Tag Archives: bacteria

Shock, horror – infections at work

Bugs at the Office
Count on it – if it’s going around,
it’s gonna get you

In hospitals they call them HAIs – Hospital Acquired Infections.

Outside medical circles, nobody’s started talking about Work Acquired Infections (WAIs) yet. But they’re gonna.

Controversial topic, HAIs.

A lot of people think they’re proof of incompetence – it’s a disgrace that infections should happen in the first place. Totally unfair and not very realistic.

Because if you’re in hospital for an accident or operation, you’ll most likely have some kind of cut or incision. And right there, is a major risk of infection. It can happen, even with the most stringent hygiene measures.

Not so safe any more

But the world has changed since the last time you looked.

Hospitals have an even bigger threat to face behind HAIs. Because we’re so gung-ho and Harry Casual about antibiotics, there’s a whole load of viruses and bacteria out there that have learned how to resist them.

You get an infection, the Doc can’t shoot you full of penicillin any more because a lot of the time it won’t always work.

Take MRSA, the first line infection most hospitals are so worried about. The name says it all – Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. Against that, antibiotics are about as useful as coffee sweeteners – your body just has to tough it out.

More hazards

Now think of that in the wider world.

Antibiotics are starting not to respond  – so if something happens to you, you could be in big trouble.

And things do. Accidents at work happen way more than you think. Check how the Health & Safety people see things happening in a year:

  • 133 workers killed at work (2013/14)
  • 2,535 mesothelioma deaths in 2012 due to past asbestos exposures
  • 78,000 other injuries to employees were reported under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences)(2012/13)
  • 175,000 over-7-day absence injuries occurred (LFS) (2012/13)
  • 1.1 million working people were suffering from a work-related illness (2011/12)

Those are the big dramas. But what about the little ones?

It’s just a scratch

You drop something, you cut yourself, something digs into you. What’s the bet hygiene levels at work are nothing like in hospitals?

Even an office can be anything but “harmless”.

Just think of it. Maybe thirty or fifty of you, all in the same room. All breathing the same air, all exposed to the same environment.

You don’t even have to have an accident, there’s plenty of germs ready to have a go at you. With so many people concentrated together – more viruses, more bacteria – the threshold is higher. WAIs are almost inevitable.

High germ thresholds for instance, are almost certainly the cause of “sick building syndrome”. Headaches, nausea – you’re not sick of the job, you genuinely have a health issue.

Germs everywhere

But you don’t have to. And as the effect of antibiotics not working becomes more acute, you’re going to see a lot of places taking active steps so you never do.

You’re probably already aware that desks and computer keyboards are breeding places of germs – as many as 20,961 microbes per square inch according to research.

Sure, your workplace gets vacuumed and wiped down every day by good, professional services – but they can’t do everything. What about under things, or nooks and crannies – or even the air itself?

Higher-level hygiene

Know how the smell of fish and chips lingers when everyone has gone? Germs linger the same, able to survive up to a week or more – floating in the air because they’re so incredibly small. An infection waiting to happen.

You guessed it, our hygiene habits need to ramp up a level. Clean isn’t necessarily safe. And once somebody catches a bug, sure as anything, you know it’s going to get everyone.

So the trick is to sterilise the place. Not just the desks and floors – those are done already, and look at the hazards we face. We need to do the air too – after all, it’s 80% of the space – and day to day, it never gets touched.

All automatic

Enter the hygiene robots – machines that take down germs and make the place totally safe from viruses and bacteria. They may be ultra violet generators or oxidising foggers – but they work, and very effectively.

Still feeling queasy at your desk? If it’s not lunch, maybe you should pressure the boss into getting the place sterilised every night. A hydrogen peroxide super-mister eliminates all germs in around twenty minutes.

It won’t stop infection if you get a cut of course. There’s germs on your skin and clothes from outside, so you still have to take all precautions. You’re less likely to develop problems though, because the germ threshold is less – at zero when you walked in this morning.

WAIs are likely to increase – but not on your watch.

Originally posted 2014-10-22 11:51:55.

Ebola, pshaw! With all these antibiotic-resistant bio-nasties around, you could die from a paper cut

Woman in gasmask
You can run – and you can hide –
but you can’t stop taking precautions

No good hiding under the bed. The germs will get you there too.

Because washing hands is only the start. If we’re all going to survive, our whole hygiene habit needs a big re-think.

Like, what have you got in the house that kills germs?

Bleach? Disinfectant? Puh-leeze!

Against the kind of viruses and bacteria we have lurking around these days, they don’t even feel it.

And yes, you’re scared about Ebola. But you should be just as worried at catching the flu.

What does that poster in your doctor’s surgery say? “Unfortunately, no amount of antibiotics will get rid of your cold.”

They won’t work on a lot of other things either. Ebola is one. MRSA is another – methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus – a 9-to-5 germ that lives here in good old UK.

And if you’re not worried, your doctor is.

Because now there’s a whole stack of illnesses he can’t treat you for because the drugs don’t work any more. The whole medical profession is faced with going back to the Nineteenth Century. Maybe not leeches and blood-letting, but still pretty clunky.

But don’t just worry, do something.

Think twice about everything you do, and don’t take chances. That Spanish nurse in Madrid? All she did was wipe her face with her surgical glove. Ebola misses nothing.

Better yet, hike up your bio-resistance threshold.

Your bio-wha…?

Your bio-resistance threshold – your germ defence, the force field around you that protects you, your anti-germ shield.

OK, there’s not much you can do about that in the open – though with winds and breezes around blowing everything away, most of the time we’re safe enough.

Indoors though, is where we are most of the time. And with winter coming, we’re all set to pass on infections one to another. Kids in school. Colleagues at the office. If there’s a bug going around, we’re all going to get it.

But not if we’re smart.

Because right now it’s possible to sterilise the entire room you’re in in around ten minutes flat – the walls, the furniture, the floor, the space you move around in. No viruses, no bacteria, no anything. Every trace of a germ, gone.

It won’t get rid of the cold you’ve got. But it will lower the chances of anyone else getting it. Or you going down with the tummy twinges THEY had, lingering in the air from yesterday.

The quick way to do it, is with an aerosol can of ammonium chloride. Hit the button, mist the place up, germs gone in ten. Any viruses or bacteria are destroyed by being oxidised. You’re safe.

Thing is though, it’s like brushing your teeth. You have to do it regularly. Miss a day and the germs pile up. Because don’t forget, each of us is walking around in a cloud of maybe 3.5 million microorganisms – germs – every moment of every day.

But like we said, don’t worry, there’s also a cheaper, better way – almost two thirds cheaper – and 100,000 times better.

Trundle in that wheelie-bin-sized auto-robot and press the button. It releases a super-fine mist of hydrogen peroxide, oxidising germs just like ammonium chloride. But way more efficiently – 99.9999% – a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 6.

And sterile means sterile. It knocks out germs by shoving oxygen atoms at them. Out in the open instead of munching away inside your nice warm body, they cannot survive.  They are dead, killed, annihilated, destroyed, eliminated, sent to oblivion. All viruses and bacteria.

And because Ebola is a virus, it will be gone too – if it was ever there in the first place. Along with all this winter’s crop of the usual bio-villains – MRSA, E. coli, norovirus and Clostridium difficile.

Breathe easy?

You can. But you’d better keep watching for those paper cuts. You may not get an infection – but they still hurt like hell.

Originally posted 2014-10-10 12:38:30.

Help, my love-life is killing me!

Lovers breakupTruer than you know.

Ask any teenager. The angst, the gut-wrenching roller-coaster as moods switch, anxieties kick in and self-esteem goes through the floorboards.

Any idea what that does to your body system?

Read the signs – accelerated pulse, irregular breathing, acid stomach, deprived or reduced sleep.

Yeah, OK – we all know the score.

But the symptoms are real. The body’s equilibrium is out of balance and the whole metabolism is at hazard.

Why? Because the threshold is down – the ability to resist viruses and bacteria. The resilience to do things. The strength to stand up to the world. Emotional meltdown.

Perfect for germs to attack – and they do.

Look no further than your nearest TV soap. Just about every love story recognises that downcast lovers can sicken and die.

But they don’t die of love. They die of flu, or gastro, or some usually harmless nuisance bug. Struck down by their own defencelessness.

Young, strong, fully able-bodied – that’s why such losses are a tragedy.

Because once you get beyond say 25 or 30, none of that applies any more. You’re no longer a spring chicken. Injuries or accidents have left their mark. Breathing in all those fumes at work hasn’t helped either.

As your Doc might say, you have “an underlying medical condition.”

IOW – a germ entry-point.

And pretty well all of us have weaknesses of some kind or other. Yet we rattle around happily through life – unaware of the billions and billions of germs that always surround us – that are always ready for the opportunity to invade and damage us.

Yeah, maybe we wash our hands now and then – never as often as we should. And of course we try to keep our surroundings  clean and fresh – wiping and vacuuming, with the occasional scrub.

Yet in the air around us – dragging it around, kind of like our own personal bio-aura – there might be as many as 3.5 million viruses and bacteria to every cubic metre.

Which means if you’re average height – say 1.7 metres – you could be surrounded by upwards of 30 million germs. And that’s just you, by yourself.

Slightly different out in public. Like in the Underground during the rush hour, stuck between stations. Three hundred people in a carriage. Is it any wonder that our “underlying medical condition” makes us want to pull a sickie?

So where is our body armour, our force-field, our invisible barrier against these bio-attacks? Is it just the body’s natural immune threshold and that’s it?

Ulp!

Actually there is a defence – and a mighty good one too.

To sterilise the air around us and everything it touches. Oxidise all viruses and bacteria into oblivion before they can get to us.

Ozone will do it. So will hydrogen peroxide. Ammonium chloride. And a very few of those cleaners and bleaches that work by releasing oxygen.

But walk into a room after one of these things has been in action and the place can be pretty well sterile. Down to three germs per million air particles in a hospital operating room. Or in your own office if you like. Ten minutes misting up the place should do it fine.

Not quite so easy to fall in love with, of course.

But it’s reassuring to know you won’t die.

Originally posted 2014-10-06 14:34:39.

Time to celebrate – you need never catch an infection again

Happy, happy! You've survived the germs AGAIN!
Happy, happy! You’ve survived the germs AGAIN!

Congratulations. Your body has just survived exposure to 29,743,987,435 germs.

That’s about how many surround you at any one time.

And congratulations. Thirty seconds later, and you’ve just done it again.

Only this time it’s 32,867,201,591 germs. And no, they’re not the same ones.

They just keep coming and coming and your body has to cope with this onslaught every second of every day.

Don’t believe it?

When was the last time you stood waiting in the Underground, and your face got blasted with dust?

And how many dust particles do you reckon that was? 8 million? 80 million?

OK, now your average virus or bacteria is probably around a million times smaller than a single speck of dust.

Smaller than the pollen that gives you hay fever. Smaller than the particles in cigarette smoke. Smaller than droplets of water vapour in a cloud. So really, really tiny, it’s why you can’t see them at all.

But they’re there alright.

You wouldn’t walk into a room full of people with bird flu, would you? But you can’t see the bird flu. So how do you know it’s there?

But it’s not just the bird flu you have to worry about. It’s the 23,849,362,072 other viruses and bacteria floating around. By the way congratulations. You’ve just survived again.

But what if you didn’t?

What if you forgot to wash your hands , just the once? Or breathed something in? Or did something stupid like the philosopher Sir Francis Bacon back in 1626?

Famously in March of that year, he was driving in his carriage when it occurred to him to check out how coldness might affect the decay of meat. He stopped, bought a chicken, had the guts pulled out, and crouched down on the ice to stuff it full of snow, right there and then.

Spot the mistake?

Yeah, he caught a chill so bad that he couldn’t go home. So they took him to his pal’s house, the Earl of Arundel, put him to bed. It didn’t help. The chill became pneumonia and the poor bloke conked on 9th April.

Oh, and by the way, congratulations again.

Maybe now you’ve got some idea of how much hazard we all face, every single day. And it gets worse when we’re all together.

Some of us are healthier than others. And as we know well, very often the sick ones pass on their germs. Because the one particular bug is more concentrated in their system and ready to invade.

So down we come with the bug and we didn’t even do anything!

All unnecessary.

Because, as we have known since the Nineteenth Century – only 200 years after Bacon’s time – ALL germs die if we clobber them with hydrogen peroxide.

And if we get clever with Twenty-First Century technology, we can spray it up in the air in an ultra-fine mist and knock out every single one of them in an average room in just 20 minutes.

No congratulations this time because there aren’t any germs any more. The place is sterile.

Still cause for celebration though.

For the first time in history, you’re safe. You can’t get ill because nothing can touch you.

So why don’t we do this all the time – in schools, restaurants, hotels, offices, everywhere?

No idea, you tell us.

Which makes us just as stupid as Sir Francis. All of us.

Why let disaster happen when you don’t have to?

Better stay off the chicken and bacon – just in case.

But at least you’re safe =- at least for now.

Because there’s one more thing.

You have to keep at it with the hydrogen peroxide because the germs come back.

People bring them in on their clothes, or let them waft in when they enter.

So congratulations again. You just survived another 35,987,061,362 potential infections.

But you could get awfully hammered, celebrating all the time.

Originally posted 2014-09-09 13:19:25.

It’s not the smell that makes you sick – it’s the germs

Class of school children
Heroes are people who make germs go away, like our teacher

It started out as Coronation Chicken on a crispy baguette – big enough to stop the most ravenous appetite with some left over.

It was the left-over that was the problem.

When the builders finished at the school, the summer holidays had three-and-a-half weeks left to run.

Three-and-a-half weeks with no air conditioning and ventilation. By which time the classroom for 4CH was decidedly ripe.

Opening the windows sort of fixed it. But of course the school had to be locked up at night. Air fresheners didn’t crack it either. A few seconds of lavender, then back to the yuck.

Allan Armstrong was the caretaker. He’d been there for yonks and knew just what was needed. A good swab out with a hefty dose of bleach would sort it, no problem.

Unfortunately, it made it worse. The smell was so strong it made the kids’ eyes run. Christa Holmfirth, their teacher, went further and burst into tears.

The classroom had to be abandoned, displacing them all to the assembly hall – unwanted, unloved and shoved to one side.

But tears or not, Christa was no helpless female.

Determined, she braved the classroom during her lunch break and tracked the smell down to the new panelling under the windows.

The heck with asking for permission, she kicked it in with her shoe, snapping the heel in the process – and there was this crinkled packet, half-covered with green gunge.

Smell was one thing, but what kind of GERMS were her children going to come down with? The thing must be crawling with bacteria.

She took it out at arm’s length and marched it to the wheelie-bin behind the school kitchen.

Her colleagues complained that she was stinking the place out.

Then they looked at her face. Whatever they said, Christa was taking no prisoners. And they shrank visibly when she pulled the aerosol out of her handbag.

She showed them the label. Total release fogger – kills germs in seconds. Clobbering the smell did nothing, so she was going to sterilise the whole room.

Fighting her nausea, she went back to the classroom and shut all the windows. She put the aerosol on a desk in the middle, pressed the button and actually ran for the door as if the smell we attacking her.

It took five minutes for the sick feeling to die down. By that time, as she saw through the glass panel, the room looked like a sauna gone wrong, everything ghostly in a cloud of mist.

Her big mistake was telling the kids about it, they wanted to see too. Well, you try telling thirty excited kids with no home that their classroom is full of fog. They were kids and curious.

Curious, but not brave enough to go in. Which was probably just as well.

Christa’s aerosol was based on ammonium chloride, a lighter than air mist which killed germs by oxidising them – ripping them apart by shoving oxygen atoms at them. Lower powered than the super-oxidiser, hydrogen peroxide, but it did the business.Handy in an aerosol too.

Not harmful, but not a good idea to breathe in either.

Twenty minutes later, the room was clear – and the other teachers were complaining about the noise in the passage. Christa went first and opened all the windows wide.

“Oooh!” They all stood there sniffing.

Christa was in tears again. Because the smell was gone. No stink, no germs, her kids were safe.

Which made the waterworks start Big Time. Difficult to resist when a bunch of eight-year-olds suddenly burst out clapping.

Miss Holmfirth, their heroine. The most popular Year Four teacher in UK.

Originally posted 2014-09-04 13:01:27.

Until we start cleaning the air, we’re always going to catch germs

Girl swamped in germs
You can’t see germs, but they’re always there – waiting to get you and make you ill

No, no, not pollution – not just smoke and dust and airborne waste, but actually purging the air itself free of harmful bacteria.

Because like it or not – germs, viruses, bacteria, pathogens, whatever you want to call these horrible bugs  – are all in the air, all the time. Billions and billions of them, too small for the eye to see. So tiny that several million of them would fit on the head of a pin.

You’ve seen dust move on the air, swirling around, up there for days. Well imagine stuff that is tinier than that, so light it rides the air for ever, sometimes never settling at all. That’s how germs move about, hoping to catch on one of us and make us ill. To feed and breed on us until we die.

Yes they spread by contact too, from somebody who is infected. But don’t kid yourself you’re safe, just by keeping your distance. If there’s germs in the room – and there always are –  chances are good some that some of them will land on you.

Just maybe not enough of them to do any harm.

You see, just one or two of them have still got to get through your skin, into your lungs or digestive system.

Somehow they’ve got to get through the acid mantle, the protective dermis itself, then beat the antibodies in white blood cells – neutrophils, leukocytes that trigger hydrogen peroxide, the body’s own natural germ killer that oxidises them to nothing.

No chance, right? A suicide mission.

But not the same when some sneezes all over you, or glad-hands you from their hospital bed.
That’s not individual cells any more – there’s several million in a gob of snot or sneeze-spray – even more with skin-to-skin contact.

Boom. Right there, they gotcha. You are now infected.

And all the time we’re running round, scrubbing hands, clothes, counters, worktops, tables and whatever, convinced we’re protecting ourselves.

Well yes, we are – from the 20% of germs that have actually settled on objects around us.

The other 80% are still swirling around – in singles, in clumps, and sometimes dirty great droplets, just waiting to get us. And if we’re careless, they will.

So how do we scrub the air – as well as all the work surfaces and stuff?

Same way the body does, with hydrogen peroxide.

Mist up a sealed room with ionised hydrogen peroxide spray and it’s airborne, just like the germs are. It’s light too, finer than water droplets – electrostatically charged to reach out and grab onto things like viruses and bacteria.

Boom, boom. It’s backatcha with oxygen atoms that rip the germ cells to pieces. Bye-bye bio-thugs, they’re dead and gone.

Forty minutes or so later, you’re in a room that’s totally sterilised. No bacteria, nothing.

Even the hydrogen peroxide’s gone too – as it releases those oxidising atoms, it decomposes into just oxygen and water. Actually water vapour which evaporates, because there’s no trace of drops or anything.

Trouble is though, not enough of us know we should do this. We’re still rushing around, slaving at floors and surfaces and wiping our hands with gel, hoping we’ll get away with it.

Not wrong. But not enough. Clean is not necessarily safe.

To beat germs and win, we need to fight the other 80% as well. Because until we do, we’re all going to catch a bug. Sooner or later.

Atishoo!

And bless you. Have a nice day.

Originally posted 2014-09-02 13:08:13.

There’s only one way to treat deadly resistant superbugs

Man with gun
Viruses and bacteria don’t stand a chance, hydrogen peroxide kills them all

Get them before they get you.

Make them dead. Wipe them out completely.

You can, and it’s easy. All the nasties we’re scared to death of: MRSA, e. coli, salmonella, hepatitis C, H1N1, SARS, measles, rabies, yellow fever, polio – even ebola.

Because outside in the open, viruses and bacteria are just as vulnerable as you are.

No nice warm body to hide in and infect. No dirty slime to hide under on a tabletop. Defenceless against the right weapon.

And you just happen to have it. Good old O2 – oxygen.

Shove oxygen atoms at any pathogen and it rips their cells apart – oxidises them to oblivion. No germs, no chance of infection, nothing to invade your body. You’re safe.

And the delivery system?

A super-fine mist of ionised hydrogen peroxide. “Hyper”.

Seal up a room, spray this stuff in – and within 40 minutes all germs are dead. The place is sterile. Not a trace of a bug anywhere – including superbugs, the growing number of ugly mutations that are able to resist antibiotics.

Catch one of them, and you could be a goner.

So don’t take chances. Zap them first, while they’re floating around looking for you.

A pre-emptive strike.

Sprayed up into the air because that’s where germs are.

What, you think they’re only on worktops, floors and surfaces?

20% of them are, maybe. That’s where they settle, where most of their food opportunity is.
But 80% of any room is empty space – how else would we move around and be able to do things?
And these germ things are microscopic.

Take rhinovirus, for example – a really nasty infection as summer comes to an end. One cell is not even 0.02 microns across – you could get thousand of them on the head of a pin. A million.

Which means they’re so light, they’re always floating around- riding the air, sometimes not even settling in their whole life cycle.

Ready to catch on your clothing though. And your face, and your hands and any bit of you that’s exposed. Well, you’ve seen the pictures of the medics suited up against ebola.

And yes, they might spread on contact, but how do you think any kind of infection got there in the first place?

But ionised hydrogen peroxide is super-fine too – smaller than droplets of water. And electrostatically charged to spread up and out, reaching into cracks and crevices. Actively grabbing germs and destroying them.

All that’s left is oxygen and water – a film of moisture so thin, you hardly know it’s there.

Except that the room you’re standing in is utterly safe. No chance for superbugs, no illness, you’re well on your way to reaching 100.

Unless of course, you brought a bug with you.

Although you’re pretty safe, even then.

It can never be said enough, our doctors and nurses are the best in the world.

Originally posted 2014-08-27 17:48:33.

Want to live to be 100? Get healthy, stay healthy, easy-peasy

Senior lady with nurse
Watch out for the germs and you could live to 120

Sounds weird, but it’s true.

The best investment you can make in your personal good health is to scrub your fingernails.

Germs, you see – and yes, you’ve heard it all before.

Nag, nag, wash your hands.

BECAUSE IF YOU DON’T, YOU’LL DIE!

No seriously, just think about it for twenty seconds.

Right now, a whole string of medicines that doctors usually give us when we’re sick aren’t working any more. Or to be more accurate, those killer viruses and bacteria have developed an immunity to them.

It hasn’t happened yet, but the whole medical profession is getting ready for it. Within the next 10 years, germs from a paper cut could be the end of you.

And that’s you now, the very picture of health – in the gym every day, running 2K at weekends, lots of greens in your diet, and watching your drinking.

But it’s a bit more difficult on the other side of 35. Or 50, or 70. When the body slows down it’s more susceptible to risk. And with all those germs out there going superbug, that risk is getting worse.

Because even BEFORE you get ill you’re surrounded by billions of germs everyday. They’re in the air all around you. And when your lungs weaken because of the smoking, or your heart strains more because of the extra 10Ks body weight, those germs are going to nail you in preference to anybody younger.

Unless you nail them first.

Which is a whole new hygiene level we’ve got to get used to in the future.

Scrub your nails?

Not good enough. If you want to be safe, you’ve got to scrub the world around you. Everything you touch, even the very air you breathe. Because that’s where the germs are, waiting to get you.

But don’t worry. More and more places are becoming safer because they’re sterilised – pathogen no-go zones, toally free from germs – hotel rooms, doctor’s surgeries, school canteens, luxury coach rides to Germany.

Inside each of them, a super-fine mist of hydrogen peroxide oxidises all germs and bacteria to nothing. No germs, no infection, absolutely sterile.

Which is kind of reassuring when you’re getting on a bit. Once you’re over 80, it’s all that much more likely SOMETHING will upset the apple-cart. So it’s nice not to know it won’t be germs.

Time to nag those youngsters into looking after themselves a bit more than they do.

No germs, healthy living, they can live for ever – which is what their soul is telling them they can do anyway. And why not? They’re entitled to live to a ripe old age as much as you are.

They just don’t know it yet.

Originally posted 2014-08-14 11:30:30.

There’s restaurants and restaurants – why’s this one so heavenly?

Girl on stairway to light
No germs or bacteria, no collywobbles or funny tummy

It’s a classy place with a famous chef.

Prime location, soft lighting, designer place settings.

And why not? You’ve earned this.

A night out to please every indulgence.

An impressive menu too.

AIR CONDITIONED, it says at the bottom. Well, of course.

STERILISED DAILY.

Sterilised?

You call the maître d’.

Sterilised – has there been a health problem?

You’ve read about these celebrity places.

Surprise inspection – rats in the kitchen, worms in the salad, everybody down with norovirus.

Surprise is right – a pleasant one for you. And a thing of the future, happening now.

Seems the whole restaurant is sterilised for your safety and protection.

You glance round. At the soft drapes and high ceilings. The expensive-looking chandeliers.

You’ve watched Downton Abbey, you know how tricky those things are to clean.

A confident grin from the maître d’.

They have a robot.

A nifty thing on wheels that they roll in when everyone’s gone. Close all the windows and doors and the thing mists up the place – an ultra-fine mist of hydrogen peroxide. Seems no germ can withstand it. Not even this ebola stuff that has everyone in a tizz.

Apparently this mist stuff is ionised too. So it rises up, into, and under everything. With charged particles that grab hold of bacteria and viruses – shoving oxygen atoms at them. Dead and gone, unable to touch anybody – and that means you.

And they do this every day, so you’re safe. The whole restaurant, the kitchen, the loos – even the cloakroom.

When they open the doors, you’re into a place where germs can’t touch you. Unless that bloke with the sneeze on Table Four brought something in with him. Not so likely to get to you though, if the whole place is sterilised.

So you can relax and indulge. Even you with your sensitive tummy. Dare to be different and get away with it.

Like the trout almondine. If you’ll pardon the expression, it’s to die for. Meaning of course that it’s heavenly.

Good choice.

And as you knew when you sat down, you deserve it.

Originally posted 2014-08-12 11:30:34.

You can tell from the smell

Splash
Looks bad, smells worse, full of germs

The worst is spilt milk.

One of those cardboard cartons, crushed open in the boot by the sharp edge of other shopping. Dripping everywhere. Soaking into the carpet, the boot lining, right through to the NVH material underneath because you got stuck two hours in a jam.

Ew. Not just the mess, the smell. Especially in summer. You’ll never get rid of it, even if you scrub with carbolic.

And it’s not just the smell either. Mould, bacteria, nasties growing in there that could make you very ill. You wouldn’t be the first to trade in your car for it.

It’s not all that unusual either. Imagine how often it happens with delivery trucks and courtesy vans  – the supermarket drop-off that delivers to your door.

A bit more difficult there. Time is money, so those vehicles are on the road all the time. And if you’ve ever poked your nose in one delivering next door, some of them really pong!

You can’t see the germs that make the smell, but your nose tells you they’re there.

But don’t forget about the others you can’t see – the ones with no smell. Like, how would you recognise norovirus, or salmonella, or campylobacter without a microscope?

OK, you might try a deodoriser – spray it up good with a pleasant smell. Not really a good idea because it just masks what’s underneath. You’re still exposed, you could still get ill.

Unless of course, you actually sterilise.

You can do that you know. Mist up your car with a germ-killing oxidiser.  A bit pricey at around  a tenner, but easy and effortless in an aerosol.

It’ll stop the smell and nail the bacteria too. Though you’ll have to keep doing it. It kills the germs in the air and on all the surfaces – but not the yucky stuff that impregnated deep down. Only replacing the fabric can fix that.

So what about the delivery vehicles?

It’s not good. Most of the time they just get hosed out. Which leaves damp, dark interiors – exactly what viruses and bacteria like to breed.

Though that too can be fixed by sterilising. It takes around twenty minutes for a mist-spray of hydrogen peroxide to work. Bye-bye smells and the inside is completely sterile.

Exactly the sort of thing you’d expect an upmarket supermarket to do. To their local drop-off vehicles and their hulking great pantechnicons too.

If they’re not, maybe you should insist. They already spend money making them look clean on the road – upholding the corporate image, you know.

So what’s a few pence and a couple of minutes on top. Especially when the driver’s sleeping – they’re not delivering then, are they?

And they’re already charging premium prices, so you’re pretty well paying for it.

Not to get rid of the pong either, though that helps. But to be sure there’s never any germs in anything you buy and eat.

That’s work a little extra, isn’t it?

Originally posted 2014-08-05 17:35:29.