Today it’s a luxury – but one day soon, ALL hotel rooms will be germ-free

Luxury, but you’ve earned it – the right to be germ-free for a good night’s sleep

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.

Inevitable really.

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.

Ouch! Bleach

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.

Tiger, tiger

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.

Game over.

99.9999% safe

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.

Picture Copyright: auremar / 123RF Stock Photo

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Hypersteriliser units are supplied to businesses and institutions across the UK, notably the haematology and other critical units at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester; Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital; South Warwickshire Hospital; Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital; and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.

The Halo Hypersteriliser system achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. It is the only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. It is also EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

Originally posted on 14 June 2017 @ 2:15 pm

Originally posted on 14 June 2017 @ 2:15 pm

How under-powered disinfectants can actually create superbugs

Pointing to biohazard symbol
Make that disinfectant solution too weak – and you’ll make it antibiotic resistant, sure as anything

Kill germs. Make you safe. It’s what disinfectants are supposed to do.

But only if you let them.

Only if they’re at full strength – and applied for full contact time.

Maximum bleach, flat-out for 30 minutes. Complete exposure.

None of this diluted and sloshed around with a wet rag nonsense.

Resistance in the making

Anything less than full power and there are germ survivors.

Maybe not many of them, but they are the toughies that win through.

Hit them again and they’re less likely to succumb.

They’ve learnt how to resist, mutated to become immune.

Bacteria for instance, have in-built protein pumps that expel toxic substances from their cells. “Efflux pumps” to remove disinfectants AND antibiotics, making bugs drug-resistant.

And how dangerous is that?

OK, so there is a work surface, perhaps for food prep. Wiped down for 30 seconds with a usual 6% bleach solution, everyone thinks it’s disinfected, safe.

Instead, it’s alive with MRSA – methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus.

Already resistant to antibiotics, it easily resists to the under-dose of bleach.

Too weak, not long enough – did you feel a breeze, just then?

Not good enough

So now it’s resistant to bleach too – sodium hypochlorite.

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.

Uh huh. So somebody comes down with MRSA – redness, swelling, pain and high temperature.

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.

Dangerous?

Oh yes.

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.

Unless of course, you change the rules.

Game changer

After the rub and scrub, mist the place up with ionised hydrogen peroxide (iHP).

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 actively in 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.

Picture Copyright: michaklootwijk / 123RF Stock Photo and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi. Hypersteriliser units are supplied to businesses and institutions across the UK, notably the haematology and other critical units at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester; Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital; South Warwickshire Hospital; Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital; and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead. The Halo Hypersteriliser system achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. It is the only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. It is also EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

Originally posted on 23 May 2017 @ 2:24 pm

Originally posted on 23 May 2017 @ 2:24 pm

Cracks in our sanitising systems make us ill

Cleaner with cracks
However hard you scrub, only hydrogen peroxide can get to the germs lurking in cracks

Thorough is thorough – but can you ever be sure of all the cracks?

The strongest bleach, the hardest wipe – even a good old scrub never gets deep down where the bugs hide – breeding, ready to come out when you’ve finished.

And cracks are everywhere aren’t they?

Hard to reach corners and crevices, the kind you use a blade to get at. No chance really. If a bug’s in there, it’s a recurring problem.

So what is it? Escherichia coli? Salmonella? Campylobacter?

Or something more hazardous – methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)? Clostridium difficile? Somebody’s going to be awful sick.

Dangerous germs you can’t reach

Because there’s no way to get down in the groove round a worktop edge, in the grouting between tiles – not with any effectiveness. And how about behind computers and monitoring machines – all those twisting cables? Short of sitting down and wiping every single one – without getting it wet, which might blow up the system – you’re fighting a losing battle.

So those bugs come back, again and again. Norovirus is a great boomerang bug. And the rest of the place is a real challenge anyway. Plenty of places that never get touched – the walls above head height, the ceiling tiles – and whoever drags out fully loaded cupboards to process behind them, or on top? And still has the puff to push them back afterwards?

Impossible, right?

Conventional methods just can’t hack it. Not even if your fingers are raw and your throat is sore from breathing in the fumes – strong stuff to make it work harder – it still doesn’t do the job.

Not enough contact time for starters. Those pesky bugs are survivors, so a few seconds with even the strongest bleach won’t knock them out.

Getting to them is just as hard. You might clobber worktops and tables, get to cupboard doors and curtains if you’re thorough.

Up in the air, and potentially deadly

But the biggest space of all remains untouched – there’s no way you can physically scrub the air. And with microbes down to the size of 2 microns or less – thinner than candle smoke – they’re light enough to fill the air in their billions, untouched however hard you try.

To win against germs, you have to fight their way. Not down and dirty, but up and easy.

These tiny things can float around however they like, can climb into the smallest spaces only an atom thick. So to be sure of getting rid of them, you have to do the same.

Which is press button easy with a Hypersteriliser. No gloves, no headache-making bleach, no rubbing and scrubbing, you don’t even have to be in the room.

A nifty wheelie-bin-sized console, it mists up the air with a mild solution of ionised hydrogen peroxide, non-toxic and non-hazardous at only 6% strength.

The hydrogen peroxide is negatively charged – which causes it to try to escape from itself in all directions. So it’s not just a wafting cloud – it’s an ultra-fine mist, actively forcing itself upwards and outwards, hard up against all surfaces and deep into any cracks.

Viruses and bacteria are drawn to the mist like iron filings to a magnet, their positive charge attracting them helplessly to the negatively charged hydrogen peroxide. No ordinary hydrogen peroxide either – ionising transforms it from a gaseous vapour to a plasma, a kind of charged super-gas that releases other antimicrobials – hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, ozone and ultraviolet.

Locked in a deadly embrace, the germs are oxidised in seconds. This causes the hydrogen peroxide to lose its charge and it reverts to oxygen and a tiny amount of water, so small it evaporates before it touches anything – sensitive equipment stays safe and dry.

Safe, sterile and secure

The room is now sterile – no germs anywhere. Not on surfaces, not under or behind them, not in the air, not anywhere. 99.999% of all viruses and bacteria are gone – that’s down to 1 particle in a million – a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 6.

Slightly better than bleach, hey? Which at best can only reach Log 3 – and misses out the inaccessible bits, especially the cracks.

Easy peasy – and everybody safe.

Nobody getting ill on your watch.

Picture Copyright: diego_cervo / 123RF Stock Photo

Yes, total room sterilising can always be safe

Positive doctors
No germs, no smells, no headaches, no problem!

Yes, be safe.

Because this is one of those “not any more” stories.

Not any more the nasties, not any more the miseries.

Because not so long ago, getting rid of germs was more like getting rid of you.

No more schlep

It took hard scrubbing to get the place clean. With stuff so strong it took the top of your head off. Your eyes ran. You coughed and sneezed. Plus your back ached, your fingers were rubbed raw, exactly as if the germs had got you.

Yeah, well that’s what slaving away with bleach will do. And the place always smells terrible afterwards. Headaches, itchy skin – we’ve all been there.

OK, so the wise guys decided to fog the place up. You still had to scrub, but the germ-killer was spread through the air, hopefully reaching everywhere – especially all those hidey-holes no-one could reach.

Trouble was, that stuff was potent too. Toxic de luxe.

Doing your head in

Have you ever smelt aerosolised formaldehyde? Or those quaternary ammonium compounds? Which is why the CDC recommend not to use them.

Not just yuck. You’d die too, if you were a germ.

Except they don’t, do they? Germs, that is. Not in serious enough numbers at least. The place just stinks and there’s still the risk of infection. But that was back then.

Next thing they tried was ethylene oxide – EtO to the initiated. It killed germs better but was way too potent. A bit too toxic too. Still made you think your head was going to burst.

Hi, hydrogen peroxide

Then somebody had a brainwave and chose hydrogen peroxide – high powered, a known oxidiser, decomposed to just oxygen and water afterwards – what was not to like?

Too watery was the first part. It needed special dryers to get rid of the damp. Which made it dodgy with electrical stuff and computers. Short circuits and things. Risky.

Still too strong was the second part. Sure you can buy hydrogen peroxide at the chemist in a 3% solution. Safe to use at home. But way too weak to spray into the air and clobber nasties like clostridium difficile or MRSA. To do that, you had to rack it way up – 32% and even higher.

Back to the watering eyes and sore throat. And a bit more than that.

Did we mention strong oxidising properties? Because at 32% it’s a bit iffy – strong enough to eat plastic and chew certain metals, a bit too enthusiastic on all kinds of surfaces – especially with repeat treatments.

Ah, but that’s vaporised hydrogen peroxide. Mixed with water and sprayed as thin as possible. That’s why the 32%. Spread out into little tiny droplets it needs all that oomph to be sure of clobbering the germs. And it certainly does that – all viruses and bacteria are oxidised to nothing.

Except 32% is way too hazardous for general use. It needs specially trained staff, work areas have to be evacuated, and everybody needs to wear protective clothing.

Hello, ionised alternative

The revolution is ionised hydrogen peroxide. A safe process that makes it way more effective. And allows it to be milder – only a 6% solution instead of 32%, same as you can buy in Boots for doing your hair. Remember peroxide blondes?

There’s two ways to ionise the stuff – heat or electricity.

Heat is preferred because it is cheaper. All them hydrogen peroxide atoms get hot under the collar until they develop a charge, usually negative – which makes them reach out and grab at pathogens, usually positively charged, like iron filings to a magnet.

Electricity is the clever alternative – and it also means low temperature operation, no risk of melting anything the stuff come in contact with.

At the sprayer nozzle a great fat electric arc charges the parting atoms, forcing them to spread apart from each other because like charges repel. This means the hydrogen peroxide actively spreads itself out and away, reaching deep into cracks and crevices trying to escape from itself. Positively forced dispersal unlike of the vaporised stuff, which just billows like steam.

This spreadability means the droplets can be smaller, finer and ride the air better – especially with the lighter load of the 6% solution. Drier too. No moisture to mess up keyboards or cabling. And of course, too mild to attack surfaces, even sensitive ones.

No compromise on performance though. Ionising physically changes the state of the hydrogen peroxide from a gaseous vapour to a plasma – a charged gas. The effect is like hitting the turbo button. Even more antimicrobials are suddenly produced – hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, super-oxidising ozone and ultraviolet – all of them potent germ-busters. 6% running on steroids.

Souped up performance

A word of caution though. Yes, it’s safe. But this IS hydrogen peroxide and it IS potent, unless you’re wearing protection, stay away. Hoicked up with radicals and stuff, its oxidising strength is way more than the 32% version.

OK, so ionised hydrogen peroxide spreads better, uses a weaker solution, kills germs more effectively, is drier and gentler to surfaces, and still becomes harmless after action, reverting back to just oxygen and water – so little water that it evaporates before it touches anything.

Easy, huh?

And push button simple with a Hypersteriliser. Just wheel the thing in, connect to power, press the button, and get out of Dodge. Allow forty odd minutes for the average-sized room  and the place is totally sterile – Log 6 kill to be precise, 99.9999% of germs utterly gone.

So now you’re safe. From germs, from nasty smells, from carry-over effects.

Totally sterile, yeah!

Picture Copyright: justmeyo / 123RF Stock Photo

Why most deep cleans are not as deep as you think

Sceptical businesswoman
Shouldn’t a deep clean sterilise a room AND the air that’s in it?

Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? Deep clean.

Definitely the thing for emergencies and beginning-of-project preparations. To make things safe and free from risk of infection. More high-powered than a regular wash down.

Somehow you imagine that scrubbing is longer and harder. That everything is stripped to its bare bones, then reassembled. That super octane chemicals are involved – face mask and breathing apparatus territory, you can just see the stuff fuming off the walls.

If only

Back to earth, spaceman.

Yes, most deep cleans involve more rubbing and scrubbing, but not a hell of a lot else. They may also include more areas – high contact surfaces like door handles, keypads and remote controls – in addition to the usual worktops and floors.

The big expectation of course is that they do more than remove dirt. The whole purpose of the exercise is to kill germs – not just clean, but safe. Two jobs at once, wipe away the visible dirt, clobber the nasty microbes.

Yeah, right.

Time to actually work

Ask yourself one question. What’s the contact time?

Removing dirt is a physical thing – wipe, wipe, it’s visibly gone. Not the same with germs. Bacteria, viruses, fungi, moulds – they all know how to hang on. They’re too small to see anyway, so it’s impossible to know if they’re there.

Count on it, they are. And they’re only going to get clobbered if the active whatever in the miracle gop being used has sufficient time to do its job. Wham, bam, thank you ma’am is not going to crack it.

So if the job looks like it’s just wipe, wipe, finish, you can bet that germs have hardly been touched. Just because you can smell bleach doesn’t mean it’s doing anything. It needs a contact time of at least ten minutes before anything happens – and that depends on how concentrated it is too.

Yes, bleach makes your eyes water and rips the top of your head off, but as a germ-killer it’s a medium-weight also-ran. And ten minutes with even half a bottle of the stuff dumped in a bucket of water is still nowhere near enough.

Worse in fact, because the bleach kills some of the germs but not all of them. And bacteria particularly are masters at survival. The stronger ones that don’t die off keep multiplying as bacteria always do.

Twenty minutes and there’s a whole new bleach-resistant variety on the go – accelerating madly if where they are is warm and damp – like a countertop in a centrally-heated kitchen, briskly wiped down with a moist rag.

Not good enough.

Demand more

Which means shifting to a more high-powered kind of germ-killer – glutaraldehyde, formaldehyde, ortho-phthalaldehyde, peracetic acid or hydrogen peroxide – most of which drop the necessary contact time down to 30 seconds – again depending on strength and method of application.

Problem right there. Formaldehyde is regulated as a carcinogen and banned across the European Union. Glutaraldehyde is highly toxic and unstable in storage. Ortho-phthalaldehyde (OPA) stains the skin. And peracetic acid corrodes brass, copper, steel and iron.

Which leaves hydrogen peroxide – the same stuff that our own bodies produce naturally to fight infection. It attacks viruses and bacteria by oxidising them, reverting back to small quantities of harmless oxygen and water.

Now we’re cooking with gas.

Antimicrobial air force

Quite literally if the stuff is sprayed into the air after physical scrubbing of worktops, floors and other surfaces has already removed physical dirt. Because the expectation of a deep clean is not just that it disinfects all surfaces, it ought to STERILISE THE ROOM.

And doing the surfaces is only part of the job – pretty well 80% of any room is the air space we move around in. Never touched by ordinary cleaning methods, but alive with all kinds of unseen material – dust, fluff, the air we breathe – and billions and billions of viruses and bacteria.

Which makes treating the air the main part of the job – exactly what airborne hydrogen peroxide does.

It gets even better. If the hydrogen peroxide is ionised – charged with high voltage electricity as it’s dispersed – it changes state from a gas vapour to a plasma, forcing its individual particles away from each other and actively grabbing at airborne viruses and bacteria as it does so.

Becoming a plasma unlocks other high-powered antimicrobials too – hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, ozone (a more voracious oxidiser than hydrogen peroxide), and ultraviolet.

Viruses and bacteria don’t stand a chance. Allowing forty minutes for effective dispersal and proper contact time across the entire space, ALL of them are dead down to less than one in a million – 99.9999% destroyed. Or as the medics prefer to put it, a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 6.

Sound like a proper deep clean to you?

OK, now you just need a Hypersteriliser to achieve it – a small but nifty wheelie-bin sized automatic unit that makes total room sterility as easy as pie. If your cleaning service isn’t using one, better jump up and down until they do.

Deep clean means NO MORE GERMS, not just scratching the surface.

Picture Copyright: auremar / 123RF Stock Photo

Ooh! Norovirus does the dirty on your wallet too

Businesswoman worried
Being sick costs money – and who can afford an unhealthy bank balance?

It’s that time of year again.

Not that norovirus ever takes time off.

Ask any cruise ship passenger, this stomach-churning nasty strikes in warm weather as well as cold. Blue sky holiday? Holiday blues, more like.

Norovirus season

Right now it’s on the rampage again. Sixty children out of action at a New Forest school last week. Another 32 off yesterday.

90 out of the school’s 350 total – a whole quarter absent and the place is still open!

It might not be an epidemic, but it’s pretty damn close. Because – highly contagious and a hardy survivor – norovirus never lets go.

Contagious is right – 1,000 times more virulent than any flu virus. And if you’ve ever seen how fast coughs and sneezes spread through a bunch of junior school kids, you’ll know what a runaway wildfire flu can be.

Plus norovirus takes 24 hours to happen. So infected kids can mingle with the healthy ones without anybody knowing. The slightest touch is enough to transfer it. Playing tag with stomach cramps and diarrhoea.

The hands have it

Then there’s the fomites. The things children touch that others touch too. Desks, chairs, pencils, pens, door handles, computer keyboards, gym equipment, toys, and everything in the lunch hall.

Norovirus can survive on surfaces without a human host for a week, ten days, or more. Any child touching them catches the bug and perpetuates the spread. Touching other surfaces and other kids, keeping the infection going.

Which is where the costs start snowballing.

Most norovirus outbreaks focus on medical issues. But the money side is just as bad.

In a people-intensive place like a junior school, it’s not just children who go off sick, it’s teachers too. But they have to be paid for, even though they’re not there. So do the supply teachers who come in to substitute for them – assuming the school remains open.

If it gets really serious, closing the school is another cost. The whole staff have to be paid, even though they’re doing nothing.

Piling on the pounds

Then there’s containment. No school can keep the books balanced if it’s closed. So specialist crews have to go in and disinfect the place. Crews that cost money.

They need to be thorough. Most “deep clean” procedures have little or no effect. The virus hangs on in cracks and crevices – even in the air itself. And if the contact time with bleach or whatever the purifying agent being used is too short, the infection bounces back again.

In 2002, the Holland America cruise liner Amsterdam suffered repeat outbreaks on four consecutive cruises, despite rigorous cleaning. A whole cruise liner aborting its mission, four times in a row. 1,380 passengers at a time. 1,380 refunds, 1,380 grumpy complaints to friends who chose other cruise lines.

Plenty, plenty lost revenue.

The deep cleans didn’t work. So the only thing was to take the ship out of commission and disinfect thoroughly – a major income-earning unit off-line for more than a week. With expensive hand treatment right down to the fomites of bedding, TV remotes, bibles – and all the poker chips and currency in the casino.

Not good enough

The New Forest school could easily be the same. Germ-killing bleach is fine if it gets everywhere, but normal wipe-clean methods never do. The virus lives on, under, behind, or on top of things. In inaccessible places, clinging to the walls, the ceilings, the light fittings.

Which means JAM (Just Add Money) and the school remains closed. Because the job has to be done again. And again. Until it’s either fumigated properly, or so long passes that the virus dies out.

Meanwhile, the infected children are all at home. Not in isolation either, there’s other family. Mums running ragged, probably with other children to worry about too. And Dads, escaping to the office, but not immune either. All at risk, because who of any of them ever remembers to keep washing their hands?

So businesses in Southampton, Bournemouth – and all around south Hampshire where these Dads work – start having norovirus outbreaks as well. Key staff off sick and not producing. Work projects stalled, orders not being filled, revenue not coming in.

Suddenly, a price tag that could run into millions. And misery – financial and otherwise – for thousands of people along the South Coast.

All because little Jimmy, or Kieron, or Sally-Anne, or Marguerite did not wash their hands – nine times out of ten, the way norovirus starts in the first place – the Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease.

Can it all be avoided? The outbreak contained? All these costs controlled? Life return to normal?

It could be a long process – and a lot of pounds down the drain before anything happens.

To the rescue

Unless of course, Hypersterilisers are brought into play – not just for health’s sake, but to protect everybody’s bank balance.

These deceptively innocent-looking machines destroy ALL viruses and bacteria in a room in around forty minutes. Their super-fine spray of ionised hydrogen peroxide plasma is electrically charged to reach into every remote corner and crevice, grabbing and oxidising germs to oblivion as it does so.

It might take a while to do a whole school – overnight perhaps, running each machine from one room to the next. But once it’s done, the whole place is sterile – no germs of any kind – totally safe.

Of course, once the children come back, they bring their germs with them. Most of the time, OK – assuming they’ve recovered – but often carrying others. Flu, other tummy bugs, MRSA – all kinds of bugs that can’t be detected, because they’re too small to see.

And they’re there alright. Each of us trails a bio-cloud of germs with us wherever we go – and leaves traces behind, wherever we’ve been.

Nae problem.

First, a rigorous drive to get everyone to wash their hands – always after the loo, always before food. Next, nightly treatment with a Hypersteriliser to clobber any germs.

Next morning, back to safe again. No more costs – and bank balances as healthy as the kids.

Deceptive appearances – “clean” can be infectious

Woman with magnifier
Just because it’s clean doesn’t mean it’s germ-free

You can’t see germs, they’re too unbelievably small.

You can tell when they’re around though – the smell of something “off” or the discolouration of growths like mould.

And of course, the swelling round a cut, or the queasiness in your tummy.

Hungry to eat – you

They’re hard at work, doing the only thing they know how – eat. And it’s when they eat you, that you start feeling sick.

So the thing is, to stop them before they get the chance – a constant war against them, even though they’re invisible.

Uh huh.

But we’re surrounded by billions and billions of germs, all the time – mostly bacteria. They’re even inside our bodies, living in harmony – doing useful work, like help us digest food.

There’s still billions more, some good, some bad – tuberculosis for example is a very unpleasant experience. There’s viruses too – also not so good for us – unable to function properly without a warm human body. And all too ready to bring us down.

It’s because of germs that we have to keep cleaning things – not just that they’re yucky. They’re dangerous and infectious. (Tweet this)

We see the dirt, we rub or scrape it off, rinse away any residue – and assume that’s good enough.

Germs never give up

Except that germs are much more pernicious than that. And when you get down to microbial levels, what you think might be a smooth surface isn’t smooth at all. It’s like a rocky mountain range, with plenty of rocks and crags to hang onto.

That countertop you’ve just wiped down might LOOK clean, but could still be infested.

OK, we’re aware of that, which is why we use germ-killing cleaners like bleach. Oxidising action destroys the germs, so we’re safe.

In theory.

But like we said, germs are pernicious – and persistent.

Scrub, scrub

Was the bleach solution strong enough? Was it there long enough to kill everything? And didn’t you have to wipe it off afterwards, so remaining bleach couldn’t contaminate anything?

Chances are, only half the germs got clobbered – and anything else you wiped could have picked them up too – that wiping cloth is a double-edged sword.

Right, so it’s rub-scrub-wipe, rub-scrub-wipe all over the place – work surfaces, furniture tops, floors – and hopefully it’s safe. It certainly looks sparkling – a few hours well spent.

Well yes, but germs don’t just sit on flat surfaces, they’re everywhere else too – the walls, cupboard doors, the ceiling, behind things, underneath, and in every nook and cranny.

Oh yes, and the air of course – it’s 80% of the room space. Floating, swirling, drifting, hovering – so small and light they may never fall to the floor. Billions and billions of them, ready to catch on your skin or clothing, or for you to breathe them in.

Aargh! What can you do?

The Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease

For a start, wash your hands. You use them for everything and most germs spread on contact. So if they’re on your hands, they can transfer to everything you touch. Infectious, infectious!

Wash Hands Logo
Your personal everyday defence against germs

Like the soft tissue round your eyes, nose and mouth – because, would you believe, most of us touch our faces 2,000 – 3,000 times a day!

Want to know how nasties like norovirus get to you most of the time? From germs on your hands in contact with all kinds of things – other people, common objects, or believe it or not, from the loo. Your hands are infectious.

Which why, in this blog, we refer to it as the Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease.

So what about the rest of the job, all those nooks and crannies? And how in the world can you scrub the air?

Total room steriliser

The easy answer is with a Hypersteriliser.

You’ve done the main work and got rid of the dirt and gunge. Now comes the follow-up to do everything else – and to destroy ALL germs completely.

Press the button and the Hypersteriliser generates an ultra-fine mist of hydrogen peroxide – quickly filling the place like the bathroom when you’re having a shower.

It’s no ordinary mist either. This stuff is ionised, with highly charged electrons all trying to escape each other, pushing in all directions to get away. This forces them everywhere – up, out, underneath and behind, deep into cracks and crevices – as far away from each other as they can get.

The same charge attracts them actively to fixed or floating cells of viruses and bacteria. They grab hold like a magnet, shoving atoms of oxygen at them – ripping their whole cell structure apart.

No germ survives this oxidising action. They are dead and gone – the whole place is sterile.

And the hydrogen peroxide? Without its charge any more, it reverts to oxygen and water – and an ultra thin, infinitesimally wafer-like layer of silver – used as a germ-killing booster and left behind as a protective antibiotic coating.

Yes, everything looks clean – and now the germ threshold is zero. No bugs anywhere, except the ones you might bring in with you.

And they’re no problem either – you HAVE washed your hands, haven’t you?

Why wipe-clean won’t wipe out killer germs

Professional cleaners
A world of difference between clean and safe

Powerful stuff, chlorine bleach.

Strong enough to blow the top of your head off.

“Kills all known germs dead,” as the famous Domestos claim said.

And it does.

If you use it properly.

Take that, horrible germ

Except none of us do.

Because there’s one heck of a difference between cleaning and disinfecting. (Tweet this)

Most of us bung some bleach in a bucket of water with some detergent, grab a cloth and wipe away at everything we see that looks dirty.

Everything we SEE.

But you can’t see germs. They’re too small.

Something like salmonella or campylobacter – easily present in uncooked meat, particularly chicken – are only around 5 microns across. Small enough to fall THROUGH an unglazed earthenware plate.

Both are likely to be found on your chopping boards or kitchen counters – spread around all over the place in any drops of water from washing food  beforehand.

Uh, huh. So doesn’t the Domestos or kitchen surface cleaner get rid of them?

Depends on how you use it.

Wipe clean is not enough

If like most of us, you spray and then wipe, getting rid of all the dirty marks – probably not.

Because strong though the germ-killers you are using might be, they need TIME to work.

Usually 2 minutes or more – what the manufacturers call “dwell” time. And if you’ve already diluted your bleach before you start, you should allow even more – a weaker solution needs longer.

Ah, but we don’t do that most of the time do we?

Bleach is pretty potent, we know it attacks all kinds of surfaces if we leave it. So we tend to wipe it on, then dry it off quick with a paper towel.

Not good, Jim.

The stuff needs time to work, plus it ought to be sluiced off. You don’t want traces of bleach getting on to the food that you’re preparing. You could make your whole household very ill.

Also, if you think about it – your wiping cloth gets less potent the more you use it.

Whoops. That can actually make things worse.

Germ spreaders

Not enough time to kill the germs. And actually TRANSFERRING germs to other surfaces.

Pretty bad, hey?

Now imagine the same in a school or restaurant kitchen – professional catering setups serving to hundreds of people. Get salmonella or campylobacter running loose in that lot and you’ve got big problems.

And those are just two of the viruses or bacteria nasties that could be lurking there. There are billions more possible.

Not just on the counter tops or chopping boards either.

In the cracks between the counter and the splashback. Down the front of cupboards and storage lockers. In the gaps between the cookers and the fridges. In and around the edges of things. Under the sink and table surfaces. On the walls, on the floors. The ceiling too.

Oh yeah, and in the air too. Where most of them are. Around 80% of the room space. Where your wiping cloth won’t reach.

Hungry pathogens, hanging around everywhere.

If there’s food around, bacteria will go for it. Not as nice as a warm human body, but stick around, somebody might get careless. There’s plenty to eat in a missed grease spot or gravy spill. So it’s only a matter of time.

Which is how – even in kitchen of the best restaurant in the world – germs can breed and multiply, eventually triggering multiple infections with everyone wondering why.

Safe, secure, sterile

Far better to treat cleaning and disinfecting as separate jobs – and doing both properly.

Cleaning, by eye as usual, is good enough to start.

Followed up by disinfecting every single surface and the air itself. Or even better, sterilising everything.

Impossible, right? It would take an age to wipe all those surfaces, if you could get to them all.

But that’s exactly what a Hypersteriliser does.

Without touching anything – no transfer from one place to another – it mists up an ionised cloud of hydrogen peroxide that spreads everywhere throughout a room and oxidises “all germs dead” in around 40 minutes.

Safer than bleach? You bet, your own body produces hydrogen peroxide to kill infection whenever you get a cut or skin puncture. Oh, and when it’s done killing germs, it reverts back to harmless oxygen and water.

Just get out of the room while it’s working, it can make your eyes and throat a little uncomfortable.

Spreads everywhere?

Forced diffusion

More like a power dispersal.

Because it’s not just hydrogen peroxide mist. Ionising it turns it into a plasma, a kind of super-gas.

In the nozzle of the Hypersteriliser machine, ultra-fine molecules of hydrogen peroxide are charged by high voltage electricity. Each with the same negative charge, they are naturally – and aggressively – repelled from each other. Remember magnets at school?

Spreading as far away as they can get, they fill the room quickly, forcing themselves hard up against everything they touch – and underneath, on top, behind – everywhere they can get. Deep into cracks and crevices too – actively trying to escape from each other.

Bad news for cells of viruses and bacteria, lurking on surfaces or floating in the air. Remember magnets again?

With an opposite positive charge, the hydrogen peroxide molecules are violently attracted to them. They reach out and grab hold, welding themselves together – which causes extra oxygen atoms to be released, ripping into the viruses’ and bacteria’s DNA, destroying their cell structure, making them dead.

Effortless, easy

And all without lifting a finger.

No grunt work, scrubbing and wiping. No overpowering smells. No germs anywhere.

The whole place is sterile.

So now you know wipe-down doesn’t always work, how long are you going to keep doing it the old way?

 

Why normal sterilising is just not good enough

Woman doctor in mask
Safe isn’t safe until it’s 100% sterile

However you look at it, the job is a schlep.

Seems any sterilising effort needs stinky chemicals that give you a headache and strips away paint if you’re not careful.

Bleach, formaldehyde, peracetic acid – don’t think for a second that any of that stuff is good for you.

Not nice, however you do it

Either that or it’s heat so hot, you can’t stand it.

Or messing around with ultra violet light and exposing yourself to whatever.

Or worst of the lot, you’re playing around with some noxious gas that does your head in with the slightest whiff.

On top of which, you’ve usually got to scrub like crazy before you get anywhere. Then wash the whole lot off afterwards.

Strictly for the birds.

Like ordinary washing, but nastier.

Still basically manual wipe.

Which means how hard you scrub, and for how long, also comes into it.

Plus, how can you be sure you haven’t missed a bit?

And how about all the surfaces you can’t normally reach? Like underneath things? Or behind? Or on top? And all those wires and tubes for the equipment you use? Computer cables, screens, keyboards, phones?

Get liquid in any of them and BGRZAPF! Things stop working.

And what about the air? All that room space around you?

Less than perfect, the job’s not done

So whatever you try, 80% of the germs around you don’t even get touched.

And those bugs are sneaky – just about nothing stops them.

Like the Streptococcus mitis bacterium we came across in yesterday’s blog. Coming back to life after two and a half years on the moon – surviving launch, space vacuum, radiation exposure, deep-freeze at 20 degrees above absolute zero, with no nutrient, water or energy source.

Miss one of those things with your squidging sponge and you’re right back where you started.

OK, so technology can help a bit.

Like, bung everything in an autoclave – if you can find one that’s big enough. Fine for instruments, but a bit difficult with a whole room full of stuff.

Ultra violet

Then there’s an American company which has this robot thingy that zaps out ultra violet light. Kills all germs dead in minutes, job done.

Well yes, but we have a similar machine and it only works for line of sight. Any obstruction that the light rays can’t get to the back of remains untreated. And the dose gets weaker, the further you are from the machine.

A good idea, but you’ve got to work at it. Move it around a lot so the light rays get everywhere. Like we said, those bugs are sneaky.

All right, how about gas? It gets into the air, spreads around behind things, surely that’s the answer.

Ozone

Things don’t get much more potent than ozone, a kind of super-oxygen that kills all viruses and bacteria stone-cold dead – the same stuff that high up in the atmosphere protects the Earth from the sun’s deadly radiation.

Uh, huh. But to be effective, its concentration level can be very hazardous. Mild doses are fine for taking out smells and getting rid of mould. But even then, the place has to be evacuated and you’ve got to vent it out thoroughly before it’s safe to use the room.

Vaporised wetness

Sticking with airborne ideas, fogging up the place is another method that is often tried – usually with hydrogen peroxide, a powerful oxidiser, just like ozone – but a lot more people-friendly.

Water-based, the problem is getting the stuff to disperse efficiently. The vapour is heavier than air and takes time to reach everywhere. It’s also wet and needs to be dried off after treatment. Drip, drip into electrical connections, also a hassle. And again, the concentration level necessary makes it hazardous to work with.

How, how, how, to get rid of all the difficulties?

Ionised efficiency

Check out the Hypersteriliser machine. Round the world, hospitals, clinics and care centres are beginning to hike sterilising hygiene to a whole new level with it.

Yes, it uses hydrogen peroxide – but ionised, so it’s finer than air and spreads better – electrically charged so it actively reaches out and grabs viruses and bacteria on the fly.

It’s also boosted with colloidal silver. And remember? Way back before antibiotics, it was silver compounds that were the first choice in dealing with infections.

In fact silver sulfadiazine cream was the standard antibacterial treatment for serious burns until well into the 1990s.

Better still, silver’s antibacterial properties get dramatically enhanced by an electrical field – exactly what happens to it in the nozzle of the Hypersteriliser.

So it’s not just hydrogen peroxide misting out – it’s a Twenty-First Century germ-killer that takes sterilising a whole quantum leap into vastly more effective protection. (Tweet this)

There’s no schlep either. Just press a button and it works itself.

A bit better than a sponge and bleach – but stick around. We’ll always need spot sterilising as a failsafe.

Hospital: Keep Away!

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

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

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

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

20 years for a cure

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

Humanity can’t wait that long.

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

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

Which brings us to the Big Q.

Quarantine

Isolation.

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

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

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

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

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

Sterile is not enough

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

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

Or visiting granny could get more like visiting prison.

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

To keep you safe. To keep them safe.

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

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

Don’t take chances

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

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

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

Let’s be careful out there.