, all the way up to 30,000 – higher than Everest.

So as soon as our clean hands touch something, they’re contaminated again.

Repeat and repeat

Which means we’ve got to clean the things we touch. And KEEP CLEANING THEM – because the bacteria keep coming back. Wash, wipe, scrub, it’s a never-ending mission.

Even then, it’s not even half the job. Around 80% of any room we live in is air space to move around in – and there’s no wash, wipe, scrubbing answer for that.

We’re at hazard from each other’s bacteria too – because we’re not all the same. Most of us have weaknesses of some kind or other. So our personal biome – the trailing cloud of bacteria unique to each of us – is trapped and mingles in the air of our work space with everybody else’s.

Just by being together we can infect each other.

Unless of course, the whole place is misted up with a Hypersteriliser, oxidising all germs to nothing with hydrogen peroxide.

Not vaporised hydrogen peroxide either – too strong for safety and making everything wet.

Press the button when everybody’s gone for the night, and the mild 6% solution of hydrogen peroxide is IONISED from a microscopic spray into an electrically-charged gas plasma – a super-performing change of state that  releases even more antimicrobials – hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, ozone, and ultraviolet – every particle alive with energy to disperse everywhere and grab pathogens as they fly.

Forty minutes and the place is sterile. No viruses, no bacteria. Zero germs. Every surface safe. The air totally bio-neutral.

Safe till next time

Of course it starts all over again next morning.

As we all breeze in for the day, each trailing our bio-cloud with us – hands alive with bacteria from the steering wheel, the door handle, the ticket machine, the lift button and the loo seat. Er yes, but soap and water fixes most of that.

Wash, wash, wash – it’s our latest antibiotic – which in case you were wondering means “inhibits the growth of, or destroys, microorganisms.”

Phew! We made it.

Never mind that those antibio-whatsits don’t work any more. We know how to be safe.

Enjoy your day.

Originally posted 2015-11-13 13:29:00.

Wash your hands or die, the dawning reality

Concerned doctor
No more playing games –
hands that aren’t washed can kill you

A life and death issue.

Really?

It’s a joke, right?

Unless you’re on the receiving end.

Because you use your hands for everything, not so? You’re pretty well stuck without them.

Hands unprotected from germs

Which means they touch everything – good and bad – that is in our lives. And we do things with them almost without thinking.

Take bad. Dog poo on the carpet. Who knows what kind of germs could be lurking in there? Get rid of it, fast, before anyone winds up in hospital.

Uh, huh. Major health alert – we all know the drill:

  • wear latex gloves or hands inside a plastic bag
  • use paper towel to pick up with
  • use second bag to bin it
  • get more paper towel or cloth to clean carpet (plus bleach or detergent)
  • discard everything as waste
  • wash your hands thoroughly afterwards

Zero priority

Now take good. A double-header cone from the ice cream van – with flake and hundreds and thousands.

Probably straight grab and eat, right? Down the hatch before the van even leaves the street. Quite safe after the dog poo was washed off.

Slurp, slobber, enjoy – that was good.

OK, but how about the rest of the day?

Work, shopping, lunch, playing with the kids – easy stuff, no need to wash hands.

Simples.

Hang on a minute, how about before lunch? Don’t you wash your hands first?

The loo calls

And surely there must be a pee break or two- especially at the office, awash in coffee to keep you hyped up and on the ball?

Because most people don’t, you know – wash their hands before eating. Or wash their hands after going to the loo. And the rest of us are just a flicker under the tap – five seconds, gone.

Wash your hands? Sorry, I meant too.

Yet the dog poo was a whole major mission – so why does it get more attention than our own?

Fact is, however you finagle it, it is impossible – repeat, IMPOSSIBLE – to go to the loo without getting stuff on your hands. (Tweet this)

Worse, every flush creates a micro-spray of water mixed with yuck – too fine to see, but able to spread twenty feet or more. Spray and wee, spray and poo, nothing nice for anyone.

It gets worse

Plus of course, it’s not just your poo you have to worry about.

That posh-looking person in the three-piece suit just came back from Asia. Luckily no norovirus on the plane, but there were typhoid cases in the departure city.

Typhoid in the poo mist, highly contagious. A serious bacterial infection.

And if you don’t wash your hands, you could just be unlucky. Screaming high temperature, diarrhoea like you can’t believe, and yes, your bowel can actually split open.

Two weeks on antibiotics minimum. You could die if it’s bad – or find you’re no longer playing with a full deck. Worse than death if that’s possible. And all from not washing hands.

Far fetched? Panic stirring?

Have you checked how the medical people are getting worried about antibiotic resistance? Antimicrobial resistance (the other name for it) is No 1 on the radar for everybody from the government. on down. It’s when antibiotics DON’T WORK ANY MORE.

That means back to the Dark Ages – even the Prime Minister says so. You get an infection, you’re on your own because the medicines can no longer control it.

Which means it’s not norovirus – the Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease, or campylobacter (the raw chicken chucker-upper), or any of the usual suspects we have to worry about.

The real killers

Rediscover Hygiene logoIt’s the long-haul killers from way back – the heavyweight diseases that antibiotics were designed to eliminate: smallpox, measles, Spanish flu, bubonic plague, AIDS, typhus.

Catch any of those without medicine that works – and you’re a goner.

But all preventable – or very much a reduced risk – if you always wash your hands.

We shouldn’t have to remind ourselves, but we do – our lives are so rush-rush, do-it-now, that hand hygiene is always forgotten.

So yes, a life and death issue – and it only takes one lapse to trigger it.

Don’t let it be too late before it dawns on us.

Originally posted 2015-06-01 12:27:42.

It’s not antibiotic Dark Ages that are going to kill us, Prime Minister. It’s our sloppy hygiene.

Smog victims
To win against superbugs, we’re going to need a game changer – and we’ve got one!

OK, let’s pretend it’s happened. Antibiotics don’t work anymore and we’re back in David Cameron’s “Dark Ages.”

Oh, except it’s not a pretence. In more and more places, it’s the reality – all you have do is look at the deadly ebola outbreak currently running riot in Liberia.

Out there, it truly is the Dark Ages, 90% of patients who contract ebola do not survive. They DIE.

And how do they catch it? Follow-up investigations into just about every case point to lapses in washing hands, wearing protective clothing, or handling materials contaminated by the patient.

The problem is, ebola is so virulent it’s particularly lethal at exploiting any weakness in hygiene defences. The smallest lapse or chink in our armour and it’s through.

But properly protected, doctors, nurses and all those amazing professionals in Médecins Sans Frontières are reasonably safe from this dread disease.

See, it’s not antibiotics that’s protecting them. It’s good old-fashioned common sense and realistic commitment to hygiene. Which applies as much now as it ever did in the Dark Ages.

Which is precisely what’s wrong with our attitude back here in our nice, comfortable, ebola-free UK.

Apart from the dedicated few who keep banging on about hand hygiene, the rest of us are bumbling around not even bothering, or so lax about using antibacterial hand gel it’s worse than useless.

Yes, we’re too damn lax for our own good – and the antibiotics we’ve been relying on for so long to get us out of trouble can’t crack it anymore.

Well there’s a surprise. Because for all the care most us take, we might just as well be gallivanting through Liberia, shaking everybody by the hand, kissing them and sharing tea with them.

And then we have the gall to turn round and blame the NHS and the whole medical profession for not protecting us!

Listen folks, if we ever deserve to survive, we have to up our game.

And there’s one way staring us in the face that has been around since the same Nineteenth Century Dark Ages that we’re so terrified about.

What? There’s  a defence system that can destroy ALL germs – and WE’RE NOT USING IT! Just how do we ever think we’ll live to see tomorrow?

Come on, now. Get your mind-set beyond just washing and think sterilisation, a process that basically kills ALL microorganisms.

And it’s not rocket science, we already know how to do it. By any one of these methods: heat, ethylene oxide gas, hydrogen peroxide gas, plasma, ozone or radiation.

Dark Ages? We’ve got more defences than Rambo!

Take just one, hydrogen peroxide. Because it’s quick, inexpensive – and with the latest Twenty-First Century spin on how you use it – highly effective.

Hydrogen peroxide works by oxidising action. It destroys bacteria and viruses by smashing their cell systems to nothing. Dead, gone, finished – every pathogen it’s ever been tested on.

And with modern delivery systems, the stuff hyper-warps to 99.9999% effectiveness – or in technical terms, a Sterilisation Assurance Level of Log 6. No just on surfaces either, total room purification.

First it gets ionised and an auto-robot sprays an ultra-fine mist of it into the air.

Because it’s electrostatically charged, it physically latches on to microbes in suspension or on hard surfaces and rips them to shreds by shoving oxygen atoms at them.

Next, because it has colloidal silver added to it, this capability is boosted several times over.

That allows greater economy with lower concentrations and an even finer mist to disperse, electrostatically attracted up through  the air and deep into cracks and crevices.

An airborne defence system more effective than antibiotics.

Yes, more effective. Because if you think about it, for antibiotics to work, you have to get sick first. And who wants to take that chance?

And you can use this stuff everywhere – hospitals, hotels, restaurants, aircraft, coaches, food delivery trucks, supermarkets, schools, kitchens, toilets, and of course, at home.

Amazing right? But don’t get lax now. You still need to wash your hands. It’s a big wide world out there, with billions and billions of germs. Come back inside and you’re covered with them again.

But at least you know the room you’re in is safe.

Feel easier, Prime Minister?

Originally posted 2014-08-26 17:57:01.

Bought your stethoscope yet? We’re all pre-doctors now

Stethoscope
Better learn how to use this, you are your own doctor now

And that’s not all.

You’ve got to rewrite the Good Book, the bit where it says “Physician heal thyself” (Luke 4:23).

Because surprise, surprise – you’re the physician now. So “heal thyself” is meant for you.

No kidding.

Because if you’re watching the news, everyone’s getting jumpy about antibiotics failure –more exactly antimicrobial resistance.

Which means if you run to the Doc for all kinds of things – from a hip replacement to a simple cut – she can’t help you because the medicines she needs are outgunned by superbugs.

This is the “Dark Ages” that the heavies are on about. And it could take twenty years before new superantibiotics can be developed to zap them, according to Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies.

So what do we do in the meantime? Hobble around, gasping our last?

Or shape up and do something about it.

Which is where becoming a pre-doctor comes in.

Arranging your life so you don’t need a doctor in the first place. Taking action before you ring the consulting rooms.

First up, obviously is personal hygiene – living clean, keeping clean, and always washing your hands.

But it’s not enough. What about the space around you, the room you live in? That’s full of microorganisms too. Billions and billions of them.

If you could see them, they be like smog. Smothering everything, making you feel like you should wear a mask.

You can do better. Sterilise the room around you – not the Great Outdoors unfortunately, that’s too big. But everywhere else – at home, at work, at leisure.

Mist up the place with a high-powered oxidiser that destroys all bacteria and viruses that it touches – in the air, on surfaces, in every nook and cranny.

Because if the germs are dead, you can’t get sick. And if you’re not sick, you don’t need as doctor.

You are your own pre-doctor.

Feel better now?

Originally posted 2014-08-26 17:42:02.

Worried about Disease X? Good thing you have an illness prevention plan

End of tether - effect of deadly Disease X
It’s happening. Soon ANY illness will be just as deadly as Disease X – unless you avoid it first. Photo by Evan Kirby on Unsplash

Super-nasty, super-superbug, Disease X. The one that hit the news last week. Get that thing running around your office and you’re in big trouble.

Invincible. Unstoppable. The next we’re-all-going-to-die pandemic.

Deadly dangerous, like all the other we’re-all-going-to-die pandemics we already face, but don’t want to know about.

The devil we know

All just as fatal as Disease X. And already here – long before Disease X has even got out of bed.

Because excuse us, we forgot to mention – Disease X doesn’t exist yet.

Scientists are just pondering that it could. The nightmare of a nasty lethal pathogen that could even be man-made – and totally resistant to any medicine we could throw at it. Immune to vaccines and antibiotics. The end of the world.

Exactly like the growing list of viruses and bacteria we already have no defence against.

CRE for instance – carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae – a bacterium resistant to ALL antibiotics. The poor lady who caught it in India last year went through 26 antibiotics, including all aminoglycosides and polymyxins – and still she died.

It could happen to us next week. And not from any rare infection, or some germ-warfare zombie-killer that hasn’t been invented yet. Ordinary flu will do. Or blood poisoning from a simple paper cut.

Or any one of the other common or garden illnesses that all of us come down with, at least once or twice a year.

The end of modern medicine

Antimicrobial resistance is why. As doctors are continually warning us, overuse of antibiotics – more than one third of prescriptions for them are totally unnecessary – has accelerated the development of effective immunity by the very bacteria they’re trying to treat.

It’s a warning Dr Dame Sally Davies, England’s Chief Medical Officer has made repeatedly, spelling the end of modern medicine.

“Without the drugs used to fight infections, common medical interventions such as caesarean sections, cancer treatments and hip replacements would become incredibly risky and transplant medicine would be a thing of the past,” she says.

Which means there’s no difference between ordinary gastroenteritis and Disease X. As antimicrobial resistance accelerates, within as little as a few months, they could both be just as deadly. Both panresistant – able to withstand ANY medication – meaning certain death for anyone unlucky enough to catch them.

Effective defence

Which is where your illness prevention plan comes in.

No, not one of those keep-fit packages, or dietary wellness jobs. We mean a real, deliberate anti-illness measure that eliminates germs in the workplace altogether. If there are no germs to catch, nobody can get ill.

Which means not just saving money on sick leave absence, or underpowered efforts from staff unwell at work. You’re almost certainly saving one of your team’s lives.

And it’s not that difficult either.

You already pay to have the place cleaned regularly. Probably a minor expense to vacuum the place daily, wipe down the desks and empty the rubbish.

For a few bob more, you can sterilise the place as well. Treat everything from top to bottom, every night when staff have gone home.

Germ-zero

Next morning, when they’re back again, it’s germ-zero. No viruses or bacteria anywhere – not even Disease X, if it pops up within the next week or so.

Kinda vital when folks make a thing of washing their hands and maybe wearing facemasks – spooked by Disease X.

If their hands are clean and the office is at germ-zero, there’s no danger from touching anything that might transfer infection. Fomites, they’re called – anything from touchscreens to keyboards, light switches, door handles, to simply the pieces of paper that all work seems to involve.

Yes, a good thing that you have that plan.

Because Disease X might science-fiction at the moment.

But Diseases A and B are very real, if you think of Aussie flu and norovirus. And who wants to die from them?

About this blog

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.

Reference links checked and working at time of posting.  However, some URLs may be taken down or re-sited later. If your link goes nowhere or you get an Error 404 message, please accept our apologies.

Why taking antibiotics is like chopping off your leg

Crazy girl with knife
Without knowing it, we’re doing ourselves more harm than good

Crazy, right? Round the twist. Who in their right mind would want to chop their leg off?

But that’s how crazy we are when we take antibiotics.

We don’t think so, of course.  But without knowing it, we’re doing ourselves serious harm.

Because antibiotics are prescribed to do one thing – kill bacteria.

Killers as life-savers?

And surprise, surprise, though none of us ever realise it – our own bodies are more bacteria than human, our cells outnumbered by more than 10 to 1.

Seems impossible and about-face, but that’s actually a good thing.

Bacteria are one of the longest-lasting life forms on Earth. Amazing survivors too. Capable of withstanding fierce high temperatures. Triple-figure sub-zero freezing temperatures. Even living and breeding in acid.

Our bodies are colonised by hundreds of trillions of these remarkable creatures. They’re vitally necessary to handle our digestion, produce proteins and manage our immune systems – among thousands of other functions. They live with our human cells in harmony – and we could not exist without them.

So yeah, we take antibiotics to kill bacteria that are harming us. The WRONG bacteria in the WRONG place, running amok among the RIGHT bacteria that are who we are.

Oh dear – chop, chop, chop.

A bomb in the guts

Because in targeting harmful bacteria, those same antibiotics inevitably kill some of our good bacteria too. Their killer action is spread wide to be sure of effectiveness. So our own systems take a hit – though we may not know it at the time.

The bacteria inside us know it though, particularly in our gut. To the trillions and trillions that live in our insides, a dose of antibiotics is like exploding a hydrogen bomb.  Millions get the chop.

Sure some of them regrow, reproducing themselves sometimes in as little as 20 minutes. But not all. Some are damaged and can’t do their job. Others –  the rarer ones – might be lost altogether. Our gut population depleted, our bio-diversity gone.

We might feel the same when our illness passes – back to normal and our usual selves.

But we’re not.

Biggest of the known side effects of antibiotics is growth promotion. The body bulks up very rapidly, putting on weight overnight . Damaged or missing bacteria cause the metabolism to gorge on food more than normal. And to extract a higher proportion of nutrients, directly accelerating the body’s over-development.

Fatter and fatter

See what happens with kids aged two, put on antibiotics. By the time they get to five they’re already overweight, well on their way to increasingly chubby childhood.

It’s this quality that has revolutionised the food industry, enabling factory farms to pump out THREE times the world’s meat and plant crop output in little more than 20 years.

Such weight gain doesn’t happen to everybody.

But it’s already a fact of life – and a key reason why two-thirds of adults are already overweight or obese.  Not just from medical treatments – frighteningly made worse by one third of all prescribed antibiotics being completely unnecessary – but from daily exposure through our FOOD.

You see, spectacular growth boosting in food production has exploded antibiotics use all over the world. Currently 240,000 tonnes annually and rocketing.

That means that through direct dosing with feedstuffs – and even more through indirect absorption of manure used to fertilise, enriching all plant life and those same feedstuffs – all of us receive a small daily intake of antibiotics with every meal we eat. Exactly the way to make us bulk up fast.

Fatter and sicker

Animals and plants quickly get eaten, so their life expectancy is not very high – a few years at most. But we go on for decades, getting steadily fatter, deeper into obesity. More prone to illnesses that obesity brings – diabetes, heart disease, cancer and many others. All long goodbyes.

Not the same as chopping off a leg – but equally unpleasant. And a lot more life-threatening.

Nor is it just getting fat that antibiotics threaten us with.

Damaged or missing bacteria deny us any immunity to serious illness we may have inherited from our parents. Our kids are denied them for the same reason, they’re no longer there to be passed on.

Worse, our bodies start reacting to conditions that aren’t there. Misreading normal signals as hostile, confusing everyday reality with phantom attacks against us.

Which is how, out of nowhere, we develop allergies. Hay fever, eczema or asthma. Or how about urticaria, anaphylactic shock or gluten reactions? People never had them 20 years ago –not in the snowballing number we have now.

Superbugs rule

And then of course – really chopping off our own leg – our undisciplined and wild overuse of antibiotics has triggered the development of superbugs.

Our cure-all miracle drugs are starting not to work any more because bacteria have become immune to them. Antimicrobial resistance.

Yes, well – we wanted to kill off bacteria, But nobody thought we were chopping off bits of ourselves.

So now we sit with life-savers that don’t work, medical surgery brought to a standstill, and all of us steadily getting fatter.

Not a survivable future

Though count on it, the bacteria that brought us down will still be around, long after we’re gone.

Oh yeah, and that antibiotic resistance superbug thing?

Wait till that runs riot across factory farms. Flash pandemics among livestock. No more food for most of us. Death by hunger is not a nice way to go – and we’re probably already too late to stop it.

Chopping off a leg, huh? Looks like we’ve already done it.

Time to reverse this antibiotics debacle now, to get off the train and find alternatives. Other solutions like bacteriophages – something, anything.

Either that, chop, chop – or we’re limping towards a future that doesn’t exist.

Picture Copyright: vatikaki / 123RF Stock Photo

Why we’re all going to die from antibiotics – unless a young Malaysian PhD student succeeds first

Girl in cemetery
Let’s hope antibiotics are NOT in our future

OK, most of us know that antibiotics kill bacteria.

Except it’s a shattering revelation to most of us that We are 90% bacteria. Only 10% of our bodies are human.

Yeah, life-saving antibiotics fight infection and make us well again.

But there’s always collateral damage. We never quite return to 100% ourselves again afterwards. Our personal bacteria are depleted or damaged.

All thanks to antibiotics.

A killer legacy

Miracle drugs they certainly have been, until now. But evidence is mounting that our unswerving faith in them may be misplaced. That they are in fact about the most deadly threat we face today.

Three major challenges they throw at us, all of them deadly:

  • Superbugs. Bacteria can and do find ways to resist antibiotics. They become immune, untreatable – life-threatening superbugs. The threat is so serious that the UN convened their first ever general assembly to address the issue only last week. Superbugs are expected to kill 10 million of us by 2050.
  • Obesity. We’re fat and getting fatter – two thirds of us are already overweight or obese.  Again, thanks to antibiotics. A staggering 240,000 tonnes are fed to livestock every year to accelerate growth and weight gain. Their manure fertilises crops, so that our entire food chain is laced with the most phenomenal growth booster ever. Our food bulks us up, we become obese, triggering diabetes, heart disease and cancer – together killing 500 million of us by 2050.
  • Famine. Farmers won’t stop feeding animals their biggest ever money-maker. Which means antibiotics on farms will nearly double in the next 15 years.  HALF A MILLION TONNES A YEAR gives bacteria plenty of practice to become superbugs. Which means widespread disease is inevitable – a collapse of the food supply to non-antibiotic levels. 6 billion of us can expect to starve to death.

More than two thirds of the world’s population gone. All thanks to antibiotics – the invincible superbugs they create, and the ballooning bodies they force on us that our systems cannot withstand.

Doom and gloom worldwide

An effective alternative

Except in a research lab at the University of Melbourne – where 25-year old PhD student Shu Lam from Batu Pahat in the state of Johor, Malaysia, is working on a game-changer.  Star-shaped molecules of peptide polymers that destroy superbugs WITHOUT antibiotics.

The star-shaped polymers rip bacteria walls apart WITHOUT harming the body. Destroying them in much the same way as oxygen atoms do outside the body – annihilating harmful germs in living spaces.

Shu Lam’s work is still in its infancy, but already the results are impressive. Effective against six strains of drug-resistant bacteria in the lab, and on one superbug in live mice.

Bacteriophages

Her work parallels the largely forgotten efforts of others looking for alternatives to antibiotics – particularly the use of bacteriophages.

Using a germ to catch a germ, phages are tightly targeted viruses that attack bacteria by injecting DNA and fragmenting their cells.

The practice of deploying viruses to kill bacteria became widely used by the Soviet Union during the Cold War – a practical alternative around embargoed Western antibiotics.

Meanwhile the rest of the world is still at committee stage, endlessly debating antimicrobial resistance while the rest of us fatten up daily.

Time to realise that antibiotics are not all they’re cracked up to be. Life-savers in an emergency, but killers long term.

Let’s hope the penny drops soon.

Two thirds of us could be dead by the time the gurus make a decision.

Picture Copyright: kreinick / 123RF Stock Photo