Tag Archives: Dame Sally Davies

Will your doctor give you cancer?

Doctor with capsule
Antibiotics might save lives quick – they can also trigger a long, slow death

Oh no, cancer! We’ve got to be kidding, right?

Doctors are there to save lives, not threaten them.

True. And more dedicated, committed professionals you could never find anywhere.

Except our own cleverness is catching up- with us.

Especially with antibiotics.

Deadly to bacteria, in more ways than one

We think of them as lifesavers – and yes, they are. Without antibiotics, most of modern medicine would be near impossible – particularly surgical procedures.

Heart bypasses and joint replacements might be routine, but without antibiotics to control infection they couldn’t even be attempted.

Medical miracles, it’s amazing what antibiotics have enabled us to do.

But the gleam is fading.

Fifty years after they were first discovered, they’re showing a major downside. Increasingly, bacteria are mutating to neutralise their effect – the germs that can kill us are becoming immune. Unstoppable.

Over-use and abuse

Totally our fault of course.

We have these magic silver bullets – so of course we use them everywhere. Doctors know they’re potent and need care, which is why all antibiotics are on prescription. But we’re so hyped up about these amazing cure-alls, we demand them for everything.

Which puts us on the cliff edge – about to plunge backwards, more than a hundred years. If antibiotics don’t work any more, what do we do then?

It’s a growing headache – which England’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Dame Sally Davies, puts on the same scale as the threat of terrorism. People are going to die because antibiotics don’t work any more – and doctors are powerless to prevent it.

But not quite yet.

Not all antibiotics are powerless against germs, even though some germs have evolved to be resistant to ALL antibiotics. If we can curb our massive over-use, we stand a fighting chance.

Which is why Dame Sally and the whole medical profession are constantly campaigning to limit antibiotic use.

A monumental uphill battle. Thanks to patient pressure, one in four of all prescriptions for antibiotics written in the UK is unnecessary. Minor ailments are sledge-hammer blitzed when ordinary paracetamol would be more than effective.

Or even a nice, restorative cup of tea – our grandparents knew a thing or two.

But medical over-use is only the tip of the iceberg.

Every year, over FOUR HUNDRED TONNES of antibiotics are shovelled into livestock up and down the country together with their regular feed.

Big profits drive this – the farmers’ rolling jackpot. Because the name of the game in agriculture is that antibiotics promote growth.

They bulk up animals and plants to twice the size in half the time – often even quicker. From egg to supermarket chicken in six weeks  – or more amazingly, calves for quality beef are market-ready between 3 and 16 weeks.

Fat Pills

Forget medical cures, the big plus with antibiotics is they MAKE THINGS GROW FAT.

So while we’ve been swallowing pills to make us better, farmers have been shoving them in to make animals bigger. On an industrial scale – think ship-building or trucks.

And they’ve been doing it for over fifty years – accelerating over the last twenty. Billions and billions of cattle, pigs, sheep, poultry and fish. Billions and billions of tonnes of fruit, vegetables and grain crops. Our entire food spectrum at the supermarket.

Which means everything we’ve been eating for the last twenty years has included proven growth promoters – through antibiotics added DIRECTLY to animal feed, or RESIDUAL quantities acquired via manure and soil enrichment.

Hello obesity

So guess what? WE’RE GETTING FAT TOO. Two thirds of us are already overweight and lurching towards serious medical problems.

Down in our gut, where our personal bacteria thrive, digesting our food and maintaining our systems, antibiotics have disturbed the natural balance that controls our appetite – putting our pedal to the metal in ghrelin production, the hormone that tells us to eat, eat, eat.

Result?

Crucial bacteria are destroyed or damaged, encouraging the growth of enterobacteriaceae, the obesity pathogen. And we’re up to our necks in an obesity epidemic – which according to Dame Sally is ALSO as dangerous as terrorism.

Makes you fat, makes you ill

And that’s where the cancer comes in. From the ciprofloxacin given to you by your doctor.

It might have cured your chest infection – but could also be the spur that tips your gut bacteria over the edge, wiping out whole families of useful and friendly bacteria, allowing enterobacteriaceae to thrive.

You may not have started fat, but along with the other trace antibiotics you eat daily with every meal, it’s so easy to bulk up. Size, 16, size 18 – jump-starting your way to obesity.

And obesity triggers not only cancer, but heart disease, diabetes, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, gout and asthma. Better watch your diet very carefully now – you can’t undo the damage or replace the missing bacteria, but you can avoid the slippery slope.

Illness avoidance

Priority One, avoid antibiotics as much as you can. Difficult when they’re in everything you eat, but you can REDUCE your intake. Organic vegetables as far as possible – they’re less likely to be grown from enriched manure – and deep ocean fish like cod and haddock, the ones they CAN’T farm.

Priority Two, avoid germs, so you don’t need antibiotics. Wash your hands whenever you think of it – certainly before food and after the loo. They might LOOK clean, but you can’t see viruses or bacteria – sometimes as small as 2 microns across, they’re difficult even with a microscope.

But they’re there, always – nano-dirt you can’t see, just waiting to enter your body – transferred from your fingers onto food – or into the soft tissue round your eyes and mouth.

They’re all around us too, on every surface and swirling around us in the air. Know how the sun shows up dust particles in a cross-beam? Germs are like that, only billions of times more – constant work for your immune system.

But you can reduce those too by making your rooms sterile, bringing viruses and bacteria around you down to zero. All it takes is a Hypersteriliser, a machine that mists up the air with ionised hydrogen peroxide, an eco-friendly germ killer that reaches everywhere and grabs germs on the fly, oxidising them to nothing.

Will your doctor give you cancer?

Not today, thank goodness. But don’t go asking for antibiotics unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Yeah, they’re lifesavers. But in ten or twenty years time, if they trigger obesity, they could also make you dead.

Picture Copyright: netfalls / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-02-12 15:18:03.

Giants clash over chicken: Dame Sally vs the FSA

Threatening Heel
Right or wrong – there’s only one way with hygiene

Looks like the FSA is washing its hands of the food poisoning campylobacter issue.

They want to duck the cost of monitoring birds for this naturally-occurring bacteria and shove it onto industry.

Oh woe is us, woe is us, we’re all going to get sick.

Misplaced objectives

Not if proper leak-proof packaging is in use across the industry we won’t. Most birds have this bacteria in their gut – just like we have over 100 trillion bacteria in our own gut. They’re supposed to be there. Take one away and the balance between all of them is disturbed.

In birds’ metabolism, campylobacter is passive and benign. It does them no harm, and occurs in probably two-thirds of all birds farmed in the UK . Far from a scandal – and not “contaminated” as media hysteria would have us believe, these birds are colonised with it naturally. Because its presence may be necessary, like a catalyst for OTHER positive bacteria to do THEIR job.

For instance, campylobacter is closely related to helicobacter pylori – itself once even called “campylobacter”. Research shows helicobacter pylori to be a key cause of ulcers and stomach cancer. But eliminating helicobacter pylori is also linked to an increase in oesophageal disease and asthma.

Swings and roundabouts. Take away one element and you trigger another. Even one that looks hazardous – at first appraisal. So surprise, surprise, as long as it’s not activated, helicobacter pylori in the body may actually be necessary.

And anyway, if two-thirds of all birds in the UK have this dreadful campylobacter, why aren’t two-thirds of us ALWAYS moaning and groaning with stomach cramps and earth-shattering diarrhoea?

Reality check

Because – and maybe the FSA don’t know this – nobody eats raw chicken. And cooking chicken completely eliminates campylobacter. The whole KFC fast-food franchise succeeds because of it. So do a lot of Sunday lunches, kids lunch boxes – and let’s face it – household budgets. Chicken is probably our No 1 food staple.

Uh huh. But the FSA actually DO have a point about chicken being a health hazard – because campylobacter frequently crops up on the outside of packaging in the supermarket. It’s even known to leak out, dripping onto shelves below and contaminating other products.

The same thing happens at home too – cross-contamination in the refrigerator. Get campylobacter on your lettuce and your stomach will soon know all about it.

Yet for all this, the FSA never says anything about packaging. On the one hand they clobber the producers to reduce a naturally-occurring bacteria. And on the other they hector the rest of us not to wash chicken. Back-splatter will contaminate everyone’s kitchen – and foops, everyone will be writhing and groaning.

Yeah, right. But have you looked at chicken packaging in your supermarket lately?

The El Cheapo stuff is just wrapped in cling-film – yer pays yer money…

Pick it up and it’s dripping all over the place, particularly the whole birds. The premium stuff – and most of the cut choices – goujons, drumsticks and the rest – are packed on foam or polyethylene trays, then vacuum sealed. So leak-proof packaging does exist – why doesn’t the FSA enforce it?

And to prove that the industry is on side, in some supermarkets, there is even a prominent sticker DO NOT WASH – the FSA war-cry for at least the last two years.

Collision course

Which is exactly where our crusading Food Standards Agency runs head-on into the stern and often dire warnings of Dr Dame Sally Davies, England’s Chief Medical Officer.

Yeah, do not wash chicken, you can see the logic.

But consider the whole principle of DO NOT WASH – and you can feel the hackles rise.

Because Dame Sally’s rapidly snowballing headache at the moment is antibiotic resistance – the fact that a whole slew of killer superbugs are becoming immune to whatever miracle drugs we might throw at them. The Drugs Don’t Work is even the title of her book on the subject.

Without effective antibiotics to protect us, modern medicine comes to a shuddering, grinding stall. Slightly more of a crisis than food poisoning from chicken.

Which is why Dame Sally is tirelessly at it, warning us of the over-dependence on antibiotics – and urging us all to do the one thing that can minimise our exposure potential to deadly superbugs – WASH EVERYTHING.

The ew factor

With good reason. Dame Sally knows that day-to-day, our own sloppy hygiene is probably the biggest hazard we face. The facts are horrendous, yet we all smile sheepishly and shrug them away. A&E will sort it. A quick shot of amoxicillin or whatever and we’ll be right.

As if.

Kinda critical handling chicken.

And there is no way to avoid handling it – like getting it out of the packaging for a start. Then chopping it, trimming it, slicing it, whatever the recipe calls for.

Don’t wash the chicken, right. But if you want to avoid the tummy cramps, better scrub that chopping board, counter top, serving platter and trimming knife within an inch of its life – and your hands of course.

Which you should do anyway. Because it’s not just possible campylobacter you have to scrub off, it’s the likelihood of all the other bad guys as well – escherichia coli, salmonella, clostridium difficile, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or just plain norovirus – take your pick.

Rediscover hygiene

So – wash or not wash?

Frankly, our money’s on Dame Sally.

If we’re going to get through this, we’ve got to be germ-free and clean. No way we can achieve that without soap and water. But there isn’t any available in most supermarkets.

OK then, carry antiseptic wipes – and hope the FSA gets on the packaging case soon.

Just don’t hold your breath.

Picture Copyright: konstantynov / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-02-02 14:49:56.

Gut feel says Dame Sally is right – and it IS all BS

Woman with tummy trouble
Our defences are down – so we need better hygiene

Nannying, yes. But Dame Sally is absolutely right.

And the proof is in our own gut – our gastrointestinal tracts.

Down there, where more than 100 trillion of our own body bacteria are hard at work, providing the life force by which we are who we are – the essence of every one of us.

Our microbiota reality

Our bacteria are possibly the most important body component of all – more than the brain, the heart, the lungs, or any of the rest of us. Simply because, without them we wouldn’t exist. No digestion, no energy, no power, no immunity, no emotion, no opportunity to think – the OS software to drive the body machine.

Pretty vital, right? But already under very serious threat.

Because to fulfil all those functions and enable the many thousands more that we’re capable of, the nature of those bacteria needs to be as diverse as possible – an app for every life eventuality and challenge, our body’s answer to everything.

Great, but nothing like as resilient or all-capable as it was. In the last 50 years, the biodiversity of our internal bacteria has dropped by 30%. Not as many varieties, not as many in each category, whole swathes of them killed off and gone.

Result, we’re not what we were – underperforming 30%. Not so well regulated or running so smooth. Prone to glitches and weaknesses. Out of adjustment and out of balance. Less able to resist hostile bacteria from outside. Liable to infection. Drifting out of control.

All this from bacteria? All they do is eat, right? So how come?

When things go wrong

Ah, but it’s what they eat and how they eat it – and whether they do or don’t. Whether that’s the right thing to do, or something’s not happening because they’re not there anymore.

Like the bacteria that react to taste and hunger satisfaction.

When the body needs energy, the taste boys trigger the brain – and we start lusting after food to suit, whatever the need is. Carbohydrates one way, protein another – which the brain translates into chocolate cake or burger and chips, according to our food experience.

Likewise, when we’ve had enough, the hunger satisfaction boys pull the plug. We’ve eaten, there’s fuel in the tank, we’re good to go for the next few hours.

So what happens if these two glitch? The taste boys go berserk for Coke, bacon sarnies and endless indulgence. The hunger satisfaction boys switch off altogether – can’t be bothered, or can’t remember what they’re supposed to be doing.

Whoops – binge eating. Gobbling mindlessly because we’re out of control. Noshing for the sake of it. Addicted to taste rewards and stopping at nothing to get it. Meal times, snacks in between, constant nibbles – a one-way ticket to obesity. Not a conscious thing in the mind, but compulsion by the body.

All because our bacteria are not all there, or not functioning properly. Dead and gone or missing and damaged.

So what kills bacteria, or graunches them like this?

Enter, the killer

Nothing less than the miracle drugs that have changed modern medicine.

Antibiotics – the phenomenon that has made the impossible possible – heart transplants, brain surgery, hip replacements, everything. And they’re used for everything too, the magic muti that people demand for even the slightest ailment – even against viruses, where they never work. Little Jimmy’s got the flu, give him some streptomycin.

Use and over-use, de luxe.

Er, they also make things grow – faster, bigger, better – bulking up to twice the size in less than half the time.

Sixty-five years of continuous use and farmers are using 65,000 tonnes of the stuff every year. Shovelling antibiotics into livestock, poultry, fish, plants and grain crops like there’s no tomorrow. Millions and millions and MILLIONS of examples that antibiotics promote growth.

But hang on a moment, that’s the stuff that WE eat! If they’re full of antibiotics, that means we must be too. We eat them, it’s their fattening growth promoter that winds up in OUR stomachs.

Nah, nah! Got it all wrong mate. The authorities know about residual antibiotics, so every farmers keeps a withdrawal log to show when he stops dosing them, ready for market. The stuff metabolises into the animal’s system – ten days or two weeks, we’re jake – no antibiotics.

Yeah, right

Which with respect to Dame Sally, is where the BS comes in – and we do mean cow-poo.

Yeah OK, all those animals go through withdrawal. But like they’ve done all their lives, they generate poo by the ton. Beef cattle for instance excrete between 80 – 90% of the nutrients they consume. Along with a lot of the antibiotics they’ve noshed too.

Some of that poo gets processed and fed back to them again – it’s still got lots of nutrients, why not?

And cow-poo makes manure – which fertilises the grass they eat, and a whole stack of cash plant crops too. Including maize meal, corn, rapeseed and sugar beet, which cows get to eat as well – many of these crops also boosted by their own antibiotic growth promoters or blight defence.

You can see where this is going.

The farmer might pull the antibiotics his cows get – they’re still mainlining on the stuff coming through in the crops grown to feed them. BS from start to finish – animals and plants are still full of antibiotics – and we keep eating them, three meals a day, every day from child-birth on up.

Double whammy

OK, Dame Sally, that’s TWO sources of antibiotics everyone has. The medical one, dosed up when sickness strikes, but often silly stuff as well. And the food one, with a residual dose coming through in everything we eat – the water too, because the cattle run-off flows into the streams.

Yup, they’re right there in the Thames – trimethoprim, oxytetracycline, ciprofloxacin and all your other favourites. How do you like them apples – which, by the way are also routinely sprayed with streptomycin and oxytetracycline?

Uh huh.

So now you expect the standard rant about antibiotics resistance and how medicine faces a crisis.

Sorry Dame Sally, but we’re out of our heads about much worse than that.

First off, the obesity epidemic that already has two-thirds of adult Brits overweight and at risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease and all the others. The cows were overweight, so we are too – in a slow-motion epidemic that will take decades – quite different from the rapid-fire flu disaster of 1918, or the months-long onset of AIDS.

Second, the lowered resistance and defence capability of our internal bacteria. We’re 30% more susceptible to illnesses and disease – along with unexplained malfunctions in all parts of the body, allergies, deficiencies and other types of failure – probably autism and mental issues too.

And that’s why you’re right to nanny us, Dame Sally. Why we should carry tissues, wash our hands, drink tea not wine and step away from the Jammie Dodger. We’re more at risk than we’ve ever been.

Because in our biologically impaired and deficient state, we’re more likely to catch germs and fall sick, more likely to go off the rails eating the wrong stuff, more likely to wind up in hospital.

As you’ve said yourself, many times, Dame Sally – we need to tighten up on the way we care for ourselves – we need to rediscover hygiene.

Up our game, or else…

And as the pace of this crisis accelerates, that means way more than hand washing. It means the living space around us too. Janitorial companies make a lot of noise about deep cleaning to get rid of germs. But it’s not just surfaces that need attention, it’s the very air around us too.

Viruses and bacteria are so microscopically small, they’re most of the time airborne. Which is why we need a Hypersteriliser – to mist up the air with ionised hydrogen peroxide so that everything is sterilised, safe. Our internal bacteria are safe – the external ones are all oxidised to nothing.

Yeah, we gotcha Dame Sally.

The BS stops here.

Originally posted 2016-01-21 16:20:48.

Once ALL antibiotics go phut, what do we do?

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

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

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

Still nothing.

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

Miracle drugs failure

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

Why DON’T they work?

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

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

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

In other words STOP USING ANTIBIOTICS.

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

But sound advice considering the damage that antibiotics have done.

Double-edged swords

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

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

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

Not wrong, but oops!

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

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

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

Yeah, so?

At war with our gut

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

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

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

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

Uh huh.

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

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

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

In the poo

Strangely enough, being in the crapper is one answer.

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

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

In the clear

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

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

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

Antibiotics?

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

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

 

 

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

Dame Sally’s antibiotics nightmare just got bigger

Large girl exercising
Keep on with antibiotics and soon, we’ll all look this way

Actually, it’s not one nightmare, it’s two.

And they haven’t just happened, they’ve been growing for fifty years.

Antibiotics resistance and obesity.

Both “as dangerous as terrorism”. Exploding in slo-mo, right now.

No more miracles

Already half of our antibiotics – the miracle drugs without which modern medicine would be impossible – fail because of superbugs. And with no new “silver bullets” coming down the pipeline, any day now they’ll stop working altogether.

That’s nightmare No 1.

An unstoppable disaster caused by horrendous over-use. Not just by medicine, where antibiotics are prescribed for everything from a heart transplant to repairing a pulled fingernail. But by agriculture across the board, where antibiotics are used at industrial levels to support high intensity farming techniques.

Industrial level?

And the rest. Currently, farmers around the world are shovelling 65,000 tonnes a year into livestock and plant production, skyrocketing sharply to 108,000 tonnes by 2030.

Strictly for animal health, of course – essential to modern, high-yield, concentration camp farming, where herds and flocks breed shoulder-to-shoulder.

With shhh, the very useful side-effect that antibiotics make everything grow twice as big and twice as fast on even less feedstuff. Fattening up for market. Amazing. Growth promotion de luxe.

Which brings us to nightmare No 2.

Bigger, better, fatter

Because it’s not just animals growing fatter, faster – it’s people.

Already 64% of UK adults are classed as overweight or obese – a number that accelerates daily.

More dangerous than terrorism?

Do the math.

How many terrorist bombs would it take to destroy the lives of 13 million people? All of who are at risk of heart disease or stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, gallstones, osteoarthritis, gout and breathing problems, even asthma.

It’s not nice being fat either. So add problems with stress from ridicule, low self esteem, physical inability, possibly suicidal tendencies.

More than half of us written off from “over-eating” – if you believe the experts.

Which is when you begin to realise the real horror staring Dame Sally in the face. Professor Dame Sally Davies, that is – England’s very energetic and concerned Chief Medical Officer.

Over-eating what?

Animals fed on antibiotics to make them grow fatter, is what.

Which poop out manure to make plants grow bigger and fatter, is what too.

Plants that are also fed antibiotics anyway to keep down blight and other diseases.

Growing in soil which drains to our streams, to our rivers, to our reservoirs and into our taps.

So that EVERYTHING we eat or drink is laced with drugs to make US grow fatter, faster too.

Get ready to bulge

Fat, obese and super-obese – that’s where we’re headed. Rapidly becoming the biggest threat to human survival on the planet. And Dame Sally’s biggest ever headache.

Oh sure, SOME fatties are fat because they’re gluttons – obsessed with food so they eat themselves stupid. But even that suggests that something is wrong somewhere, that somehow their systems are glitched so they can’t help themselves.

But where does that leave the rest of us?

Are we really all victims of a sedentary lifestyle – cliché-ridden couch potatoes, scoffing fast food and sugar-laden drinks in front of the TV? That might be the media hype, but what’s the reality?

Don’t some of us eat almost nothing, tiny morsels like a bird, and still get fat? AND can’t drop the weight off, even though we work out for two hours at a time, five days a week?

How come it’s selective – that some of us are, and some of us aren’t? And how come is it that the older we become, the more at risk we seem to be?

Yeah well, it’s them antibiotics what done it.

Our background diet since before childbirth. A steady intake of fatten-you-up drugs in everything we ingest across the entire food spectrum. Absorbed for our whole lifetimes – exactly the same way as all those cows and pigs and sheep and chickens and salmon we’re so fond of.

And remember how antibiotics work – the only thing they actually do.

They kill bacteria.

Miracle drugs, sure.

Except that our bodies are bacteria too – 90% bacteria and 10% human.

And oops, down in our gut, there are upwards of 100 trillion bacteria – the welcoming committee for any antibiotics coming down the hatch. Blasted to hell and gone in the middle of digesting our food for us, producing proteins, and regulating our immune systems – exactly what our amazing bacteria do for us, every day.

The full catastrophe

Obese? Why are we surprised? Our bacteria have been killed off or graunched in the most fearful ways.

But all of our metabolisms are different, so they react differently too. No two of us are the same.

Some extract more nutrition than they need too, some less. Some fail on certain food groups. And all the while, our body resistance goes steadily more haywire, every day more vulnerable, more susceptible to infection and disease.

Allergies for instance, who ever heard of the misery we have now, fifty years ago?

Yeah, so Dame Sally is right about how to handle the antibiotics problem.

Stop everything, now.

STOP!

Start again

And find some kind of alternative food source while residual antibiotics work themselves out of the food chain. For us personally, that’s got to be grow our own at home without fertilisers – supplemented with ocean fish, not those farmed jobs.

Will it trim our waistlines? Probably not, the damage has been done, so those spare tyres are here to stay.

One thing though, without antibiotics as a safety net, we’re going to have to tighten up on our hygiene. Wash hands for everything, eliminate germs in our living space with a Hypersteriliser.

At least we’ll sleep easy with it. No more nightmares, like Dame Sally has now.

Originally posted 2016-01-06 17:35:51.

Why that festive bulge might never shift, ever

Festive inches
Slimmer and slimmer –
those chances of knocking the pounds off

It’s not exactly your fault if you can’t shift those inches. That bulge is not good.

Because you’re not normally a greedy-guts, are you?

Sure, lots of good food all at once is a temptation. Bulge-aceous bounty!

You’re not to blame for that either. We’re hard-wired to like certain tastes. And when they all arrive together we go into overload. It looks good, it smells good, it tastes good. Oops!

Goodtime overload

We don’t need all that food, but the mind is playing tricks. Without even realising it, a sensory tsunami takes us over.

Yeah we’ve eaten too much and we can feel it. Our gut feels uncomfortable.

More accurately, our friendly gut bacteria – the ones who do all the heavy lifting of digestion – send signals to the brain that we’ve had enough. They start processing like crazy – all 100 trillion of them.

But the brain’s not receiving – tripping out on ANOTHER plate of profiteroles and sherry trifle, with custard and extra cherries.

All that food on hold, waiting for digestion – nothing else for it, push it out to fat. Bulge, bulge.

Except that more and more of us are finding, we can no longer gym it off. Our bacteria aren’t able to bring our systems back to where they were before.

“It must be something we ate!”

You betcha, it is. Only we don’t know we’ve eaten it – or that we’ve been eating it steadily since knee high to a grasshopper.

No, it’s not a friendly something. But these days, it’s in pretty well everything we eat. Vegetarians might get away with lesser exposure, but ALL of us are ingesting this stuff with just about every meal we have – and most things we drink.

The bad good guys

It’s a something called antibiotics.

Yeah, the same stuff the Doc gives us when we’re ill or down with an infection.

Heavy stuff – which is why antibiotics are only ever on prescription. You see, they work by killing bacteria – the bad ones that are giving us grief. At least that’s the intention.

Trouble is, they kill a lot of good bacteria too. Down there in our gut, where our 100 trillion friends are hard at it – digesting our food, producing protein, regulating our immune systems. Kinda like an atom bomb going off in a busy shopping mall. Lots of dead, even more injured – collateral damage.

Which means all of a sudden, our systems stop work properly. Digestion goes loopy, protein production goes iffy – and our immune systems are out on the fritz.

Except this is not a one-off prescription job. This has been happening all our lives. Little bit, by little bit – drip, drip, drip. Even back in the womb, before we were born.

Nightmare, huh? How can this be happening?

Double-edged miracle

Because back half a century ago when antibiotics were first discovered, a bunch of farmers found out it could make things grow bigger and faster too – plants, animals. Ready for market in half the time – and at half the cost.

Result? Antibiotics are used to grow EVERYTHING.

Right now, today, 65,000 tonnes of the stuff is shovelled into agriculture around the world – set to skyrocket to 108,000 tonnes by 2030.

Uh huh.

Sure the medics are worried about it – Dame Sally Davies, England’s Chief Medical Officer in particular. Over-use of antibiotics is as big a threat as terrorism, she says. A new Dark Age will soon be upon us.

Except that Dame Sally is alarmed at the medical issue, not the bigger time bomb. About how antibiotics are starting to fail because bacteria are becoming immune to them. Frightening, yes – but somehow like rearranging the deck-chairs on the Titanic.

Because so far there’s not a word about the effect continuous ingestion of antibiotics has on our bodies. About what happens as damaged bacteria mutate and mutate – doing less of the jobs they were created for and veering off in unthinkable directions.

The medical meltdown – bacteria failure

People getting fatter and fatter?

Predictable, yes – that’s what farmers feed antibiotics to cattle for, to fatten them up for market. Which is how come obesity rates are 20% higher than they were 50 years ago.

And why the fat disease, diabetes, is on the up.

Animals eat the antibiotics, we eat the animals, the antibiotics fatten us too.

All the time remembering, of course, that nobody WANTS to be fat. It’s neither normal nor natural for the body to gorge itself.

That two-ton Tessie you see chugging Coke and a pile of chips has no idea it’s her bacteria on the fritz that are driving her to do that. She’s forced to believe those cruel barbs that she has no control, she’s doing it to herself.

Dame Sally thinks the same – she even wants a tax on fat passengers in aircraft. Bacteria failure has never occurred to her.

Meanwhile forget antibiotics resistance, we’re looking at a real medical meltdown.

Fatness, obesity, diabetes, heart failure, cancer – and all the other defects that happen as our systems chase phantoms. There’s no typhoid or cholera to fight any more, no Black Death or TB – so the body invents false alarms – dreaming up allergies to milk, nuts, proteins, coeliac disease. We just don’t know what’s hit us.

We have reduced resistance too, just as the bad bacteria are strengthening theirs. We’re becoming weaklings without even knowing it. £50 a month at the gym might slow it down, but we’re all of us on the slippery slope.

Fight back, keep clean

Only one thing for it. Be prepared. Wash your hands every chance you get, so no germs can get into your system, you never get sick.

If you’re worried about keeping your living area safe as well, eliminate germs with a Hypersteriliser. Stay out of trouble and nothing can touch you.

So yes, good luck if you shake off that “temporary” bulge, New Year’s Resolution or not.

Will power is all very well, but it won’t be your fault if it’s weak.

Originally posted 2016-01-05 19:12:12.

Why that super-fit bod is going to get fat

Fortune teller
The future’s not looking good – unless we act NOW

Not healthy, right?

Neither is asthma, TB, or coeliac allergy. The possible alternatives if you don’t suddenly balloon.

Yeah, yeah – we’re banging on about this a bit hard this week, but blame it on Dame Sally.

Boss doctor lays it on the line

That’s Dame Sally Davies, England’s Chief Medical Officer, who recently pointed to obesity as being a national threat worse than terrorism – exactly the same as she said about antibiotics resistance only a few years ago. Our super-drugs aren’t working, so super-bugs are killing people.

The thing is though, that these two threats are linked – except Dame Sally doesn’t seem to think so. Her mind-set suggests obesity is self-inflicted and that people largely bring it on themselves – the burger/pizza mentality.

Why else would she suggest a “Fat Tax” for overweight airline passengers? It’s their lack of self-discipline and laziness that makes them the way they are, therefore they should pay.

The real culprit

Yeah, except Dame Sally, fat people are not necessarily the bio-criminals you think they are. Go back to your other worse-than-terrorism threat, antibiotic resistance – and the common denominator is antibiotics.

You’re worried about over-use of antibiotics – causing bacteria to resist them. They no longer work as life-savers, so modern medicine becomes impossible – people die on the operating table.

Not wrong, though it brushes aside WHY antibiotics are over-used.

Yes, doctors prescribe them more often than they should, but it’s agriculture that gets through industrial levels of the stuff – 420 TONNES a year in the UK and counting.

Sure, sure, it’s supposed to be for veterinary reasons, to keep animals healthy. But every farmer since 1946 – when the first batch of super-chicks was produced – has it emblazoned on his profit and loss ledger that antibiotics fatten up animals so they earn more for market. Profit, profit, all the way.

Yeah, so there’s antibiotics in the stuff they sell – and biologically, people are animals too.

Fat pills

Which means pretty well anything they buy at the supermarket has antibiotics to some level or other. Whatever customers eat, their bodies bulk up – just like cattle and pigs and chickens. Exactly like taking pills to make them fat, only they don’t know it.

Suddenly puts our rocketing obesity epidemic into a new perspective, doesn’t it?

Not couch potatoes pigging out, but ordinary Annes and Cynthias being MADE FAT by the carefully chosen and supposedly healthy meat and two veg they make for their families. Their bods are cruelly gone and no wonder – drip-drip antibiotics all their lives, it’s a wonder they’re not bigger.

Going vegetarian doesn’t help much either. Despite the early morning jogs, Dame Sally, your own raw vegetables – organic or not – are just as likely to be laced with antibiotics from the manure used to grow them. How do you like your amoxicillin and tetracycline? Your bod’s at risk too.

Pincer threat

Worse than terrorism?

Well yes, a lot more people are at risk – thousands and thousands of them. Trapped in an antibiotic pincer movement. Antimicrobial resistance on the one side – damage and aberrations in the body’s microbiota system on the other.

Because that’s what antibiotics do, they kill and maim resident bacteria, upsetting the balance, triggering the urge to over-eat, or glitching other functions. Where else do we suddenly get all these allergies that never existed 20 years ago? Phantoms and false alarms triggered by the immune system going on the fritz.

Which means we have to be doubly careful if we all want to survive in the future.

If antibiotics don’t work, we could die from a paper cut. And being fat opens the door to other problems like cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis and gout.

And those are just for starters. With the immune system out of balance we are shadows of what we used to be. Weakened defences, lowered resistance, more susceptibility to disease and infection.

All happening just as our reliance on miracle drugs is coming to an end.

Yes, worse than terrorism, Dame Sally – both of them.

A way out

So what can we do?

Well, as England’s CMO, you need a big stick to enforce cut-backs on antibiotics – not just in medicine, but in the world of Big Ag. If DEFRA and the FSA don’t listen, you’ll have to go in swinging.

For the rest of us – not much we can do until the farmers get their act together without antibiotics, so the best is probably to go vegetarian and grow our own – without fertiliser. At least we’ll know what we put in our mouths is safe.

As for our lowered defences and increasing vulnerability, Dame Sally you’re right again – we need to rediscover hygiene.

To go back to basics like washing hands before we do anything. To clean and disinfect everything before we use it – even to sterilising our surroundings, making the air we move in and breathe secure and safe.

Gonna be a long, hard road though.

The only way to a strong, fit bod involves sweat.

Originally posted 2015-12-17 15:46:16.

Obesity, Dame Sally? But fast food is our lifeline!

Before and after
It’s not what you eat –
it’s what you don’t know you eat

Yeah, we’re all fat – and getting fatter.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, our very on-the-ball Chief Medical Officer, is right that obesity is a national crisis – an epidemic threat worse than terrorism.

Antibiotics… again

But hang on a minute, obesity itself isn’t the problem – it’s the result.

The real culprit is over-use of antibiotics – the other major alarm issue Dame Sally has alerted us to for at least the last five years.

Wha..?

Antibiotics and obesity?

Sure, the connection is staring us in the face.

Because how come it’s not just SOME of us getting fat, it’s rapidly becoming ALL of us – 50% of women and 80% of men? And how come none of this started happening until twenty years ago?

That’s when farmers around the world – Americans call them Big Ag – started using antibiotics on an industrial scale in livestock production and for everything else. Right now, 65,000 tons a year and climbing – set to be almost double by 2030.

Money, money, money

Big bucks is the driver – higher profits, every farmer hits the jackpot.

With antibiotics regularly in their feedstuff, livestock animals can be farmed more intensively. Closer together, all in one place, easier to manage. But often in very dirty places and prone to disease – without the magic medicine keeping them healthy. Seen those pictures of chicken-houses?

More animals, less space – Jackpot One.

And 65,000 tons a year, remember? Slightly greater throughput than Dame Sally might be used to in the medical field – plenty of practice for superbugs to suss how to resist whatever antibiotics we clueless humans might throw at them. E.coli, salmonella, c.difficile, MRSA – they all start here.

Uh huh. But Big Ag has a bigger, darker motive.

Feed antibiotics to animals regularly – cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry, fish, whatever – and they grow bigger, fatter, faster.

Something tricks their natural gut bacteria into extracting more value from less food -at the same time supressing the reflex that tells them when they’ve eaten enough. They gorge themselves stupid.

Double the size in half the time – Jackpot Two.

And there’s antibiotics in plant crops too. Streptomycin for peas and beans, tetracycline for wheat – both of them in all kinds of fruit.

Nor does it stop there.

They’re everywhere

Waste from animals becomes manure – to replace nutrients in the soil depleted by constant use. Antibiotics are in the ground, seeping into the water table, leaching through into streams and rivers, into reservoirs – into our homes at the turn of a tap.

So unless you eat ONLY organic foods – grown without fertiliser from any animal source. And unless you drink only bottled water, or boil it death before even thinking about it – you’ve been on antibiotics all your life.

All of us have. Drip-drip residual doses – every day, every mouthful, since the day we were born.

Continuous dosing by powerful substances that make our own gut bacteria super-efficient at extracting the absolute maximum from every last molecule of food. Which switch off our natural mechanism that tells us when we’ve had enough. Our own immune system on the fritz – and getting fritzier.

Forget whatever diet you’re on – pretty well all the food we can buy at the supermarket has antibiotics in it. No escape, even if you eat healthy – you’re getting antibiotics every day and on course for obesity.

Fast food to the rescue

Which is exactly why fast food might save us.

OK, so you order a chicken burger. Better throw away the bun, the salad, the sauce and the side-order of chips – antibiotics in the lot of them.

But not in the meat. Or at least, not in the meat – soon.

Because with falling market volumes – and negative press about the sheer volume of their business contributing to major antibiotic resistance – major fast food chains McDonalds, Subway, Chipotle and others are switching to antibiotics-free supplies. Zero in their chicken – and as soon as possible, zero in their beef and other stuff too.

In the meantime, if you’re worried, get ready to boil everything – meat vegetables, fruit, the works. And when we say boil, we mean nuke it for at least 30 minutes – it’s the only thing that works.

Either that, or be paranoid about genuine organic-sourced food. But check the label thoroughly – even the expensive designer stuff is likely to come from soil in some way exposed to antibiotics.

Nobody’s fault

Are we being OCD about all this?

Well, every girl wants to be pretty, not a two-ton Tessie. And laying the guilt-trip on them that they eat themselves fat is unnecessarily harsh, cruel and callous.

Yeah, so they’re overweight. But how are they to know they’ve OD’d on antibiotics all their lives and their body’s regulatory systems are shot?

Antibiotics upset the natural balance of the body’s own bacterial microbiome, drastically altering its defences, weakening its survival strengths – making it prone to asthma, food allergies, diabetes and yes, obesity.

All of which makes Dame Sally especially right to flag down pregnant women. Antibiotics affect their babies’ bodies as much as their own. Worse, they corrupt the mother’s hereditary process that teaches the baby’s body bacteria about immunities before they are born.

So if Mum’s fat – and she may have battled all her life handling that stigma – her baby could be fat too, skewed by antibiotics that neither of them were prescribed, but which are in their systems anyway. And because of continuing exposure to antibiotics, weaker, less resilient, more fragile and helpless.

Action steps

Is there anything we can do about it?

Dame Sally as usual, has hit the nail on the head – though for different reasons than she first intended.

She’s worried about medical antibiotics not working because bacteria are fast developing all-round resistance. AMR. At a stroke, most surgical procedures become impossible. If antibiotics don’t work, there’s no infection control to safeguard the necessary incisions.

The only answer, stop using antibiotics (they’re useless anyway), rediscover hygiene. Wash and clean everything meticulously and constantly so germs never get a chance. Sterilise living spaces with a Hypersteriliser.

The preggy ladies are in the same boat. Stop using antibiotics – boil food to boredom, or choose expensive organics . Likewise, wash and clean everything meticulously and constantly so germs never get a chance. Sterilise living spaces with a Hypersteriliser.

Hmmm, supper time after all that. We might go a bit hungry though.

It’s going to be a while before all fast food chains get their act together and stop supplying food laced with antibiotics.

Shredded newspaper, anyone?

Originally posted 2015-12-11 16:20:45.

Whoops, Dame Sally – antibiotics don’t work, but clean hands aren’t good enough either

Doctor with antibiotics
OK, what are you going to do when the pills don’t work?

Yeah, yeah, yeah – we hear you.

The hand hygiene brigade are always banging on about it. Wash your hands, wash your hands.

And you, Dr Dame Sally Davies, England’s Chief Medical Officer – you quite rightly push it further.

Wash your hands or die

Rediscover hygiene, you say. It’s a hidden truth that antibiotics don’t work any more. Superbugs have mutated to become resistant. All major surgery is under threat. It’s back to the Dark Ages – and in our only defence, if we don’t all remember to wash our hands, we’re going to die.

Dead right, Dame Sally (pun intended) – but nowhere near enough.

Clean hands might make a difference in the first microsecond – then we’re right back where we started.

Because it’s not just our hands we have to worry about. It’s everything around us.

Beyond medical

You see, as a high-powered doctor, Dame Sally is thinking in a medical sense.

Yes, she applies her principles to everyday life – to the way we behave, particularly after going to the loo. But her head is thinking hospitals and patients and operations and sterile surroundings.

Wash your hands. Yeah, well doctors and nurses do that already. It’s an ingrained way of life.

It’s the outsiders who don’t. The hospital visitors – and the great wide world beyond the front door.

And even if they did, it would never be enough. Because nothing out there is sterile.

Clean? Well, maybe.

An invisible truth

We judge clean by appearances – and all too often what we think is clean is actually loaded with germs. Looks are deceptive – which is probably why we never wash our hands enough. If they’re not visibly dirty, we reckon they’re OK.

Which means it’s an invisible truth that they’re not. Germs are so infinitesimally small, we have no idea that they’re there.

So if it’s not a sterilised area in a hospital, the very first object hands touch after washing will put billions of germs back again. Your phone, your car keys, money, the door handle to the coffee shop.

Give it five minutes and both hands will be back to normal – 10 million bacteria on each.

Wash our hands, Dame Sally? It can never be enough unless we wash our surroundings too. And not just wash for appearances – wash, scrub, disinfect, whatever, until the germs are gone.

And no, we don’t really do that at the moment. We just think we do.

Everyday germs

Take ordinary household washing up. And let’s refer here to another hygiene expert, Dr Lisa Ackerley. Millions of us do it, yet it’s a hazard highpoint of our lives – basically dipping our eating utensils into a germ soup, then spreading the germs evenly with a wiping-up cloth.

No, LOOKS clean isn’t clean – and certainly not safe from germs.

Nor is it either good enough to blitz the place with bleach and carbolic – scrubbing everything down to within an inch of its life.

Apart from the smell that could rip your head off, it never reaches right into all the dark corners. And most of the time we never remember to do UNDER surfaces or BEHIND them. Exactly the places that germs naturally gather.

It gets worse on your office desk. Because how often does that get done properly – if ever?

Nine times out of ten, a wipe-down from the night crew is the only lick and promise it ever gets. Promise of germs, that is. Because the same cloth gets used for every desk. Contact time is only seconds – and what kind of antibacterial stuff has it got on there anyway?

Looks clean, but isn’t.

Yet that’s where most of us eat lunch – with fingers that we THINK are clean – dropping crumbs, spilling sauces and getting our greasy paws over everything. Especially on that main germ transfer unit, the computer keyboard – press ENTER to guarantee collywobbles.

Yeah, no wonder we keep running to antibiotics. We take such chances with things we can’t see, a pill is our only rescue.

Kinda basic though, really – it’s way better to avoid germs in the first place.

But if washing hands isn’t enough – and even SAVAGE cleaning doesn’t crack it – what else can we do?

Especially when it’s not just surfaces that our hands touch, it’s the air around us too. Air is 80% of the space in any room, yet we never think of cleaning it. Heat it, yes. Cool it, yes. Filter it, yes. Even dehumidify it.

But apart from the HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters used in hospitals and aircraft, we never do anything to take the germs out. And there are more germs up there than anywhere else – at less than half the size of a molecule of oxygen, how could there not be?

More than hand washing

Yes, Dame Sally, we ARE washing our hands, we ARE being careful – but if our surroundings are always germ-covered, what can we do?

Yeah, well – get rid of the germs there too.

Not in the great outdoors of course – rain and wind would whip everything away in seconds – bringing new germs to replace the previous ones in the very same instant.

Ah, but we’re basically cave-dwellers, see. We huddle together in enclosed places – away from the wind and the rain, where the elements can’t get us.

And not the germs either, if we’re clever about it.

OK, this is the opposite end of looking after ourselves.

Hospital in reverse

Hospital is the back end – the last resort to rescue us from misadventure. Now we’re looking at the front end – not a doctor in sight, no antibiotics anywhere – a non-medical way of protecting ourselves from germs.

Easy, really. Room by room – enclosed space by enclosed space – we just get rid of them all.

Alright, fine. So what kills germs? And how do we take out the airborne ones – some kind of spray?

All kinds of things kill germs. Bleach, formaldehyde, ethanol, nitrous oxide – all pretty hazardous and not very safe – especially up in the air.

Way better is hydrogen peroxide – exactly like water, but with two oxygen atoms instead of one – H2O2. It’s even made by the body as a natural germ fighter – produced in the lungs, gut, and thyroid gland – and first responder to cuts and scratches, kicking in even before white blood cells arrive.

Same problem though, vaporised hydrogen peroxide has to be in a pretty strong solution (35%) to work in a spray. Hazardous to eyes, nose and throat – in molecule sizes too large to remain airborne for long. Very wet to use too, taking a long time to dry.

Ionised for effectiveness

The breakthrough is to use a weaker solution (6%) of hydrogen peroxide – allowing it to spread drier, finer and further – and ionising it on release to change its state from a gas to a plasma, an electrically charged super-vapour that disperses itself actively in all directions.

The charged plasma also releases further antimicrobials that reach out and destroy viruses and bacteria on the fly – hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, ozone (a more voracious oxidiser than hydrogen peroxide), and ultraviolet.

Close all the windows and doors, get everybody out of Dodge, put the machine in the room (it’s called a Hypersteriliser), press the button – and leave.

Forty minutes later, the whole place is sterile, safe for everybody to come back – with not a virus or bacterium to be found anywhere. No germs, no threats, no need for antibiotics.

Now, Dame Sally – doesn’t that answer your concern?

Originally posted 2015-10-20 14:07:27.

Germ wars – flu, e.coli and the rest: now it’s personal

Woman shooter
Germs are always at you –
so take them down first

Nobody thinks about bugs until they get one.

OK one minute, cough-splutter the next.

Or gut-twisting tummy cramps that make you want to die.

From tiny, microscopic bugs, a million times smaller than a speck of dust.

Killers, chasing you

Out of sight, out of mind. Until the pounding head and hot/cold sweats take you over.

Gimme the pills, I don’t want to do this – get me out of here!

Yeah, right.

Most of the time, we only have ourselves to blame.

Because our personal hygiene habits, quite frankly, are up to maggots.

We know there’s germs around – we know they’re transferred by direct contact or touching infected objects. But you wouldn’t think so from the way we handle ourselves.

Uncomfortable truths

Why?

Well, it’s not on the radar, is it?

When was the last time you even THOUGHT about washing your hands? After breakfast? Before lunch? At all?

And how many thousand objects have you touched during the morning – other people, out in the street, grab handles that never get cleaned, ever? And you’re going to eat that pizza with your bare hands?

No wonder you got norovirus.

Drug resistant bugs

Don’t hold your breath that the Doc has got some miracle prescription to fix it either. These days we so over-use pills that those sneaky viruses and bacteria have mutated to be resistant to all kinds of drugs.

Which is why our top medical heavyweight – Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer of England – is so strongly gung-ho that we have to REDISCOVER HYGIENE all over again. Re-learn to wash our hands.

Wash our hands, all the time, before ever doing anything. Because if medicines aren’t going to work any more, it’s up to us to get ourselves some personal protection in the first place.

In our own defence though, it’s not all our own bad habits. We might be paranoid about washing our hands, yet STILL come down with those crippling cramps and disgusting diarrhoea. Those bugs got under the radar.

Like that annoying voice in your GPS says, “Recalculating”.

Time to rethink

OK, we properly scrubbed, soap and water – the works. But how about the tap we have to turn off afterwards? And how about the door handle we twist to get out of there?

Everybody who uses the loo touches that handle – and most of them never wash their hands at all.

Doomed?

Not quite – which is why we might want to rethink our whole soap-and-water strategy.

It’s not always easy to get to anyway. You’re out shopping with the kids and suddenly have an emergency. It doesn’t help that the nearest washroom is three floors up, four hundred yards away. Ideally we need something to keep on our person – something AVAILABLE AT ALL TIMES.

Handbags and pockets

We’ve already got it. Pop into Tesco and for less than a quid, you can get a bottle of sanitising hand gel to keep on you at all times. For less than 30p, the kids can have their own one too.

Squidge it on, work it around, let it evaporate. Easy.

Or even better, get yourself some sanitising wipes – again, to keep with you all the time – and again for around a quid. The ever ready rescue pack. Your personal hygiene standby.

Good stuff too. Unlike gel, the tissue gives you something to wipe off with. Physically remove dirt at the same time as you wipe out the germs. Not exactly a scrubbing brush, but just as good as a face cloth or sponge.

And that sanitising moistness too, evaporates. Your hands are germ-free – without touching anything that might be contaminated – job done.

Plus, on a purely practical point, it’s a lot easier to find a rubbish bin for dumped wipes than it is to find a washroom. Especially after dark when the loos are all locked. Or the shopping centre’s closed and everybody’s gone home.

OK, you’ve got your protection. Now go out there and be well.

Originally posted 2015-09-09 12:27:47.