Tag Archives: germs

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?

 

Originally posted 2015-05-05 11:59:44.

Wash your hands, good. Dry your hands, whoops!

Girl washing hands
Pull your hands out,
but don’t shake them all about

Ever noticed how you can be right and wrong, both at the same time?

Like, we all know we should wash our hands – but how about drying them?

Yeah, you say to yourself, as you pull the plug. Bye-bye germs, so long suckers.

Washing is only the start

But what do you do with your WET hands?

Ah, no problem – there’s a high-powered air dryer on the wall.

No touch, nice and hygienic, sorted.

Er, not exactly.

Because that high-powered air gets blown somewhere – and it’s all round the washing area. You can often feel it on a cold day – nice warm air, to take the chill off.

Nice, warm bacteria-loaded air – because not everything got washed down the drain. Some of it’s in the water drops on your hand. Some of it won’t come off with a blast of air. You know how a wet leaf can stick to you? Well, a pernicious bacteria can do the same.

We’re all scrubbers

Yup, to be sure everything comes off needs friction. Which means a towel.

But not one of those cloth towels that gets used over and over. That’s a growing collection of germs – not just yucky, but seriously deadly. Like that kitchen wiping-up cloth for the dishes – double yuck.

Not one of those dispenser roller towels either. The idea is that you get a dry unused bit for you to use – but reality is, you grab the wet bit to pull the roll down, collecting germs on the way. And, sod’s law, it’s probably all used anyway, with no more pull-down left. Deadly deadly.

The best is paper towel. Use once and chuck. (Tweet this) No germs to transfer to anyone – plus you get the wiping action that scrubs off residual germs hiding in the damp.

Conserve, avoid waste

There is, of course, a whole hoo-hah about how many you use. Don’t waste, conserve.

Totally agree. And the best way to do that is shake off excess water before you start. Excess GERMY water – which you don’t want to go spattering in all directions.

This demo by Joe Smith gives you a good lesson on avoiding wastage. But you’ll have to think twice about how briskly you shake your hands outside the basin.

Think hard about the hazards of public washrooms too. The build-up of germ threshold from one day’s usage could be substantial.

Let’s hope the service people are using a Hypersteriliser. Otherwise it will be there till tomorrow, ready and waiting to build up some more.

Let’s be careful out there.

Originally posted 2015-04-09 15:51:15.

How to kill superbugs before superbugs kill you

Happy wman doctor
Superbugs? Yes but antibiotics aren’t the only defence we’ve got

“Look out,” the government says, “there’s a superbug outbreak coming. 80,000 people could die in one go.”

Down in the mouth about it?

Don’t be. Because there’s over 100 billion microbes ALREADY living there. In your mouth, that is – more than 15 times the number of people living on earth.

Germs everywhere

Better believe it. And just one tooth has over 100,000 living on it – greater than the biggest crowd that can fit into Wembley.

So when you start thinking about “the germs are coming”, better calm down before you give yourself a heart attack. They’re already here.

Fact is, though we have big ideas otherwise, we’re just a bunch of microbes ourselves. A whole load of specialised cells living together, walking around, full of ourselves.

Uh huh.

Reality, we’re an alternative version of the Great Barrier Reef -microbes instead of coral polyps, kinda like germs ourselves, at least we share our bodies with them – a complete living microbiome.

We are germs too

We’re riddled with germs – and need to be.

Don’t think of your body as a sterile temple, it’s not. Every inch of us is colonised by bacteria – some good, some bad – but pretty well all of them necessary for our bodies to continue to function.

Your gut, for example, has billions of bacteria that handle digestion. They do the work and our bodies are charged with energy as a result.

The secret is that everything has its place and exists in balance with everything else. Throw the balance out and the body suffers. Which is why this superbug issue gets to be such a problem.

Once upon a time we used to be able to take them out with antibiotics.

Great while they lasted, but the bugs got wise and developed immunity. Easy enough to do when you reproduce yourself several million times an hour, correcting and improving yourself as you go along.

Antibiotics came out of the 50s – so the bugs have had seventy odd years at it. Plenty of time to dream up new defences when those stupid old humans sit on their butt thinking they’ve licked the problem for good.

Superbugs? No wonder.

Continuous mutation

Because effective thought they were, antibiotics couldn’t target everything.

And with continuous mutation, the bugs they were designed to destroy aren’t just immune, they’re not even the same any more.

But we’ve got to be careful, because we’re made of bugs too. We won’t just shoot ourselves in the foot, we could take ourselves out altogether.

So what defence do we have?

Very simple – avoid, avoid, avoid.

Step outside the enclosed environments we live in for an hour or two – and sterilise the whole place.

Not us, our living space. No viruses, no bacteria, nothing. Blitz the lot so they’re gone.

We’re fine and in balance with our existing bacteria already – we don’t need a bunch of new ones screwing things up and making us dead.

But the trick is to do the WHOLE place, not just some of it.

Wiping down surfaces and floors might feel like making things safe, but it’s too hit and miss.

Mostly miss.

It’s a pain to do as well. Hard work, rubbing and scrubbing. And never getting underneath or behind everything. Never being sure there’s nothing lurking in the cracks.

Brute force, with finesse

Which is why we use the Hypersteriliser. It pumps out hydrogen peroxide, which kills all viruses and bacteria, but reverts back to oxygen and water so it doesn’t harm us.

And the Hypersteriliser ionises it into a dry-mist plasma, so it gets everywhere by force – way better than anything we could do with a hand wipe.

Ionising charges the hydrogen peroxide particles so they all go frantic, trying to get away from each other. They’re lighter than air too, so they spread up and out – underneath, behind and into every crack and crevice they can find.

That same charge attracts them to germs like a magnet. They grab out and latch on – in mid-air, on the ceiling, through the coils of cabling behind electronic equipment, everywhere. Oxygen atoms release on contact and all those pathogens are gone.

To do the same job by hand would take forever – but allowing time for the plasma to do its work thoroughly, the average room is clear and safe in around forty minutes.

Of course the superbugs are still out there in the Great Outdoors and you could get unlucky.

Safe at last

But nary a one can survive indoors as long as you sterilise the place first. Not MRSA, not c. difficile, not e. coli, not acinetobacter baumannii or any of the other current crop of nasties. Not even Ebola.

Feel safer now?

Remember to wash your hands too and you should be untouchable.

Good health!

Originally posted 2015-04-08 13:32:13.

Your next breath could be your last

Girl finess training
Healthy as anything,
until a germ gets you

Think it can’t happen?

One breath is all it takes.

Or a swallow. Or the next time you touch your face – which we do 2,000 times a day.

One germ contact and foops! You’re off work, or in hospital, or worse.

Doesn’t worry you right this instant, does it?

When you’re well, you’re untouchable.

It’s gonna happen

Yet every single day 2.2% of us are booked off sick from work. That’s 1.4 million people, every single day.

And count on it, sooner or later you’re going to come down with something and you’ll be one of them. Not if, but when.

Because we’re ALL colonised by bacteria ALL the time – and surrounded by billions more. Bacteria, viruses, fungi – you name it.

That’s not out in the open air either.

It’s in our homes and where we work and relax. Because we live indoors most of the time.

And the indoor biome, as it’s called, is one of the fastest growing environments round the world – the urban, indoor life of the city dweller.

Think it’s nice and clean and away from the threats of outside?

Every home has bugs. Bacteria and viruses too. Some of them benign and helpful. Others waiting to do us down. (Tweet this) And make no mistake, we are surrounded by them all the time. Every breath drags more of them in.

Good bugs, bad bugs, everywhere

We can’t see them of course, they stay out of sight.

Cockroaches and bedbugs hide away so well, if you see any one of them you already have an infestation problem.

Viruses and bacteria do even better. They’re so small, billions of them could be on your hand right now and you would never know.

Which is why hygiene is so crucial to your health. Kinda like wash your hands or else.

Because the body is remarkably resilient to threats from germs, but it’s not invincible.

One cut – even a paper cut – can put you down. One breath at the wrong moment.

And surrounded by billions and billions of germs as we are – the slightest opportunity any of them finds, they will take it.

But they’re off the radar, aren’t they?

Unseen but deadly

We can’t see them, so therefore they don’t exist. We only react to what we CAN see, which is visual dirt. Cleaning something we can understand – we can see the difference when we’ve done it too.

But awareness of germs, particularly in the house?

Beyond bunging some bleach in the loo and the odd scrub up in the kitchen, we don’t even think about them.

Which is taking more of a risk than we know.

Because of our climate, most of us in the UK live indoors most of the time. And what a climate! Raining all the time, right?

One look outside proves it. Green garden fences – from algae, lichen or moss. Stuff growing everywhere.

It’s even scarier indoors. And again – out of sight, out of mind.

Until you pull the wardrobe out and see the damp behind. The mildew and mould that you never realised was there.

Together with the other germs, the ever-present damp, and the warmth from the central heating, you’re living a lot more at hazard than you ever thought you were.

Wash your hands, save your life

Which is why hygiene – particularly taking care of those unseen nasties – is key to enjoying life and avoiding those cough-splutters that pull you down.

Except you can’t scrub and wipe-clean everything.

You can’t scrub the air around you either, which is 80% of your living space.

And that’s full of bugs too, floating around so small, they may never settle on anything – except you when you walk through them, take another breath and…

Don’t go there.

A Hypersteriliser will fix them though. Sterilise a whole room at a time so there are no germs anywhere – not even underneath things, behind them, or in cracks, or anywhere.

You just press a button – and twenty minutes later, sorted.

Not something we think a lot about now, but one day your life could depend on it.

And a heck of a lot better than holding your breath.

Originally posted 2015-03-27 13:21:59.

Spreading Corrie virus can be stopped

Girl with TV camera
The show must go on,
contingency plans are already in place

“Deadly manflu virus,” Simon Gregson called it – already signed off for a week as Steve McDonald in TV’s popular soap.

A possible disaster for TV viewers as their favourite programme falters.

Seems the rest of the cast and crew are flaking too, as this mystery illness takes hold in one after another.

Favourite soap in jeopardy?

Will cameras stop?

Not if producer Stuart Blackburn can help it. There are always contingency plans. But so far they stop short of everyone on the Street coughing and spluttering on camera.

Not surprising that it’s spread so fast though.

Sending sick actors off to bed doesn’t take the germs away, whatever they are. Especially on the interior sets – inside the Rover’s Return and everywhere else there’s plenty of places for viruses to hide.

They’re survivors too. Unlike the poor cast. Some types can last for a week or more, clinging to sets and scenery. Microscopically small no-one can see them.

But cough, choke, gag, sneeze – everyone knows they’re there soon enough.

A real headache for the production team. Because lurking germs continue to infect other cast members, even though the first lot are booked off and safe in bed.

A giant-sized job

And can you imagine disinfecting a warehouse-sized building full of intricate nooks and crannies – making sure there’s no germs anywhere on any surface?

Especially up high in the lighting grid. Or round the back of those impressive and convincing scenery walls.

All that electricity. Getting up there with wipe-clean disinfecting liquids is asking for trouble. A sure risk to life and limb too.

Right, it can’t be done.

Not so anyone can be sure.

So is life on the cobbles going to be sniff, splutter for the next few months while this “deadly manflu” does the rounds?

It doesn’t have to be.

A TV studio might be impossible to disinfect by wipe-clean. (Tweet this)

Technology to the rescue

But it’s a breeze with a good fogging system. And a sure-fire way to sterilise the entire place to hospital operating-theatre standards – no viruses or bacteria anywhere. Safe and gone.

It might take a while though. Big studio, lots of space. A couple of hours overnight when everyone’s grabbing some shuteye.

Time enough for a couple of Hypersterilisers to mist up the place and let their magic reach everywhere. A studio is a massive place to treat when you get behind the scenes.

Don’t worry though. Corrie people can be sure it will work.

The mist is hydrogen peroxide, one of the most powerful antimicrobials around.

And it gets everywhere because it’s ionised – a treatment that makes it more like a super-gas – actually a plasma, charged with electrons that get everywhere by physically trying to escape from each other – but grab hold of oppositely charged viruses and bacteria and oxidise them to oblivion.

Sterilised, safe and secure

A one-way ticket if you’re any kind of germ.

But a totally sterilised studio to work in if you’re an actor or camera crew.

99.9999% germ-free. Safe as houses.

Not just the studio either. But dressing rooms, wardrobe, make-up and other work areas – the whole shooting match.

Sure, it might be a few days before Steve and Liz McDonald, Sally Ann and a few others are fully back to normal.

But at least nobody else should come down with it – or anything else. And Kal Nazir can leave the Street without any unhappy lasting experiences.

Your favourite show would be protected.

Originally posted 2015-03-25 13:11:24.

How cracks in our hygiene will kill us

Arms folded doctor
Germs are so deadly, you can’t take chances, ever

It’s Hollywood’s oldest cliché.

The white-gloved finger running along a surface – and the dirty smudge that results.

Just because a thing looks clean doesn’t mean it is.

Except we know that. Which is why we  attack everything with disinfectants the way we do.

Looks are deceiving

We know about germs – and we know they live in dirt.

But sussing whether a thing is clean or not is still a problem.

If you’ve got the time and patience, you can try one of those fancy CSI jobbies that show up where the bloodstains are. Bioluminescence that glows under UV light. Hidden germs – lurking.

Which is a nightmare that’s even worse in hospitals. HAIs – hospital acquired infections – are the most frustrating and deadly challenge of our age.

Argh, it’s infuriating! Here is a facility specially created to make people well – only for them to catch a superbug and die.

And it happens, even though staff are meticulous with their cleaning procedures. Latex gloves, so nothing is touched directly. Every surface swabbed with bleach.

Recycling bugs

Next second, everyone is down with diarrhoea – even patients in special care and on antibiotics. Especially them, it often seems. Clostridium difficile (c.diff) – a killer bacterium that seems to thrive in health care centres – accounting for around 2,000 deaths a year in UK.

This is a real nasty that seems to lurk everywhere. Swab, scrub, swab, scrub – but repeat infections become a vicious cycle.

Because it’s not just on surfaces, it’s in hidden corners and cracks – those unavoidable crevices between furniture and machines – where hand-wipe cleaning just cannot reach.

Desperate to try anything, Vancouver General Hospital is running tests with a tracker dog. Like an airport bomb-sniffer, Angus the springer spaniel is specially trained to sniff out clostridium difficile wherever it inevitably tries to hide. In the cracks in walls, floors, and under sinks – out of sight, out of mind – until the next uncontrollable dash for the loo.

Effective, sure – and a heart-warming story.

Except the cracks still have to be properly cleaned and disinfected. It takes time to sniff out a whole hospital ward too. And even then, conventional cleaners may not actually kill the bug.

There are questions too – about the wisdom of bringing a dog into a hospital in the first place.

An effective rescue

All problems that dissolve into nothing by using hydrogen peroxide.

Many hospitals will be familiar with hydrogen peroxide fogging to get rid of germs.

Few of them stick with it because it’s a schlep – rooms have to be evacuated for the spray to be applied – and out of action for hours while the stuff dries out.

Unless of course, they’re using a Hypersteriliser.

No more schlep, no more wet spray.

The dry mist from this small and easily handled machine is ionised.

Ultra-fine particles of hydrogen peroxide are charged like a plasma to disperse quickly in all directions. Upwards, outwards, underneath and behind things – penetrating deep into inaccessible crevices – dynamically attracted there, exactly where c. diff likes to hide.

Not just c.diff either – but all viruses and bacteria that may be present.

Charged attraction

Like magnets, the charged particles of hydrogen peroxide actively reach out and grab at the cells of harmful pathogens – ripping through them with oxygen atoms to destroy them completely.

Another super-effective germ killer, colloidal silver, boosts this action so the hydrogen peroxide is three times more effective. A miniscule film of it is left behind on surfaces as an ongoing microbial barrier.

And after its oxidising attack, the hydrogen peroxide itself breaks down into harmless oxygen and water, which quickly evaporates into nothing.

So yes, there might be cracks all round us where germs can hide. But they’re not going to get very far with this kind of protection. Sterilised, safe and secure.

Let’s get HAIs down – and antibiotic-resistant bugs out on their ear.

We’ve hiked our hygiene habits to a whole new level.

Originally posted 2015-03-16 13:03:05.

Smitten by aliens from outer space

Spacewoman
Space, the final frontier: to boldly go where no germs can ever get you

It’s an affliction we’ve suffered from for nearly fifty years.

And enjoyed every second. Charmed and intrigued by an alien space being – that inscrutable and totally logical Vulcan known as Doctor Spock.

Boldly gone

Sadly, the charismatic Leonard Nimoy who played Spock in the 1960s TV series Star Trek, has passed on.

It is the end of a legend.

But our fascination and often dread for things alien is a lasting legacy – and the spirit of Spock will live on for aeons to come.

“Is there life out there?” is a question we already seem to have answered ourselves.

Out of which comes our continuing paranoia – “What if it comes here?”

It’s not just in sci-fi that it receives such focus.

Real eggheads in research centres all over the world worry about it in sci-fact too.

When the original Star Trek took to the airwaves  in 1966, space travel was still just throwing rockets up and watching them go round and round.

Three years later came Apollo 11 and two men walked on the moon.

Infection from space

Alien exposure!

What dangers did they risk? What contamination did they face?

And most paranoid of all, what extra-terrestrial hazards did they bring back?

They walked the moon’s surface, moon dust was on their clothing. The moon’s electro-magnetic influence infused their being.

More to the point, out of the six Apollo moon landings between 1969 and 1972, 2,415 samples of rock from the moon – almost a third of a ton – came back too.

And what defence do we have from possible alien life forms? (Tweet this) Embryo creatures trapped in lunar basalt, or deadly viruses set to take over our planet?

It is a recurring headache for scientists everywhere – how to avoid contamination of space with Earth-originated organisms.

And the other way around. How to prevent our own contamination.

Kinda difficult now that some 300,000 pieces of space junk larger than 1 cm are estimated to be in orbit up to 1,200 miles out – detritus from rocket stages, old satellites and other broken bits of nothing.

Science hoo-hah?

Not a bit of it.

Earth contamination

After the Apollo 12 mission, the camera from a previous Surveyor 3 probe was brought back to Earth and found to have Streptococcus mitis alive on its casing –  attributed by NASA to its not being sterilised on Earth prior to launch, two and a half years previously.

A technician sneezed on it.

NASA’s watchdog against any repeat is its Office of Planetary Protection, which applies muscle to measure, control and reduce spacecraft microbial contamination by law.

Sterilising spacecraft is difficult, given their construction from sensitive materials and the many fragile electronics systems involved. Repeated exposure to ultra violet light covers many stages of preparation, so does bombarding with gamma rays.

But Earth’s microbes have already proved themselves able to withstand extremes of temperature, radiation exposure, and even survive being in a vacuum.

Outer space? Been there, done that.

Currently, two methods are accepted for sterilising spacecraft – cooking with dry heat up to 233 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 hours – or exposure to hydrogen peroxide.

The hydrogen peroxide route is under close scrutiny – favoured for its effectiveness in eliminating all viruses and bacteria – but questioned for the moisture it introduces when deployed as a vapour, a major advantage over manual wipe methods.

Sterilising that works

That could be about to change – and remember, you read about it right here, first.

Already deployed throughout hospitals and public buildings is an automatic Hypersteriliser that ionises hydrogen peroxide into a dry mist that substantially outperforms the vapour method.

Ionising in the spray nozzle causes the hydrogen peroxide molecules  to become charged, dispersing widely and quickly as their like charges repel each other, forcing them apart.

The same charge attracts them to any surfaces or airborne particles, actively grabbing at viruses and bacteria which they destroy by thrusting oxygen atoms at them. In as little as an hour, any enclosed space and its contents becomes clinically sterile.

Good to know we have that kind of protection. Especially as we are still smitten.

As we learned from the movie Alien – in space, no one can hear you scream.

Originally posted 2015-03-03 13:15:25.

The difference between clean and safe

Mum and baby hands
Most of the time, clean just isn’t enough

Chores done. Spic and span.

And the floor looks so good you could eat your breakfast off it.

Really?

Prepared to risk a tummy ache for it?

Beyond appearances

For all you know, that floor could be covered in germs. And how would you know? They’re so small you need a microscope to see them.

OK, soap and water does get rid of a lot of stuff . Dirt certainly, you can see that.

And yes, probably a whole stack of germs.

By making that floor – or anything else – clean, you have basically “sanitised” it.

If before you started there were a million germs to a square inch – harmful pathogens, viruses or bacteria – you have now pulled them down to 100,000, a reduction of 90%.

Assuming of course, that you have cleaned thoroughly – not just slopped with a mop and stopped for a coffee.

Personal hygiene

It’s the same with your hands.

A proper clean with soap and water for at least thirty seconds – or with alcohol gel if there’s no facilities – will get rid of 90% of germs.

Medics and science boffins call this a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 1. If you scrub for five minutes or so, like operating staff do, you get rid of 99% – a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 2.

But there’s a catch. All bacteria have the power to divide and multiply. One cell becomes two, two become four, four become sixteen – etcetera.

And since 10% of them are left, they’ll be at it immediately.

Warm, moist conditions accelerate this. So if whatever you’ve just cleaned isn’t dry, those germs will be racing to replace themselves. That 10% of germs can double in 20 minutes. In less than two hours, they could be back to full strength.

And germs like flu viruses can survive on your skin for 24 hours. Other bacteria can survive for weeks. (Tweet this)

Makes you think twice about the towel you use, doesn’t it? If it’s still damp – and it’s likely to be – the next person who comes along is going to pick up whatever you left. That’s why air blade dryers are so much safer – your hands get dry without leaving anything behind.

Thank goodness.

Because out of all the millions and millions of bacteria that might be around (there always are), it only takes 10 cells of something nasty like e.coli to make you very sick indeed.

This means war

So how about if you deliberately set out to kill germs? Use a disinfectant like Domestos or Dettol?

Depending on the strength and preparation of the stuff you’re using, you’ll reduce germ levels – the number of colony forming units of viruses or bacteria – by anything from 99.9% to 99.999%. That’s a Sterility Assurance Level from Log 3 to Log 5. (Just count the number of 9s).

Pretty good, but not really serious if infection is a problem – like when everyone’s come down with norovirus, or flu is spreading like wildfire.

Going the whole hog is to sterilise everything. To destroy all viruses and bacteria completely. Reduce those million germs you started with down to nothing – all non-pathogenic and pathogenic spores, fungi and viruses.

The science boys shake their heads at that, since it’s not always provable. The best they’re prepared to accept is reducing the million down to one, or 99.9999%. This puts us at a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 6.

Making safe

Safe enough?

For sure. And it’s achievable in as little as twenty minutes by misting up the room with ionised hydrogen peroxide.

Ionising makes hydrogen peroxide particles become supercharged – acting far more powerfully than they would otherwise. They kill on contact without needing to saturate the atmosphere. The dry mist reaches everywhere, sterilising the air as well as all surfaces.

Well you don’t get flu by sniffing the table, do you?

And ionised hydrogen peroxide can be used pretty well anywhere in an enclosed space. You just roll in the electronic robot unit – it’s about the size of a small wheelie-bin – close all the doors and windows, hit the button and leave.

Result, a sterilised room with a germ threshold of zero. Your kid’s classroom, your office, your hotel room – anywhere you might be a risk.

Washed your hands?

You’re off to a good start.

Originally posted 2015-02-13 13:20:48.

How to take the heat off super-busy hospitals

Girl magician casting spell
Germ-nasteous Disappearium! Hydrogen peroxide zaps all pathogens immediately

We’re not all ill. There is no epidemic.

Yet every one of our hospitals is jammed packed with people anxiously seeking attention.

How come?

Hospital overload

Anyone would think we’re a bunch of fraidy-cat hypochondriacs.

Maybe we are.

But the people crowded into waiting rooms up and down the country are mostly there because there’s no place else to go.

  • Their GP won’t see them, he’s closed after-hours and they can’t get an appointment.
  • The 111 service can’t sort out the problem, so it’s referred them to A&E.
  • Their pharmacy is concerned about symptoms and has done the same thing.

Which puts a whole bunch of people in a queue, all waiting for one thing.

Diagnosis.

Well actually, for somebody to tell them what’s wrong, with a suggestion of how to fix it.

“Take two aspirin and call me in the morning.”

And because they’re ordinary non-medical folk, half of them are convinced their condition is more serious than it is. There’s no family Doc with “There, there, it’s all right. Take two aspirin and call me in the morning”.

All they know is, they don’t feel well.

Which of course, can be caused by a whole slew of things.

But unless it’s an accident or an underlying condition, it’s probably germs.

Germs!

Somehow, they’ve come down with a bug.

Which nine times out of ten, should never have happened in the first place.

Sloppy hygiene. Hands not washed. Gunge from the underside of the sink.

Or just plain unlucky – a nasty stomach-heaving bug floating around at head height in the living room – which wafted in on the coat of the vicar who dropped in for tea , two days ago.

But bugs can be stopped.

DEAD. IN. THEIR. TRACKS.

Because it’s possible to sterilise every room in the country to hospital operating-room levels – no germs at all, anywhere. (Tweet this) Finished. Gone. A total germ desert.

And that’s germs in the air, germs on your clothes, germs on furniture, drapes, carpets, walls, ceilings, light fittings, everywhere – you name it. Total room sterility.

The only place germs can’t get clobbered is outside in the big outdoors. Or inside somebody who’s already got them. So if Hooray Harriet sneezes all over you, chances are you’re going to come down with it.

But not if you walk into a room where the germ threshold is zero.

And that can be any room in the house, your office, the restaurant in the High Street, and the council offices round the corner.

Safe as houses

How’s it done?

Good old Nineteenth Century hydrogen peroxide. The same stuff you can buy in the chemist for less than a quid a bottle. Grandma used it for disinfecting stuff and sterilising her teeth.

Maybe even put some of it on you when you grazed your knee – fizzing round the edges while it KILLED THE GERMS.

Yes, but this is hydrogen peroxide with a difference. Souped up with Twenty-First Century technology.

A nifty electronic machine about the size of a small wheelie-bin sprays an ultra-fine IONISED mist of it up into the air so it spreads everywhere throughout the room.

All the air space – under, over, behind and round the back of stuff – all surfaces, everywhere.

Good ol’ aitch-two-oh-two

Ionised means it’s active. It reaches out and grabs things – drawn to them by static charge. But harmless once it’s done its work.

Twenty minutes later, all germs are destroyed. Because hydrogen peroxide works by ripping them to pieces with oxygen atoms. Blown apart in millions of microscopic explosions.

All viruses, all bacteria. Even the dreaded Ebola, in the unlikely event that you’ve got it lurking.

And they can’t come back if they’re busted to bits.

Which is how we take the heat off hospitals.

We just don’t go there, because there’s no need.

We’re too busy being healthy.

As long as everywhere is treated with this stuff, we’re all OK.

We wish.

Because it takes a long time for us to learn.

Look how long it took before double glazing and central heating took centre-stage in our homes.

Ah well. But we do know some folks who are working on it.

Originally posted 2015-02-12 14:11:42.

How we stress ourselves into illness

Girl on railway line
Your own mind can be
as deadly as any germs

You can’t always blame it on germs.

A lot of the time, the cause is our own sloppy hygiene.

Or, a bit more scary, we can also THINK ourselves ill.

Sounds weird, but we all know the truth of it.

Know that feeling before an interview when your body goes crazy?

Self hype

Upset tummy, unexpected shivers, apprehension and dread filling your head.

It’s not germs causing that.

It’s you.

Or more specifically, it’s you stressing yourself out.

Most of the time, it’s a one-off we get over quickly.

You’ve done the dentist, yes the root canal hurt, but now it’s over.

The relief is so strong, you get the munchies. And the heck with your sore mouth, that chicken and chorizo baguette is irresistible.

Dangerous company

But stress is not always one-off. And you mess with it at your peril.

A run of misfortune brought down normally fit Dave Dowdeswell with Type 2 diabetes. Grief, bad luck and business failure all at once – something had to give, and it was his body.

It could just as easily have been an ulcer, or cancer.

Imbalance in the body looks for whatever weakness it can find. Stress yourself out about something and there is always a price.

If you’re lucky, it’s momentary, like the nerves before an interview.

If it stays around long-term, you’re going to feel it more. Like there’s a car crash and somebody dear to you dies.

And there’s not a lot of defence against it, except attitude.

Part of the price we pay for the cocooned and sheltered lives we lead.

Oh yes, we’re softies. That’s why stress screws us up so much.

Hard times

Back in Victorian times, a death in the family was not unusual. Weaker diets, lower hygiene, illness was more inevitable – especially among children. Living with grief was more familiar. So was knowing how to handle it.

Most of us have never known anybody die. We’ve never seen a dead body, particularly of someone we love. Which is why we go to pieces when we do.

But life goes on.

And it will do so whether we stress or not.

So we have to teach ourselves to handle it.

Not to be heartless or uncaring. But to see reality for what it is, and come to terms with it.

Victorians went through denial, anger and acceptance, just like we do.

But they could live with it.

And so must we.

Diabetes, cancer, nervous breakdown – stress doesn’t care which it is. If we don’t get ourselves under control, it will choose for us anyway.

The mind has it

Which is where attitude comes in.

We think things change, and so do circumstances. They’re big, they’re small, dramatic, life-threatening.

Well actually no, they’re just things. Our perspective of them changes according to our attitude.

If you’re upbeat and positive, you can handle them. Beat your chest and throw your toys out of the cot, they will overwhelm and destroy you.

Stress can be a killer, but only if we let it. And we can all change it, just by attitude. (Tweet this)

Sure, there’s Xanax, Valium, Prozac – all mamma’s little helpers  when stress hits.

But think about it, why are you stressed?

If you’re honest, most of the time it’s all in the mind, right?

So the only way to rescue yourself is think yourself out of it.

Worth remembering, that. Remembering well.

When the end of the world happens, at least you have a lifeline.

Originally posted 2015-02-10 13:38:15.