Tag Archives: hand hygiene

Nobody eats raw chicken, so why the problems?

Girl shrugs shoulders
If all birds have the bug and cooking
kills it, they’re all safe to eat, right?

280,000 problems to be exact.

That’s the number of people who come down with campylobacter in a year – a really yucky stomach upset that makes you super-queasy, gives you the runs, and triggers some of the worst cramps you’ve ever experienced.

UK’s biggest villain

According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA ), campylobacter is far and away the UK’s biggest cause of food poisoning. Worse than its nasty friends norovirus, salmonella and e.coli – all horrible bugs that you get from eating something.

That means chicken if you’re unfortunate enough to catch campylobacter. An unpleasant stomach upset that can take you out for three days, even cause paralysis and death.

And the FSA is right to jump up and down about it.

Around 75% of poultry has it – chickens, turkeys, a lot of other animals too. It lives naturally in their gut without harm, probably even helping with digestion – like lactobacillus does in our own systems.

Trouble is, our metabolisms are quite different to chickens. What’s good for you goose is not good for you gander – once campylobacter gets loose in your digestive system, you’re in for a roller-coaster tough time.

Uh huh. So if if 75% of poultry has it, why don’t we crash out with campylobacter all the time?

The heat is on

Because, lucky us, all traces of campylobacter are completely destroyed by cooking. (Tweet this) Once the meat is no longer pink and the juices run clear, that chicken is safe to eat for everyone.

Kinda vital when you remember that chicken is one of our least expensive and popular foods – in everything from fast food to posh nosh.

But this campylobacter stuff is a mean player. It’s highly contagious, and just one drop of moisture or juices from a contaminated bird is enough to bring down a whole restaurant.

Which is why the FSA is continually jumping up and down about NOT washing raw chicken. The water you use and the splashes it makes are all contaminated.

So are utensils you might use – chopping boards and work surfaces too – which is why washing them down thoroughly is essential.

Hand hygiene

Your hands too, of course.

We’re none of us as sharp as we should be with hand hygiene, and forgetting to wash probably causes more illnesses throughout the country than anything else. Campylobacter alone costs us around £900 million a year in NHS treatment and lost productivity.

OK, so don’t wash raw chicken. Don’t eat it either. Common sense really. Like don’t eat unshelled seafood or unpeeled fruit – doing that will make you sick too.

Even so, a lot of people keep getting sick – so the FSA also jump up and down about controlling poultry production and why don’t supermarkets insist on only trouble-free birds?

Er, excuse us – totally, utterly wrong.

Blame the packaging

75% of all birds – we’re talking 2.2 million birds a week here. That’s how many we eat – more popular than fish and chips. Chicken tikka masala, right?

Culling that lot and starting again would bankrupt the industry – and push shopping budgets through the roof.

The nation’s Number One popular food suddenly at premium prices – they’ll have your guts for garters, mate!

Much more sense to target the packaging. Easier to control too.

Walk into Aldi, and you’ll see whole chickens have the label DON’T WASH RAW CHICKEN. That’s a good start. Add a warning that it must also be properly cooked and we’re getting somewhere.

But walk into ANY supermarket and just look the packaging. Most of the time, its shrink-wrapped onto a styrene tray, not even vacuum-sealed. Not good, Jim.

Distributed like that, any liquids from the product can leak. Onto others in the refrigerated lorry. Onto others in the display cabinets. Onto others in your fridge at home.

And one drop is all it takes – wow, wow, wow, campylobacter for the whole family.

Not from the chicken, which was properly cooked and enjoyed. But from the splash of liquid that fell onto the fresh tomatoes you had in the vegetable drawer underneath.

A bad dose of that and they’ll have to pump your stomach at A&E.

An un-problem really

Properly cooked, chicken is not a problem – look at KFC.  The same sourced chicken as all other supermarkets in UK, and campylobacter doesn’t happen.

So most birds have campylobacter, get over it.

And even if you could isolate the “clean” ones, how are you going to prevent contamination from others – cull all the robins and sparrows and blackbirds too?

Insist on sealed, leak-proof packaging and the problem goes away.

Nobody eats raw chicken. Period.

Which brings the real problem right back to washing hands and everything you use to prep the food with.

Clean or else

They should make it a law – wash everything properly, or you could die.

Hey, wait a minute, that’s already true!

One chance too many and out we go, feet first.

We have been warned.

Originally posted 2015-05-28 17:01:57.

It’s up to us now – if we don’t each of us help the NHS, nobody else will

Doctors warning - help the NHS
The writing’s on the wall – help the NHS, or we’ll all go down together

Forget the headlines and the soundbites – the only people who can help the NHS now are ourselves.

Never mind WHY there’s a crisis, if we all of us do our bit, we can get through this together.

First off, the NHS are right – don’t get ill. We’ve got to stop running to them unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Help the NHS – no more chances

There’s too many of us otherwise. Our numbers just swamp the place.

So we’ve got to stop making ourselves ill. Taking chances with our health that don’t do us any good.

Like our dodgy hygiene – we’re really lousy at keeping ourselves clean.

OK, we can’t see germs, so we can be excused for thinking that we don’t LOOK dirty.

We know about germs though, and the kind of precautions we should take.

But because we LOOK OK, we don’t do anything – and we hate being nannied about it.

None of which will help the NHS.

With an Aussie flu epidemic about to hit, on top of the usual winter tsunami, being precious about washing our hands is not exactly useful.

Especially when our track record is so iffy:

Ugh, the winter vomiting bug

Which gets really crazy when you think of the winter vomiting bug.

Norovirus is highly infectious and spreads on contact. Yet nine times out of ten, if ever we come down with it, we always blame the restaurant or fast food outlet of food poisoning.

Sure, the vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramps are so bad, we have to blame it on someone. It’s just extra hard to swallow that we caused it ourselves.

None of which can help the NHS when we show up, moaning and groaning. Norovirus is the one thing that can go round everywhere like wildfire – the last thing they need on top of the winter flood of patients and Aussie flu.

How are we so sure that norovirus is usually self inflicted?

It’s not just the poor washing of hands, it’s whether they’re washed at all.

Think about your day, from the time you left for work, to the time you meet your friends for dinner at the pizza  joint.

Think about the things you’ve touched that other people touch as well – the heavy traffic hand contacts everybody else makes, also without washing their hands.

Door handles, light switches, keypads, money, keys, hand rails, grab handles for instance. When do those things ever get cleaned – and how germified are they before you touch them?

Follow that with a whole day at the office, with perhaps 2 or 3 trips to the loo, and just maybe you’re also in that gruesome 62% or 40%. Yes, it’s possible. You do the whole day and show up for eats, without even washing once.

And then you order a double pepperoni and pineapple – which you EAT WITH YOUR HANDS.

So where does the food poisoning come from – out of the pizza oven, or off your own fingers?

Same thing with burgers, chicken drumsticks, kebabs, hot dogs, chips, bacon butties and anything else you munch on the go.

Finger lickin’ good, sure. And finger lickin’ norovirus, e.coli, campylobacter, salmonella or whatever else you swallowed at the same time.

Soap and water and safe

Yet all it takes – to help the NHS and spare yourself the agony – is a short session with soap and water. Always before food and always after the loo.

The same five minutes should help you duck the Aussie flu too. Because, yes, it’s airborne, but mostly spread on contact. Those gobs of snot and dribble are too heavy to stay up for long. Keep your hands and face clean and you can avoid them altogether.

Which is exactly how best to help the NHS.

Avoidance.

Don’t get ill in the first place, and the four-hour misery of A&E never happens. You never have to worry about getting a bed, or a possible appointment with the Grim Reaper in the corridor.

You do your bit – and everybody else does theirs – suddenly the NHS stands a fighting chance.

No more slagging them off. That belongs to the politicians, who can’t keep their mitts off, pretending to organise things. They’re not doctors, and they’re not managers – so what would they ever know about running a health service?

They’re the mob who shut down all the care homes, so the old folks have no place to go except stay in their hospital bed. The same mob who contracted local doctors so they’re no longer on call – and don’t work evenings or weekends either.

Want to see your GP? Sorry, on the golf course, come back next week.

See your Westminster wunderkind

All of which means contact your local party wunderkind and give them hell. All those people crowding into the NHS are their doing and it’s up to them to stop things.

And if you really want to help the NHS, make them think about the future too, not just the votes they’ll lose next time we go to the ballot box. Because if this winter’s NHS crisis looks bad, get ready for Armageddon in ten years’ time.

According to Dr Dame Sally Davies, England Chief Medical Officer, two calamities are coming that make Aussie flu look like child’s play.

The first is antibiotic resistance. Those wonder-drugs that make modern medicine such a miracle are rapidly becoming useless. The bacteria they’re up against have mutated themselves into immunity. All of a sudden, basic surgery isn’t possible any more – no heart bypasses, no hip replacements, no C-section births. You could even die from a paper cut.

Worse still, there’s no replacement. Nothing in the pipeline. The medicine cupboard is bare ands we’re back to the Dark Ages.

The second is obesity. Already two-thirds of us are either fat or obese – and a third of our kids too. All set for the slippery slope to asthma, type 2 diabetes, possible amputations, heart disease and cancer. Unless something is done quick, 30 million of us are going to die – long, slow and agonising – half the population of UK.

The politicians are doing nothing about these either. Still thinking about lunch, their picture in the paper, and a salary equivalent to five nurses.

So, want to help the NHS?

Lay it on the line to your local wunderkind – do something now, before it’s too late.

Oh, and keep your hands clean while you’re doing it. It could save your life.

About this blog

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Hypersteriliser units are supplied to businesses and institutions across the UK, notably the haematology and other critical units at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester; Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital; South Warwickshire Hospital; Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital; and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.

The Halo Hypersteriliser system achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. It is the only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. It is also EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

Antibiotic-itis: all of us have it – can we escape it?

Girl in mask 2
We all eat food, so we all have the problem – over-exposure to antibiotics

Never heard of antibiotic-itis?

Maybe you never will. Concerned medics will probably come up with a “safer” name for it. Less scary – like Chronic Immune System Degeneration or CISD – less to worry about behind anonymous letters.

Whatever they might call it, it exists all right.

World-wide threat

And we’ve all got it. All of us who buy food at the shops, that is. Not the lucky few still living in jungles or out in the wild where food is all natural. The ones never exposed to antibiotics.

Because we are, you see. Bombarded by them every day. Not just in the medicines we take, which is a whole other issue – but in the food we eat that comes from farms. Meat, veg, organic, whatever – imported or locally sourced – they’re all produced with masses of antibiotics to boost fast and super-developed growth.

Right now, world usage of agricultural antibiotics is just under 65,000 tonnes a year if you accept the official figures – but almost five times that if you probe deeper.

A lot of these drugs are added to animal feed to keep them healthy in the crowded mass-producing factory farms where clean conditions and good hygiene are near impossible. At least that’s the accepted line.

The real reason is that antibiotics boost growth by quantum leaps. From chicken’s egg to a 1.5 kg roasting chicken in six weeks. From calf to steak in the butcher’s in eighteen months. Big money.

Your midriff bulge

Want proof?

Check your own waistline. Chances are you’re a bit bulgier than you were a few years ago. You’re bulking up, just like farm livestock does. They eat the antibiotics, you eat them, the same drugs are in your system, doing the same thing – making you fat.

The antibiotics aren’t supposed to be there, of course. Farmers are required by law to withdraw all antibiotics from feedstuffs several weeks before market – and keep records to verify it.

If only it was that easy.

Because it’s a fact of life that cows and other animals only absorb 80 – 90% of the nutrients they eat, including antibiotic residues.  The rest passes out as dung, highly prized and widely used as manure.

Manure of course, gets used for everything – from grain crops, to feedstuffs, vegetables and fruit – including a lot of organic produce. Plus it leaches into the ground and into the water table, which is why tests show up antibiotics even in the stuff that we drink. If they’re right there in the Thames, they’re everywhere, particularly oxytetracycline – used in industrial quantities by agriculture, way more than people flushing unused tablets down the loo.

Oh yes, and antibiotics are also used directly to boost plant growth too – injected, mulched, manured – so even committed vegans among us are getting their daily dose too – though maybe not as heavy as regular mainline omnivores. Plus antibiotics in plant crops are not monitored or regulated by legislation, so there could be any amount in there.

Daily worse and worse

OK, we get the message. Every one of us probably has a three-times daily dose of non-medical antibiotics every day of our lives – and has had since birth.

Yeah well, the flip side of that is that our bodies are 90% bacteria, particularly down in our gut where there are over a 100 trillion of them – handling our digestion, producing proteins and regulating our immune systems, among thousands of other functions.

And antibiotics work by killing bacteria.

Which means not only do we bulk up fast, just like farm animals do – our gut bacteria are being savagely depleted or damaged more and more every day, no longer able to do the many things our bodies require.

The immediate downside is weight gain of course – suddenly we’re unhealthily heavy and long-term there is always a price. It might be type 2 diabetes we wind up with, or cancer, or heart disease, or any number of other slow, progressive and life-threatening ailments.

The slo-mo epidemic

But the universal CAUSE is antibiotic-itis – Chronic Immune System Degeneration.

And a lot more happens than just weight gain. Where else do we suddenly get all these afflictions that we never had before? When was the first-ever outbreak of norovirus – or Norwalk virus as it used to be called? 1972? What ever happened before then?

And how about the slew of allergies we never used to have – asthma, eczema, hay fever, urticaria, coeliac disease, dermatitis, lactose intolerance, nut allergies and a million more – a three-fold increase on where we were back in the 70s?

Our own miracle drugs are slowly killing us, day by day – slightly more of a medical nightmare than the antibiotic-resistant superbugs that doctors are currently worried about.

And way more of an epidemic than any single infection we might currently be being treated for. Diabetes, cancer and heart disease are all long-term illnesses – a disaster happening in slo-mo. The extra inch on our waistlines is just the beginning.

Biggest worry of all is the steadily worsening damage to our immune systems – every day our natural resistance is weaker. We’re on the slippery slope and the last thing we can use to treat it is antibiotics. But we’re not dead yet, and we do have options.

Ways to get out

Watch out for increasing medical interest and focus on bacteriophages – using “good guy” viruses to precisely target and destroy singled-out “bad guy” bacteria WITHOUT KILLING ANY OF THE OTHERS in our gut microbiota. Phage therapy was used widely in the Soviet Union during the dark days of the Cold War – a parallel technology that developed because antibiotics were only available in the West.

Our other defence is hygiene. Ramping up our personal cleanliness so that germs can never touch us, they’re instantly washed away. Hand hygiene is the start of course, washing thoroughly before and after everything, particularly meals and going to the loo.

The follow-up is eliminating germs from our living space – our homes, schools, offices, restaurants, hotels, meeting places, entertainment centres – the indoor places where we always congregate, putting ourselves at risk from each others’ viruses or bacteria.

Total room sterility

Not a problem there either. Now we have the Hypersteriliser, it’s the easiest thing in the world to sterilise any room totally, destroying all viruses and bacteria, on surfaces or in the air down to almost zero – 99.9999% germ-free, a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 6.

Antibiotic-itis? Yeah, we might hear of it. Because round the world we have to persuade farmers to stop using the things – at all. And in between time, eat only organic or non-farmed food.

Then chances are good it will go away before it gets serious.

Otherwise…

Picture Copyright: vonschonertagen / 123RF Stock Photo