It’s the double-edged sword of antibiotics. We can’t live with them – and we can’t live without them.
Because just about every surgical procedure there is relies on antibiotics to prevent infection.
And alarm bells are ringing. The number of pathogens resistant to antibiotics is growing.
20 years for a cure
Faced with a new Dark Age, medics are pushing for research into more effective drugs. But proper development and testing can take 20 years.
Humanity can’t wait that long.
We need something now – a higher level of hygiene in everything we do.
But nobody says it’s easy. Even sterile measures can introduce infection to surgical procedures. Particularly post-op – less easy without the rigorous scrub-ups, sterilised instruments and dressings, or the HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filtered airflow.
Which brings us to the Big Q.
A UV tunnel at all entrances to kill surface germs. Continuous deep clean and scrub down with effective germ-killers like formaldehyde and bleach.
Better still, with airborne hydrogen peroxide which destroys every virus and bacteria it touches.
The downside is, it’s mostly the patient who is the source of infection – an existing condition, or brought in on their person when admitted.
So are visitors. You yourself are a source of infection too. Strip naked and power-shower, you’re still a threat to anyone with open wounds.
So are hospital staff. Germs surround us wherever we go, it’s a fact of life.
Sterile is not enough
We can sterilise the hospital environment – the air, the beds, the equipment, the wards – but we can’t sterilise the people.
Which could mean out with the hazmat suits – for visitors and hospital staff.
Or visiting granny could get more like visiting prison.
On the phone, behind plate glass. Patients in no-go areas. No physical contact.
To keep you safe. To keep them safe.
Except being sick is not a crime. Nor is catching some nasty bug.
Of course it won’t happen. We’re not that inhuman.
Don’t take chances
Unless we get an epidemic. Like in 1918, when flu took out a third of the planet and killed 50 million people – almost the population of Britain.
Makes you think, doesn’t it?
Forget to wash your hands five years from now – and maybe you won’t come back.
Norovirus, ugh! Not only does it feel like the end of the world – seems nothing can stop the dreaded repeat outbreak.
Repeat, repeat and repeat – it boomerangs back and back again. Highly contagious, seriously pernicious – despite the most meticulous deep clean procedures.
Which either means it really IS impossible to beat. Or whatever we’re doing to stop it simply isn’t good enough.
Harsh truth when a thorough job usually involves ripping the place apart. Head-blowing bleach stink with hard scrubbing everywhere for hours – and STILL the bug comes back again.
Know your enemy
Yes, but norovirus is no ordinary stomach bug. It’s the ultimate survivor.
For a start, it only takes ten microscopic particles of the virus to start an infection. Compare that with flu, at maybe between ten and forty times that – and you’re looking at a much more vicious enemy.
Vicious is right.
It’s also why norovirus is so violent – crippling cramps, projectile vomiting and explosive diarrhoea.
Exactly right to spread itself as far and wide as possible – the widest opportunity to start new infections with any newcomers who unsuspectingly chance along.
Plus of course, it might only infect on contact – but it DISPERSES through the air.
Well sure, each particle is barely 2 microns across – light enough to ride the air currents in any room for hours or days. Breathe in just ten of them through your mouth, swallow – and chances are you’ll be hanging onto the loo in utter misery, just 12 hours from now.
And those horrid upchucks?
Yes gruesome, but think of how far they reach and spread.
Across the impact area on the furniture and floor, obviously. Exactly the right place to move in with mop and bucket. But how about underneath? Or behind?
And those are just the big gobs of stuff.
How about the individual particles swirling around – settling everywhere or still riding the breeze? Reach those with sponge or squeegee too?
Wipe down the surfaces, yes – but how about in the coils of power cables, or down the back of electronic equipment? How about the sheets of paper lying on the nearest table – the first thing to be removed by unthinking hands?
The floors get scrubbed. The walls too. Every surface is rubbed down within an inch of its life.
But seldom underneath. And seldom in those hard-to-reach places that nobody thinks about. Cracks, crevices – tiny places where a 2 micron particle might survive for weeks on end.
Which means deep clean or not – the infection never went away in the first place.
Start using the room again, and those norovirus particles are only too ready to come out and do their thing. Not gone. And certainly not forgotten. Repeat, repeat and repeat.
Not good enough
And anyhow, how effective is the stuff we’re using?
That bleach solution might be strong enough to rip your head off, but how does it stack up against a survivor like norovirus? A wipe with even a concentrated solution won’t crack it – to kill norovirus, bleach has to be in continuous contact for at least TWENTY minutes.
So even though a surface is treated, it still might not be safe.
Same thing with steam.
You can give yourself a nasty burn if your not careful. But to kill norovirus, even that kind of heat takes TWO minutes of constant contact or more to do the job. Like bacteria, viruses can survive in the frozen Antarctic, or live happily in a seething volcano. What’s a little steam bath, now and then?
And how are you applying it? With a waving hosepipe?
Well, yes. Because if you did apply superhot steam to everything continuously for two minutes, it would be sodden through and probably useless – shorted out or fused, if it’s anything electric.
And have you seen what bleach does to surfaces with prolonged contact? Shrivelled up or corroded very quickly.
Which puts us where? Hours of work down the drain and the bug still present. Repeat, repeat and repeat.
We think we’re safe, but norovirus is just biding its time. Ready for its repeat performance, just when you thought it was safe.
Money, money, money – not just health
Don’t worry, we’re not the only ones. How about an expensive investment like a cruise ship? Hundreds of passengers, sick and ready to sue.
Thousands down the drain and STILL norovirus comes back – like Fred Olsen Line’s Balmoral, struck down SIX times since 2009.
All of which says, if you want to get rid of norovirus, there’s no pussy-footing around.
Conventional cleaning just won’t work. And that’s all it is anyway – cleaning.
It’s not actually sterilising – making germs dead, so they can’t infect anything.
Repeat, repeat and repeat
The job’s not done and norovirus is still lurking.
OK, so get unconventional.
Think killing germs, not just cleaning.
Especially getting to the airborne stuff that never gets treated anyway. Yet 80% of pretty well every room we live in is nothing else!
You can throw technology at it, like ultraviolet radiation – that will at least do something.
But there’s a downside to that too. Light can’t go round corners, unless you have lots of mirrors. So blitzing a room with UV means either a lot of exposures in different positions – or manhandling great unwieldy pieces of shiny metal (glass would break).
Oh and yes – a variation on the contact time. The potency of UV as a germ-killer falls off rapidly with distance from the light source. Unless everything’s within about ten feet, those pesky norovirus particles won’t be cashing in their chips just yet.
Which leaves fogging.
Like the insect control people do when they fumigate a house – pump a load of germ-killer into the air and let it swirl around. The usual choice is hydrogen peroxide, an effective germ killer and less toxic than most alternatives.
But also fraught with a few problems.
Just getting it into the air doesn’t make it reach behind, underneath or on top of things. There’s nothing to push it into cracks or crevices either.
It will kill the germs alright, norovirus included. But without effective dispersal to reach everywhere, there’s still nothing to prevent repeat outbreaks.
And just consider fogging the place up with a vapour. Lots of moisture to play havoc with sensitive equipment and paper. Enough that a second machine is necessary alongside the fogging one – to dry everything out after the vapour has done its work.
Plus there’s the old question of contact time. As a vapour the stuff is heavier than air, so doesn’t stay airborne long.
To compensate, a strong solution is necessary – 32%, about the maximum permissible without being totally toxic. Yes it kills, but it’s also pretty corrosive – not good on plastics or sensitive surfaces – and certainly not good for computers.
So what, repeat norovirus outbreaks are inevitable – even with technology?
The RIGHT technology
Depends on the technology.
Because it IS possible to mist up the place with a safe solution of just 6% hydrogen peroxide. And have it spread everywhere by ionising it – so it tries to escape from itself, yet reaches out and clamps hold of germs as it does so.
Contact time is less than 2 minutes – because ionising changes the stuff into a plasma, which multiplies its oxidising power several times over. Forty minutes tops, and the whole place is sterile – no germs anywhere, not even norovirus – repeat or no repeat.
OK, yes, this a blatant plug. But if you’re as sick of one norovirus repeat after another as we are, you’ll be glad to know there’s a system that works.
And not just on norovirus either – on everything.
Your way of giving germs the same dirty treatment they give you.
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.
A customer ate something that disagreed. Food poisoning headlines in the local press. All over TV and Facebook. Wisecracks on Twitter making it worse.
A reputation nightmare.
OK, so things happen. Somebody makes a mistake and the whole organisation pays for it.
Because e.coli is a germ you can catch anywhere. Off a doorknob or a product display. Off the handle of a customer basket. From a handshake with sales staff. Out of the air. Anywhere.
Same scenario with most germs. From mild colds and tummy bugs to life-threatening illnesses.
Picked up on contact, or breathed in.
The blame game
So are you unlucky – or genuinely negligent?
Dirty hands are a cause, most of the time. They look clean but they’re not – at least not since after breakfast. And hands touch everything, including mouth and nose – the germs’ way in to reputational mayhem.
The customer’s hands, or staff’s?
With reputations on the line, it’s unwise to point fingers.
Most people don’t wash their hands from one moment to the next. Especially breezing in off the street. But you can’t accuse them, even if their hands are crawling. 0.02 microns is impossibly small to see, even if there are millions of them. So it’s you who’s accused – of insults.
On the staff side of course, you can see it coming.
Take precautions and be ready, before anything happens.
Minimise the risk
Like tighten up on staff hygiene. When hands are washed, how thoroughly, and how often. When latex gloves get used. How merchandise is cleaned and presented. Nannying detail yes, but your reputation depends on it.
Likewise, how your whole place is cleaned.
Not just a lick and a promise, but properly sterilised. If there’s no germs anywhere, you know the e.coli must be the customer’s.
And properly doesn’t mean bleach. The smell alone will drive your reputation away all by itself.
Besides, how’s bleach going to reach all the places that germs are more likely to lurk? In dark corners, away from the usually scrubbed counters and work surfaces? Or in the air itself?
No, no – to get rid of germs, you’ve got to get serious. Just like your reputation is serious – and e.coli makes bad PR.
So it’s sterilise or nothing – again, your reputation depends on it.
No germs on anything anyone might touch – staff or customers. Including all the things nobody ever thinks about but uses all the time. Like self-service touchscreens and lift call buttons.
It’s loaded with a mild 6% solution of hydrogen peroxide – the same germ-killer stuff you can get in Boots as antiseptic. And the same stuff our own bodies naturally produce to fight infections from cuts or scratches.
Ah, but press the button – and you waken the sleeping tiger.
Yup, you’ve got yourself a tiger. Because now that mild 6% solution releases a slew of other antimicrobials – hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, ozone and ultraviolet – every one, a germ predator.
Plus the ionising forces the tiger out of its lair and actively on the hunt. Forced apart electrostatically to disperse aggressively in all directions. Fiercely pouncing oppositely-charged bacteria and viruses -and clawing them to shreds by oxidising them.
Not kind. But think of it this way. It gives germs the same deadly treatment they give you. Or more appropriately, your reputation.
Give it 40 minutes or so, depending on room size – and the whole place is sterile. No germs anywhere. In the air, on any surface, in any tight inaccessible places, or in any cracks, crevices and remote corners.
OK, so with the whole place germ-free, any e.coli floating around has got to be the customer’s.
But you know how it goes, you get the blame anyway. Benefit of the doubt and all that – the customer is always right.
Roar of approval
Uh huh, so your final play is to protect the customer from herself.
Before she has a chance to touch anything, offer her antibacterial wipes or gel – free with your compliments.
Well it’s your reputation, so what’s she going to think – free hand wipes AND the whole place sterilised for HER health and security?
Wow! Worth paying a bit extra to shop there, don’t you think?
And how’s it going to look for you when she climbs on Instagram and Snapchat to her friends?
Like we say, it’s your reputation. And with the tiger on your side, you’re playing for keeps.
Imagine. Open the door – and your room not only welcomes you, it’s completely germ-free.
You’re flaked out, ready to crash – so you know your system is weakened.
But no, you’re not going to come down with anything – your room is safe enough to relax properly AND let your guard down.
Forget the paracetamol for a start. Your body doesn’t need it, there’s no need to take precautions. If the symptoms start showing, you’ve picked something up BEFORE walking in here. Because right now, you should be absolutely safe.
Germ-free – a new level of luxury
So. No viruses, no bacteria – as you can tell from the smells.
That’s right, there aren’t any. Except maybe from the flowers to welcome you. The chocolate on your pillow. And the exotic soap, still under cellophane in the bathroom. Nothing else though – like the tell-tale pong of bacteria at work.
Luxury? Or the way things should be?
Hotel rooms are cleaned every day, so they SHOULD be germ-free. But as any experienced traveller will tell you, they very seldom are.
All the right things are done – the vacuuming, the wipe-downs, the clean towels and linen. With disinfectant and air freshener too.
But hotel rooms are high use and high turnover. There’s no time and it isn’t practical to do a deep clean for every guest. Not even 5-star VIPs.
Bleach does the job, but needs exposure time to be effective. At least 30 minutes at fair concentration – except it leaves a stink and makes your head woozy.
And whoever’s going to use liquid bleach on light switches, bedside phone or TV remotes? The things will short circuit and never work again. That’s IF cleaning staff don’t electrocute themselves in the process.
Or how about the other high touch areas?
Door handles, the dressing table, bedside units, bathroom vanity slab, or the floor in the shower cubicle?
To do all those in the turnaround time between room check-out and the next guest arriving just isn’t possible.
Or getting to any of the other fixtures and fittings that SHOULD receive attention. The bedspread, the curtains and the carpet, for instance. Nine times out of ten, they get left till the end of the month.
Pretty well all germs are airborne and contaminate new areas that way. The physical dust might be vacuumed out of the carpet pile. But there’s the collective germ-load of every single guest since the last steam clean still lurking there. Exactly why experienced guests never take their shoes off.
And anyhow – how do you clean the air itself, spray bleach around? Half the fittings will shrivel up or corrode – and your head will feel like a brain transplant without anaesthetic.
Twenty-First Century easy
Old technology. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Remember life before smart phones? Unthinkably primitive now, how did we ever survive?
Same thing with getting rid of germs. The new push-button technology does the job in a jiffy. Well, in the 20 minute jiffy it takes to spread out through the air, find all the germs, and send them to oblivion.
Get used to seeing a new house-keeping addition in the corridor as you head for late breakfast . After a fabulous night’s sleep with no travel gremlins – not even air conditioning sniffles.
There’s the linen trolley and the cleaning cart and the vacuum cleaner. And a nifty mobile console alongside about the size of a small wheelie-bin – the Hypersteriliser.
There’s your luxury revolution right there – the high-tech way to make hotel rooms germ-free.
Once all the cleaning is finished, that thing mists up the place with ionised hydrogen peroxide and takes out all the germs. ALL of them.
Bit of a sleeping tiger, that whole procedure.
Because by itself the hydrogen peroxide is a pussycat – the same eco-friendly 6% solution you can buy in the chemist. As an antiseptic or for bleaching your hair. The same stuff our own bodies produce for fighting infections.
Ionising catapults it into a whole new dimension. Sprayed out in a dry superfine mist, it transforms from gas vapour into a plasma. A complete change of state that releases even more germicidal high performers – hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, ozone and ultraviolet.
That pussycat is now a giant-size and riled-up, super efficient predator – all claws and fangs.
Ionising also triggers its hunting instincts – aggressively dispersing away from itself in all directions, driven by electrostatic charge. That same charge seeks out and pounces on oppositely-charged viruses and bacteria. Oxygen atoms claw them to pieces.
And that’s ALL germs in the air, on ALL surfaces, behind ALL objects, underneath ALL objects – and burying deep into ALL cracks and crevices – ALL hunted down and annihilated. 99.9999% of ALL germs gone – to a 6-log Sterility Assurance Level.
Total effort involved, pressing a button. Time taken, 20 minutes or so, depending on room size. And all that’s left, oxygen and water – in such small quantities it evaporates immediately.
Oh, and a microscopically thin layer of colloidal silver on everything. A further and lasting barrier protection against germs. So that room is sterile immediately, or stays that way as long as it’s closed – for up to a week or more.
Sterile room – yes, luxury.
But fast becoming a necessity in this jet-age world of ours – where virulent infections from the other side of the world are suddenly on our doorstep, courtesy of direct flight Boeing 787 or Airbus A380.
So it’s not just colds and flu that hotels are fighting against. It’s the whole alphabet soup of MERS, SARS, HIV/AIDS, MRSA and all the other nasties. So easily caught by touching a cushion or a room service menu. So easily neutralised by daily letting the big cat loose.
No viruses, no bacteria, no parasites, no fungi – that tiger really earns his stripes.
It’s our own fault really. Teaching bugs how to resist. Believe it or not, by having a go with disinfectants too often.
Too often, or too carelessly?
Because bacteria are survivors, see? They’ve been on this planet longer than any other living thing. So they can cope with extremes. Acid environments, polluted with metals. Even boiling water.
Which makes resisting disinfectants a bit of a doddle.
Especially when disinfectants come at them every day. Routine same-old, everybody’s used to it – plenty of slap-happy mistakes.
Not properly applied, so bits get missed. Not strong enough, so not all are killed. Not exposed for long enough, so even more escape. And always repetitive, so they know what’s coming.
More of the same, get ready. And not all of them are dead from last time.
Not dead, and not driven out – every time they get stronger. Better able to resist. More used to defending themselves.
Plus, if it gets too hard to resist, they get clever.
Like going up against bleach – the one substance bacteria has a problem with, because it oxidises them.
But not a problem if the bleach is too weak, or not left on for long enough.
Billions of years of being clever
A couple of capfuls in a bucket of water makes a solution that’s not nearly strong enough. And the usual wipe-on, wipe-off won’t leave it there nearly long enough – bleach takes 30 minutes exposure time to be sure of a kill.
Plus, bacteria can live with the smell, even if we humans can’t. The rest is just outlasting the stuff. Ensuring there are enough bacteria around to keep going.
Not a problem when you can regenerate yourself quickly. E. coli for instance – including its deadly O157 variant – can replicate itself every 20 minutes. If a batch get wiped out, they’re easily back at strength in just hours.
The other trick is to hide behind biofilms – hard-to-remove slime that protects bacteria from contact with the bleach.
Or to unfold a heat-shock protein, Hsp33, which binds and protects other proteins from harm, helping the bacteria to survive.
All of which means, if you’re going to disinfect something, do it properly.
Life’s a bleach – or not
Use bleach, slap it on thick and leave it there for 30 minutes or more. Not always that simple as bleach attacks metals, particularly stainless steel. Your nose will tell you it’s pretty corrosive to other substances too.
Otherwise, you’re teaching the bacteria to resist. Giving it an immunity to further disinfectants used against it in the future. AND teaching it antibiotic resistance as well.
Or there is an easier solution – which no bacteria can resist, no matter what. No viruses or fungi either.
Electrostatically charged, the stuff reaches everywhere. Including the air, which never normally gets touched, even though it’s 80% of the average room space. And forced hard up against all those hard-to-reach places your sponge or cleaning cloth can’t get at.
Like bleach, the action is by oxidising. But exposure time is 30 seconds, not 30 minutes.
Because boosted by ionising into a plasma mist, hydrogen peroxide releases a slew of other other antimicrobials. Hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, ozone and ultraviolet.
Or maybe chlorhexidine – the preferred disinfectant for instruments. Which in its underpowered state can trigger resistance to colistin – an antibiotic of last resort. As discovered by researchers investigating klebsiella pneumoniae – a superbug capable of causing pneumonia, meningitis and urinary tract infections.
They have to be isolated to keep others safe. Quarantined in a separate room. Only handled with gloves, apron and mask for protection.
And OK, the food prep area is suspect – so it’s done again.
More 6% solution – more thorough this time, wiped down and scrubbed for 5 minutes.
Still not enough.
MRSA still in residence – along with a few other bugs it’s passed on its immunity to.
Resistant to bleach and antibiotics too.
Last resort defences breached
Like carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) – unlikely in the everyday, but possible in hospital.
Carbapenem is the other group of our last-resort antibiotics. The ones to use when all else fails. If they don’t work – and colistin too – the poor patient is up a gumtree. Only clever doctors and the very best care can bring them back.
Meanwhile, that food prep area is still unsafe.
Scrubbed raw, it still contaminated with MRSA.
Still a place for other bacteria to learn how to survive first bleach, then antibiotics.
And now it’s too late.
Flood the place for hours in 100% bleach solution – that MRSA still knows how to overcome it.
However strong the treatment, anything made up on that food prep area will still be contaminated. That MRSA is there for keeps.
Because NO GERM can survive being ripped apart by oxygen atoms. Which is what happens in the 30 seconds that electrostatically-charged iHP particles physically grab hold of bacteria, viruses and fungi, oxidising them to oblivion.
And that’s only a 6% solution too. But ionised to hundreds of times the firepower by becoming a plasma. Releasing other antimicrobials – hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, ozone and ultraviolet.
No rub and scrub either – the stuff disperses in actively all directions, forced apart by that same electrostatic charge. Through the air, hard up against all surfaces, deep into cracks and crevices.
Not just disinfecting, but sterilising. Making ALL GERMS dead. 99.9999% gone – to a 6-Log Sterility Assurance Level. No bugs, no superbugs, no nothing.
Under-strength disinfectants – that’s really playing with fire.
There are enough superbugs already resistant to antibiotics. We don’t need any more.
Dead dodgy, norovirus is. Keeps coming back whatever you do. So getting an All Clear is a mission.
It doesn’t have to be.
Once the first level clean up is done, it should be quick and easy.
The trick is to be thorough.
Norovirus is adept at spreading itself as wide as possible to secure its survival.
Microscopically safe – or not at all
Getting rid of it has to be equally thorough. Not just treating surface areas, but everywhere.
Right there is why so many clean-ups fail.
If things look fresh and scrubbed, we think they are. But norovirus is a germ not even 2 microns across – a ten thousandth the width of a human hair. Against threats that small, judging by appearance is useless.
So is thinking that ordinary rubbing and scrubbing will do the job.
Yes, it’s necessary to get everything disinfected and clean.
Remember how violent norovirus is though? How it makes people double up in pain before convulsing with puke? Projectile vomiting, that’s called – one of the many ways norovirus spreads itself.
So tiny – and so forcibly ejected – it rides the air maybe 100 feet from where it started. Swirling on the smallest drafts or swish of movement, it’s carried even further- lighter than the air molecules around it. Sometimes staying airborne, sometimes settling as far away as it can get, working its way into the most microscopic cracks and crevices, determined to survive.
The ultimate survivor
And survive it does. Inside our bodies for as long as two weeks after we’ve started feeling better. And outside our bodies for even longer.
Which means, miss a bit when cleaning – and norovirus comes roaring back just as everybody thinks it’s all clear. On top of which, it’s extremely potent – which why the National Geographic calls it “puked perfection“. Only 10 particles are enough to infect anyone, versus 4 times that for most other pathogens.
So miss just the remotest area – and you’re going to get it!
OK, so getting rid of it needs something with the same kind of spread-everywhere dispersal of norovirus itself – and that kills quickly. Something that reaches the outer limits – plus into all the nooks and crannies – without losing firepower in doing so.
Which right away rules out bleach. Sure, it’s potent enough to do the job – but you have to dilute it first – otherwise, it’s so strong it’ll do YOU damage. Say 10 tablespoons to a gallon of water is usual – that’s barely 6%. And to work at that strength, it has to be in contact for 30 minutes or more – if you can somehow squeeze it into all of those tiny cracks.
It rules out steam too. To be effective, steam has to be in contact for at least 2 minutes at 121⁰C – not good with sensitive equipment or electrics – and soaking everything around it in the process. And germs LIKE warm damp.
Gone in 30 seconds
But 6% is exactly right for another high-powered germ-destroyer – ionised hydrogen peroxide (iHP). Deliver it in contact with any germ, and all it needs is around 30 seconds. The do-able ALL CLEAR .
6%? 30 seconds? We’re kidding, right?
Well, no – because it’s ionised. Forced to change its state from a gas to a plasma by a neat mobile dispensing unit called a Hypersteriliser.
Ionising hits three crucial objectives, bullseye.
One, it charges every particle of hydrogen peroxide, driving it to escape from itself. This forcibly disperses it, spreading in all directions and ramming itself hard against everything it comes across.
Two, only 6% in strength, its molecules are also tiny, equally able to ride the air. They force themselves into the same cracks as the norovirus – which can run, but it can’t hide.
Three, ionising turbo-boosts that 6% to hundreds of times the firepower. By releasing other antimicrobials – hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, ozone and ultraviolet. Less than 30 seconds contact time? Prepare for some very dead norovirus, cells ripped apart, utterly destroyed.
Allow about 40 minutes for the hydrogen peroxide to disperse fully, eliminate ALL germs (not just norovirus) and safely revert to oxygen and a small amount of water, which evaporates. Now vent the room, open the windows, turn on the fan, or simply let everything dissipate.
Time for that ALL CLEAR. And that pesky norovirus is not coming back either.
A whole week after that nasty tummy bug. Sick like your whole insides want to come out. Fiery poo, squirting round like a hosepipe. Cramps like your tummy is broken into little pieces, all churning round.
Quarantine, Mummy calls it. But I’ve been OK for days now.
It’s because they can’t get the school clean.
Cheap cleanups won’t stop norovirus coming back
Those two Year 6 boys were sick all over the place – all down the corridor and right through Reception. It was on the carpet and splattered up the walls.
Then that stupid Mrs Ferguson let her class out and they ran all over it. Just the smell was enough to make you sick.
But being home and suddenly sick was worse. Just going to play with my Pokemon and my tummy exploded.
I cried ‘cos it went everywhere and Mummy made us all stay home. Even Daddy never went to work.
Anyway the holidays were horrible – and now school is closed. Why can’t they clean it properly?
Mrs Callum, she’s the bursar, told Mummy they had a whole team in over the break. Face masks, overalls and rubber boots, scrubbing everything with that ewey bleach stuff.
It didn’t work ‘cos the caretaker, Mr Absun, went in there and got sick, working in the hall. So Mrs Callum got cross and they had to do it again – then SHE got sick after going in to have a look.
Keeping paying until it’s right
Mummy says that’s when the Council sent in the steam cleaners.
Two days they were at it, then Mrs Callum got sick AGAIN. So now the school’s in quarantine, just like I am at home. They’re leaving it 10 days for all the germs to go away.
Except Mummy says that won’t work either – she looked it up on her iPad and this norovirus stuff can last for up to a month if they don’t clean it off properly. You pick it up on your fingers and pouf – it’s back!
Meanwhile I’m sitting at home every day and I’m bored. And Mummy’s very nice staying here to look after me – but she doesn’t want to be here either. What’s the matter with them, why can’t they make it go away?
Because it goes everywhere, Mummy says. In all the cracks where the cleaners can’t reach.
And I know she and Daddy are cross, because the school has asked them for money to pay for it. Daddy had his fierce look, asking why they should pay for something that doesn’t work. He wanted to throw things, but Mummy took them away from him.
Every year, again and again
It was the same last year when Linda Marshall came back from that holiday in the Caribbean. Their family got sick on a cruise ship and brought it back with them. Daddy got cross then too, ‘cos I didn’t get it, but Damon did – my younger brother in Linda’s class.
Daddy’s really fed up. Says the school should have something to cope with stuff like this. Or the Council should. It’s not like this tummy sickness happens every day – but three-four times a year somebody sicks up at school, then we all get sick or have to stay away, and nobody does anything.
They need a machine, Daddy says. Something that you press a button and it makes all the germs go away.* Otherwise they’ll keep paying money and nothing ever happens.
Oh I wish that school would open and I can play with my friends again!
*There IS a machine – and you can see it here. It kills all germs everywhere indoors in about 40 minutes. Sterile, so they can’t come back again. Grabbed out of their hiding places and oxidised to nothing by hydrogen peroxide.
It’s a financial nightmare. A school or public building shut down by norovirus. Seldom, if ever budgeted. Expensive because it keeps coming back. A hard lesson in germonomics.
Keeps coming back?
Time and again, that’s the curse of it.
All the costs of a shut down, staff and parents up in arms. The deep clean team going in. Scrubbing the whole place from top to bottom. Thankfully re-opening. And the first child vomiting and moaning within half a day.
Makes us learn the hard way, norovirus does. Totally unforgiving – ready to boomerang again and again if we let it.
Projectile vomiting that spreads everywhere – far beyond any accident points. Microscopic globules riding the air, reaching into the darkest corners.
The same with its diarrhoea – violent and explosive, dispersing to places we don’t want to know. Unreachable, un-get-at-able – which means un-cleanable. So that any clear up, however professional, doesn’t really stand a chance.
Sure the bleach is strong and potent. Corrosive too and unpleasant to use. So strong it has to be diluted to use – less effective, under-powered, not really performing.
Especially if it has to be done again. And another steam clean on top of it?
Which makes it, what – £30,000? £40,000?
Exactly the kind of cost this school on the Isle of Man are facing from their pre-Easter outbreak.
And exactly the kind of cost we face here from this potent illness that so easily breaks out – possibly FROM A SINGLE CHILD NOT WASHING THEIR HANDS.
A never event, right?
It’s not going to happen – because it hasn’t happened yet. But we’ll know all about it when it does.
Except it’s all largely preventable – even avoidable all together with the right preparation.
Because what kills norovirus better than bleach?
Hydrogen peroxide – the same stuff our own bodies make to fight infections. Disinfectant, teeth whitener and beauty secret of blondes. Two minutes contact time with that stuff and norovirus is extinct. Germonomics in action.
Not just ordinary hydrogen peroxide either. But boosted with silver – another known natural germ-fighter – and ionised into a spray, so it’s an electrically charged mist.
All charged the same, the ionised particles actively push to escape each other – forcibly driving themselves in all directions. Lighter than air, they fill all room space, pushing hard against surfaces and deep into cracks – exactly where the norovirus cells are hiding.
No chance of survival
Like a magnet, that same charge grabs at oppositely-charged norovirus cells, clamping to them in a death-hold. Allowing 40 minutes dispersal time for the average room and the whole place is sterile – no germs of any kind, anywhere.
No norovirus, no colds or flu virus – no TB, no pneumonia, no diphtheria, no poliomyelitis – nothing.
No bacteria, no mould or fungus either. Sterile means sterile – all organisms dead.