Tag Archives: bacteria

With antibiotics failing, what’s your insurance policy for staff going ill?

Anxious exec
Without antibiotics, not tightening up on office hygiene could mean a lot of empty desks

Once upon a time, you could let staff look after themselves.

It was their life, their wellbeing.

As long as they were safe while working for you, what they got up on their own time was their own business.

Not any more.

Rapidly accelerating antibiotics failure makes it your business now.

And super-urgent too.

Invisible health issue

You’ve heard of superbugs?

They’re the rocketing number of dangerous bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics. Whatever we throw at them, nothing works.

Either medics battle with second-best alternatives, or the body has to fight the illness itself.

Which means, all of a sudden, we no longer have the safety net we used to have.

If we get ill, we get ill – with no miracle drugs to pull us out of it.

Kinda vital from a business angle.

If a staff member goes down with ANYTHING it could be life-threatening.

A paper cut from a document? Blood poisoning could lead to sepsis and possibly death in a week.

So it’s not just a gap in your professional team, or under-powered service that you’re looking at.

It’s the permanent loss of a member of staff – and the whole heart-breaking rigmarole of replacing them.

Plus the threat that whatever they were suffering from could spread to everybody else.

Germs everywhere

OK, you can’t watch them 24/7.

But they’re your top-performing assets, and when the end of the day comes, they go down in the lift and home – away from your protection.

Protection?

You do so much already, probably without thinking about it – the cost of doing business.

Making the place pleasant and inspirational to work in. Good lighting, nice décor, ergonomic furniture, intuitive IT systems, sound proofing, personal spaces, central heating, HEPA-filtered air con, security at the entrance – the whole nine yards.

Ah, but without the medical failsafe of antibiotics, there’s now an element missing.

Keeping your staff healthy and safe from harm. A bigger challenge than terrorism – because now, ALL businesses face it.

And we’re all up against it because nobody’s head is geared for a major hygiene threat.

Yes, everything is OK right now – as long as nothing happens.

But if you think about it, our day-to-day focus on fighting germs by keeping clean is pretty near non-existent.

Sure, everybody showers or bathes before coming to work – all washed and polished, ready for action.

We are the unwashed

But then it disappears off the radar. The day gets started and people get involved, nobody has time for washing hands or other niceties.

Not good for two reasons.

One – very few of us know it, but we all trail around a personal cloud of invisible bacteria, fungi, dead skin cells and other body detritus  – on our skin, our clothes and in the air around us – our own individual microbiome.

Which of course includes whatever germ clouds we might be towing around as well – a streaming cold, flu, a tummy bug, or anything more serious.

Two – we know that germs are transmitted mostly via our hands, but very few of us do anything about it.

Uh, huh. But that’s personal. What business is it of yours?

Plenty.

Because it’s the things those unhygienic members of staff touch that spread things around.

One of them had norovirus over the weekend?

So now their invisible paw-prints are all over the light switches, the lift call buttons, their keyboard, whatever phone they’ve used – and the sales proposal document currently sitting on your desk.

What goes around, comes around

Touch the pages, the rub your face in thought – chances are good you’ll catch their norovirus through the soft tissue round your eyes or mouth – and that’s you out of action.

But it doesn’t have to be norovirus. There’s other bugs out there, way more potent.

You might have a client breeze in straight off the plane from Mumbai, Nairobi or any one of a dozen places with local epidemics going on – direct by business class on hands unwashed because timing is tight.

And yes, the office gets cleaned and vacuumed every night. But the germs stay there –  on the light switches and door handles – floating in the air, too small to be captured by the air-con’s HEPA filters – waiting to be swallowed or breathed in.

Health and hygiene, you’re covered

So that’s where you deploy your insurance policy. A nightly mist-up of your offices with ionised hydrogen peroxide – oxidising ALL viruses and bacteria to nothing – sterilising the whole place safe.

No germs, no chance of infection. Your duty of care is 100%.

And you make doubly sure by making hand wipes available on every desk as a reminder that hygiene is now a high priority.

Maybe you can’t protect your staff so well when they go home. But you can protect them while they’re working for you.  Fewer absences. Fewer illnesses. Fewer threats to your bottom line.

Yes, antibiotic resistance is a snowballing disaster.

But it doesn’t have to be the end of the world.

Picture Copyright: Elnur / 123RF Stock Photo and i3d / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-07-27 15:13:49.

No more life-saving with antibiotics – what do we do now?

Ophelia dead
Without antibiotics, everything around us becomes life-threatening

No life-saving because the antibiotics don’t work any more.

Ask any doctor, we’re already  living on borrowed time.

Maybe not today, or even tomorrow – but one day soon, we’re looking at total failure.

Antibiotic resistance, see? The bugs are too smart for the drugs we throw at them.

We’re better off with paracetamol.

A riskier world

OK, we’re safe as long as nothing happens to us.

But Sod’s Law says it will.

Hopefully not a runaway car crash – but suddenly even a paper cut could be a disaster.  And what life-saving do we have then?

No more protection from infection.  Something goes septic on us now and the Doc will have to cut it away. Yes, risky – but our miracle-drugs can’t crack it any more.

And us with our sloppy hygiene habits – those germs will be laughing all the way to the morgue. Overnight, life-saving is way more urgent than it ever used to be.

Hygiene first

Unless – we smarten up our act and put hygiene first – recognise germs are everywhere and start being seriously clean.

Yeah, the hands have it. Big time soap and water. Except now, we need to wash slightly more than once or twice a day. Always before food. Always after the loo. And always before we touch our faces.

Plus of course, everything else needs to be scrupulously clean too. Kitchen surfaces and utensils. Anything to do with food. And our workplaces, where millions of germs thrive that we’re not even aware of.

First rule in germ warfare is infection avoidance. There’s always billions and billions of bacteria around us – viruses and fungi too. And yes, it is a war – they never give up trying to invade us.

There’s trillions of them INSIDE us too – friendly gut bacteria we actually NEED to help our bodies survive. Harmless enough where they are. But deadly in the wrong place.

Escherichia coli for example, is a bacterium that lives in our gut to aid digestion and protect us from other harmful microbes. But disease-causing strains of it, like O157:H7, disrupt body functions, triggering diarrhoea or worse. And e.coli in the bloodstream is seriously life-threatening.

Hygiene technology

So sure, washing hands and everything else becomes essential – but with no antibiotics safety-net, is still woefully short of keeping us safe.

However hard we try, we can never reach every hidey-hole, crack or crevice where germs like to lurk and breed. And pulling things out to clean underneath and behind all the time makes effective protection impossible.

Which means we need another dimension – to use our smart Twenty-First Century technology to clobber the germs we can’t get to – in a way that allows us to relax.

Enter the Hypersteriliser – a familiar sight in hospitals like the Salford Royal, South Warwickshire, or Queen Victoria in East Grinstead. Expect them soon all over the place – the most effective all-in-one total room sterilisers yet.

You do the rub and scrub. The Hypersteriliser backs up with one press-button start – removing ALL  viruses and bacteria in a room completely, oxidising them to nothing.

It works by misting up the place with ionised hydrogen peroxide – electrostatically charged so it reaches everywhere – behind, underneath and on top of things, walls and ceilings too. Germs are actively grabbed and shot through with oxygen atoms, their cell structures totally destroyed.

Forty minutes later, the room is sterile. No viruses, no bacteria – 99.9999% of harmful pathogens destroyed – a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 6.

Be watchful – and live

OK, that’s your front-end germ insurance taken care of, a hyped up level of hygiene – prevention is better than cure.

From now on, you have to be more watchful too – avoid germ hazards, don’ let accidents happen to you, be super-careful around anyone sick.

Maybe not as miraculous as antibiotics, but just as life-saving BEFORE any illness gets anywhere near your body.

Picture Copyright: diy13 / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-07-21 13:20:47.

Pretend your desk is covered in alien slime, what should you do next?

Paint spattered lady
If you could see them, you’d know germs are everywhere – and maybe be a bit more hyper about hygiene

Actually, it’s not alien slime, it’s genuine, 100% Earth-bound, gluey yuck.

And it’s not pretend, it’s for real.

In technical terms, a slimy bacterial biofilm – those greasy marks in between the sandwich crumbs, grit, dust bunnies and coffee mug rings that always seem appear between your first skinny latte and the end of the day. Bacteria hiding under a greasy stain.

And since we’re talking real, not pretend – it’s not just your desk that’s covered either.

It’s you.

All over everywhere

Surrounded and covered by billions of bacteria, tinier than our eyes can see.  Alien slime, de luxe.

Thank goodness we can’t see them too – because otherwise we’d all of us look a right mess.

OK, so if this yuck is all over the place, one thing you’re sure not going to do is eat lunch. At least maybe not right now.

No matter how workaholic you are, can you really face eating with that stuff on your hands? And what’s your food going to do to your insides? A Technicolor yawn in the making, right? No, no, norovirus, or something.

Uh, huh.

But stick with reality, our hands and desks REALLY are like that. Just like alien slime.

Total occupation

Maybe give lunch a miss, eh?

But yeah, let’s get some soap and water on our hands, quick. If we’re breathing and swallowing that yuck all the time, we’re likely to be whipped into A&E before the end of the day.

Calm down, dear.  It’s only alien slime.

Our bodies’ immune systems have done a pretty good job of looking after us so far – we’re not about to go belly up just yet.

But you’re right though.

Get our hands clean, because we use them to do everything.

So whatever yuck we have on there  – whatever virus, bacteria, noxious disease, noisome odour, or gungy murk – if we don’t get rid of it, it gets transferred to everything.

Right, so soap and water – pronto! Clean, clean, clean, er…

Did you spot the deliberate mistake?

Oops, not just hands

Our hands might be clean, but our surroundings aren’t. That riot of colour is still all over everything, the germs are still there, just waiting for the opportunity to infect somebody.

Waiting to get back onto our just-washed hands. Alien slime, WHOO-HOO!

Never heard of WAIs?

Stick around and you will. Workplace Acquired Infections are the NEXT BIG THING us nine-to-five lemmings are about to wake up to.

Never mind Workplace Wellness, with our sloppy hygiene – workers and bosses – Workplace Illness is our more likely scenario.

Unless our bosses are equally on the ball and doing something about it.

Because just like it’s easy to sort yucky hands out with soap and water – it’s easy to sort out a yucky office with hydrogen peroxide.

Exterminate, exterminate…

And when we say “sort out” we mean sterilise – make all viruses and bacteria non-existent. So however healthy or not-so-healthy we are, we’re protected. From any germs lying in wait for the unlucky, or from anything our colleagues might bring in with them.

It’s easier than soap and water too.

Press the button on a Hypersteriliser machine, and the whole place mists up with IONISED hydrogen peroxide that penetrates everywhere. Just press the button, that’s all.

Psst!

The stuff oxidises harmful pathogens on the fly, ripping their cell structure to shreds – a one-way ticket to oblivion. Alien slime meets its doom – yah, hah!

Forty minutes later, the place is sterile, the mist reverts to just oxygen and a little water, the water evaporates – no worries, job done.

Gone is gone

Unless of course you LIKE the riot of colour all over your dress and everything. Pity you can’t see it though.

Guess we’ll have to wait till real alien slime hits us – from a returning space probe maybe.

Or, gasp, the real thing.

More fun blasting office bacteria to the Nether Void with hydrogen peroxide.

Take that – AARGH!

Picture Copyright: artzzz / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-07-18 15:34:32.

What’s suddenly gone missing from our hospitals and surgeries?

Astounded businesswoman
No more repeat outbreaks, no more germs coming back and back and back – we’re safe

Not just missing, but gone completely.

First thing in the morning usually. As the place opens up and new staff come on.

Hunt around all you like, there’s nary a trace. Quite the opposite of the potential crisis last night.

Breathe deep, breathe easy. Because now, there’s no germs.

They’ve been taken out by one of the new germ-busting machines that are starting to revolutionise health care from top to bottom.

Normal germ control is at best haphazard and often ineffective.

It’s also labour intensive, a schlep to do, usually seen as a low-grade dogsbody job with no motivation. Executed with primitive mop-and-bucket and wipe-down rag.

More “low-giene” than hygiene

With methods like these, even deep clean procedures often fall short – usually relying on more concentrated solutions of bleach. Backed up by impressive-sounding but equally ineffective applications of steam .

Downside issues are basic but crucial. How can you be sure that all areas have been reached, particularly remote cracks and crevices? And how can you ensure that the air is sterilised too?

Answer, you can’t.

Which is why the germ-busting machines are so vital.

Two types are finding favour, both faster and way more effective than wipe-down hand-work.

Ultraviolet irradiation. Or whole-room subjection to an oxidising agent.

UV units are quick and simple. Just wheel one into place, vacate the room and turn on the “death rays”. Five or ten minutes exposure is usually long enough to destroy most pathogenic microbes. A real asset in places with high occupancy turnover, like dentists’ operating rooms.

Against that, repeat exposures in different positions are necessary to fully cover a room – as a light source, UV’s big disadvantage is untouched shadow areas.

So either room treatment is superficial – fine if it’s largely empty to minimise shadows – or fiddly, requiring four or five re-dos to be sure of coverage, a downtime of an hour or more.

Oxidising efficency

Oxidising machines take more time, with varying success depending on what they use and how they operate – basically by destroying the cell structure of viruses and bacteria.

Usual procedure is to generate the oxidising agent – ozone or hydrogen peroxide – for long enough to fill the air space and ensure contact with all surfaces. Leave it time to kill the pathogens, then vent the room clear.

Exposure time is of course the critical element – and why steam is less effective. Steam needs extended heat to kill, but is nearly always applied by hose or lance that can only be momentary.

Bacteria easily survive such flashes – like a quick tap of the kettle with your finger. They even multiply in the increased moistness left  behind. Nothing like as effective as oxidising, which rips them apart by shoving oxygen atoms at them.

Top of the class for potency is definitely ozone, a kind of super-oxygen itself – but highly unstable in normal atmosphere and dangerous  to humans.

More friendly is hydrogen peroxide, the very same substance that the body itself produces as an internal germ-fighter.

It’s also potent – the Royal Navy once used it to power submarines – but equally effective in milder preparations, the 3% solution your chemist sells as mouthwash is really quite gentle.

The big differences are in method of dispersal and again, contact time.

Effortless gas plasma

Most machines fog up a room with a solution of vaporised hydrogen peroxide strong enough (32%) to kill germs on short contact – relying on the force of pump action to spread across all areas and surfaces.

Such concentration is hazardous to humans and corrosive to some materials. It’s also damp, pushing up humidity levels which bacteria like, requiring a lengthy dry-out process afterwards before the room can be used again.

The breakthrough is to ionise the hydrogen peroxide. Morphing it from a gaseous vapour  into a plasma – electrically charged particles that themselves produce further antimicrobials. Hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, nitrogen species. Plus even ozone and UV, both germ fighters in their own right.

The effect is dynamic, boosting a mild 6% solution into super-performance because of its charge. Press the start button on the machine – it’s called a Hypersteriliser – and see for yourself. (Video demo here).

On exit from the machine, all particles are negative, causing them to repel each other aggressively, forcing them apart. This drives them outwards in all directions, hard up against all surfaces and penetrating deep into cracks,  trying to escape each other. Dispersal is 100%.

Equally aggressive, the negative charge vigorously reaches out and grabs at positively charged viruses and bacteria. Locked together, contact time is prolonged, the microbes don’t stand a chance.

The killing action depletes the charge – decomposing into harmless oxygen and water, in quantities so small it evaporates quickly to nothing.

99.9999% missing

Result, a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 6 – meaning 99.9999% effectiveness, that’s down to 1 in a million. There are no germs, the place is safe. Until us humans walk in and start repopulating with our own personal germ clouds.

No germs, no problems.

Gone missing at Salford Royal Hospital, Doncaster and Bassetlaw, South Warwickshire, Coventry & Warwickshire, Burton, Queen Victoria in East Grinstead, Tameside – and a rapidly increasing number of clinics and surgeries across the country.

Gone missing and good riddance.

Because get rid of all the germs and they don’t come back. No more repeat outbreaks that have griefed so many healthcare centres recently.

And good health to all of us.

Picture Copyright: citalliance / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-07-14 14:21:05.

New building feel-good? Real workplace wellness starts with a button

Pretty girl enters building
However splendiferous any place might be, nowhere is invulnerable to germs

A lot of thought goes into creating feel-good.

A lot of money too. Modern concepts in access, spaciousness, air, light, colour, furnishings don’t come cheap. Nor do personal considerations like nourishment, fitness, comfort and mind. If money is no object, the results can be amazing.

From feel-good to feel-lousy

Or not.

However good the vibes, the location, the views, the whole biz-buzz hype – it all falls apart with the first touch of flu, the beginning twinges of a tummy bug, or the onset of feverish headaches.

All of a sudden, feel-good is feel-lousy. Make that feel-awful. The professional smile slips, the upbeat attitude falters – performing your best becomes impossible when you’re ill.

Not much wellness now, hey? Especially if it spreads.

And count on it, that’s highly likely. Not because we all breathe the same air or walk the same space – though that definitely has a bearing.

The building might be brand spanking new, but it’s usually old-hat bad habits that bring us down – our legacy of sloppy hygiene.

There they are, the most amazing designer washrooms ever. Hands-free taps, no-touch dryers – everything that opens and shuts.

Pity so few of us use them.

Because we don’t, you know.

We think we’re clean and wholesome, but we’re not.

Invisible to see because they’re so small, most of us are crawling in germs. And small wonder.

Sloppy hygiene de luxe

Makes kinda nonsense now, doesn’t it?

A multi-million pound building with all the mod cons. Half the staff out of action and feel-good down to zero, simply because there’s a bug going round. Another casualty to the £29 billion lost on staff absenteeism every year.

Uh, huh. Workplace illness. Possibly even a killer. Sudden death to sales results, red ink on the balance sheets, commission pay-packets ransacked.

All that money, an amazing monument to commerce and creativity, and nobody has a plan for germ control. Viruses wreak havoc, bacteria rule unchecked – with no more defences than a prestige heritage building that might be centuries old.

Which makes it extra short-sighted, since we’re all mostly bacteria ourselves.

Only 10% of our body cells are human, the rest are bacteria – a millions-of-years-old partnership that takes care of the heavy lifting of digestion, distributing nutrients, controlling our immune systems and a zillion other things – leaving us free to have a ball.

And we’re not only made of bacteria, we’re surrounded by bacteria, with our own personal cloud of bacteria that follows us around too. Most of them good, some of them bad – and all of them constantly interchanging with everyone else’s around us – through the air, by direct contact, picked up from objects and food we share.

And all utterly preventable at the touch of a button – the start switch on a Hypersteriliser.

Push button wellness

Push it after staff have left to go home in the evening, and a total sterility treatment is set in motion.

Ionised hydrogen peroxide mists up the air, spreading in all directions – through the air, hard up against all surfaces, and actively pushing into cracks and crevices. For the record, hydrogen peroxide is the same stuff our own bodies produce to fight germs around cuts and wounds.

Charged with electricity from being ionised, the hydrogen peroxide particles aggressively reach out and grab at bacteria and viruses, oxidising them to oblivion. Forty minutes later for the average room, the whole place is sterilised – safe and secure for a fresh start in the morning.

No germs, no illness, back to full-strength feel-good. Beyond décor and looks and sex appeal, it’s workplace wellness that works.

Which means back to being positive, feeding initiative, performing better and loving it because everything is right. Back to climbing bank balances too.

It doesn’t get better than that.

Picture Copyright: sergeyponomarenko / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-07-08 14:13:50.

Remember not to die, wash your hands

OMG Girl
It’s only soap and water – and it doesn’t hurt a bit

It’s an OMG moment – when you remember not to die.

So easy to forget with everything happening around you. Things to do, people to see – busy, busy, busy – no time for anything

But nobody wants to die, right?

Which is why you wash your hands.

Life habit that kills when you forget

Not because you ought to. Not because you’re nagged to. Not from any pressure of any kind.

Simply because you don’t want to die, and washing your hands can fix it.

Easy peasy, soap and water – you get to live another day.

Not really a game, is it? Or do we all like dicing with death?

Because we all know WHY we wash our hands, don’t we? We all know about germs. We all know about illness. And we’re not so stupid to expose ourselves needlessly to something that will kill us.

Or are we?

So easy, so simple, so how come we NEARLY ALL OF US forget to do it? To wash our hands and take away the risk?

Even doctors – who know the score and how critical it is to saving lives – even they forget to remember, right there in the hospital.

So what hope is there for the rest of us? At the rate we’re going, we’ll all be dead tomorrow.

Suicide or murder?

Yeah, goodbye. It was nice knowing you.

Or are we going to wise up and do something about it?

Because it’s not just ourselves we might kill with our forgetfulness – not just suicide.

The germs on our hands might transfer to other people – or to things other people might touch.  So they might die too.

And then it’s murder.

Murder for forgetting to use soap and water?

You bet.

As we all know, ANY illness can snowball into something worse.

Yet every day we take chances – lucking onto ourselves and others around us such nasties as the common cold, influenza, pneumonia, hepatitis A, gastroenteritis, stomach bugs like salmonella, campylobacter and norovirus, contagious illnesses and MRSA.

What the hell’s wrong with us?

If we get unlucky we could even wind up with brain worms  – already more common than any of us would like to think.

So what do we need? A tattoo on our wrists, like on cigarette packs?

NOT WASHING YOUR HANDS KILLS.

Our own worst enemy

Yeah, yeah – so why aren’t we dead already?

Because it’s not the soap and water that protects us from germs. It’s our skin, with its acid mantle – a natural barrier that most bacteria and viruses cannot get through.

They can’t get through – and they don’t always die either. So they just hang around, waiting for a break. Like when they’re rubbed into soft tissue around the eyes or mouth.

Not good. Because most of us have the instinctive habit of touching our faces 2,000 – 3,000 times a day.

Uncomfortable reality, huh?

Because it means most of the ailments and illnesses we come down with are self-inflicted. We touch ourselves all the time with unwashed hands, it’s inevitable we become infected. And it’s just luck of the draw we aren’t dead yet.

A paper cut at the office might be just that, a sore finger for a couple of days that then goes away. Or it might develop into sepsis, an infection where the immune system goes into meltdown and the body attacks itself. Get unlucky and you could be dead in days. And don’t kid yourself it can’t happen. Sepsis kills 44,000 a year in the UK, a really unpleasant way to die.

So what’s the problem?

Killer forgetfulness

Is our forgetfulness a death wish?

Or do we forget that dying is something that happens to all of us – so avoiding soap and water is some kind of denial?

Washing our hands won’t kill us. But not washing them might.

A sobering thought next time you’re in your favourite restaurant. How much of a risk will you take? Sure most of the time, you get away with it.

But don’t forget, that could be you on the floor, writhing in agony. And just your luck that the ambulance gets stuck in traffic.

Food poisoning, poppycock! With our shocking hand hygiene, most stomach illnesses can only be self-inflicted – we bring them on ourselves. One finger pointing, three fingers pointing back.

Remember that, next time the cramps get you and you feel like you’re going to die. And remember that one day you will.

Just hope it’s not from silly bugger forgetfulness about soap and water.

Picture Copyright: auremar / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-07-04 13:51:27.

Could you be sued for your bad habits?

Girl - oh no
We could all be liable – and never even know

We all have them. Bad habits we don’t want anyone to know about.

Not always so easy with cleanliness and hygiene. Our “crimes” are too obvious to miss.

Yeah OK,  we know we should tidy up. Not just for appearances, but to stay out of trouble.

Easy enough for ourselves, but a minefield of nasty surprises when what we do impacts other people.

That’s the thing, see. It’s not just us. If it was, we could live like slobs and nobody would care.

A wider responsibility

Except we don’t live alone, do we? Family, friends, work colleagues, customers – our lives are intertwined with maybe hundreds of people – all of whom could get mighty pissed off if our behaviour messes with their health and living conditions.

Of course, a lot of this we already know – and unconsciously correct for.

A lift full of wrinkled noses at our sweat and BO very quickly persuades us to use regular deodorant. Same thing with breath fresheners and toothpaste.

Smells are offensive, yes. They’re also a sign of bacteria at work. Something isn’t right, so bacteria are eating it. The smell of infection and disease is a warning for others – it could be contagious, keep away.

And right there is our hiccup. What it is that makes bad habits bad.

Bacteria.

Actually microbes of all kinds – bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa. “Bugs” to most of us – nasty germs that make us ill and bring us down. At least that’s our usual experience of them.

And why our bad habits can bring so much trouble.

We luck our bugs onto other people and they can get ill. Depending on the illness, it could screw up their lives. There could be permanent damage – disability, deformity, mental impairment. They could even die.  Super bad habits, super bad all round.

None of which is likely to win us as friends. It’s our fault, we’ve ruined their lives, they want compensation. Think of a number with lots of zeroes behind it it. That’s us, paying for ever – the unwanted price for a silly bad habit.

Bad, bad, bad

And no, we’re not talking the gruesome stuff that some people get up to – eating food dropped to the floor per the crazy “five second rule”, eating off plates unwashed from a previous meal, or wearing week-old clothes.  We’re on about day-to-day things, the daily bad habits that all of us share.

Number One is not washing our hands.

We all reckon we do wash them, but most of the time we don’t, as these shocking statistics show:

How can we be so careless? Because we judge by appearances, not reality. Our hands look clean, therefore they are. Meanwhile, they’re anything but.

Which does ourselves no good – and those around us neither.

Sure, we’re better off than a century ago, but not because we wash our hands. Back then, many homes did not have a bathroom and most people washed only once a week – a tin bath in the kitchen, filled from the kettle. Toilets were the “long drop,” often outside. Even running water and sewerage were not available to everyone.

Modern day hygiene levels are a quantum leap away, which makes us a lot healthier. Bathrooms are essential, our super-efficient toilets are discreet – and our whole culture makes baths a regular indulgence, showers a daily treat. We’re cleaner and healthier in every possible way.

But not our hands.

Always hands

They get down and dirty as much as they always did. Germs are as invisible as they always were too. So we waltz through the day with the same carelessness that we always have, never thinking for a moment that many of our illnesses are therefore self inflicted.

All the usual bad guys – escherichia coli, salmonella, clostridium difficile, campylobacter, MRSA, norovirus, even colds and flu – are all afflictions picked up by direct contact.

And no, we don’t always catch them from food which is contaminated by them – more likely we catch them from food which we ourselves have tainted with our own mitts – germs from a whole day’s worth of touching things without washing our hands.

Just ask yourself this. Sitting down for a meal in a restaurant, when was the last time you washed your hands? Come on, genuinely?

When you came in? Before you left home? As you left work? After your last pee break? After lunch? After breakfast? When you did your teeth?

And how many things have you touched since that time? Things that were touched by other people?

How many germs did you pick up, or transfer elsewhere by direct contact?

And how many times did you touch your face during all of that, passing germs on through the soft tissue of eyes and mouth? (Hint: most of us touch our faces 2,000 – 3,000 times a day.)

Germs on our hands!

Passed on by touching all the things we share in common. The firm handshake of friendship, door handles, light switches, keypads, documents, money, knives and forks. We pass germs to other people, they pass germs to us. Because it’s not just our hands that are unwashed, it’s all of those other things too.

Your fault? Theirs?

We’re all equally culpable.

Because all we have to do is wash our hands and nothing happens. No illness, no time off work, no loss of income, nothing. No reason for anyone to sue.

Unless of course we’re responsible for the things we touch.

Then Number Two, it’s our negligence – failing to protect people from germs caught off objects  we didn’t keep safe. Not cleaned, not disinfected, the equivalent of not washing hands all over again. Well, who does wipe down the lift call buttons and sanitise every telephone handset at least once every day?

Except that’s fixable too. By sterilising the lot – and the actual room they’re in – by misting the place up with ionised hydrogen peroxide. Reaching everywhere, all viruses and bacteria are oxidised to nothing, destroyed, dead.

At a stroke, all the “touchables” and the environment they’re in are safe and free from germs.

Bad habits?

We still have them of course. Always posing for selfies. Wearing trainers at work. Two twists of sugar with our flat white.

But nobody’s likely to sue us for them.

Picture Copyright: halfbottle / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-06-30 15:09:27.

Sick of the referendum? Or is it norovirus again?

Pretty girl - not me no way
There’s no getting rid of norovirus unless you’re really, really sure everywhere is clean

Not nice, either of them – referendum or norovirus.

Making them go away is not easy either. Though norovirus DOES do that by itself after a few days.

As long as it’s prevented from coming back again.

A pernicious one, norovirus. Unless we’re careful, it keeps coming back and back and back.

Except luckily, we know why – and we CAN stop it.

Yes, it does mean lots of cleaning. Thoroughly disinfecting everywhere in sight.

OK is not OK, it has to be perfect

Everywhere that’s not in sight too. This is a bug that spreads everywhere and it doesn’t pay to take chances. Explosive vomiting and diarrhoea are its two nasty ways of getting itself everywhere – fiendishly persistent, just like the referendum.

So it gets in every corner and crevice, seeps through drapes and underlay – and worst of all, takes to the air. Don’t forget that smell too, is airborne, so there’s no mistaking its presence.

But norovirus doesn’t stop there.

In the air and everywhere

As other tiny particles that have no smell, no more than 2 microns across – it rides, microscopically tiny – on the smallest of wafts and breezes to spread even further.

Which means, like a referendum canvasser, that it’s not got rid of so easily. Ordinary wipe-clean methods just aren’t good enough – and even strong bleach is not effective unless it’s in constant contact for ten minutes or more.

Any effective clean-up therefore has to include the air –  as well as getting into every remote seam and crack – and reaching every surface, underneath as well as on top, behind too. Not something that’s possible with a mop and bucket.

Safe, sterile and secure

Easily do-able though, with a Hypersteriliser.

At the touch of a button, this wheelie-bin-sized mobile console generates a super-fine mist of electrostatically-charged hydrogen peroxide that actively reaches through the air to grab viruses and bacteria on the fly, oxidising them to nothing.

Forty minutes later, the room is sterilised – while any referendum canvasser is still banging away on the doorstep. No more norovirus, no more anything, the place is safe from all germs – and so is everybody who ventures in there.

Not a sexy subject, but who wants to feel ill and throw up all the time?

Which is why the Hypersteriliser can win any referendum.

Keeping safe from the cramps, upchucks and runs gets everybody’s vote, every time.

Picture Copyright: malyugin / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-06-27 13:40:49.

It took guts to dump the EU – now we need guts again to dump antibiotics

Fighting woman
Time to get tough and take hard decisions

Dump? As in “get rid of?” We can’t be serious, antibiotics save lives. We’d literally be dead without them!

We’ll be dead with them too – after long, slow, lingering illnesses.

Just like the EU – all milk and honey right now, but a disastrous train smash down the line.

Nobody wants to accept it, even our health gurus look like they’re in denial. But the evidence is shoved in our faces every day – antibiotics are a Jekyll and Hyde monster.

Because, yes, antibiotics do save lives. Modern medicine would be impossible without them. Miracles like heart transplants, hip replacements and caesarean births – sorry, can’t be done any more.

The mega-downside

It’s a hell of a lot to lose.

But a hell of a lot worse if we don’t dump antibiotics right now – and start actively hunting alternatives.

You see, while all the miracle-making has been grabbing headlines and saving thousands from certain fatality, the dark side of antibiotics has been creeping up, and is already threatening millions.

We need to dump them like the plague.

Which is exactly the kind of damage that antibiotics are doing. And it takes guts to realise it – because that’s where it’s happening – in your gut and ours, in everyone’s on the planet.

Down there, in our tummies, where digestion takes place. Low-profile background antibiotics at work. Not like the triple-whammy intravenous super heroes. Or the local dab-on-skin trouble-shooters.

Killers at work

Out of sight, out of mind, these guys are killers too – because that’s what antibiotics do, they kill bacteria. And by being in our tummies, they kill some of our own gut bacteria, the vital friendly kind that handle digestion, produce proteins, manage our immune systems and a thousand other chores.

They don’t just kill, they maim. Cause our bacteria to malfunction.

One thing they do is switch off our appetite control – we never know when we’ve had enough, so we overeat a lot of the time.

The other thing is to bump up food absorption – we extract more nutrients than our systems are meant to, making us fatter and fatter.

It’s not our food that does this – the burgers, pizza and chicken so many of us like so much. It’s the antibiotics IN our food – so we eat two helpings instead of one, with double ice cream afterwards, and a mega-Coke, just to be sure.

The proof is in our bulging waistlines – two-thirds of us are bigger than at any time in our history, already overweight or clinically obese – unwanted extra pounds that we’ve never had before.

Over-absorption

Demonised junk food maybe, but even our esteemed Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, has not totally rejected pizza. Just a nibble from a smaller portion perhaps – as recommended by the Department of Health.

A miniscule taste of spinach and mushroom on a whole-wheat base – no challenge at all to a slim and trim athletic figure. No, not pizza, not junk food, not couch potato lifestyle, none of the current bogeys.

It’s over-eating and over-absorption that’s the problem. With over-absorption sneaking up on an increasing number of us unawares. Which means Dame Sally is right when she identifies obesity as a threat on par with terrorism.

Actually, it’s worse. Several million times worse.

Terrorism plus-plus

It might be hard to believe judging from headlines around the world, but UK deaths from terrorism currently average the same as from bees, just 5 a year.   Yes, shockingly, world-wide terrorist casualties for 2014 reached a grisly 32,658 – about the same as Europe-wide road accidents.

Against that, obesity-linked diseases are projected at 38,500 new cases of cancer a year by 2035 – plus 4.62 million new cases of type 2 diabetes, and 1.63 million cases of coronary heart disease. That’s a staggering 7.6 million of us – roughly 10% of the nation – way worse than terrorism.

So how do we know it’s antibiotics that fatten us? And how do they get into our food?

Quite simply, from the 240,000 tonnes of antibiotics the world uses every year – around 70-80% of them shovelled into commercial farming livestock, to stabilise intensive factory-farm production AND perform as growth boosters.

For the last 50 years farming has been revolutionised by the phenomenal effect antibiotics have in accelerating growth in farm animals. Added to livestock feed in small doses every day, their performance is astounding. From egg to full-grown roasting chicken in 6 weeks. From calf to Aberdeen Angus sirloin steak in 16 months instead of four years.

All in the poo

But animals are only the beginning. Though they fatten up amazingly, they still dump around 80% of the nutrients they eat as dung.  Cow pats rich in nutrients, supplements, vaccines and antibiotics – which are all collected and used as manure – prized “all-natural” fertiliser for all kinds of plant crops – grains, vegetables, fruit, and of course feedstuffs.

So whatever it is we’re eating, “re-cycled” antibiotics are already in our food chain. Chomped down unwittingly in small doses with every meal, just like the animals. Proven growth boosters administered in exactly the same way – yet health authorities are either in denial, or don’t want to know, that they are the trigger for our obesity.

Obesity that becomes our death sentence – more and more of us crowding in on the NHS – fading from the scene, losing our grip, heading for a feet-first exit.

Like the plague

Yeah, dump antibiotics. Dump them like the plague.

Dump them before there aren’t many of us left.

Sure it takes guts, knowing that they can’t save us after an accident, or keep us alive in major surgery. We’ll just have to bump our hygiene to compensate. Give those germs less and less of a chance to get at us.

Even sterilise our environment to reduce illnesses picked up from each other – the flu that goes around the office, or something more serious – easy enough with a hydrogen peroxide mister.

We know that dumping wins.

We just have to keep at it.

Picture Copyright: fotofreaks / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-06-24 14:15:45.

Is your workplace making you ill?

Worried lady
Most of us have enough on our plate – who needs microscopic worries around too?

We mean your workplace, not your job.

Any job carries stress which can impact your health – you know your worries better than anyone.

But what about the physical place? Where you’re hard at it eight hours and more every day?

Environment can make a big difference way beyond pleasant surroundings and snappy décor.

Everything around you

For instance, your workplace building itself exerts a major influence. Some are prone to vibrations from passing traffic, or the Underground running below the basement. Some are always cold and damp, however high the heating is set – a source of mould and coughs and colds, without you even knowing.

And how about the heating? The HVAC system might be a wonderful thing – but could also cause you grief. Big office systems need big tanks of water – massive things, probably on the roof or somewhere out of the way, quiet and undisturbed.

Sometimes too quiet. Warm, stationary water is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria – most of the time harmless. But there’s nothing harmless about legionella pneumophila – a bacterium that spreads through fine water droplets in the ventilation ducting – another outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease, a kind of pneumonia-like infection you really don’t want in your workplace – it could put you out of action for days or even weeks.

In the air

And how about your workplace air? The quality of it can have a huge effect on your wellbeing. Does it smell fresh? Or tired and dank, like clanking machinery? Plus of course, the old warm/cold issue – the girls want it warm, the boys want it super-cold. (Just get them to take their tie off, it’s acceptable these days – that’ll drop their body temperature 10 degrees in minutes.)

Yes, the air. We never think about that, do we? Empty space, not on the radar. Not like desks and chairs and phones and computers and things.

It’s there, just the same – probably even 80% of your workplace space.

And it’s not empty.

Nor is it just your subtle Thierry Mugler Angel and the wafting fish and chips of that nerdy guy on the far side where all the filing cabinets are.

For a start, there’s the oxygen we breathe – and the nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide and other stuff that makes up the natural air around us.

And the imperfections, of course. The tiny motes of dust and other microscopic nothings.

Germs everywhere

Not to mention the germs.

Which means if you’re unlucky enough to come down with anything, the most likely is colleague-itis. A bug you catch from your pals.

You’d better believe it. Aside from the continual germs lurking on your desk and other surfaces throughout the office – 10 million on average, so don’t feel so alarmed – every single one of us pulls around our own aura of personal bacteria, body detritus and skin particles – a constant microbial interchange of billions and billions we’re never even aware of.

All of which we breathe, swallow, get on our skin – most of the time held in check by our immune systems. But sometimes when we’re down – not enough sleep, over-exertion or simply depressed – the bugs see a chance and take it.

And so it begins, another malicious bug in the air-con that will try to attack everyone. Will probably succeed too – because very few people are 100% medically fit. Most of us have an underlying condition of some kind – prone to headaches, a chest complaint, IBS, low blood pressure – all weaknesses for a bug to explore and suddenly you’re down with flu, or norovirus, or salmonella, or any one of a hundred nasties.

Safe, sterile and fresh

But you don’t have to be.

Overnight, the whole office – air included – can be made safe, sterile and completely free from germs at the touch of a button.

A machine called a Hypersteriliser mists the place up with an ultra-fine spray of Ionised hydrogen peroxide – the very same stuff your own body produces to fight germs . A potent antimicrobial, it spreads everywhere, across surfaces and through the air, oxidising viruses and bacteria as it does so, until 99.9999% of them are gone.

How can you tell?

No smells (a sign of active bacteria), your workplace feels fresh. And if there is any mould anywhere – round the window frame where the rain always leaks, for instance – it’s no longer black and horrible, but greyed out and harmless, easy to brush away. Your workplace is safe.

OK, it doesn’t sort out all your workplace problems, but it does sort out germs.

Which makes handling issues after you’ve got rid of them much more of a doddle.

Everything is easier when you’re 100% well.

Picture Copyright: jaykayl / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-06-23 14:28:43.