Tag Archives: hydrogen peroxide

Now it’s inevitable: total global antibiotics failure

Worried farm vet
When antibiotics stop working for animals, we’re all at risk

Inevitable as in OMG, failure as in serious.

Imagine World War Three, a Force 5 hurricane and an end-of-the-dinosaurs meteor strike all at the same time.

All caused by the weapons we use against microscopic adversaries we can’t even see – the antibiotics we use to fight pathogenic bacteria.

Busted miracles

Amazing creations, antibiotics. Enabling modern medicine work miracles every day.

Except their edge is blunting fast – as canny bacteria mutate to develop resistance to our wonder-drugs – increasingly immune to everything we throw at them.

Antimicrobial resistance or AMR, it’s called. Bacteria impervious to even heavy doses of medication – just another bump in the road to the most successful single-celled living creature of all time – the latest hiccup in 5 billion years of evolution.

Of course, AMR was always going to happen. Bacteria are ultimate survivors – able thrive at temperatures from a freezing 0⁰C to a volcanic 350⁰C – in acidity from near pure water to concentrated battery acid – and if necessary, even without oxygen.

So that messing about in a laboratory for anything except a short-term solution is futile. Alexander Fleming, father of modern antibiotics even said as much in his 1945 lecture accepting the Nobel Prize.

His concern was that the bugs could gain immunity from under-dosing – killing the weakest but allowing the strongest to escape from non-lethal quantities. And with an organism able to divide by fission into new cells in as little as 20 minutes, it was only a matter of time before bacteria found ways.

Tick, tick, tick

They certainly did. Against penicillin, discovered in 1928 with resistant staph emerging in in 1940; tetracycline, introduced in 1950 with resistant shigella in 1959; erythromycin, launched in 1953 with resistant strep occurring in 1968; methicillin in 1960 with resistance in 1962; levofloxacin in 1996 with resistance in the same year; linezolid in 2000 and resistance 2001; daptomycin in 2003 and resistance in 2004.

Today it’s even worse, with some superbugs becoming pan-resistant – responsive to NO antibiotics at all. Small wonder that Dr Dame Sally Davies, England’s Chief Medical Officer, sees AMR as a threat on the same scale as terrorism.

Except that Dame Sally is wrong on the focus, medical AMR is just the tip of the iceberg. Agriculturally, AMR is many, many times bigger – so that, short of a massive alien invasion, antibiotics resistance is quite possibly the biggest challenge ever to the human race.

Check the math.

All in the numbers

In 1950, world population was 2,557,628,654 –the biggest killers were pneumonia and TB, and ploughs on the farm were still drawn by horses.

In 2016, world population is 7,334,771,614, most diseases are completely under control and “factory farms” are highly mechanised.

300% increase in mouths to feed, but the land area to produce the necessary food is still the same. Mechanisation? Sure. GM crops? Let’s face it, farmers have been fiddling with plant breeding for yonks. But three times as much food to eat from the same space, how is that possible?

Right first time, antibiotics.

First used as a growth promoter in 1950 – and today fattening up livestock so much that round the world, 65,000 tons of agricultural antibiotics are swallowed by cows, pigs, chickens and sheep every year.

Yeah, well that’s the OTHER thing antibiotics do – they bulk up animal bodies – twice the size in half the time, on half the feed. From fresh-laid egg to a 1.5 kg supermarket chicken in six weeks – from new-born calf to a full-size Aberdeen Angus steer in one year instead of four.

Feeding the billions

Which is how come farmers can produce food enough for 7.3 billion hungry people from the same land once struggling to feed 2.5 billion.

Put in perspective, and looking at USA beef cattle production only, 1950s technology would require an additional 165 million acres to produce the same amount of beef, an area about the size of Texas – 20% of mainland America.

Or as the Yanks like to boast, 25% of the world’s beef from 10% of the world’s cattle.

It’s antibiotics make this possible – that compensate for the intensive battery-style living, the highly stressful over-crowding, the low level of hygiene from animals living on top of each other, the otherwise unavoidable breeding grounds for animal disease and infection.

Antibiotics in feedstuffs bulk animals up – and also keep them healthy in impossible conditions.

But animals are living metabolisms too – and just like us, the bacteria inside them develop resistance to the constant flow of antibiotics going through their bodies. Billions of times more likely than with humans – there are billions more of them.

Pan-resistance everywhere – antibiotics failure on a colossal scale.

Which means the day is coming when animals fall ill from the living environments they’re in – and with antibiotics no longer able to protect them, disease goes through their thousands and thousands like wildfire. Round the world, other food animals pick up the contagion, sicken and die.

Plants too, suffer the same antibiotics resistance, succumbing to the many types of blight and other disease that fruit, vegetable and grain crops are prone to.

Hunger and famine

Without food, 7.5 billion start feeling hungry.

Never mind AMR, it’s FAMINE that’s going to get us. With no way out, except for a lucky few – in a world surrounded by dying animals and vegetation.

Impossible, surely?

You mean inevitable. Antibiotics resistance is a fact. In medical circles, it is already an emergency. And AMR is already widely reported across agriculture. Total failure is already on the cards.

OK, so several billion of us aren’t going to make it.

Those that do will have to live in a world without antibiotics. So will the animals, out in the open where they belong, not cooped up in jail for us humans. And for every living thing there’ll be no more miracle drugs.

Just as 100 years ago, a simple scratch or mouthful of iffy food could be the last of us. So it’s back to Victorian-style carbolic and scrub, meticulous hand-washing hygiene before and after every activity as our first line of protection.

We will certainly need it. After seven decades of constant antibiotics ourselves – in our medicine and from the foods we eat – our immune systems are weaker than they ever were, less robust, less resilient – our internal gut bacteria ravaged by the same antibiotics supposed to be so beneficial.

Get out of jail free

Which means hygiene around us will be critical too. At home, in our workplaces, in all the enclosed spaces where we group together, vulnerable to each other’s germs and the normal germs on everything around us.

Fortunately, a Hypersteriliser can keep our surroundings sterile – making them safe with misted hydrogen peroxide that kills all viruses and bacteria by oxidation. Kinda like external antibiotics, but without the downside.

And yes, we will fight back. We won’t have antibiotics, but we will have phages – go-getter body VIRUSES that attack harmful bacteria – a therapy that has been used in the former Soviet Union for even longer than antibiotics. Not back to the future, but forward to the past.

We SHALL overcome.

Picture Copyright: goodluz / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-02-19 17:34:36.

Why we’re all trapped in a fat epidemic or worse

Face of misery
Fat, guilty, miserable, feeling like the end of the world – all thanks to antibiotics

There’s no escaping this one – not the fat, not the guilt, nor the accompanying illnesses.

And just because you’re not bulging yet, don’t think it can’t happen to you.

Because it will.

It’s gonna get you

Unless you stop eating completely – a one-way solution as the body eats itself.

So right, however we get our fatness, it all comes from food.

Which is why all the hoo-hah about diets and you-are-what-you-eat. Stick to this, give up that, do a ton of exercise with it. All very good and noble – and effective like moving deckchairs on the Titanic.

But you have to agree, the cause IS in the food we eat.

And it’s got to be in what ALL of us eat because ALL of us are showing signs – podgy round the edges, heavier in the jowl, visibly getting fat. Already two thirds of adults are overweight and getting fatter.  Give us time, and we’ll all be two-ton Tessies whatever we eat– and yes, that includes the carrot-stick and bottled water brigade – the ones who eat Punishment Foods to stay thin.

Inevitable until we nail the common denominator. The one that’s staring us in the face – and has been for years.

The 1950s villain

Antibiotics – the same stuff the Doc gives us when we’re sick.

Er, but not given to us, not even close. They’re added to feedstuff or injected into the animals we farm and vegetable crops we grow.

Way back in 1950, researchers first noticed that feeding streptomycin to day-old chicks made them grow faster and bigger. Amazing – double the size for half the effort.

Today, nearly seventy years later, antibiotics are used by the ton world-wide to bulk up livestock of all kinds and enhance plant growth.

And there’s our fattening source, right there. Super high-powered growth promoters laced through everything we eat. Proven to bulk up living organisms and accelerate growth. They work for animals and they’re working for us too. With every mouthful, a little more, a little fatter.

Oops.

They’re everywhere, they’re everywhere

Because what can you buy in the supermarket that does NOT contain antibiotics? Yeah, yeah, we’ve seen all the organic hype about no additives or preservatives, but who is monitoring antibiotic levels in our food – or even know they’re there?

And can’t we get rid of them? Take them out of our food before we eat it?

Well yes, but you’ve got to boil them out – let the food bubble furiously for at least thirty minutes. Then chuck away the broth – that’s where the antibiotics are – and rinse thoroughly.

Uh huh.

Zero food value – and tastes like boiled knitting.

Because in some form or other, all farmed food contains antibiotics – either directly through animal feed, or in residual levels, via antibiotics-laden manure (beef cattle excrete 80 to 90% of the nutrients they consume)  leached into the soil and from there into our river systems.

The only way out is switch to non-farmed food. Like deep sea fish and home grown vegetables – cultivated without fertiliser, of course.

Otherwise, better resign yourself to getting fat if you aren’t already. Or fatter, if you’re currently portly. Which of course triggers a whole string of obesity-related health risks – heart disease, cancer, diabetes, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, gout and asthma – long-term illnesses that take decades to claim you.

And that’s just for starters.

More ways to get ill

Time to remember the other thing that antibiotics do. Kill bacteria – the reason the Doc gives them to us in the first place – to clobber some infection or illness.

Yeah, they save lives – by killing.

And guess what? As doctors and researchers are encountering every day, our own bodies are 90% bacteria – as much part of us as our other vital organs – heart, lungs, brain.

So yeah, the antibiotic kills the bad bacteria that’s causing us illness. It also kills a slew of other vital bacteria alongside – a wide diversity that control digestion, regulate appetite, balance our metabolism, govern our immune systems.

Lose any of those and we lose what they do. Temporarily for some, because there are enough survivors to grow back. Permanently for others – minority groups that are wiped out. Every time the body is hit with antibiotics, it never comes back 100%.

Underpowered and out of balance, our body bacteria are less able to protect us from invaders trying to do us harm. We’re weaker, more at risk – an unfortunate disability we pass on to our kids. And to our kids’ kids.

Hell, this has been happening for nearly seventy years, we’re way more likely to get sick than ever before.

So what defence is there?

Lifesavers that kill

If we get seriously ill, antibiotics are the quick-fix that rescue us from disaster. Yet all the time they’re killing us – destroying our body bacteria – the microbiome that sustains us and provides our life force.

Better not to get sick in the first place. Avoid risks, grab whatever protection we can.

And STAY OFF ANTIBIOTICS.

Which means upping our hygiene – keeping ourselves clean so germs don’t get a shot at us. Washing hands, before and after everything we do. Something we all forget because most of the time they LOOK clean – we don’t see the microscopically small nano-dirt inevitably lurking.

Even that is not enough. Because the very next thing we touch is covered in germs too – they are on everything, in everything and riding the air too. Nano-dirt we can’t see – like the average office desk, inundated with 10 million disease-causing bacteria.

Touch your keyboard or your papers and your hands are dirty again – reloaded with germs waiting to have a go.

So we need to neutralise environmental germs too – sterilise the area around us to keep ourselves safe from their daily challenge – a regular hygiene habit like brushing teeth or using deodorant. Not the whole world of course, that’s impossible – besides most bacteria are actually beneficial, they’re only harmful in the wrong place.

Ah, but we CAN have a go at our workplace, protecting our colleagues as well as ourselves. Forty minutes with a Hypersteriliser mists up the entire space with hydrogen peroxide when everyone’s gone home – stretching up through the air, reaching into every crack and crevice, oxidising germs to nothing, keeping us safe.

Whew! Now all we have to do is get the weight off.

Picture Copyright: kolosigor / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-02-17 15:30:07.

If dirty hands don’t kill you – let antibiotics do it

Self-strangling woman
Sloppy hygiene and antibiotics – are we trying to commit suicide?

Don’t kid yourself, they’re both just as deadly – dirty hands AND antibiotics.

Except we trust both, don’t we?

Dirty hands because they don’t LOOK dirty. Antibiotics because – wow! they’re miracle drugs that cure everything.

Killing ourselves

Yeah, right. Suicide either way.

Which is why you’re lying on the floor, looking very dead.

And at the rate we’re going, you’ll soon have lots of company. With many more sick and dying, because of antibiotics.

Dirty hands we can understand, right?

We get germs on them, we swallow the germs – next stop A&E, clamouring for antibiotics.

But antibiotics, what do we know about them?

Pretty well zip – except what our expectations tell us.

Yeah, and just maybe we remember that antibiotics work by killing bacteria.

We’ve got bad bacteria in our bodies, we take antibiotics, the bad bacteria die, job done.

As if.

Our real life force

Truth is that we are all MADE OF bacteria – they outnumber our human body cells 10 to 1. And down in our gut, where most of them live, there’s over 100 trillion of them.

Don’t worry, they’re supposed to be there. They’re like the software that drives our bodies. The OS that digests food for us, produces proteins and regulates our immune system. Supported by millions and millions of apps – this one to control hunger, this one to generate fear, this one to make us bold and brave, this one to help us heal from burns.

Lots and lots of different types, plenty of some, scarce with others – but all living and working in harmony, a natural balance that keeps us active, healthy and thriving.

So now we chuck an antibiotic in there – broad-base amoxicillin or something, to be sure of clobbering the bad guys.

Hydrogen bomb

Spot the mistake. A widely targeting bacteria killer – in a densely packed community of bacteria. A bit like letting loose with a hydrogen bomb. Sure, it takes down the bad guys – and whole families of good guys too, collateral damage.

Oops.

Too bad a few minority clans were wiped out altogether. No more protection from asthma or oesophageal reflux.

Yeah, the other guys will grow back, maybe with a few scars. Maybe with an arm or leg missing, but they’ll be OK. Not the minorities though, they’ve gone for good. Which means the body is not as strong as it was. Part of its defences are missing.

And this happens EVERY TIME we swallow an antibiotic.

Bully for us, we got rid of the sinusitis – we carry on, less able than we were. And because we strong-arm the Doc for antibiotics every time we feel sick, we’re probably doing this once a year or more.

Taking antibiotics for a cure, but making us MORE likely to get sick, both at the same time.

Like we said, we know zip.

Because one thing antibiotics do to surviving bacteria is make them produce more ghrelin.

Never heard of it?

You will. It’s a hormone that says EAT MORE.

More accurately, eat more compulsively.

Uncontrolled gluttony

Eat more, extract more nutrients, you’re not finished, go for the fattening stuff – fast foods, sweets, cakes, sugary drinks, more, more, more!

Oops again. Your switch off eating control is broken. You’re going to get fat and you can’t stop yourself. Size 16, size 18, who cares?

My body, my choice, you say to yourself – not recognising it’s a sickness. Thank you, antibiotics – except none of us make the connection. So next time around, we ask for antibiotics again.

Recognise it now? The obesity trigger. Passport to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, cancer, infertility, back pain, skin infections, ulcers and gallstones.

It gets worse.

Fatter every day

Because we don’t just get antibiotics whenever we’re sick. We chow them down every day. They’re in everything we eat. Because for more than half a century – when antibiotics were first discovered – they’ve been used to bulk up animals for food – growth promoters that fatten them up in half the time. Plant crops too – more productive in half the time.

Feed the world – Bob Geldof is turning cartwheels.

Yup, everything we eat. Little by little, more antibiotics every day – exactly the way that farm animals get them. Bigger, better, fatter – and nobody’s twigged it yet, though every farmer knows it. It’s why we’ve all got heavier in the last twenty years, why two-thirds of us will be overweight or obese by 2025.

Which brings us back to dirty hands. Why most of the time we probably got sick in the first place. We don’t see the germs, so we don’t know we’re at risk. For instance, thanks to mobile phones, around 28% of us even have poo on our hands.

Wash hands and the problem goes away.

Except we’re more vulnerable than we were before, remember?

Every time an antibiotic bomb hits, we lose a few more billion gut bacteria. At least one prescription, maybe three times a year. And every meal too – breakfast, lunch, supper.

EVERY DAY FOR HALF A CENTURY.

Time to tighten our defences

So we’re way weaker than we ever were. More likely to get sick, less likely to recover. More under threat than ever. Bigger targets – literally – for germs.

Which means clean hands are good – but rapidly becoming not enough.

Time to sterilise our surroundings as well. Eliminate germs from our workplace – wipe them out with hydrogen peroxide mist. Safe, secure – at last.

Oh yeah, and one other thing.

Live longer, stay off antibiotics.

Picture Copyright: lenanet / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-02-09 16:37:30.

People make themselves sick and it’s YOUR fault

You mean me
Suddenly you’re in trouble – even though you’ve done nothing

Of course it’s your fault, you’re not doing anything.

Nothing for your customers, nothing for your staff.

They’re getting themselves infected and you’re just letting them.

Get ready to be the victim

Which means any minute now, they’re going to clobber you.

Duty of care or some such… you didn’t stop them.

So now they’ve got sick in your place, so of course it must be your fault. Give them a chance and they’ll sue you down to the ground for generations to come.

After all, you let them walk in with unwashed hands and didn’t make a fuss. You didn’t nanny them into using soap and water, giving themselves a good scrub. You just let them sit there at your restaurant table or office desk and carry on regardless.

And how do you know where they might have been?

Clutching handrails on the bus or supermarket trolley. Those grubby railings out in the street. Not forgetting the escalator, or the touchscreen on their phones – all kinds of germs out there, heaving on everything.

Who knows what they might have picked up? E.coli, salmonella, clostridium difficile, campylobacter, the superbug MRSA, flu viruses and norovirus are usual suspects. Any one of which could give them collywobbles, or something more serious.

Germs everywhere

Don’t believe it?

Just ask yourself – out and about, doing things in the city, when was the last time you washed your own hands?

Can’t remember? Neither can most of us – because we don’t think of it. Which means most of the time, our personal hand hygiene is non-existent. Most of us don’t wash our hands at all, so there’s all kinds of bugs crawling on there – including poo from the loo for at least 28% of us.

So check out these people – what are they doing? Tucking into your menu specials? Using a knife and fork, or their fingers?

Oops, there you go, a piece of bread roll straight out of their hand. Bread, butter – and norovirus – down the hatch. It only takes 10 norovirus particles to be infected – and there’s probably several thousand in each mouthful.

Give it 24 hours and the phone’s going to go. Cramps, vomiting and the world’s worst diarrhoea – after eating at your place and they’re calling their lawyers.

And you did nothing.

Nothing to cause them being ill – but nothing to stop them either. So now you’re going to get it.

Guilty because you’re innocent

Same thing if they’re working in your office. Unwashed fingers on the keyboard, then touching themselves round the eyes and mouth. Or eating a sarnie at their desk, just to make sure.

Not at work tomorrow. Sick as a dog and unable to move. But they’re onto the union rep about work-place germs – how dare you run an unhealthy environment!

Your fault again for doing nothing. Not rescuing them from themselves.

So what to do?

You can’t force people to wash their hands. They’ll get offended and give you more grief than you already have. And their sloppy hygiene could cost you plenty.

Not fair, is it? You already provide washrooms and loos – your place is always spic and span. Yet it’s you that gets hit for THEIR negligence.

Time to do something to protect yourself – duty of care – duty of bottom line.

By making hygiene much more assertive.

Because at the moment, it’s just passive, isn’t it? If they don’t wash their hands after the loo, that’s their indaba – but it’s you that gets it in the neck.

Pro-active hygiene

So put a bottle of hand sanitising gel on their desks – or offer them each individually packaged antiseptic wipes.

It’s a courtesy, right? How are they going to refuse you?

And how many are likely to think about suing you if they STILL come down with some bug? You’ve visibly demonstrated you care for their well-being. Yeah they’re still suffering, but more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt.

OK – and you can take it a stage further too. Not just sanitise their hands, but sterilise the whole place – get rid of the residual germs in the air or on surfaces, some of which can survive for up to two weeks or more.

Duty of care – duty of bottom line. Because what is the cost if they sue? Or the down time if they’re not working? The loss of trade? The loss of goodwill? The loss of reputation?

Norovirus alone costs the NHS £100 million a year. Get unlucky and it could put you out of business.

Yeah, look after your people – and protect yourself too – belt and braces.

All it takes is a Hypersteriliser – and around 40 minutes every night, part of your normal cleaning operations.

Press a button and it mists up deserted rooms with ionised hydrogen peroxide – which spreads everywhere through the air and into cracks and crevices, oxidising germs to nothing on the fly.

The result? A Sterility Assurance Level of Log 6 – in non-medic speak, that’s 99.9999% of all viruses and bacteria gone.

No way anything can be your fault after that.

Picture Copyright: atic12 / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-02-05 13:59:38.

First Class or Budget air travel – all viruses fly free

Unhappy flight attendant
Unwanted passengers nobody knows about – a problem we share with the world

Unwanted and unloved – viruses don’t need a boarding pass.

They don’t need a visa either – however exotic their departure point.

They’re used to grabbing freebies – travelling INSIDE your body or ON it.

Everywhere and spreading

On your skin, on your clothes, or dragged aboard in floating microbial aura we all carry round with us. Or simply sucked into the cabin with the rest of the air at the airport. Invisible, out of sight, out of mind.

Which means – take your pick – whatever the latest big scare is, it’s coming here.

Zika, MERS, Ebola, Black Death – they’re all packed and ready – waiting for the next flight out.

Which is also how come a local disease or illness can suddenly become world-wide.

A Boeing 787 carries up to 335 passengers and flies at 560 mph. PLENTY opportunity for a travelling virus to climb aboard – with, or without the mosquito that transmits it.

International emergency

Eight hours, ten – and it’s in a whole new country. Like the overnight celebrity Zika virus – Brazil last week, 23 countries today – declared an international emergency by the US Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organisation both – latest member of the jet-set.

Which kinda means we should be watching our hygiene levels a bit more than usual. Here in the Old Country, we’re not necessarily as safe as we think we are.

Especially as Zika doesn’t really affect most of us. Only 1 in 5 infected people get ill. And even then it’s mild – a rash, joint pains or irritated eyes – a few days and it’s gone.

Not so nice if you’re expecting though. Or for your kids. Microcephaly is with them for life – sometimes OK, mostly not. Not a condition to play games with.

But nor is any virus, yet we do it all the time – take chances with our lives by simply being careless.

The Zika virus may not survive long in the UK – it’s too cold for the mosquitoes that carry it. There’s plenty of others that can though – and bacteria too. And because we’re made of mostly bacteria ourselves, we need to protect against these foreigners getting into our bodies.

The right place, the wrong place

Most viruses and bacteria are passive and benign, they serve many useful purposes as long as they’re in the right place. In the wrong place they can be devastating, deadly if unchecked.

And yet we carry on absently, not thinking that a touch, a minor cut, a mouthful of food, or even our next breath could trigger a whole interior infection that could have us fighting for our lives.

How lax are we? Frighteningly when you consider we’re surrounded by germs all the time, with maybe ten million possibly harmful microbes on each hand right now – e.coli, salmonella, clostridium difficile, campylobacter, MRSA, flu, norovirus – take your pick.

Despite all this:

We don’t do much about our surroundings either. Slop around with detergent and water in the kitchen, a wipe of bleach here and there. Surfaces only – the 80% air space of the room around us never gets touched – even though most microbes are smaller and lighter than dust, smoke, or even the oxygen molecules we breathe.

Billions and billions and billions of them all the time – silently buzzing like a cloud of mosquitoes we can’t see.

Getting our own back

We can clobber them though – and our weapon of choice is far better than any bug spray.

Close the windows and doors, wheel in the Hypersteriliser, press the button and get out of there for half an hour.

Fsst! The place mists up with hydrogen peroxide – ionised so it reaches everywhere, electrostatically grabbing at viruses and bacteria, oxidising them to nothing.

Come back when it’s finished and the whole place is sterile. No Zika, no anything – gone.

Not so easy for your next holiday though. Fly to where these viruses originate and a Hypersteriliser is a bit big to take with you. Better take some mosquito coils, twenty gallons of Autan (the repellent that smells like jet fuel), wash yourself like crazy – and be careful.

And whatever you do, don’t get bitten.

Picture Copyright: bruno135 / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-02-04 15:13:33.

AMR snatches gold from antibiotics – but good old silver always takes silver

Silver cup winner
Second best protection is better than no protection at all

Silver, huh?

Second-best at best. Not even close to antibiotics.

Yeah, but antibiotics are busy going phut.

Too much use, too many expectations, too many chances at getting away with things.

Superbugs are winning

Ask your Doc – AMR – antimicrobial resistance – is the big headache right now. You get injured or seriously ill, what the hell do medics do now?

Because the cupboard is bare – not from running out – from over-use, serious over-use – crikey Moses, agriculture alone round the world uses 65,000 tonnes of the stuff every year.

Mind you, the medical sector is not much better – around a quarter of all antibiotic prescriptions are placebo-type overkill or just plain unnecessary.

No, no, the big problem is that these one-time miracle drugs are beginning not to work any more. The superbugs they’re meant to kill refuse to roll over, dead.

Too smart, see? Immune. Mutated and adapted every generation – which can happen every few minutes – able to resist whatever we throw at them.

Ho, hum, did you feel a breeze just then?

End of the line?

Yeah, an empty cupboard. And no new antibiotics discovered since 1987. No profit in it with a one-off course of three tablets a day for a week. How about one a day, every day for life? THAT’S more like it!

OK, but we’re not dead yet. Antibiotics are still saving lives, still enabling medical experts to do amazing things – brain surgery, organ transplants, joint replacements – right down to C-sections births which are now 1 in 4.

The writing is on the wall though. And the day is fast arriving when our mind-blowing silver bullets run out of fizz. In fact the all-resistant bug – protected by the gene mcr-1 – is already here.

Time to call for back-up. Second best maybe, but better than a poke in the eye with a burnt stick.

Ancient reinforcements

Say hello to silver, an old friend from way back. 400 BC to be exact – and even then it was old hat – when Hippocrates (he of the doctors’ Hippocratic Oath) taught how to use it for healing wounds and controlling disease.

You’re right, silver is not in the same class as modern antibiotics. But it does have antibiotic qualities of its own.

Prolonged exposure to silver seems to clobber most pathogens eventually – slow perhaps, but effective. Which is why the rich would drink from silver cups and eat with silver cutlery. And why wounded soldiers 100 years ago had their sutures sewn with silver thread to reduce infection.

Their dressings were silver too – local application seemed to work better than internal dosing. And still today, you can get waterproof Elastoplast with antiseptic silver in the would pad.

There is even the possibility that silver could boost the performance of our sagging antibiotics – helping to overcome AMR and get some of their mojo back. Tests already show improvements up to 1,000 times better germ-killing power.

Better still, silver is not just antibacterial, it’s antifungal and antiviral as well.  And winners though they still are, antibiotics have never been able to take down viruses.

Thank you, No 2

Second best, yes. But definitely better than nothing.

Put that together with a new awareness of hygiene – necessity will force us to keep ourselves cleaner as the superbugs take over – and our medical future is not so desperate after all.

Given time, it could even get better. Researchers have found that silver interrupts a bacteria cell’s ability to form chemical bonds it needs for survival.

Not unlike what hydrogen peroxide does when misted up in a roomful of pathogens by a Hypersteriliser.

Hmm, no viruses, no bacteria – what’s not to like?

Picture Copyright: feedough / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-02-03 15:10:29.

Norovirus: why frantic $40K cleanup could still come unstuck

Anxious businesswoman
It’s not just the cost, norovirus can kill a business reputation stone-cold dead

You don’t take chances with norovirus.

Very unpleasant – and very bad for business – it has a boomerang property that keeps it coming back and back, whatever anyone does.

Boomerang in Kansas?

Which may soon be the experience of the popular New Theatre Restaurant in Kansas City. With 400 people down with norovirus last week, but determined to stay open, they’ve had hit-teams spray the place with a “Lysol-like” disinfectant – the same kind of stuff used on cruise liners – and boldly kept on going. Comedy performances of Out of Order starring Gary Sandy of WKRP in Cincinnati fame are to continue uninterrupted.

Let’s hope they’re not too hasty.

Norovirus is a nasty not to be wished on anyone. Cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea – up to four days and more, feeling like the end of the world.

Violent and explosive vomiting is one reason why a Lysol-type spray (similar to Dettol aerosol) may not be enough. It’s one of the ways the virus ensures it spreads as wide as possible. You’re not just being sick, you’re rocketing out your guts further and farther than with any other upchuck.

So if that spray doesn’t reach into every little nook and cranny, norovirus can be back in full raging force just hours later.

Virulent and vindictive

Norovirus is more contagious than other viruses too – 1,000 times more potent than everyday winter flu. All it takes is 10 tiny particles (around 2 microns in size) to become infected – and one particle can contain 100,000,000,000 particles.

But that’s not the only reason New Theatre Restaurant might still be in trouble. The spray they’ve used is water-based, hose-piping around trying to cover all areas. It’s potency is 99.9% effective – a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 3.

Not really good enough.

Water-based vapour starts falling to the floor as soon as it’s dispersed. It never reaches ceilings or walls, the water drops are too heavy. And with a potency of just 10 particles needed to start an infection, 99.9% efficiency might work for an hour or two – then it’s back to square one.

Meanwhile, the super-light particles of norovirus float easily around on the smallest wafts of air – smaller and lighter than the molecules around them – lighter than nitrogen and hydrogen (once used to lift airships), tinier than dust, wispier than smoke, so almost nothing they may never fall to the floor, ever.

Yeah, it infects on contact – but how do you think it spreads?

Plus, there’s the boomerang effect.

Repeat performances

Get rid of norovirus – or think you do – and it’s back, with interest in days. Again and again and again.

Check out the sad story of Fred Olsen Line’s cruise liner Amsterdam in 2002.

FOUR times the ship sailed from Port Canaveral, Florida, with a load of happy, expectant holiday passengers. FOUR times, the ship had to put back with outbreaks of norovirus. It got so bad that passengers on the later voyages were even warned before embarking!

Only when the ship was pulled from service and 600 workers took TEN DAYS to disinfect the ship under supervision of the CDC, was the boomerang cycle broken.

Imagine the cost – FOUR fully-loaded voyages with 1,300 passengers paying upwards of $1,200 each – TEN days of docking fees and port costs – plus labour for 600 workers, cleaning down to detail fomite objects like poker chips and bedside bibles – not much change out of 10 million.

Alongside that kind of money, New Theatre Restaurant’s 40 grand begins to look like chicken feed.

And was it the same Lysol-type spray that was so ineffective on Amsterdam? In which case look out future audiences of Out of Order – you may not be as safe as you think you are.

No more norovirus

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Norovirus might be potent – out of reach in the air, or hiding in cracks and crevices. But there IS a way to clobber it good – along with all other viruses and bacteria too – just by pressing a button.

The trick is to use a Hypersteriliser or a number of them. Called the Halo in the States, this minor miracle is a nifty portable machine about the size of a small wheelie-bin that sprays the air with hydrogen peroxide.

Not just any hydrogen peroxide either. It’s a 6% solution – the same strength you might use in a mouthwash/teeth whitener from the chemist – boosted with silver, the proven antiseptic treatment doctors used for burns and wounds before antibiotics were discovered.

It’s also ionised, so that as it mists the room or auditorium, the particles of hydrogen peroxide become charged, pushing dynamically to disperse away from each other. Spreading everywhere – hard up against walls and ceilings, deep into cracks and crevices – over, under and behind things where most clean-ups never even get considered.

Ionising actually changes the state of the hydrogen peroxide too. Already smaller and finer than water droplets – lighter than air like the viruses it preys on – the mist changes from a gas to a plasma, an electrostatically-charged cloud reaching out and grabbing at live bacteria and viruses, oxidising them to nothing.

A whole kit of extra antimicrobials help it do this – because ionising releases further hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, ozone (a more voracious oxidiser than hydrogen peroxide), and ultraviolet. Look carefully in a darkened room, and you may even see a faint purple glow.

Safe and sterile

An hour or so later and it’s all over. 99.9999% of germs are gone – a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 6 – and the hydrogen peroxide reverts back to just oxygen and water, in such small quantities that it evaporates to nothing.

Ain’t no norovirus boomeranging back after that treatment. Theatre-goers can enjoy their dinner and the show without a care in the world.

But let’s hope they’ve fixed it already.

Picture Copyright: natulrich / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-02-01 14:06:50.

Norovirus tummy bug – always the blame game

Woman - arms folded serious
Yeah right, norovirus is always somebody’s fault – and never the person who comes down with it

Reality is, there’s only ever one cause for norovirus.

Somewhere, someone doesn’t wash their hands.

Then they touch food, somebody else swallows it – quick, call the Doctor, I feel terrible!

Accusations, accusations

Your fault or theirs?

Never anybody’s.

It wasn’t me.

Yeah, right.

But make no joke, whoever it happens to, norovirus is always the pits – really unpleasant, the end of the world – and in bad cases, life-threatening.

It’s the end of the world if you’re running a business too.

Lots of fingers pointing – negligence, carelessness, unhygienic conditions – no matter how spotless your place or professional your staff. Difficult to prove anything otherwise.

Somebody on your side

So here’s a little common sense, to help you figure whodunit. Because if it is your fault, you’ve got to take action fast. Norovirus and bad press can put you out of business.

OK, reality again – who did, or did not, wash their hands?

Your customers will deny it, but them’s the usual suspects. Check the evidence:

Uh huh. And if you think about it, when was the last time ANY of your customers might have washed their hands before they came to you? Five minutes ago? Before lunch? If at all?

Now the common sense bit.

So someone’s moaning norovirus. Is it one person or a handful?

If it’s just one person, you can suspicion a mouse.

Customer Zero

Like how come, if you serve several chicken liver pâtés over a day, that only one was off? You’re a business, right? So most of your stuff to some degree or other is all made in batches – it saves time and stops the customer waiting.

So if one of your pâtés was off, they all should have been, right? You should have a dozen complaints about tummy cramps and upchucking, not just one.

And if all the others were OK – batch-made, remember? – why was that one portion different? They were all the same when they went to table, the only difference was the customer they went to. You can’t prove it, but that one customer’s norovirus misery was probably self-inflicted.

Same thing if it starts with just one customer – and then a handful more, hours or days later. Norovirus spreads by transfer. So your customer had his mitts all over the butter knife or salad servers and the rest of his table picked up the bug.

Bad this, because the ripple effect can spread wider. A few hours more and a whole stack of customers are moaning and clutching their tummies. Either by touch, or through the air, the norovirus has got to them and is giving them hell.

A whole lot of people out of action, but all triggered by Customer Zero – the common denominator.

When you know it’s you

Because if everybody all comes down with it at once, you know it’s YOUR fault. Something or someone engaging with your customers is contaminated – they’re all exposed at the same time, they all come down together.

OK, you know what to do – or do you?

Maybe you’ve read about those hospitals and cruise ships where norovirus keeps coming back. The same will happen to you if you’re not careful.

This stuff is highly contagious and VERY efficient at spreading. With violent vomiting particularly, norovirus gets everywhere. It’s a virus too, don’t forget. Which means every cell is tiny. Small, as in, it can fall THROUGH a roofing tile without stopping.

Which means among all the other things it is, it’s airborne. It rides the air – swirling, twisting, spreading, turning – so light that it may never reach the floor. So it’s on the walls, on the ceiling, on the light fittings, and under the tables all at once. In the air throughout your whole place too. Blown around by the air conditioning, the rush of air as people come in the door.

And it can survive in all of these places for up to ten days or more.

Impossible, impossible

So you scrub the place down with carbolic and everything – and next day one of your waiters walks into a floating cell that takes him in the eye. Four hours later, he’s vomiting too – and you’ve only just re-opened after clearing up the last lot.

Or it could be somewhere else. On the maître d’s lectern, all over the PDQ machines. First person who keys in a total – boom, they’ve got the runs within hours.

And if not there, there’s plenty of other places. All unreachable or just never thought of. Brushing against people as they walk through the curtains. Among the cushions on the banquette. Or the one everybody forgets, all over your stack of menus.

How long is it going to take to clean all those places? Can your cleaning cloths reach into those cracks where a virus only 2 microns across might lurk? There’s millions and millions of places, can you be sure to catch them all?

Eliminating the odds

Actually, yes, you can. With a Hypersteriliser.

Press the button and it mists up your place with an ionised cloud of hydrogen peroxide – electrostatically charged to spread everywhere, actively reaching out and oxidising viruses and bacteria as it does.

Forty minutes, an hour, and the place is sterile. No more norovirus. No more repeat infections either.

Until the next customer breezes in straight off the street and climbs straight into the stuffed olives while the table’s main course is processing.

There’s a cure for that too. Don’t put anything on the table until every customer is handed an antiseptic hand wipe, courtesy of the house.

OK, now let them blame all they like.

Ooh my tummy, I’m going to hurl, blame, blame, blame.

You’ve taken the precautions and you know.

It isn’t you. Never, never and never again.

Picture Copyright: brendan80 / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-01-29 15:26:27.

Food poisoning for real, or customer trying it on?

Fingers crossed
Just because you can’t SEE germs, doesn’t mean our hands aren’t loaded with them

Not used to issues like this, are you?

It raises an uncomfortable question – not for you, for your customers.

Because right up front, how many of them wash their hands before they eat?

“Ew Factor” could cost you thousands

But you already know the answer – can probably say exactly how many guests get up from their table before food is served and go to the restroom.

Yeah, right. A handful maybe, depending on the size of your place. Certainly not everybody, your restroom’s not that big. And all those people moving around at once would upset the other diners – never mind your staff twisting through with hot plates.

Which means everybody else is straight in off the street and you don’t know where they’ve been. Or more to the point, where their hands have been.

OK, so put yourself in their shoes, what do you reckon?

Did they wash before leaving work? After their ride in the taxi/Underground? And if not, what were they doing before that? What did they touch?

Or to stop the pussy-footing, what’s on their fingers RIGHT NOW that could give them collywobbles if they swallowed it?

Collywobbles meaning norovirus, or some equally unpleasant bug spread by direct contact.

Poo on their fingers

Yeah, they call it the “winter vomiting bug” and other round-the-houses names  – but the elephant in the room is that it spreads from unwashed hands. And unwashed hands in a food business like yours is an unspeakable but major problem.

Not staff hands, CUSTOMER hands – because they’re the ones touching everything and actually going into mouths.

Sure, your own staff need to be careful too – but they know the odds. Poor hygiene, bad rep, nasty lawsuits, shut the business, no more job. Not worth the risk.

Not like your customers.

Yeah, sure – loyal to you, enthusiastic about the experience you offer, nice enough on the surface.

Except like most of us, they don’t take criticism – and certainly would never accept it’s THEIR dirty hands that made them ill, not something wrong with your food.

They’re customers, see? Never wrong. And probably in denial that their personal hygiene is ever less than perfect. Like, their hands don’t LOOK dirty, do they?

Push comes to shove, it’s likely they’ll win any court case, even though it’s probably their own fault.

How can we dare to say this?

Because when you look at the facts, our day-to-day hygiene is so bad, it’s a wonder we’re not ALL of us in hospital with dysentery or something worse.

So there you are, busting a gut, doing everything to make your food safe and your place spotless. And there’s Mr Money-Bags, all too ready to squawk at the slightest hiccup, let alone tummy-ache – sitting posh as you like, quite probably with poo on his hands.

Or just as likely, on the cash or credit card he’s going to shove at you at the end of the meal.

Food poisoning? Yeah, pull the other one.

Except there’s not a lot you can do is there? Certainly not diss your customers or lay blame on them. And there’s no way you can FORCE them to the restroom.

How to start winning

But you can get ahead of the game. Turn it round and make it work for you.

Remember the last time YOU went on a splurge? Hit some swanky restaurant or flew first class – swanning around like you owned the place, at least for one night?

OK, remember the hot towels? All terribly la-di-da, offered to you with white gloves and a pair of tongs – a courtesy to wipe your hands and face.

Right, so you pull the same stunt.

Only instead of hot towels, YOU offer YOUR guests individual sachets of antiseptic hand wipes. Mr Money-Bags is not going to refuse is he? Mrs Money-Bags will probably even open it for him. And your staff look like paragons of virtue – especially with a silver tray to collect the used wipes afterwards

Which means if either of them has poo on their hands, the problem has gone away. Food poisoning isn’t going to happen because you’ve removed the cause. And your customers think you’re a million dollars for being so thoughtful.

To ram it home, you pull the stunt even further. Sterilise the whole place so guests know you’re serious about offering a good experience and caring for their welfare.

After trade every night or before you open next morning, you mist the place up for an hour or so with ionised hydrogen peroxide. One button on the Hypersteriliser machine does the trick.

No more viruses or bacteria anywhere in the treated areas. Not on tables, chairs, glasses, cutlery, light fittings, anything – not even in the air around them. Safe, secure, sterilised for your protection.

Customers still trying it on?

We don’t think so. Not unless there really IS something off with your food.

But somehow, you’re not likely to let that happen.

 Picture Copyright: citalliance / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-01-26 15:12:54.

Mind-bender antibiotics: hello date-rape obesity

Scared fat woman
You never know it’s happening, until it does. Copyright: xavigm / 123RF Stock Photo

Just a little pill, maybe a capsule.

But not slipped into your drink or hidden in your food – taken by you voluntarily.

Because your doctor prescribed it. A nasty chest infection perhaps – or in your urinary tract. UTIs are dangerous and need immediate attention.

Beware, beware

But that pill is dangerous too – to your particular system. An antibiotic that kills germs, yes – but also knocks out so many of your own bacteria inside your gut, you’re suddenly out of kilter.

Out of kilter, out of control, powerless and knowing nothing about it – as treacherous to you as the date-rape drug, rohypnol. Because now, against your will, you’re going to get fat – overweight like two-thirds of British adults already are – another victim of the obesity epidemic.

Fat, from one little pill? You’re probably on a course of them 3 times a day for 7 days, 500 mg each, serious stuff. First to tip you out of balance – and then to keep on shoving.

As we’re only starting to recognise now, our bodies are filled with microbes. At least 100 trillion bacteria live in our gut, more than ten times our total of human cells. There are even more viruses than bacteria, maybe 1,000 times more – and fungi too, we’re host to a whole micro-world we’re never aware of – mostly beneficial, some dormant, some hostile but unable to do anything because they’re so out-numbered.

Wow, a whole new entity of our bodies we never knew about – our living life force, possibly more important than our brain, heart, lungs and all of the rest of us put together. Teeming and breeding, doing all the heavy lifting we always thought we did ourselves – like digesting, driving our feelings, regulating our body balance and controlling our immune system.

Disaster explosion

OK, so you can imagine what happens when a dose of antibiotics suddenly arrives among this lot out of nowhere. Antibiotics kill bacteria, so it’s like a terrorist letting loose with an atom bomb, then shooting in all directions with a machine-gun.

If your Doc is clever, this antibiotics bomb will mostly target the bacteria that’s giving you grief, the cause of your UTI. Your body balance changes, your bloodstream goes around, and your kidneys get reinforcements against what ails them. That’s the upside.

Yeah, but in your particular case – we’re all as individually different in the variation and numbers of microbes we have in our systems – your balance has gone for a ball of chalk. Lots of “good guy” bacteria have died, allowing more “bad guy” bacteria into their place.

And if you’re unlucky, that could mean enterobacteriaceae, a bacterium that interferes with food extraction capability and telling your appetite when you’ve had enough, sending false signals to your brain. Enterobacteriaceae, the obesity pathogen.

Maybe the bacterium triggers your brain into eating more – and eating compulsively. Maybe it doesn’t. Could just be that it squeezes every last ounce and energy out of your food, way more than normal. Is your poo less? Less body waste, there’s a clue right there. It depends on your metabolism.

So say you don’t bulk up immediately, your size 12s still fit if you breathe in first. Then you start to notice – always feeling tired, always thirsty, always busting to go to the loo – beginnings of type 2 diabetes.

Because you don’t just get fat on the outside, you can get fat on the inside too. Around your liver and pancreas spells trouble – diabetes without even LOOKING fat.

Antibiotics tsunami

But maybe it’s not enterobacteriaceae at all, you’re being manipulated by something else – still just as powerless, still a victim against your will. Unconscious brain washing.

Any farmer could probably guess right away. It’s the El Dorado of modern farming – feed antibiotics to your livestock and body growth accelerates almost immediately – from calf to cow in 18 months instead of 4 years – bigger, fatter, worth a lot more money.

Ew! Antibiotics have skewed your bacteria to fatten you up, just like a pig for market.

Which also means you’ve been on antibiotics long before the Doc gave you your current prescription bomb. All your life in fact – even right back, before you were born.

Because antibiotics have been so successful at growth promotion in the food production industry, they’re used everywhere and all the time – for livestock, pigs, poultry, fish – even vegetable, fruit and grain crops.

Pretty well whatever you eat has antibiotics in it – either directly in feed, or indirectly through manure boosting feedstock growth, lacing the soil, or leaching into our rivers and drinking water.

And every time they hit your gut, even in drip-drip little quantities, they kill more bacteria, shove your balance even more out of whack, reduce the vital biodiversity your body needs for all the many functions it has to perform. Leaving only the stronger, tougher basics – descended from the crude essence of the first life forms on Earth millions of years ago – able to withstand cataclysmic volcanic eruptions, meteor strikes, earthquakes, acid seas, drought and extreme temperatures.

You will survive. But price is, you’re going to be fat. Fat and increasingly unhealthy too. Not just from obesity and probable type 2 diabetes – from all kinds of other illnesses as well.

Not feeling so good

Yes, your appetite system has been massacred, but so has your immune system. And your Mum’s before you – and her Mum’s before her – three generations of continuous bombardment, so that our biodiversity is 30% less than it was the day antibiotics were first discovered.

And it’s not just you, it’s all of us. Two-thirds of adults, a third of our kids are already affected – by a slow-motion rape that is only just beginning.

Not the kind of thing you can go to the cops for though. Better to get clever.

OK, so if antibiotics are out, what protection is there against dread diseases and infection?

Not a lot once you’ve got them, except the expertise of your doctors and meticulous attention to hygiene – oh, and the one proven treatment before antibiotics, fighting external infections with silver.

Which means get a paper cut at work and you’re still reasonably safe – wash it out well and use an antibacterial silver plaster from Boots, £2.50 for a pack of 10.

Rediscover hygiene

And there’s key right there too – wash, wash, wash. Keep yourself clean and safe and your internal microbes can’t be touched. Mist up the air with hydrogen peroxide and the bugs in the air can’t get you either. And they’re there alright – flu, colds, TB, pneumonia? Everything else too, these microbes are so small just about all of them ride the air, even though they’re not normally airborne.

Eat right and careful too. If you can reduce enterobacteriaceae, you change the balance for other bacteria to take their place. Like if you’re lucky, christensenella, a bacterium that might actually make you thinner.

Away with 18s and back to the 12s.

There’s nothing nice about being raped – or being violated by obesity. But your soul can only feel better for being yourself again.

Originally posted 2016-01-22 15:04:19.