Tag Archives: germs

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.

Avoid norovirus or worse as flood waters drop

Rain girl
Just remember, germs are like raindrops but smaller – up in the air and all over the place until you get rid of them

Goodbye Abigail, Barney, Clodagh, Desmond, Eva and Frank.

You weren’t nice and we never liked you – good riddance.

Likewise storms yet to come – Gertrude, Henry, Imogen, Jake and Katie.

We know you’re coming, but don’t expect us to roll out the welcome mat. You and the rest of your Named Storms mob have done enough damage already.

The long road back

So now it’s the heartache and the clear up. Putting your life back together.

But be careful.

There’s sickness in that water – and sickness where it’s been.

Up to your ankles in the kitchen, even more in the street. With the over-run sewer system four feet below that. Which means there’s poo in that water, nothing about it is safe. And as the level goes down, that yuck is going to be everywhere.

Be safe, don’t touch it, or risk getting it on your skin. Norovirus could be lurking there – or even worse, cholera. For sure, there’s nothing healthy.

So whatever you do, wash your hands if it gets on them – or if you’ve touched anything lying in it. Norovirus spreads on contact – and it only takes a dab. You don’t want that misery on top of everything else. Cramps, runs, upchucks – no thank you.

Wash your hands properly too, this stuff is pernicious. Find yourself some hot water – as hot as you can stand – and give yourself a good going over. Soap and scrubbing brush. Under your nails and between your fingers. Like you’ve got plague on them and you can’t take chances – which if you think about it, is true.

Proper hygiene is everything

And which of course means your place will need the same treatment.

After days of immersion in poo, sweeping out the mud and hosing everything down is not going to be good enough – not even with a turbo-wash. It’ll be in the wallpaper and the plaster – in the concrete and even the bricks. Going to have to be brutal.

It’ll be UNDER the floorboards too – in the crawl space around the foundations. By the time you get to it, a kind of sludgy, gooey gunge. Norovirus in there – and all other kinds of nasties. Squirt it out if you can, possibly forcing it out through the air bricks. You don’t want the drama of ripping everything up to get rid of it.

Yes, it’s a health hazard, but if you can get rid of most of it, it’s possible to neutralise the rest with hydrogen peroxide or some other oxidising steriliser.

Misting up the under-floor gap with a Hypersteriliser is a good choice – any airborne germs will be clobbered immediately and the stuff is good at forcing itself into difficult nooks and crannies. Any viruses or bacteria it comes in contact with will be dead in around 40 minutes.

Likewise any mould. The hydrogen peroxide won’t physically get rid of it, but it will kill it dead – you can tell in two ways. It won’t be that horrible black any more, but a pale grey. And whatever smell there might be – if it’s anything organic – will have disappeared.

That hydrogen peroxide mist will work well in the rest of the house too – especially at getting rid of the smell. But remember it’s only a vapour – actually a super-vapour called a plasma, which is why it’s so effective. But it won’t physically clean or scrub, so any smells could come back when the stuff wears off after a week or so.

It pays to be thorough

To do the job properly, you’ve got to chuck away all the carpets, lino, wallpaper and plaster so you can scrub down with disinfectant right to the bare walls and floor. Your place won’t look pretty, but at least it will be safe. Mist it up again with hydrogen peroxide and chances are good any smell is gone permanently.

The no-smell thing is important, because that means any microbial action has been stopped – there are no more germs breeding in there to come and get you. If the smells come back it either means you missed a bit and the germs break through when the hydrogen peroxide wears off – or the place isn’t fully dry and mould is reforming. Another mist-up will give you a quick fix, but the real answer is to get down and dirty all over again – this time, with a more eagle eye.

Look after yourself while you do all this, because don’t forget you ARE exposing yourself to germs – and nasties like norovirus are airborne as well coating everything, so you could by mischance breathe some in. To be really safe, Public Health England have this excellent guide – useful and easy step-by-step stuff anyone can follow.

There, all done – and well done you. A real schlep, but you don’t want anyone coming down with anything serious on top of all the other setbacks.

Welcome back to the land of the living.

Originally posted 2016-01-07 16:22:45.

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.

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.

Red Alert: smog in China – bio-smog in your office

Worried woman in mask
Yes, it’s in the air – and our defences are lower than they’ve ever been

It’s Beijing’s first red alert ever. Schools closed, cars banned, visibility down to 600 yards in places.

It’s nasty stuff too. Poisonous particles, like a toxic gas. Essential to wear a face mask.

But at least you can SEE smog. You know it’s hazardous, so you can take precautions.

Invisible killers

Not like germs.

One cell of a virus or bacterium might be only 2 microns across. A millionth the size of a smoke or dust particle. Too small to be visible. A bio-smog.

But it’s a fact of life that germs are all around us, all the time .

They’re even necessary – hard to believe, but we’re mostly composed of bacteria ourselves. 10% human, 90% bacteria.

So it’s kind of essential we look after our bacteria as much as ourselves. Microscopic partners that keep us going, regulate our metabolisms, and even power our immune systems.

Invisible world

Of course the world we live in full of bacteria too, especially the air. Viruses, fungi, mould – all kinds of living organisms. And everything else too – oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, dust, fumes, smoke, particles of this and that. Exactly like smog, only invisible.

Not normally a bad thing either. Most of the time we’re never aware of these swirling, floating clouds of matter.

We even generate our own – a personal aura of surrounding bacteria unique to each of us, plus tiny flecks of dead skin, hair, grease, sweat and other body detritus – a unique body signature we trail around with us wherever we go.

It’s not unlike a force field that keeps bad stuff out. Bad bacteria can’t get into our bodies because our resident good bacteria crowd them away.

Unless an accident lets them in through a cut or skin break. Or we let them in through the sensitive tissue of our eyes, nose and mouth which we unconsciously touch 2,000 – 3,000 times a day. Or if we ingest them with our food, or simply breathe them in.

Bio-smog

So there it is – bio-smog in the office. Only we don’t know it’s there. An ever-present atmosphere of both life-giving and hazardous forces that we are immersed among every single day.

We could be victim to them at any second. Just be in the wrong place at the wrong time, touch the wrong thing or person, and BOOM – it’s flu, or norovirus, or an allergy attack, or whatever is doing the rounds.

OK, we all know the downside of getting sick.

Our bodies go through varying degrees of unpleasantness while they fight the infection – coughs, sneezes, cramp, vomiting – until we feel better. Our immune systems kick in with defences learnt as an infant, crawling around stuffing things into our mouths. A couple of days, and we’re better.

Or not.

Which is when we go to hospital, so our bodies can get help.

And one of the first treatments we get is the miracle of our modern age – a course of antibiotics. Amazing stuff, truly. Within hours we turn the corner. The bad bacteria in our bodies get clobbered, their attack is halted. Everything goes back to normal.

As if.

Not so miraculous

Because antibiotics don’t only kill the bad bacteria – they kill a lot of the good ones as well. Or hurt them, mutate them, change what they do, or prevent them from doing it properly. Collateral damage.

Which is why so many of us keep feeling sick after the antibiotics – it takes a while for our surviving bacteria to get back on their feet.

Oh yes.

Dropping an antibiotic capsule in among the 100 trillion bacteria that colonise our gut is exactly like lobbing a hydrogen bomb among the high-rise apartment blocks of one our biggest cities. Exactly why doctors never prescribe them unless they’re necessary.

Except of course, we “know” about antibiotics, we pressure them to. Gimme my miracle I want it now!

Result, antibiotics have become so overused they’ve developed resistance. Whole chunks from our repertoire of miracle drugs don’t work any more.

If only that was the worst of it.

You see, it’s not just medicine that overuses antibiotics. The big culprit is farming.

Overuse, big time

Shovelling antibiotics into food livestock enables more intensive methods with bigger profits – more animals in less space that’s not always clean. It bulks them up too – makes them fatter, faster, ready for market sooner. Even bigger profits.

The same with plant crops – more from less, quicker. The food production jackpot.

Thing is though, that traces of those antibiotics get through to us in everything we eat. Since child-birth and even in the womb, we’ve been exposed to background antibiotics our entire lives. Little hydrogen bombs one after another – boom, boom, boom!

Uh huh.

So no matter how carefully we’ve been nurtured through childhood, our immune systems are shot.

Where our bacteria would have acquired hereditary defences from our mothers and learned new ones from good, healthy exposure to dirt as dribbling babies – they’ve been killed off, stunted, or made unable to recognise threats when they happen.

Yeah, our immune systems are still working, sort of. But not as effectively as before this constant flood of antibiotics started washing over us.

Grandma never got dosed with 20 micrograms of streptomycin every day from the milk she drank. Or enrofloxacin from her boiled egg. Her immune system remained fully intact. No phantom allergies in her day – any illness was real and her body fought it off, naturally.

Without looking like a porker, either.

Bigger and bigger

Yeah, you’ve got it. Just like farm animals, we bulk up too.

In the last twenty years – exactly the time that farming with antibiotics has moved into high gear – we’ve ballooned bigger and bigger. Today, a quarter of our kids are grossly overweight – and two thirds of adults – an increasing cause of heart disease, diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders, cancers, depression and anxiety.

Bad?

You bet. A double-whammy.

“Antibiotics resistance is as big a risk as terrorism,” says Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England.

“Obesity is the new smoking,” says Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England.

Except what neither of them mention is the even BIGGER threat – that antibiotics have weakened and eroded our immune systems – and continue to do so.

Not good news when there’s 30 of you in the same office, sharing the same space, touching the same things and breathing the same air. Twenty years ago maybe, but not now.

The external antibiotic

Unless of course your office is regularly treated with a Hypersteriliser. A nightly or even weekly mist-up with ionised hydrogen peroxide to oxidise ALL viruses and bacteria in your work space. On surfaces, in nooks and crannies, throughout the air space.

Total room sterility when you come in next morning. Sort of like an “external antibiotic”, but with none of the health risk – hydrogen peroxide decomposes after use into oxygen and water, which evaporates. Safe and secure.

Better than living with bio-smog.

Originally posted 2015-12-09 15:44:02.

Why pay to keep warm, but not to keep healthy?

Sweater girl
Warmth is even nicer…
when there aren’t any germs around

Winter’s coming.

Cold’s, flu – and all kinds of sniffy nasties.

So what do we do about it?

Not a lot.

Paracetamol, a blanket – and turn the heating up. Ah, lovely warmth!

Bills, bills, bills

£1,000 a year for a two-bed-roomed house. £5,000 and more for the office at work.

Worth every penny, right?

It won’t stop the sniffles – but goodness, how it feels to be human.

Unless you DO have the sniffles of course. Not human at all, however high you turn the thermostat. And so difficult to breathe when you feel like you’re boiling.

Open a window, let’s please have some air!

Shut the stupid thing quick – do you want us to catch our deaths?

Yeah, right. All those germs circling round. In the air conditioning, out of the air conditioning – spread evenly round the whole staff, so they all get a go. Cough, splutter, EXPLODE!

Fat lot of good paracetamol does when you’re feeling like death. Time to pull a sickie. That stuff on your desk can go to hell for a few days. Forget the heating, time to go to bed. Ironic too, that you’re running a temperature.

Germs, germs, germs

So what about those germs from whatever you’ve got? Still festering in the office, waiting for another victim. Because forget whatever we breathe in or breathe out, we all of us trail around a whole bio-aura of personal bacteria, dead skin cells and body detritus wherever we move.

That’s lingering in the office too. A whole different health hazard to your colleagues – who might have a condition or sensitivities vulnerable to your normal bio-balance. Harmless to you, a possible threat to them.

Plus of course, there’s whatever germs might be hanging around from everyday office activities. Lots of people eat at their desks, so there’s food fragments and attendant bacteria – and all kinds of stuff loitering about in the dust bunnies under keyboards and behind plasma screens – more microbial mayhem for the office germ threshold.

And most of all this stuff is floating around in the air. In that feel-good warmth the company’s paying £5,000 a year to generate. All that money to warm it, but nothing at all to take the bugs out.

Which is crazy, because for not much more than £4 a pop, that whole office space could be sterilised every night – all germs oxidised to nothing by misting up the place with hydrogen peroxide – safe, secure and totally neutral for when your colleagues arrive in the morning.

So what is wrong with this picture? £4 a room (depending on the room size) – around £1,200 a year for the days the office is in use – say, quarter of the heating bill.

Health, health, health

The difference between running a temperature and costing money in sick leave, or feeling that luscious warmth wrap around you in another illness-free day, doing what you do best and MAKING money for yourself and the company.

All it takes is one press of a button on the front panel of a Hypersteriliser machine after everybody’s gone home – and ffffsssssss!

A super-fine all-penetrating mist of ionised hydrogen peroxide spreads everywhere throughout the work area, actively grabbing at viruses and bacteria in mid-air or on surfaces, ripping them to shreds till there’s nothing left.

How can you tell?

Well that two-week old chicken mayonnaise sarnie might still be tucked down the side of Fred Nurk’s desk, but you won’t be able to smell it. The bacteria that caused the stink are dead and gone – the place is pong-neutral until new bacteria start up again. Or Fred Nurk finally sees the remains and chucks them in the bin.

Warm air, good. Healthy air, even gooder.

And yet we never even think about it. We’re not a hospital. We’re not sick. So it never occurs to us about how we GET sick.

Because now we don’t have to. With no germs around, that doesn’t happen any more. No absentees, better productivity, more bonuses, greater profitability.

So why are the brass still moaning about a £5,000 electricity bill?

Originally posted 2015-12-03 16:20:21.

How using your phone on the loo could cost your job

Girl phoning on loo
You don’t want to know what could be on your phone

Look away now if you gross out easy – this one’s not for the squeamish.

Though you might squeam loud when you realise the consequences.

You see, your phone’s got poo on it. Dinkum.

Some researchers reckon it’s not every phone, it’s only one in six.

Yeah, right.

You’re sitting on the hopper, you get stuff on your hands – impossible not to. And your phone’s in your hands, so it’s got poo on it. A no brainer.

Forgotten hygiene habits

So maybe you’re one of that amazing minority who does actually wash your hands after going to the loo. Most people don’t, in fact they’re real chance-takers.

Uh huh. Even celebs like Jennifer Lawrence fess up that she doesn’t wash after taking a dump. She denies it now, but we all tell those kind of porkies, don’t we?

But let’s get real now, who in the world washes their phone?

Nobody, right? Water and phone batteries don’t get on.

But even if you did wash it, the stuff comes straight back onto your fingers next time you use the thing. And keeps transferring to everything you touch afterwards.

The stuff on your desk? The lift buttons, light switches, door handles and all? 10 million germs on it according to research.

And how do you think the stuff got there?

Your job on the line

OK, so totally gross – what’s this got to do with losing your job? ‘Elf & Safety poo police going to get you fired or what?

A lot worse than that.

Because with stuff on your hands and your desk and your phone, it’s inevitable you’re going to transfer some to other people – the people you work alongside, your colleagues.

And as you’ve probably experienced yourself many times in this life, Sod’s Law always applies.

So while most of the time nothing happens with all this stuff on your hands – just when you don’t want it to, things go pear-shaped. Like the faeces literally hit the propeller.

Most likely calamity choice? Norovirus – the most common cause of gastroenteritis world-wide. A.k.a. gastric flu or food poisoning – or as regulars of this blog already recognise, the Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease.

Translate that as severe cramps, projectile vomiting, violent diarrhoea and days of on-going misery. Strikes in as little as twenty minutes, twelve hospitals in Scotland already smitten with it, 3 million cases annually and around 80 deaths.

The UK’s top sickie

Yeah, a major player. Get norovirus in the office and it goes round like wildfire – seen what it does to cruise ships? But at least they’re ready for it – with doctors, nurses and a whole crew standing by with disinfectant sprays and the works. Back home, all anyone’s got in the office is Band-Aid strips.

OK, so you’re playing with fire. And with poo on your hands, sooner or later something WILL happen.

Like when that make-or-break project comes in, and it’s all hands to the pump. Concentrated 24/7 to get it done. The one critical shot at fame and fortune – or the company goes to the wall.

Think it can’t happen? Ace consultants Pricewaterhouse Cooper put the cost of sickness absence in the UK at £29 billion annually. Top accountant gurus Sage put it at three times that, topping £100 billion. Plenty of companies better than yours go bang against money like that.

Facing reality

So how’s it going, with everyone at home, groaning and clutching their gut? Networked on the laptop, sitting on the loo, nobody’s brain more than mush for longer than five minutes – what chance do any of you have?

Yeah, the writing’s on the wall. Take chances and there might not BE a company left to work for.

So them’s your marching orders.

Don’t take your phone to the loo and ALWAYS wash your hands. Wipe the phone regularly with antiseptic wipes – and everything on your desk too.

If we’ve made you paranoid – and with so many germs hazards around it’s difficult not to be – you can even sterilise your office nightly with a Hypersteriliser. Germs oxidised to zero by ionised hydrogen peroxide – all surfaces and the air itself – the whole place, safe and secure.

Anyway, who wants to talk in the loo? Whoever’s in the stall next to you starts blabbing and it’s all over town, like a virus of its own.

Better to keep schtum – and hold your job.

Originally posted 2015-12-02 15:55:06.

OK, scumbag norovirus, now the gloves are off

Aggro bizwoman
POW! Straight disciplined hand hygiene wins every time

So you’re the winter vomiting bug, huh?

Big deal.

Reckon we’re not wise to you, hanging out on ATMs, door handles, handrails and shopping trolleys? You and your mates, coronavirus – aka SARS and MERS – flu and staph?

OK, so we touch all of these things all the time anyway. Covered in germs like you.

Winter germ traps

So now it’s freezing cold and we’re wearing gloves, you’re trying to kid us that we don’t know you’re there.

Nice try, dirt-bag – but it won’t work.

Those gloves are getting the treatment with antibacterial wipes after every outing – then they’re coming off. Straight onto a desk or table to dry, so you guys don’t get a chance.

No breeding, right? This means you!

You know what happens then?

Yeah, you think we’re lulled into a false security, don’t you? The gloves are off, now we’re safe.

But the joke’s on you, germ-brain. We’re going to wash our hands straight away too. Handling gloves transfers you to our fingers – so it’s the big bye-bye, we’re giving you the wash-off.

And you know what?

Hands always clean

We’re giving our hands ANOTHER wash or the gel treatment before we put those gloves back on too.

Because, yeah, we know you hang about on surfaces and in the air indoors too – riding in on our clothing, or the bio-aura of personal bacteria we all carry with us.

Uh huh. So we know if there’s low-life germs like you on our hands when we put our gloves on, you’ll be waiting for us INSIDE next time too.

Not smart enough, bozo.

With near-sterile hands, the inside of our gloves stay near-sterile.

And count on it – with a BOLO always out for you and your kind at this time of the year – those gloves are going in the wash just as often as regular clothes.

Thought we’d forget, eh?

Just shove the gloves in our pocket and never think about them from one day to the next? Never wash them, never anything from one year to another. Unless we get yuck on them, lose one, or get a hole in the finger.

Scarves too, you think we’re stupid?

Or you think because we wear classy gloves to work or out on the town, we’re too scared to wash them because they’re made of suede or leather?

Wash and re-wash

Hoo boy, don’t you know we’re on to you?

Thanks to your other pals like MRSA, e.coli and the rest of the mob, we know our meds aren’t working as well as they used to. Antimicrobial resistance, it’s in all the papers. No-go antibiotics, yeah we know about them – why do you think we’re washing our hands every two seconds – because we’re OCD?

The Docs have been warning us for years us about hygiene standards with you lot around – that staying clean is now our best defence, like back in the old days.

And finally, FINALLY, we’re wising up – going back to the old way of doing things. Soap and water, rub and scrub.

Like cleaning leather gloves? Easy-peasy. Leather, silk, suede – we know how.

Even those super-warm Thinsulate gloves too.

AND scarves. AND turning out coat pockets – jackets, skirts, trousers, everything. Clean is the new cool.

Yeah, plus our timing is spot on as well.

Here comes the festive season with everyone anguishing over what gifts to buy…

For her, for him

BOOM! Extra gloves, extra scarves – so there’s always a pair to wear, a pair in the wash, a pair air-drying, and a pair waiting for next time.

And always clean hands to go inside them.

So you’re the famous norovirus. Well bully for you.

Yah, boo, sucks – the Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease.

Just because it’s winter, you can’t fool us any more.

The gloves are off.

 

Originally posted 2015-11-30 14:28:05.

Workplace germs: a loaded gun on every desk

Gun
Invisible – and make no mistake – deadly

Try this, right now.

Lift your keyboard and look underneath. Pretty yuck, huh?

Everyday killer

Where did all that come from? How long has it been there? What kind of germs might be living in it? Are you safe?

The short answer is, that’s all you – and ANY germs can make you sick if you’re unlucky.

The usual bad boys are flu and norovirus – the most potent, meaning they’re easiest to catch. And the most common – ready to bring you down over and over again, several times a year.

Oh yeah. And just so you know, flu kills around 14,500 people a year – most of them elderly, but you only need one complication to be included in that number.

Norovirus is even easier to catch (20 particles is all it takes) and makes you wish you were dead – those cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea are the end of the world. If it’s bad, dehydration sets in – and if that goes pear-shaped too, it’s curtains. Around 80 people die from it every year, but diarrhoea can do that all by itself.

Norovirus is a major cause of gastroenteritis world wide, alongside the main villain, the salmonella family of 2,500 bugs. Both are usually to be found on your desk along with campylobacter – another family of horribles, escherichia coli, the shigella tribe of nasties, staphylococcus aureus, bacillus cereus and clostridium perfringens.

Invisible health hazard

That gun is loaded alright – and pointing straight at you.

So how come your desk is so dangerous – up to 400 times more bugged than a toilet seat?

Ah, but we know the toilet is a hazardous place for germs – so the facilities management people are in there like clockwork, cleaning and scrubbing several times a day, sometimes even once an hour.

But they don’t come anywhere near your desk, do they? Never anything more than a quick wipe – with the same cloth that does all the desks. All that confidential stuff, projects on the go – don’t touch or else.

Plus you eat there too – like nearly two-thirds of us do.

Which is where all those crumbs and dust particles come from – last week’s fish and chips, smears of dressing from yesterday’s salad because you were on a health kick, today’s pizza. All over the desk, too small to see – under the keyboard is just where they collect most easily, behind the screen too.

Now try this.

It only takes twenty minutes or so for bacteria reproduce itself. So after a couple of days that germ population has doubled. After a week or so, it’s doubled several times over.

One touch and all kinds of things transfer to your hands – which then touch your face, your eyes, your mouth, because so many of us rest our chin in our hand when we work. Infection by fomites.

Inevitable illness

Sooner or later you’re going to get it, even if you’re meticulous about washing your hands. And you really don’t want to know how bad we are about forgetting to do that – let alone how to do it properly.

There’s more germs in the air too, stirred up by us moving around. Also brought in by each of us as part of our personal germ-cloud.

We can’t see these either, but we all have a constant aura around us of billions and billions more bacteria, some good, some bad – neutral to us maybe, but a possible health risk to our colleagues with different sensitivities and immunities. Even if we’re well, we can make them sick.

And that doesn’t include the have-a-go heroes among us who drag themselves into work when they ARE sick – driven by pressure of work, or job anxiety, or simply unable to stay away. Gone to work with illness, ready to infect us all.

Looks like there’s more than one gun pointing at us.

Time to get bullet-proof. Strike back at these germs before they get us.

And there’s only one way.

Fight back

A mop and bucket won’t crack it, especially with all those computers around. It won’t touch the air either, 80% of any room space, where most of the germs are.

It has to be a Hypersteriliser.

Never heard of it? Get ready to kiss sickies goodbye. You might even be able to bundle your sick leave together with your holidays. Take a month off Pingsonbury, you’ve earned it.

The thing looks like a posh wheelie-bin with a nozzle and lights on it, ready to spray the room with hydrogen peroxide – one of the most effective germ-killers there is.

Posh is right, the thing is state of the art. Because it ionises the hydrogen peroxide as it sprays – changing it from an ordinary vapour into a plasma – boosting its performance by releasing hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, ozone (a more voracious oxidiser than hydrogen peroxide), and ultraviolet.

Give it forty minutes, and the room is totally sterile. No viruses or bacteria, all gone – even on your desk.

Yeah, the dirt and crumbs and dust bunnies are still there – you’ll have to swab those off yourself – with the wipes you keep around so your hands are always clean.

But now there’s no gun – and anyway the bullets are unloaded. You’re safe and so are your colleagues. Breath easy.

Now all you have to worry about are those lunatic drivers on the roads.

Originally posted 2015-11-27 14:44:59.

As deadly as any terrorist, and in our workplace now

Killer in keffiyeh
The enemy within – we never know where they’ll strike – but they will if they get the chance

They’re right here, all around us.

Milling about, following our every move. No just stalking us – hanging on to our clothes, our skin, our hair, the immediate air around us.

Horror in the air

If you’ve seen the horrific pictures in the paper recently, you’ll know what we mean – the spray clouds of droplets and snot violently discharged by an ordinary everyday sneeze.

Germs, right? Billions and billions of them. Gross.

Except what we don’t see are the billions and billions more ejected in the “invisible gas phase” – tiny drops full of pathogens, hardly 10 micrometres across – small enough to spread 200 times further than previously thought, enough to cover any room and reach the ventilation ducts meant to purify them.

Yeah, shocking. We should all carry handkerchiefs. Stop this spread right before it starts.

Except it’s not just droplets from sneezes that are billowing in our office air.

Germs, germs, everywhere

Every one of us trails an invisible but teeming aura of microbes – bacteria, yeast, cells, and cell parts constantly given off by the body. A hodgepodge of good germs and bad, our own personal bio-signature.

All of which are in addition to the germs already in our office – lurking on desks and phones and everything else. As many as 10 million of them on every surface. A seething morass of common viruses and bacteria – e.coli, salmonella, clostridium difficile, campylobacter, the superbug MRSA, cold and flu viruses and norovirus – any one of which could put you in hospital or kill you altogether.

A daily threat just as deadly as any terrorist bullet. And we don’t even know it’s there.

OK, fine – the body’s immune system is hard at it, keeping all these bugs at bay. Most of the time nothing happens.

Until you start wondering why just about everybody in the office goes off sick four or five times a year – always an empty desk, colleagues out of action longer than their holidays – with a sick bill for country of £29 billion a year.

Uh huh. Worse than any terrorist opening up with an AK47. 1.8% of the population out of action – that’s 1.17 million people – and anything upwards of 2,000 deaths.

All-out counter attack

So what do we do about it?

If yours is the average office – vacuum the floors, empty the waste-baskets and wipe down the desks – that’s it.

Yeah right, we’re going to stop a terrorist attack with a dirty rag?

How about we bring in a Hypersteriliser and do the job properly?

Get everybody out at the end of the day – then mist the place up with ionised hydrogen peroxide, so that all those viruses and bacteria are oxidised to nothing.

Forty minutes a room, that’s all it takes. After which the whole place is sterile. No hovering bugs to breathe or touch – no residual sneezes to take us down.

Every surface – even the air itself – is totally germ-free. Including all those nasties left behind from greasy fingers (burgers for lunch, cream doughnuts at coffee break) on keypads and light switches.

OK, so we’ll bring a whole load new germs with us when we waltz in tomorrow – our personal bio-cloud never leaves us.

But we won’t catch any bug left behind from yesterday’s work session – not even from the unlucky ones who caught one already and aren’t making it in today.

Yeah, take that, terrorist germs!

We aren’t scared of you – get lost!

Originally posted 2015-11-26 14:16:59.