Be glad you didn’t meet them at the airport.
The whole plane-load came down with this one.
Loos backed up, overflowing air sick bags – even the flight crew were looking green. A real hero of a pilot too.
Not you, thank goodness – and it was even on the six o’clock news.
Three days to your own holiday and you’re not eating any of that foreign stuff. Strictly good British graze for you, no messing about.
Er, except it’s not over, till it’s over.
Sure your mates are home safe right now. Getting over it with stacks of Imodium and Buscopan. Quarantined and out of it, so everyone in the office is safe.
Glad to see them when they’re better too. Not nice to be ill. Not nice to double up more than you planned on either – extra work when you’re trying to get clear.
But they’re your pals and you like them, so you do it with a smile.
And they like you too, so you score with the pressies – holiday souvenirs to laugh over when the tummy cramps and diarrhoea are finally gone. Some kind of norovirus the Doc said.
Yeah right, just stay off the foreign food.
What goes around, comes around
Because next thing, you’re down with the same bug too. Out of action, honking your guts out, and you haven’t even packed your bags yet.
Quick! On the phone to the airline. Are you ATOL protected? What about your insurance? You’ve GOT to cancel. Aargh!
Next thing is, why? Why you?
Your mates brought back a bug, they stayed home till they were clean, then you got it. How come?
Look no further those pressies – fridge magnets, coffee mug, T-shirt, pen, music box, bottle of booze, beach towel, souvenir hat, whatever. Fomites, all of them.
So what’s fomites?
The things you touch, that other people touch, that carry germs. Which is everything else in the office too, right? Including the door handles, lift buttons, computer keyboards, phones, light switches, photocopier, you name it.
Because it’s a nasty fact of life that though nobody’s sick, the germs that can make them that way can live for sometimes weeks out in the open.
And not just on fomites.
In the air too
We each of us trail around our own personal bio-aura of bacteria – our signature cloud of microorganisms unique to us – viruses, bacteria, fungi, moulds, dust, whatever.
And this stuff is so light it can hover and linger in the air for days and weeks, waiting to land on somebody and find a new home.
Your pals came back to work clean, but the bio-aura they brought from home could still carry the bug they suffered. They’re safe, but not your work place.
Yup, the whole office is bugged – inhabited by the same norovirus nasty that flew back from holiday with them.
Which means the only way you’re going to avoid coming down with it – and everybody else who hasn’t yet had a dose – is to nail all those viruses and bacteria before they nail you.
Not every office has a Hypersteriliser yet.
But with dangerous germs so easily transferred by jet travel – and medical science discovering more and more of them are resistant to antibiotics – such machines could soon become as familiar as window blinds.
Because without major effort or turning the place upside down, one Hypersteriliser can make any room totally sterile and safe from germs in as little forty minutes. No viruses, no bacteria – every microorganism in the place, gone.
It does it by misting up the place with ionised hydrogen peroxide – the same stuff that may have sparked life itself on Earth – actively spreading through the air, into cracks and crevices, oxidising viruses and bacteria to nothing.
Haven’t got one in your office yet?
Let’s hope they get one, before too many people go on leave. Or before winter comes with its latest version of bird flu.
Unless they do – and unless you’re meticulous about always washing your hands – you’re next, for sure.