Watch out! Your car could be killing you!

Woman slumped at wheel
There’s more dangers lurking IN our cars than we ever think

It can happen any time, or any place.  You’re just sitting in your car, parked up and going nowhere,  then foops – you’re on your way to being a goner.

No, no, not an accident. Though you never intended this to occur.

You’re just sitting there, engine off and handbrake on, maybe waiting at the school gate.

Unwanted passengers

But you’re not alone.

You can’t see them, but there’s upwards of 300 million germs sharing the car with you. And while you’re waiting, chatting on the phone and nibbling an indulgent pastry, you just happen to swallow a few hundred in.

You don’t feel it at the time of course. There’s no trace of anything wrong anyway. You keep the car spotless, down to the car wash every week. And those cheery folk do a full valet service – get rid of any rubbish, vacuum everything carefully. How in the world can you catch a bug?

All too easy, though you’d never know it.

Because a car is one of those places that easily LOOK clean when they’re anything but.

OK, so it’s you and the kids on the school run, taking the dog to the park, a couple of long hauls to visit the in-laws, where’s the danger in that?

Crumbs, germs, crikey!

Eating and drinking is what. And we all do it, without even realising.

Obviously not while driving. Though everyone is. A quick munch on the way home, a bottle of juice on a hot summer day – those little ones can be so demanding.

Which means crumbs on the seats and the odd spill – nothing that a quick wipe can’t fix, right?

Wrong.

However thoroughly you wipe, you never get everything. And stuff fragments as you try, breaking apart and falling down the sides. Into the “ungetatable” space between the seats and the floor sides.

And it’s usually food, right? So it breaks down and rots. Little bits here and there – nothing you’ll ever pick up unless you have a sensitive nose.

Bugs, bugs, bugs

Bacteria, right there – usually escherichia coli. Harmless to most of us, even though it lives naturally in our gut. Except there’s more than one strain of the thing, many of them pathogenic – medic-speak for saying they’re dangerous.

Like strain O157:H7, which can cause anaemia, kidney failure or even death. Plus, get ANY strain of e.coli in the wrong place – like in your bloodstream – and you’re in big trouble.

But e.coli is not the only one by a long shot. Salmonella and campylobacter are also regular passengers, both of which can cause illnesses, sometimes fatal. And both can survive for up a month inside your car, lurking on the steering wheel, gear stick, or dashboard.

And pretty well all cars regularly carry common bacteria, such as staphylococcus epidermidis, staphylococcus aureus and micrococcus luteus.

Mould and fungi too

Nor is bacteria the only hazard. Comes the wet weather with kids and dogs leaping in and out of the car dripping wet – next thing you’ve got mould. And mould leads to allergies, asthma and eczema.  Or in severe cases, like actress Brittany Murphy, fatal pneumonia.

OK, so basically germ-infested, right? And if you don’t believe us, check out this video here.

Recognise yourself?

So what can you do about it? Wiping down is not good enough. Nor is going berserk with the vacuum cleaner. You’ve got to get down and dirty in those teensy inaccessible gaps behind the seats and under the carpets.

And with way more firepower than bleach.

“Bacteria bomb”

Time to get yourself a “bacteria bomb” if you haven’t already. Not the ordinary can, but the half-sized 4oz job you can keep in your hand bag.

Capped 4 oz can
Self protection on the go – like MACE for germs

Yeah, OK, at around £12 a pop, it’s not cheap. But do you want to get rid of the germs or don’t you? And what does a whole valet service cost you? £50? £80? Right there in your bag is just the thing to fog up your entire car and take out the germs. Psst! 60 seconds and you’re done.

Just make sure you open all the windows and let the stuff out when it’s finished. It fills your car up like a smoke bomb but is way fresher, sort of lemony afterwards.

Oh, and that’s not the only reason to open up your car. Like with all these climate change non-winters we’ve been having, high temperatures bake your car full of breathable toxins too. Like benzene from the plastic of the dash and interior trim. Check out this video here.

Every week, like the car wash

Plus remember, if you want to stay safe and germ-free, you’ve got to keep at it too. Just like cleaning your teeth only lasts until your next meal, so treating your car needs regular attention too. The next Coke spill or upended packet of chips and you’re back where you started.

Think of it though as another way to keep you safe in your car. Like a crash helmet or a seat belt. Essential, huh?

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

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

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

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

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

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

We’re better off with paracetamol.

A riskier world

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

But Sod’s Law says it will.

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

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

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

Hygiene first

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hygiene technology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be watchful – and live

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

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

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

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Snatched from death – escape by soap and water

Stressed out woman
We have close encounters every day – and we’re only aware of them if we’re unlucky

Phew! A lucky escape.

Another few seconds and you would have been gone.

Some nasty bug – a killer variant of cholera – spread by contaminated food.

Not from your five-star beach hotel of course.

But from your fingers.

Hidden dangers – unaware

Because of the crack-of-dawn start to your sight-seeing tour. A mad dash to the loo before you held the coach up. The market, the temple, the boat-trip, the beach barbie. An amazing day – but without one chance to wash your hands. Or even think about it.

A sizzling plate of food and you’re about to dive in – until you check the grubby fingerprints on your water glass.

Ew, that was you! A whole day’s yuck on your hands – which you don’t even see because germs are too small.

But you excuse yourself anyway and head for the bathroom – all glitter and glass and wafting incense. And luckily for you, a good sensible soap and running hot water.

Grubby fingerprints gone. Gunge from the handrails, manky stuff in the street, don’t-ask from the funny place – and yes, you’re not even aware of it, but faecal residue as well – poo from the loo.

Back home of course, you might get away with it. At worst a touch of norovirus and gone. Not nice while it happens, but you’ll survive. A reminder to ALWAYS wash your hands.

Not quite the same on holiday, especially in hot countries. Germs breed easier, transfer easier – and are very often more deadly. Not worth the risk. And totally avoidable if you wash your hands.

Of course that’s our problem isn’t it?

Unseen, unclean

Our hands don’t LOOK dirty, so we think they’re clean. We’re just not dirt-aware enough to keep remembering. But who wants norovirus – or worse, to come home from their holiday in a box?

Keeping them clean is a schlep too, because germs are everywhere – billions and billions of viruses and bacteria – on every surface, in the air, on our own skin except where we’ve washed our hands. Everything might look harmless, but in reality is a potential nightmare, especially at the office.

OK, we can’t do much about germs surrounding us outside in the open, but we can do something about them in our living space. And the way we are with out modern lifestyles, we spend 90% of our time indoors anyway.

Uh huh. Not exactly the healthiest. WE might be harmless to ourselves, but indoors is a space we share with lots of others – school, work, eating out, entertainment.

Personal germ clouds

And every single one of us carries around our own swirling cloud of hidden bacteria –  so uniquely distinct to each of us that cops in the near future will be able to ID we were there – just by reading our lingering germ-sign.

Which adds up to germs on everything around us – and clouds of germs towed around by others surrounding us. So easy to pick up – by breathing or touching something – and then absently touching our mouth or eyes.

What could it be? Norovirus, salmonella, campylobacter, or escherichia coli? Enough to hospitalise us if they’re bad, or finish us off if we’re unlucky. Or sometimes even worse. How about that cholera variant you had that close call with – from other colleagues back from holiday?

But like soap and water takes germs off your hands, you can take away the germs surrounding you too. Kinda important if you have an underlying medical condition that maybe even you don’t know about. Or one of your colleagues does – and a simple infection triggers a whole life-threatening experience.

Safe and sterile

Which is why all kinds of places are using ionised hydrogen peroxide – misting up their rooms to take down all viruses and bacteria. Safe and sterile every morning, in addition to clean floors and empty waste bins. No smells, no germs, no health problems.

Lucky escapes every day. And you never have to worry about them.

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Safer from terrorists than germs on your own hands

Girl on escalator
No terrorists here – but just starting with the handrail, there’s billions and billions of germs

Look around the room you’re in. How many terrorists do you see?

None, right?

Not surprising, since only 3% of all deaths by terrorism have occurred in the West.

Which means less than that in the UK – averaged at five deaths a year according to a report.

Even less in the town you live in. And probably zero in your street.

Out of sight, out of mind

OK, now how many germs do you see?

Also none, right?

But they’re there, alright. Just too small to see .

A single cell of norovirus, everybody’s favourite cruise ship vomiting bug, is 3 microns across – a 5,000th the width of a human hair. A single cell of that other tummy bug regular, escherichia coli, is even smaller at 2 microns – the same as rhinovirus, the common cold bug.

And it only takes 10 norovirus cells, ganged up together, to infect you if they get in the right place. The kind of thing you do rubbing your skin – they scrape together, 5,000 could fit on a hair – next thing you touch your eyes or your mouth, and they’re in like Flynn.

Four hours later the cramps start – and the upchucks – and the runs. Worse than any terrorists, more like the end of the world.

And these germs are floating round you EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Everywhere you look

For instance, just by being in the room, you yourself are contributing 37 million germs an hour  – just from the cloud of them that we all carry around with us.

That doesn’t include the germs already in the room either – left behind on countertops and work surfaces, clinging to cleaning cloths and sponges, piled up on phone keypads and light switches, or just floating through the air on the tiniest breeze, waiting for you to breathe them in – lighter than dust, lighter than smoke, lighter even than oxygen particles.

Which means everything you touch, you pick up more – your hands are laden with them. And you don’t want to know what happens if you don’t wash them off when you go to the loo – most of us have such bad habits, we should be vomiting our guts out every day.

Horrible hygiene

Seriously. And here’s why.

Gruesome, huh?

But even washing our hands is not enough. Because there’s viruses and bacteria still coating everything around – still breezing along through the air.

Next thing you touch, next breath you take – and they’re at you again. And it’s luck of the draw if your immune system deals with them or not – guided by the 100 trillion or so NECESSARY bacteria that you have in your own gut.

Usually these bacteria gang up together and crowd those pesky interlopers out. But not if your system’s down – you’re stressed, you have a cold, or indigestion from eating too fast, or a headache pressing in from work piling up.

Sussing the odds

So what are your chances?

In any home there are around 8,000 different TYPES of germs hanging about – in numbers from thousands to millions. Which is how come, at any one time, that there are around 300,000 germs on EACH of your hands.

300,000 times more than the number of terrorists busting in through your bedroom window.

And make no error, some of these germs are deadly. Even norovirus, usually just a few days discomfort, hospitalises 3,000 and kills around 80 people each year – from complications with severe dehydration.

Flu bugs of course, can kill even more.

So can sepsis. Never heard of it? Get complications from a simple paper cut and your whole body goes into immune system meltdown. Annual death toll in the UK, around 44,000.

And germs can cause other complications like cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory or liver disorders – accounting for 150,000 deaths a year.

More dangerous than terrorists

All of which means you’re half a million times more likely to die from germs on your hands than from terrorists attacking you.

If that happens of course, there’s not much you can do. At the end of a gun, you’re basically stuck with whatever the terrorist asks for.

But germs you can fight back against – even take them out of existence altogether.

All it takes is the push of a button on a Hypersteriliser – and a fine, dry mist of hydrogen peroxide oxidises ALL virus and bacteria to nothing.  No chance of any infection, everywhere around you is sterile.

The cops have nothing like that to deal with terrorists. But at five deaths a year on average from terrorist acts, there’s more of us die from bee stings.

OK, so you’re safe enough – at least from terrorists.

Just make sure your hands are clean before you do anything.

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Not so fatso, your gut feel goodbye to losing a whole ton of weight

Slimmers success
Go with your gut, keep your bacteria happy and avoid being fat

Imagine. Fatso is not you any more.

The real you is back, and looking good. Rescued by gut feel.

It CAN be done

OK, so the workouts and careful eating help.

But the real success is down to your gut – more accurately to the teeming colonies of 100 trillion essential bacteria that live there – the ones that handle digestion, control your immune system, and yes, manage your weight.

Keep these guys in balance and your body works just fine, your weight stays normal, you’re in good health and full of natural energy.

Upset them and you pay the price. As most of us do from the constant inclusion of antibiotics in our diet. Yes, the same stuff the Doc prescribes when you’re not well – but swallowed unconsciously with every meal because farmers use antibiotics big time to boost plant and animal growth.

Gobbling fat-makers

Which means with every mouthful you’re chowing down traces of the same stuff used to make beef cattle grow faster, fruit to grow bigger and sweeter, grain crops to yield twice as much for every harvest – with more body and taste.

Getting fat might be good for producing food on the farm – but it’s sure destructive to human beings. You look like a podge – and all that extra weight triggers a slew of health problems. Diabetes, cancer and heart disease are just some of the ailments facing you if you can’t get the weight off.

You see, what antibiotics do is kill bacteria. Good if you’re fighting a life-threatening bug that’s making you ill. But disastrous to the trillions and trillions of other bacteria living in your gut and doing useful work. Without their diversity and continued well-being, things go wrong quickly – especially if they’re damaged or missing completely.

The leptin balance

Like over-production of leptin, the hormone that signals satiety to your body – telling the brain you’ve had enough to eat, it’s time to stop.

Yes, you read that right, over-production. Because when that happens, the brain becomes resistant to the signals – the same as receiving no signals at all – leptin resistance. Your body keeps saying it’s hungry, so you go on eating and eating and… you know how it goes.

Thankfully, you can do something about it. Leptin is closely tied to insulin production, which in turn is regulated by sugar intake. Get your sugar levels down, and you can start taking back control. Fatso no more.

Why you are what you eat

Uh huh, it becomes a diet thing – you have to cut down on fructose and processed foods. Supported by the right kind of exercise to help things along – nothing excessive and going easy on the cardio, good high intensity stuff like weight lifting, but avoiding stress.

Hard work and boring, right?

But thankfully, researchers are beginning to recognise gut bacteria is way more significant to our health than anyone realised. Every day now, new treatments are emerging that work directly on these vital microorganisms inside our bodies – easier and more effective than punishing diets and exercise.

Hope for the heavy

For instance, tucked away in today’s papers is a report on using small doses of a particular type of bacteria – escherichia coli – to blunt the desire for sweet tastes, emulating the normal switch-off effect of leptin.

E.coli is not a bug to play around with, in other forms it triggers highly dangerous symptoms of food poisoning. But using bacteria to control bacteria makes a lot more sense than using killers like antibiotics.

Other researchers are playing around with a body enzyme called histone deacetylase 5 (HDAC5), an alternative sidestep to counter leptin resistance. By activating HDAC5, scientists found they could restore leptin sensitivity and actually reverse obesity under lab conditions.

Yet another option we’re likely to see soon is the poo transplant – transferring bacteria from the faeces of a “thin” healthy person to a “fat” unhealthy one. So far this method is mostly used for controlling infections difficult to get rid of such as clostridium difficile. By redressing the bacteria balance – and reintroducing bacteria killed in continual antibiotic attacks, again obesity can be reversed.

All of which is life-saving stuff for the two thirds of us who are already overweight or obese.

But developing these treatments properly for humans will take a while yet, so stick to the diet and exercise.

Fatso? Not you.

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