Tag Archives: hygiene

Why go sick when you don’t need to?

Cruise ship passengers
All that money – and the best time of your life – don’t let a bug ruin it all

Think of it as a warning.

As the weather warms and thoughts turn to holidays, the first of this year’s cruise ship tummy bug outbreaks hits the headlines.

Two San Diego-based cruises to Central America and back at £1,000 a pop just for starters. Sick at sea again.

The onboard tummy bug

Norovirus again – and from the looks of it, full-on gastro. Holiday dreams of a fortnight afloat, sunk in a gut-wrenching nightmare. The price of an unguarded moment maybe in a super-cool cantina in Puerto Quetzal or Puerto Vallarta – where the locals have cast-iron tummies and the turistas drop like flies.

Avoidable, yes. The tacos de frijoles have a certain reputation.

But more likely hygiene issues in an misadventure off the beaten track.

And norovirus is highly contagious.

Get back to the ship before the symptoms set in – an enclosed space shared by 3,000 people – and the inevitable happens, everyone is sick.

Because who remembers to wash their hands and take precautions when you’re having fun? And when it’s difficult to find a place at all until you get back to your cabin?

By then of course, it’s too late. Whoever you touched, whoever you shared food and drinks with – the gastro takes hold like wildfire.

Stop it happening again

OK, the cruise people can’t stop the wayward adventure.

But they CAN minimise the outbreak and control the spread – prevent it reaching all 2,000 passengers and 1,000 crew. Fewer people need to fall sick.

All it takes is a number of onboard Hypersterilisers – the whole ship sterilised by hydrogen peroxide plasma – a zero germ threshold throughout, no viruses or bacteria anywhere.

Because this is not the first outbreak on either of the ships, Celebrity Infinity or Legend of the Seas. And gastroenteritis is a major recurring onboard sickness as stressed in the US Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) own schedule for Vessel Sanitation.

A weighty document, it details exactly how a cruise ship should be sanitised after an outbreak. The hard way, by rubbing and scrubbing.

“After both ships docked, crews went to work scrubbing down every inch of the cabins and common rooms.”

Not necessarily that effective. If you think of all the inaccessible nooks and crannies that exist on a cruise ship, there are thousands of places a virus could lurk, even after a deep clean sanitation blitz.

Reinfection threat

Nor can the ship’s HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) air conditioning system do much to filter out the virus. Norovirus cells measure 0.04 microns, but the minimum size a HEPA system can filter out is only 0.3 microns.

Even though the ship has been thoroughly processed, norovirus can survive on hard surfaces for seven days or more.

By which time the ship is back in Central America in the middle of its next cruise – all ready for the new crop of passengers – with no clue where the new outbreak is coming from.

Which is why the Hypersteriliser is so vital.

Force-fed dispersal

The super-fine plasma airborne mist it generates is ionised.

Actively charged, every molecule is vigorously trying to escape from its neighbour. It spreads everywhere by force – the molecules rushing to fill the whole air space and jamming up hard against every surface – underneath, behind, everywhere.

And of course, deep into cracks and crevices.

Even better, the actively charged mist is attracted to viruses and bacteria like a high-powered magnet – grabbing them and ripping them apart by shoving oxygen atoms at them.

No germ can survive, the ship is sterilised. Any source of infection now is brought on board as food or cargo – or on the persons or in the baggage of newly joining passengers.

No bugs next time

No norovirus, no bugs of any kind. Nobody coming down sick. Your holiday is safe.

You might want to mention that to your cruise line before you embark.

Two weeks is a long time to be ill when you’re not seasick.

Originally posted 2015-04-15 11:01:37.

Kiss goodbye to sepsis – today and every day

Lips
For the love of life,
we all need to show we care

Let every pair of beautiful lips remind you.

How beautiful life is. How much love there is in the world.

And how easily it is all taken away – with a simple scratch, a little cut, one of those nothings we never think about.

Infection – kiss of death

Because, little scratch or no, if ever the germs take over, suddenly you’re faced with raging illness.

What’s happening to you, is it a major disease? Ebola, malaria, or polio?

You can’t talk. You can’t stop shivering. Your muscles ache. You can’t go to the loo. You can’t catch your breath. You’re convinced you’re going to die. And your skin suddenly looks awful.

It’s major all right – a major infection called sepsis.

Never heard of it?

One of our biggest killers

Neither had the 37,000 other people it kills every year. Dead from infection that ran out of control and took over their bodies. Dead because antibiotics didn’t work – the bacteria that triggered everything is immune to them.

But that’s why the lips.

A beautiful girl called Emma Straker loved wearing red lipstick. Out of nowhere she came down with sepsis and died, only 19. Red lips are how she’s remembered.

Since then, concerned people everywhere have helped raise money to fight this dreadful affliction. They show their support by taking a selfie with red lips – and posting it with a donation to the UK Sepsis Trust.

Even more so today – because all over the country, it’s Kiss Goodbye to Sepsis Day.

Because with care and early enough treatment, sepsis can be beaten.

Prevention is better than cure

It starts with a simple infection.

So the best possible defence is to avoid contact with germs in the first place – not always easy, not always possible.

But at least germs can be stopped dead in any room BEFORE you step into it – sterilised with hydrogen peroxide.

Zero germ threshold, zero exposure.  All it needs is a Hypersteriliser. Daily treatment so that nothing ever gets a foothold again – in schools, hotels, restaurants, public offices, buses, trains, planes, work places, hospitals, care homes, everywhere.

So that any cut or chest infection or other minor ailment isn’t escalated by other bacteria into a raging, out-of-control monster.

People do survive sepsis. Some completely, some with a lasting disability.

Hygiene – kiss of life

Those lips can remind us that it’s possible – with kisses all over the hospital wards where sepsis is treated – kiss-marks to mark successful recovery.

Just like the walls of palm prints in Africa which proclaim “I survived Ebola”.

Sepsis is whole body infection run out of control. All of us can get it, if we’re unlucky or careless.

And all of us can avoid it – by upping our hygiene habits. (Tweet this)

That really is the kiss of life.

Originally posted 2015-04-10 16:49:32.

Your next breath could be your last

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

Think it can’t happen?

One breath is all it takes.

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

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

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

When you’re well, you’re untouchable.

It’s gonna happen

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

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

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

That’s not out in the open air either.

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

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

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

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

Good bugs, bad bugs, everywhere

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unseen but deadly

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

But awareness of germs, particularly in the house?

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

Which is taking more of a risk than we know.

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

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

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

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

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

Wash your hands, save your life

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

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

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

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

Don’t go there.

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

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

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

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

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

Get-ahead dentists see the light

Dental nurse
No cavities, no bacteria,
no viruses, no problem

Well, not exactly, because they’ve got the door closed.

With good reason.

That room is being sterilised by high energy pulses of ultraviolet light at wavelengths between 200 and 320 nanometres.

Any germ in there – any virus, any bacteria – is getting its DNA blitzed to hell and gone, with no coming back.

Five minutes and the surgery is ready for the next patient.

Sterilised for every patient

They call the machine that does it The Rumbler.

Because it rumbles on the floor – all finished in oak at Malmsey Dental Practice – quicker for an easy wipe-down. Staff are hot on hygiene at Malmsey, and the patients love it.

More accurately they love Gloria, the petite New Zealand gap-year student they’ve hired to push The Rumbler around.

Practice manager Pat Hunniford’s niece, she came in one day to see the set-up and grabbed the machine when there was an awkward glitch moment between patients.

The entire dental staff fell in love with her smile, and she made the patients feel like a million dollars as she ushered them in to their appointments.

Especially when they realised that The Rumbler she was wheeling around totally sterilised the place.

With that smile and that reassurance, the Malmsey dentists hired Gloria on the spot, the ultimate natural.

Open wide – and no germs

So now Glorious Gloria wheels the machine to each of the surgeries between patients, shushes the dental staff out for their ten-minute breather, activates the machine, checks the waiting room while it runs, then switches off it to rumble into the next surgery and go find the next patients.

Business is booming.

There are four dentists at Malmsey, and two hygienists.

Thanks to Gloria, they’re booked solid for the next two months – and the waiting list for new patients could re-paper reception.

Because Gloria is way more than a pretty face. An intending med student herself, she tells everyone how the UV rays from The Rumbler sterilise each surgery before every patient, so she’s actually keeping them all safe.

With her Hollywood smile – a cosmetic sales incentive all by itself – she explains how nobody must look at the machine while it’s running to avoid any harm.

Safer, stronger, faster

It’s pulsed UV from a powerful xenon bulb that is way more intense, yet safer than the old mercury vapour lamps they used to use. Faster too, which is how they can sterilise every surgery before every patient.

Pat Hunniford organised the appointments system to allow for the time – and staff feel more motivated with the frequent breaks to make phone calls, catch up on gossip, or simply chill in a way they never could anywhere else.

Again and again they tell Gloria she has a guaranteed career in PR, or modelling, or even in show-biz.

But she just flashes that amazing smile and carries on with The Rumbler.

A whole-room autoclave

It’s not a rumbler at all of course, it’s a Hyperpulse – the same size as a small photocopier – with a tall xenon bulb that pops up and down like a periscope when the machine is activated.

Not many practices have the Hyperpulse, but when the dentists realised they could sterilise their whole rooms as well as their instruments for every patient, it quickly became a must-have. (Tweet this)

Meanwhile summer is coming and they know that Glorious Gloria is going to give them the best attendance records yet.

They also know the clock is ticking.

Gloria’s mind is made up – and she fully intends to be first in line when the University of Auckland opens its doors at the end of February next year.

Sad for the dentists. But they also know they have the happiest – and healthiest – dental patients in the whole of UK.

Originally posted 2015-03-20 12:09:50.

How cracks in our hygiene will kill us

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

It’s Hollywood’s oldest cliché.

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

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

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

Looks are deceiving

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recycling bugs

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

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

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

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

Effective, sure – and a heart-warming story.

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

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

An effective rescue

All problems that dissolve into nothing by using hydrogen peroxide.

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

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

Unless of course, they’re using a Hypersteriliser.

No more schlep, no more wet spray.

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

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

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

Charged attraction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ah, but no superbug survives hydrogen peroxide

Woman boxer
No way any germs are coming back from treatment like this, ma’am

The writing is on the wall, folks. In letters larger than life.

Two alarm bell happenings this week underline it.

The return to UK of a British Army nurse who contracted Ebola on the mercy mission in Sierra Leone and her admission to the Royal Free Hospital.

And the latest “Antibiotic Apocalypse” update that mutating bacteria are making our medicines useless – a potentially greater threat than Ebola.

Chief Medic warning

This warning comes from no less than Professor Dame Sally Davies herself – Chief Medical Officer for England – that we need to up our game in hygiene, or risk killing ourselves by carelessness.

Actually, Dame Sally’s main thrust is for drug companies to get back into research developing new antibiotics – a new super-class to take on the superbugs.

No new antibiotic has hit the market since 1987. And it’s unlikely to. There’s more money to be made manufacturing pills that patients need to take several times a day for the rest of their life – than meeting the cost of a drug that may only be used in emergencies.

Which spotlights the scary elephant in the room – that medicines don’t work anymore.

Hence, says Dame Sally, we need to rediscover hygiene.

“Half of men don’t wash their hands when they go to the lavatory – which takes the bugs from the bum, or the prick, to the tap – to the door handle – and then out potentially to food and friends. We have to take this seriously.”

Washing hands saves lives

Yes, washing hands is again the issue. Because prevention is better than cure.

So is washing and disinfecting everything that gets used in hospitals – beds, instruments, equipment, furniture, everything.

And did we mention the walls, ceiling and floor?

That too – even the airspace that fills most of any hospital room – which never gets cleaned because you can’t hand-wipe empty nothing.

Truth is – like antibiotics themselves – wipe cleaning is no longer up to the job.

If we’re going to rediscover hygiene, we’ve got to take on those killer bugs everywhere we can. Which means not just out in the open – but underneath, behind and on top of things – plus the cracks and crevices in between.

That sexy coil of wire for the blood pressure machine? It gets handled 20 times a day and what is it cleaned with? Formaldehyde is banned as a carcinogen, bleach attacks the plastic insulation – and anyway, to wipe that cable after every use would pull its soldered ends apart in weeks.

Sterilising technology

OK, how about UV? There’s this American company jumping up and down about the UV robots it has supplied to Sierra Leone which zaps germs in minutes, sterilising everything including Ebola.

It’s a nifty machine and a real step forward (something like this). No viruses, no bacteria – pretty well sterile. But it’s not too good getting underneath, behind or on top of things, because you can’t bend light rays. You need to keep shifting it around to be effective.

So? Fog the place up with hydrogen peroxide. It attacks germs by oxidising them, job done. Like no virus or bacteria survives being ripped apart by oxygen atoms tearing through it.

Especially if you go the whole hog.

All germs – gone

Don’t just spray the stuff in the air – ionise it in a Hypersteriliser, so it disperses faster, finer than water droplets, almost like a plasma. So it actively reaches out and grabs pathogens on the fly, destroying them in mid-air.

So it’s electrostatically attracted deep into cracks and crevices, where hand wipes cannot reach.

So it sterilises the air, where most germs normally are. You’ve seen grains of dust fly around – every bug in the universe is microscopically smaller than that – so don’t let anyone tell you that germs aren’t airborne all the time.

So it’s dry and in a mild concentration, that doesn’t attack surfaces or harm electrical connections – plugs, sockets, keyboards and stuff.

So it decomposes into nothing afterwards, just water and oxygen.

Oh yes, and boost it with colloidal silver while you’re doing all this – so it performs three times better. So that an ultra thin residue of silver is left on all surfaces afterwards, an antibacterial barrier for ongoing protection.

Is that rediscovering enough?

Available now

You can destroy all pathogens right now, just by pressing a button – in as little as forty minutes, depending on room size. (Tweet this)

And it makes the place sterile to a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 6 –that is, 99.9999% germ-free. Safe, sterile and secure.

It won’t stop superbugs having a go at you if they get inside your body.

But sure as heck, it will prevent them getting to you in the first place.

Originally posted 2015-03-13 12:26:30.

Je suis Charlie, every day of your life

French flag eye
The French inspiration –
eyes open, always watchful

Je suis Charlie, three little words.

Overnight it’s become the world’s rally against terrorism of any kind, anywhere. An uplifting tribute to ordinary French people – and a defiant rejection of brutality, intolerance and violence.

If those big deals Blair and Bush had dared to show half such courage after 9/11, we would not face the senseless conflict that we do today.

Inspired vigilance

Thank you France, if only we can be as strong as you.

Because threats by fanatics are not the only terrorism we face.

Just as evil as the atrocities in Paris is the daily slaughter of innocent people overpowered by Ebola – and the invisible conflicts that each of us face at every moment against viruses and bacteria.

In Paris, ordinary people just like us were cut down in a hail of bullets.

But spare a thought for those in hospital, often in pain and anguish, slowly succumbing to disease or infection that nobody wanted or provoked.

It might not look like it, but the world is a dangerous place.

Thanks to the stupidities of former leaders – who wilfully exploded the world into the dissension it faces today – a terrorist’s bullet could hit any one of us, at any minute.

But through our own lack of watchfulness, a germ could strike us down dead just as effectively.

Invisible terrorists

All it takes is a lapse in hygiene habits, not washing hands or carelessness with food – and we are in trouble.

And germs are not like fanatics. They are everywhere, all the time – billions and billions of them surrounding every one of us.

The slightest little mistake or accident – even a paper cut – is all they need to invade our bodies and take us down.

And no, doctors and medicine can’t always fix it.

Because, horror of horrors, antibiotics don’t always work any more. Fifty years of relying on them for everything have given germs the chance to develop resistance.

You might go into hospital for a hernia operation, only to die from MRSA – methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus – one of the most deadly hospital acquired infections.

Of course, yes, it should never happen, you should always be safe in medical care.

Ever-present danger

But operations make people vulnerable – so many defenceless bodies, all in one place – all with cuts and wounds for germs to get in and do their dirty work. So you could be more at risk in hospital than anywhere else.

It shouldn’t happen, but it does – and what can the poor medics do when the antibiotic applied to control infection comes up against a germ that ignores it?
It’s terrorism, plain and simple. And much more deadly.

Because when a terrorist pulls the trigger, there’s the possibility he can miss.

But germs don’t miss. Once they’re in, they’re in – and it’s up to your own body to fight them. And germs are very efficient at making you die. Plus there’s no secret intelligence service to warn you of their presence, no police or military to protect you.

It’s not all doom and gloom though.

There are more than six billion of us, and we WANT to survive.

Time to up our game

Which makes prevention way better than cure. If we don’t get sick, germs can’t touch us. (Tweet this)

Better to assume they’re always there. That we always need to take precautions.
Washing hands. Being careful of everything we come in contact with. Everything we eat. Everything we breathe.

And sterilising our surroundings, to make doubly sure. Every room we’re in, totally free of harmful pathogens. Nothing in the air. Nothing on any surface. Nothing lurking in cracks or crevices.

Je suis Charlie. We have a lot to thank those wonderful French people for.

Their solidarity and courage is a vivid reminder that we must always be watchful.

A terrorist can strike at any moment. So can a virus or bacteria.

En garde!

Originally posted 2015-01-12 12:51:44.

‘Tis the season to be jolly careful about hygiene

Sad Santa kid
Don’t take chances – nobody wants a bug for Christmas

You better watch out – flu and norovirus are coming to town. And bringing a whole load of their friends with them.

Both are highly contagious.

Both transfer easily on contact – mistletoe, kiss-kiss, shake hands, hug-hug, back-slap.

Which means your festive season could be over before it starts – friends and family with you.

The cruise ship curse

Norovirus particularly, gets in on the act preparing food – norovirus, gastroenteritis, food poisoning, stomach flu, call it what you will. And there’s nothing festive about it – vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, headache and fatigue, a real party pooper.

Nine hospitals have already closed wards because of it – not enough beds for people with complications. Young children and old people who dehydrate, which can very quickly become life threatening.

Associated nasties

Flu is not nice either – the end of jollity and just as catching.

Don’t take chances when the sneezing starts. You’ll never know what kind you have until it hits you – and it could be a killer. The global outbreak of 1918 killed 50 million people, more than twice the casualties in the whole of World War One.

Yeah, yeah, it’s Mad Friday and everybody’s having fun.

Ho, ho, ho – food and drink and lots of it.

So a few precautions are not just a good idea – they’re absolutely essential.

Hike up your hygiene

Like washing you hands for a start. As often as you can think about it.

Germs love getting in through our body’s access ports – mouth, nose, eyes, ears. And we touch our faces up to 3,000 times a day – 3 to 5 times every waking minute.

Better still, clobber all germs before they start.

It takes just twenty minutes to mist up a room with hydrogen peroxide. An actively charged super-oxidiser, it grabs viruses and bacteria out of the air and rips them  apart by shoving oxygen at them.  All germs gone, the place is completely sterile.

Kind of crucial when you remember that neither flu nor norovirus respond to antibiotics. You can’t stop them once they’ve got you, so you’ve got to strike first.

And germs are ALWAYS around. There’s never a time when you can forget about them.

But now that you know, you’re good to go.

Let’s get this party started.

Originally posted 2014-12-19 12:21:25.

Open wide… no chance of infection here

Dental checkup
No chance any infection
will get you while you’re here

Terrified of the dentist? You shouldn’t be. These days it doesn’t hurt – and when your mouth feels healthy, so do you.

Unless you’re worried about infection of course. That Nottingham dentist did nothing for anyone’s confidence.

Strictly come clean

But your own dentist has strict hygiene rules to follow – and you can bet he does. With around 20 billion oral microbes living in your mouth – more than the number of people living on earth – no way he’s taking chances.

If you think about it, a dentist’s surgery is like a hospital operating room, so some basic rules apply:

  • All surfaces are disinfected between patients.
  • Hands are washed and new gloves pulled on between patients.
  • All instruments are heat-sterilised between patients.

UV in the OR

Plus, after the Nottingham case, you might notice your dentist has a new toy. A schnazzy new ultra violet light generator.

Because in a hospital you personally get prepped before any operation – cleaned, disinfected, sterilised – made safe.

But dental patients walk in straight off the street. And every single one of us wears an aura of at least 3 million viruses and bacteria all the time – every one of them looking for a way into our bodies to start their mischief.

OK, so you’re at the dentist.

Then what happens? Your dental operation starts bang, straight away.

But you’re still in your street clothes, with slush on your shoes, no opportunity to wash your hands – you touch the dentist’s chair, the armrest and maybe something else – what sort of things are you bringing in for the next patient to run the risk of?

Well, none.

NONE.

Because you’ll notice that when the patient before you comes out, so do the dentist and the nurse –they don’t want to be exposed and things are about to happen in there.

Death ray for germs

They close the door. The dentist presses a remote control – not for catch-up TV, but for the ultra violet generator.

ZAP!

Inside the surgery the machine goes into action, blitzing every germ dead  – in the air, on surfaces – destroying their DNA by irradiation. Pumping out high intensity ultra violet light in the shortwave C spectrum, pulsed in concentrated flashes to minimise human exposure.

5 minutes and it’s safe. The room is sterile. No germs for you to catch except those you brought with you. And you’ve survived the day so far, ain’t nothing going to happen now.

You go into the surgery with the dentist and nurse. No germs, no nothing, the whole room is 99.999% free of them – what they call Sterility Assurance Level 5 (ever so posh).

Still worried about the dentist?

Don’t be.

If you’ve ever had raging toothache at 4.00 in the morning, you’ll know he’s on your side.

Originally posted 2014-12-17 14:30:00.

Squeaky clean hospital, narrow squeak in surgery

Ballet dancer in box
Escaping germs is always a close squeak

A simple operation.

Routine, routine, routine.

Except there’s nothing routine in cutting your body open and sewing up a few repairs.

Invasive surgery they call it. Like being carved up on the battlefield, but under anaesthetic.

Always a risk

Yes, it saves lives – in this case, yours.

But all the time your body is at hazard, and it’s only the skills of the experts that keep you alive.

Not just experts with a scalpel either.

The mop and bucket brigade are also keeping you from death.

Because of the germs.

Billions and billions of viruses and bacteria floating around all of us every day – in the air around our bodies, in our homes – and in the hospital where they’re going to do the op.

Hospital battlefield

It IS a battlefield too – right across the consulting room, the operating theatre, the recovery room and the observation ward. A constant war to prevent infection getting into your cut. The cut that saved your life, but could still kill you if the germs get in.

HAIs they call them – Hospital Acquired Infections. And you might wonder how such disasters are possible if medical professionals are doing their job properly.

The truth is that they are – to higher standards than any other occupation. If the world ran to the demanding requirements of the medical profession, we’d all be living in perfection.

Thing is though, that HAIs are not just a medical issue. They’re a hygiene one.
There are more people in hospital with cuts and tubes and wires into their bodies than anywhere else. And every breach in the body defences is a chance for germs to slip in.

Stopping them is next to impossible. Like the air we all breathe, they’re a fact of life.

Anti-antibiotics

Which is why post-op, you drift out of the anaesthetic pumped full of antibiotics.

No significant surgery of any kind is possible without them. The germs are so pervasive and fast, every patient would die on the operating table.

Which makes every hospital a war-zone. A constant onslaught against viruses and bacteria – hostile organisms so small they’re invisible – you can never tell whether they’re there or not.

But count on it, they always are.

So hospitals don’t just need to be clean and KEPT clean. They need a special kind of clean. Because the enemy is everywhere – on surfaces, furniture, drapes, skin and clothing. Swirling through the air too. If you’ve ever watched minute motes of dust floating in sunlight, you’ll understand.

A hospital is a huge place too – requiring a monumental effort to keep clean.

Doing it all to the same standard is impossible, but this is where miracles happen every day.

They need them too.

Antibiotics are vital to saving your life – but fifty years of depending on them more and more has led to overuse. Result – mutating bacteria have found a way to become resistant to them too.

So HAIs are increasingly in the news. Today the No 1 villain is MRSA – Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus – the surgeon’s nightmare. The No 2 is Clostridium Difficile.

You will be tested for both repeatedly – before, during and after your procedure. Between them they kill around 2,000 people a year in the UK, just these two.

Against the enemy

Fortunately you’re not totally dependant on Mrs Mop to keep you safe. Hospital cleaning is science and there’s more to it than disinfectant and detergent.

Operating theatres have HEPA filters – High-Efficiency Particulate Air scrubbers so fine they can remove 99.97% of particles down to 0.03 of a micron – a single MRSA cell is 0.06.

Increasingly, ultra violet light is used too. In high intensity pulses generated in the short-wave UV-C band, the light attacks viruses and bacteria by destroying their DNA. All germs within range are dead in around ten minutes.

Hydrogen peroxide is even more effective. No shadows, no “dead” areas. Misted up into a super-fine ionised spray it reaches everywhere, drawn by static charge. Germs are destroyed by oxidising them – ripped apart by oxygen atoms and destroyed down to just 1 microorganism in a million.

Yes, your surgery is a serious thing, but your body will pull through – the doctors and nurses will make sure of it. Your narrow escape is in avoiding the germs – always a risk, even with defences in place.

A squeak you’ll be glad to be out of.

Originally posted 2014-12-03 13:54:46.