Tag Archives: Hypersteriliser

How our antibiotics fixation is going to kill us

Taking a pill
It might make you feel
better – but long-term
it’s worse

It starts with a bacon sarnie – maybe our most addictive pleasure.

Super-bad for you of course, described by health experts as a “health time bomb in a bun“.

Ah yes, because it’s high fat and a major cause of atherosclerosis – bacon, butter, brown sauce and bread – overdo them and you’re dead.

Actually no – unless you pig out something stupid.

It’s how the bacon gets that way – solid, meaty taste you can’t resist. What happens out on the farm.

A disaster already happening

Antibiotics is how.

Because there’s a lot of money in pigs. So you’ll find them crowded together in high-intensity breeding sheds. Always dirty, often unhygienic – lots of pigs living close to each other, lots of pig poo – a real mission to keep healthy.

Which is where the antibiotics come in. Lots of healthy pigs, a sure-fire success.

Plus there’s a bonus. Antibiotics in their food makes pigs bulk up, especially from young. Bigger, heavier pigs – even more money.

It works the same with poultry – all those mega chicken sheds the size of aircraft hangers. Put antibiotics in their feed and you get bigger, better chickens – they even eat less too. Higher profits, lower overheads.

Which is why antibiotics are used across the board in all livestock production. Beef and dairy cattle. Lamb and mutton. A massive chunk of the food industry on an industrial scale – 65,000 tons a year world wide and rising.

One heck of a health time bomb.

Over-used and useless

Because when it comes to the purpose antibiotics were designed for – fighting disease in human beings – they’re beginning not to work any more. Over-use and abuse have trained bacteria how to be resistant. Our medicines are useless.

Mind you, we’re not exactly innocent ourselves. Jumping up and down with every minor ailment, demanding antibiotics from the Doc like they’re Smarties. Not finishing the course half the time when we get them – teaching bugs to be even more resistant.

“Antimicrobial resistance poses a catastrophic threat. If we don’t act now, any one of us could go into hospital in 20 years for minor surgery and die because of an ordinary infection that can’t be treated by antibiotics.”

Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies

Catastrophic, yes. But that’s not the time bomb.

The real one is ticking away in our kids.

Because what do antibiotics do? They either destroy bacteria, or slow down their growth – bactericidal or bacteriostatic.

Bacteria are us

But it’s a slowly dawning fact of life that we ourselves are more bacteria than human – colonised over our whole evolution and outnumbered 10 to 1. In our gut alone, there are more than 100 trillion of them – doing the heavy work of digesting, producing proteins and regulating our immune systems.

Hold that thought – regulating our immune systems.

Which means when that antibiotic capsule dissolves in our gut, it’s like a nuclear explosion. 100 trillion bacteria – boom! Yes, it gets rid of the bad guys, but there’s collateral damage too – good guys caught in the crossfire.

No wonder there’s side effects – cramps, vomiting, diarrhoea. All from fighting infection in a hip operation – what’s that about?

Yeah, that’s what happens when we take a pill. But that’s not the time bomb either.

You see, we’ve all of us been taking antibiotics continuously since birth – and even before.

They’re in the food we eat – the beef, pork, mutton and poultry. They’re in our vegetables too – from soil enriched by animal fertiliser. No getting away from it, we’re full of the things.

But hold it.

If bacteria regulate our immune system and antibiotics destroy them, what does that do to the rest of us?

System under threat

Plays havoc with our defences, right? Takes down our protective shield at exactly the same time that bad guy bacteria learn how to be invincible. Double whammy BOOM-BOOM!

Now flash-back to why those young piggy-wigs get antibiotics in the first place. Not the health reason, the money reason.

To bulk them up. Bigger, better, fatter pigs.

And don’t forget the “from young” bit. So their bodies LEARN to be fat.

Just like we humans do – and have been doing – more and more visibly throughout the last generation. Learning to get fat. Shaped that way by antibiotics. Hello Twenty-First Century obesity.

Yeah, you got it. We’ve done it to ourselves and keep doing it. Getting in deeper and paying the price.

We start as babies – our immune systems shaped and trained by our mothers’ own metabolism. Her bacteria teach ours – about good and bad. Some of her passive bad guys even teaching us about bogies we’ve neither of us met.

But she’s got antibiotics in her system from the food she eats – and so have we. Not even born and we’re already picking up bad habits.

It gets worse

There’s an even bigger hiccup if the birth goes iffy. Docs can save Mum and us by doing a C-section – a caesarean to get us out of trouble. It stops the bacterial learning curve though. Once that umbilical cord is cut, her system can’t teach us any more. We’ve got to go with what we’ve got.

Then whoops, what happens if she goes onto feeding us with formula? Any last-minute briefing sessions in her breast milk are denied to us – our bacteria have to make do with an incomplete picture. They don’t know how to recognise dangers, or what to do when they happen.

Yeah, yeah – but the world’s a healthier place than it was generations ago. Clean water, fewer diseases, better living conditions, less chance to get sick.

Except antibiotics have graunched our systems.

Our bacteria don’t see threats, so they make up phantoms. Reacting to things that aren’t there with very real symptoms – allergies, asthma. When you were growing up, how many kids did you know who broke out in hives from a peanut butter sandwich? Or went into full anaphylactic shock?

And now we’re getting fat, too. Never mind what we eat, we bulk up – like our bodies were trained to from birth.

Yeah, antibiotics.

We can’t live with them, we can’t live without them.

But not all bad

Except that’s not entirely true.

Inside our bodies we’re OK, protected by our own bacteria. It’s the outside nasties we’ve got to handle – viruses, bacteria and fungi, waiting to have a go at us.

Washing our hands is a start. Getting rid of germs on our skin we might ingest otherwise.

Sterilising our surroundings is our best follow-up. Misting up our living space with ionised hydrogen peroxide from a Hypersteriliser – oxidising all germs to nothing, keeping ourselves safe.

We may not stop the time bomb.

But at least we can try to slow it down.

Originally posted 2015-11-16 16:18:30.

How we’ll survive now antibiotics don’t work

Doctor washing
No more pills – from now on, everything gets done the hard way

Scary stuff this.

No safety net. Like driving on bald tyres.

Any accident, any surgery, any infection, any fever – we’re on our own. Either our immune systems will handle it, or they won’t. Game over.

End of the line

Because now there’s no more failsafe. No last second backup. Real Friday 13th.

No more silly buggers, the Doc can’t save you if your misadventure goes pear-shaped. The cupboard is empty.

Don’t believe it?

Already we’ve got MRSA – methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus – the scourge of every hospital and big bogey of AMR – antimicrobial resistance. This superbug lives naturally in your nose, for goodness sake.

Wipe your face, then touch a cut – and you’re up a gum tree.

Because methicillin, amoxicillin, penicillin, oxacillin – take any of them and the bug might get even stronger.

And MRSA is just one of our regular 9-to-5 infections. Other AMR stars appearing daily include salmonella, streptococcus, c.difficile, TB, gonorrhoea and e.coli. All of them can kill if we’re not careful – and that doesn’t include the heavy brigade like botulism or cholera.

Over-use and abuse

How did these bacteria get so smart?

Well, we’ve been chucking antibiotics at them on an industrial scale for more than 50 years – plenty of time to learn.

Sure thing, a lot of that is in medicine – we’re a growing cult of pill-poppers. These days the average teenager might be on a course of antibiotics say, five times a year.

Hypochondriac grown-ups are worse – or should that be “cyberchondriacs?” The Internet breeds self-diagnosing adults who demand antibiotics so strongly, there’s doctors and chemists who fear for life and limb.

But agriculture is the real villain. 65,000 tons a year and more to bulk up animals for market – beef, pork, mutton, poultry – right across the board. It’s in plants too –from “natural” recycled animal waste. Over-use big time.

Which also means like it or not – carnivore or vegetarian – we’re all on antibiotics already, absorbed through the food chain. And have been ALL OUR LIVES.

Always read the label, remember? Do not take continuously for more than ten days without consulting a physician.

What the heck, we’ve OD’d all our lives!

Living mutations

No wonder our metabolisms are so different from our grandparents’ – weaker, less resilient, more prone to allergies and minor ailments, ballooning to obesity. Our internal bacteria have mutated so much, we’re hardly the same kind of human beings.

Because if it takes only twenty minutes for a bacterium to adapt and evolve to a new generation, that’s around 438,000 mutations learning how to survive antibiotics since they were first used – they should have got it right by now.

So yeah, antibiotics don’t work any more. And since we’re surrounded by billions and billions of bacteria every second – even colonised inside by over 100 trillion – washing our hands is a start.

Wash ’em off so we don’t infect cuts or swallow anything nasty. Wash, wash, wash.

The sloppy hygiene factor

But there’s a problem, and it’s us.

We touch everything everywhere without thinking of these bacteria. From one second to the next, we never think we’re contaminated. Our hands LOOK clean, so we don’t bother.

Sure, we used to get away with it – the Doc back-stopping us with a load of wonder-drugs. But not any more.

So we’re already in big trouble. From our own sloppy hygiene.

It’s not just hands either. Bacteria are everywhere. On everything, under and behind everything, even inside us. And of course, floating through the air – lighter than smoke or specks of dust – swirling, trailing, riding the smallest breeze, all the way up to 30,000 – higher than Everest.

So as soon as our clean hands touch something, they’re contaminated again.

Repeat and repeat

Which means we’ve got to clean the things we touch. And KEEP CLEANING THEM – because the bacteria keep coming back. Wash, wipe, scrub, it’s a never-ending mission.

Even then, it’s not even half the job. Around 80% of any room we live in is air space to move around in – and there’s no wash, wipe, scrubbing answer for that.

We’re at hazard from each other’s bacteria too – because we’re not all the same. Most of us have weaknesses of some kind or other. So our personal biome – the trailing cloud of bacteria unique to each of us – is trapped and mingles in the air of our work space with everybody else’s.

Just by being together we can infect each other.

Unless of course, the whole place is misted up with a Hypersteriliser, oxidising all germs to nothing with hydrogen peroxide.

Not vaporised hydrogen peroxide either – too strong for safety and making everything wet.

Press the button when everybody’s gone for the night, and the mild 6% solution of hydrogen peroxide is IONISED from a microscopic spray into an electrically-charged gas plasma – a super-performing change of state that  releases even more antimicrobials – hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, ozone, and ultraviolet – every particle alive with energy to disperse everywhere and grab pathogens as they fly.

Forty minutes and the place is sterile. No viruses, no bacteria. Zero germs. Every surface safe. The air totally bio-neutral.

Safe till next time

Of course it starts all over again next morning.

As we all breeze in for the day, each trailing our bio-cloud with us – hands alive with bacteria from the steering wheel, the door handle, the ticket machine, the lift button and the loo seat. Er yes, but soap and water fixes most of that.

Wash, wash, wash – it’s our latest antibiotic – which in case you were wondering means “inhibits the growth of, or destroys, microorganisms.”

Phew! We made it.

Never mind that those antibio-whatsits don’t work any more. We know how to be safe.

Enjoy your day.

Originally posted 2015-11-13 13:29:00.

Should our hospitals work like crime scenes?

Crime scene
The cops can teach us a thing or two about avoiding contamination

Calm down Doc, no-one’s casting nasturtiums.

Truth is, the cops have got something you could maybe use Big Time. Better control of overall hygiene. Stop HAIs dead in their tracks.

Because if you’ve ever watched news coverage of any crime scene investigation, you’ll notice the rozzers are paranoid about one thing – avoiding contamination.

Strict procedure

First thing they do is secure the area – like isolating a patient in quarantine. Nobody in, nobody out – unless properly authorised, signed for and logged. No unwanted outside influences.

Then the SOCO team arrive – Scene of Crime Officers in their bunny suits. Full body covering, face masks, gloves and booties.

Familiar territory?

You bet. Modern crime scenes lean heavily on microbiology – trace evidence, DNA and epithelials. To nail the bad guy, they can’t afford the cops’ own body substances corrupting the evidence.

Uh huh. Exactly like scrubbing and gowning up for surgery. Medics can’t afford to take chances with possible infection. Everything is clinically clean and sterile – anything that touches the patient has to be safe.

Slight difference though, isn’t there?

The cops are concerned their own presence can skew the results.

The biological “life” cloud

They’re better aware of the human biome – that the body is surrounded by billions of bacteria, trailing around like a cloud. That the skin gives off billions more bacteria, along with secretions and the constant sloughing off of dead skin cells.

Because of this sharp awareness, they can secure a conviction from the DNA of a single hair. And it’s already on the cards that just sampling the air of a crime scene may soon yield the identity of suspects entirely from biome traces left behind – long after the bad guy left the building.

Avoid contamination, nail the perp.

Not quite how it works in hospital though, is it?

Because there’s one element the patient on the operating table is not protected from.

Themselves.

The medics are all gowned and sterile, but the patient’s biome is all over the place – floating around the table and throughout the OR.

Blood pressure, check. Pulse, check. Respiration, check. Temperature, check. And what about a pre-op wash? Never mind the screening for MRSA or whatever – one incision and that patient could be self-infected, from normally dormant pathogens suddenly finding an entry into the body.

Something is a little skew about how we prep for hygiene.

Slightly oops

From personal experience of three operations in two hospitals – two hernias and a quad repair – patients themselves are not scrubbed and sterilised the way that doctors and nurses have to be.

Sure, they’re wearing a hospital gown and out cold under general anaesthetic, but they could have breezed in before that, straight off the street – no shower, no bath, not even a hand scrub – maybe even bypassing the hospital’s own sanitising gel stations.

And here it is, direct from the Nursing Times: “Patients should wash or shower using soap and water the evening before surgery.”

The evening before! How many billion billion germ opportunities could that be?

OK, so the op’s a success and the patient goes to the recovery ward. Lots of people with lowered resistance. Lots of incisions and holes for tubes, drips and cannulas.

So in come the relatives, also straight off the street. Ordinary street clothes, trailing outside biome plumes, frequently side-stepping the sanitising gel stations – not even using the one at the foot of the bed.

Yup, you’d better believe it. Only one in three visitors ever uses the things.

People with a dodgy hygiene record too. Rushed and forgetful like the rest of us, wanting to show care and concern – but often the biggest infection risk of all.

Why?

Sloppy hygiene

Not the way the cops would do it.

Prevent contamination, right?

Which, in The Force, would mean hand gel is obligatory – orders are orders. And containing biomes is paramount – everybody fully enclosed in bunny suits. Yes sir, no sir, three bags full, sir.

Even then, there’s still a major risk of HAIs.

Straight in off the street – it’s cold out there, central heating in here – patients in T-shorts with the bedcovers flung back.

You got it – nose sniffles. Inevitable.

Not cold or flu or anything – but for the first ten minutes, running like a tap. Both nostrils, high up – from the same place where staphylococcus bacteria normally reside passively, or their methicillin-resistant cousins, MRSA. Harmless enough unless something happens.

Harmless as in pat on the cheek or a handshake. Or simply just breathing out, more microbes to join the visiting biome. Potentially lethal if the germs run amok. 80 people die of MRSA every year.

Prevention before cure

At a crime scene, the cops put up a tent – to keep out prying eyes and stop the weather destroying the evidence. The sun to dry things out. The rain to wash them away. Footprints, bloodstains, tyre tracks.

In hospital there’s a Hypersteriliser – as long as staff aren’t too rushed and busy to use it. Every ward made sterile before occupancy by misting up the place with ionised hydrogen peroxide. All viruses and bacteria oxidised to nothing – zero germ threshold. Zero contamination.

Maybe hospitals are already more like crime scenes than we think.

In which case, nice one Doc.

See? Nobody having a go, everybody all on the same side. Just like the cops.

Except those chancers who will not gel their hands.

Well, only one way to deal with them.

“Hey you. You’re nicked!”

Originally posted 2015-11-10 16:17:23.

Five signs you might already be an angel

Bio-aura
Just like an angel. We’re more like heavenly bodies than we might ever think

We are more remarkable than we know.

We’re also not like anything we think we know.

Our brain tells us one thing, but reality is another – our day-to-day consciousness just precludes us from seeing it.

Or believing it.

Which is why – with apologies to ecclesiastical sensitivities, but looking at the shared evidence from various spiritual sources – that we dare to suggest we might already be angels.

We have haloes, an aura all round us

Wherever we go, a living cloud surrounds us. We can’t see it, but we know it’s there. An invisible veil of microorganisms too small to see – the billions and billions of bacteria that surround us every moment of our lives.

We never think of them, never feel that they are there. Except for the bad ones maybe, the ones that can do us harm. Because if we cut ourselves or get dirty, we know that germs get in and we become infected.

Of course there’s good bacteria too, but we only know about those if we’re doctors or biologists – people aware that the good stuff protects us by crowding the bad stuff out.

Actually, some of us can see this aura. In his book Gifts of Unknown Things, South African botanist, zoologist, biologist, anthropologist and ethologist Lyall Watson describes a young girl in Indonesia who could sense colour surrounding her parents and other adults – varying in hue as their moods and thoughts changed.

There’s even a possible explanation for this. Researchers at Harvard University working with samples of escherichia coli found that individual cells of the bacterium carry an electrical charge – negative on the outside and positive on the inside. Exposed to a bacterial protein called green-absorbing proteorhodopsin, the bacteria became excited and gave off light – blinking on and off like a Christmas tree.

Was that young girl so sensitive to her environment that her metabolism could sense tiny voltage changes in the bacterial mantle around her parents’ skins? The aura is medically proven to be there, we just need some kind of 3D bacterial glasses to be able to see it.

We leave traces of ourselves wherever we go

It’s well acknowledged that visitations by angels have one lasting quality – the lingering smell of roses. Whatever the experience, the heady scent seems to provide proof that holy creatures at some stage were present.

Our trailing bio-cloud of bacteria provides similar evidence of our presence, even when we are gone. It is in fact a biological signature unique to every one of us – no two human beings attract quite the same combination of bacteria.

We can’t see it of course, but with their super sensitive noses dogs seem to be able to smell it. If they can locate individual superbugs in hospitals like clostridium difficile, why not single out specific humans from their one-of-a-kind bio-cloud IDs? Is this how a dog’s sense of smell has such unerring accuracy?

We can work miracles

We actually do this every day, though we don’t even know it. That’s because we’re not really us. Reality is that we are colonised by bacteria INSIDE our bodies as well as out – and that they outnumber our body cells by more than 10 to 1.

Our gut for instance is home to 100 trillion bacteria – to enable digestion, produce proteins to power us – and even to regulate the immune system.

It’s more than a remarkable partnership, it’s an amazing miracle that allows out human cells to park off and lord it like kings while a slave force of bacteria does the heavy lifting. After all, watching that box set is the thing, hey. Who wants the PT of processing all those Pringles and coffee while you’re doing it.

We give priceless gifts

If our bodies are living miracles, the powers that they give us are even more amazing. Our immune systems for instance are a finely balanced synergy between bacteria and our own body cells that for seventy years and more keep us pretty well invincible – just like a guardian angel. And believe it or not, our immunity is transferable.

Oh sure, we know that harmful pathogens and infections are easily transferred – by direct contact or unfortunately breathing them in. But the good news is now researchers in California have found that mothers train their babies’ developing immune systems by sending cells through the placenta to teach how it’s done.

Before being born, or any of the coming experience of playing with dirt and teething on everything, babies know how to handle outside threats and how to distinguish biological friend from foe.

We are in heavenly ignorance of all this

If we stopped to think about things, we’d be totally paranoid. Our bodies are 98% water. We share 95% of our DNA with bananas. And now it turns out that 90% of us isn’t us at all but bacteria.

The right bacteria of course. Because the wrong bacteria is totally deadly.

Trouble is, we’re no two of us the same. Which is why some of us get ill in some circumstances and some in others. There is no common denominator. Not very helpful when most of the time we choose to be together in enclosed spaces, in close contact sharing the same air.

Fortunately we don’t need to worry about this either because now it’s possible to sterilise our living spaces after we’ve been there, reducing the germ threshold to zero so we can’t infect each other with our residual bio-clouds.

It’s done with a Hypersteriliser, which mists up the place with hydrogen peroxide to destroy all viruses and bacteria – on surfaces, hidden in cracks and crevices, or lingering in the air.

Is this heaven on earth?

Mmm, better leave that to the theological experts.

Originally posted 2015-11-04 18:05:48.

If you could see germs, you’d be scared too

Doctor with microscope
More deadly than any terrorist threat – and they’re all around us

Doctors are scared.

They don’t show it because they’re too professional.

But they know and they’re scared. That deep-down gut-twisting fear that things are wrong.

It’s about antibiotics.

Antibiotics and germs.

Once upon a time antibiotics were thought to fix just about anything. Not viruses of course, they’re physically even more difficult. But certainly bacteria. Any risk of infection, bung in antibiotics – the miracle drugs that have made modern medicine the wonder that it is.

Alarm bells ringing

Trouble is, antibiotics are beginning not to work any more. The germs are winning.

Which means any kind of routine surgery – from gallstone removal to a simple bypass – is no longer as safe as it was. Infection is less easy to control. Complications are more likely to set in. Pretty well the only thing between success and disaster is the level of hygiene.

Exactly why doctors are hearing alarm bells.

Because there’s one massive difference between a surgical incision protected by antibiotics – and one not protected at all.

At all? Surely not.

Better believe it. Look at the lengths medics go to in isolating dread diseases. Hazmat clothing for all personnel. Isolation tent with built-in sleeves and gloves for patient care without touching. Like Ebola tents – we’ve all seen the pictures in the media. Just imagine if EVERY case was like this.

Because if antibiotics don’t work, they already are.

Staph infections, TB, c.difficile, gonorrhoea, e.coli – they’re all immune and have-a-go – often present but inactive in our own bodies. Waiting for just one opening, one simple little cut…

External germs are an even bigger headache. They’re everywhere, on every surface, swirling and teeming in the air.

See for yourself

Want a demonstration? Grab a handful of glitter and throw it in the air. Better still, throw it in front of a fan, because all microbes can float on the slightest breeze.

The stuff goes everywhere, right? On your clothes, in your hair, all over your face. And see how difficult it is to wash off. See how it keeps twisting and fluttering in the air – be a couple of hours before that’s finished settling.

But at least you can SEE glitter. Germs are smaller and you can’t see them at all. But they’re there alright – like there’s already 6 billion right inside your own mouth.

OK, maybe glitter is a bit radical – but at least it shows how difficult the problem is.

A better example is Glo Germ, a harmless liquid or powder of fake germs – invisible and no more than 5 microns across, exactly like real. Like germs, it spreads all over the place and can’t be seen.

Not in the air unfortunately, but certainly on surfaces like food preparation areas – a tell-tale to show when areas HAVE NOT been cleaned effectively.

Shine an ultraviolet light on the treated area and uncleaned parts immediately show up – like TV’s fancy CSI-goo for detecting blood stains.

Hey Fred, this thing’s filthy – watch your six, or you’re gonna get it!

Yeah, OK. So our antibiotics have packed up and there’s billions of germs around that we can’t see. Should we give up and cry?

Start with soap and water

Not unless you want to be dead – which is what germs do, given half a chance – make you dead. The bad ones that is – inside every one of us, there’s more than 100 trillion good bacteria of our own.

Which means the best thing is show bad germs where to get off. With soap and water for example – washing our hands at least before and after every meal – and very definitely going to the loo.

Of course doctors and nurses do this already, scrubbing up before every procedure. They know the odds – and nobody wants to lose a patient on THEIR watch.

They’re still scared.

Washing hands, sterilising instruments, swabbing everything down – none of it gets rid of microorganisms in the air. And gut-feel tells the Docs those germs are up there. ALL germs are airborne, it’s a physical impossibility that they’re not. At 5 microns across or less, that’s 100th the size of coffee fumes!

Only one thing for it. Some kind of spray to take out the airborne jobs. If they can fumigate a whole house for insects, then surely they can do the same thing for superbugs.

Hello, hydrogen peroxide

Very definitely yes. And nowhere near as toxic.

The spray is hydrogen peroxide, exactly the same as the body produces for its own germ-fighting – in a mild 6% solution – the same as you might use as for minor cuts and abrasions, or as a mouth wash.

Underpowered? Not a bit of it. Hydrogen peroxide kills germs by oxidising them – shoving oxygen atoms at them that tear apart their cell structure. There’s no germs coming back from that.

Plus, because it’s ionised as it’s sprayed, the hydrogen peroxide is cranked up to warp speed as it leaves its Hypersteriliser dispenser – a slick, handy unit about the size of a small wheelie-bin.

Remember your states of matter? Solid, liquid, gas, right?

Well ionising a gas, which is what vaporised hydrogen peroxide is, changes its state again. From a gas to a plasma – a kind of supergas in which all the molecules are charged.

And which releases a whole slew of other antimicrobials – hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, ozone (a more voracious oxidiser than hydrogen peroxide), and ultraviolet.

Germs to oblivion

Yeah, World War Three in microcosm. But it still takes time to happen. The hydrogen peroxide has to disperse and fill the room space – a rapid action because the molecules all carry the same charge.

They are actively and desperately trying to get away from each other. Which forces the plasma through the air, equally in all directions – fetching hard up against all surfaces, including walls and ceilings – and pushing deep into every crack and crevice, exactly the places wipe-down disinfecting cannot reach.

Filling the air and making sure the stuff works takes around 40 minutes for the average room. After that, the place is sterile. No germs, no bacteria – just oxygen and water which evaporates before it touches anything.

OK, doctors are still scared. There’s still no replacement to do what antibiotics do.

But at least they’re not terrified.

Originally posted 2015-10-29 18:41:36.

Why we never recognise our biggest ever threat

Asteroid crashing
Oh,oh. The end of the world is already here – inside our own bodies

Yeah, yeah – what we don’t know won’t hurt us.

Yet.

Kinda like the ostrich with it’s head stuck in the sand.

If we can’t see it, it isn’t there.

Like NASA’s quarter-mile wide “Great Pumpkin” Halloween asteroid set to graze past Earth at 22 miles per second in a near miss of barely 300,000 miles on October 31st.

Invisible, unthinkable

Don’t expect to see it without a radio telescope. Or hear a bang. Or anything.

It’s so far out of sight – and out of mind – it might as well not exist.

We recognise it as a threat though.

Someday, some monstrous piece of space junk will come hurtling through the atmosphere – and that will be us, gone the way of the dinosaurs. Like the WTF anomaly that’s supposed to wipe us out on this year’s third Friday 13th, next month in November.

Unless we can stop it. Which believe or not, our li’l old UK government is planning to do. Guess that Bruce Willis Armageddon movie woke up some back-benchers.

The end of the world is nigh

But it’s not an asteroid that’s going to nix us. Something much more deadly is already here and active. Equally out of sight, and equally out of mind. And from the way we’re going, we’re not doing a damn thing to protect ourselves.

Funny that. In our security-obsessed ‘Elf & Safety world – seems we do nothing without some kind of protection.

Chefs wear oven gloves. Cyclists wear crash helmets. Kids wear goggles for conker fights. Just about everything we do has protective clothing or safety devices to stop us coming to harm.

Except from ourselves.

We safeguard ourselves from cold with central heating. Wear gas masks to protect us from carbon monoxide. But we are our own worst enemy and don’t even know it. Out of sight, in plain view, right there in the mirror.

OK, so we stare – some people are really self-obsessed with it. But nobody sees, ever.

They think they’re looking at the image of a human being.

Yeah, well. That’s only 10% true.

We’re all of us, aliens

The rest is 90% bacteria – trillions and trillions of individually invisible microbes that outnumber our human body cells by more than 10 to 1. Which makes that reflection in the mirror as alien as a slithering 20-tentacled extraterrestrial. Face it, we just don’t know ourselves.

What, bacteria? Shock, horror! We’re already doomed.

Uh huh. Unlax, Doc – as Bugs Bunny would say.

We actually need those bacteria – even live in partnership with them. About the biggest outsourcing arrangement of all time – on the go for millions of years. They help us digest food, produce proteins, keep our system in balance and even regulate our body defences for us.

Huh? Defences?

Sure. Most of the time they see off enemy bugs by crowding them out. Otherwise they fight or eat them.

Because there’s deadly pathogens in our bodies all the time – harmful bacteria, dangerous viruses, fearsome fungi. As long as they’re passive and keep their heads down, nothing happens. But let our bodies get out of balance and they let rip. Infection, disease, or just plain feeling sick – all ready to go.

Yeah well, there’s not much we can do about the pathogens inside us, apart from keeping healthy, so long as they stay schtum.

Trouble is, it’s not just our bodies that are colonised with bacteria – it’s everywhere. Every object every surface, every living thing – inside and out – even the air itself is teeming. Billions and billions of microbes all looking for a place to live.

Colonised – full house

Inside our bodies if they could – but that’s already occupied.

So the next best thing is to invade where possible. Through a hole in our defences from mishap or injury. Or more often, breathed in from the air – or on something we eat.

Breathed in, yeah – we know about colds and flu and stuff. And the heavy-hitters, anthrax, chickenpox, measles and TB.

Most of the time OK – air spreads things out, disperses them more widely so they’re not all together – and one or two single germs can’t crack it by themselves – there have to be 10 or 20, depending on how potent they are. And how concentrated – which is why being in a smallpox ward without a facemask is not a good idea.

Ah, but eating stuff. What protection do we have?

For the average Tom, Dick and Harriet – absolutely zero. Because it’s a shocking fact of life that pretty well all of us – 95% of us – don’t ever wash our hands properly.

And our hands, like everything else are covered in germs. Unless we wash them off, those germs go down the hatch, straight into our digestive system. Too many bacteria of the wrong kind in the wrong place – certain disaster.

Which is when we usually run to the Doc for antibiotics – and why this blog is called Back Off, Bacteria!

The miracle that became a disaster

Whoops – antibiotics. A whole disaster story, right there.

Once upon a time, they were the fairy tale miracle drugs – the fix-all for everything. Farmers thought so too – especially in putting weight on animals for market. Beef, pork, poultry – you name it, antibiotics brought the profits rolling in.

Fifty years later, the world is drunk on antibiotics – obsessed and paying the price. 65,000 tons of them are used on farms every year. Totally overused and abused so that bugs are resistant to them – so that routine surgery is almost not possible any more. Even the smallest cut risks major infection.

Even worse, antibiotics have inundated the food-chain. There’s antibiotic traces in everything we eat – even in plants, from the recycling of animal waste.

Net result? We’re not as tough as we were fifty years ago. Not as resilient to bugs – with lower resistance, more susceptible diseases and infections. Our systems haven’t been exposed since infancy, our immune systems no longer learn or remember.

Paying the price

Remember norovirus? Never heard of it before 1968 – now it’s with us every year, the winter vomiting bug. Last week Barrow, this week Scarborough – with guest appearances on the cards up and down the country all through the season.

Forget to wash your hands – and you too can be one of the thousands to come down with it this year. Or e.coli, or salmonella, or campylobacter, or c.difficile – take your pick from the regular stomach upsets.

ALL OF THEM AVOIDABLE with the simplest of basic hygiene.

So here we are in the Twenty-First Century, a human catastrophe staring us in the face – and doing nothing about it.

We don’t wash our hands. We’re not even aware that each of us trails our own cloud of bacteria around with us like an aura. That in places where we gather together, we’re all exposed and vulnerable to each other. At work, at school, in restaurants – and of course, hospitals.

OK if we’re all of us in balance – but nearly every one of us has some underlying condition or weakness in our systems – the weak link to let bugs in and attack us.

Alright, so most of us are untouched – not immune, but able to handle things.

But some of us are vulnerable – and any infection, even from a papercut, can be fatal. Ever heard of sepsis? It’s the worst blood poisoning in the world, immune system in total meltdown – a common and potentially life-threatening infection.

Rescue in sight

But there is a defence. An effective fail-safe, even though our own hygiene standards are so lax. Because it’s not just our hands we forget to wash – when was the last time you wiped down your desk? Or disinfected the washing-up bowl and dishrack?

It’s called a Hypersteriliser and it sprays ultra-fine hydrogen peroxide everywhere in a room, destroying all germs in the air and on surfaces – oxidising them to nothing so the whole place is sterile.

So at last, you’re safe. Even if your system is down, nothing can get you.

Relax, you’ll live.

Originally posted 2015-10-27 18:03:20.

Germs, germs, all over the place – why aren’t we ill?

Not feeling well
You can’t escape germs –
but you can get rid of them

Woh, scary headlines.

Enough to make you ill by themselves.

AVERAGE WORKER COMES INTO CONTACT WITH MORE THAN 10 MILLION DISEASE-CAUSING BACTERIA

SMARTPHONES AND TABLETS HARBOUR MORE GERMS THAN TOILET SEATS 

AVERAGE PERSON CARRIES OVER 10 MILLION BACTERIA ON THEIR HANDS

Seems wherever we turn, we’re swamped by germs.

On everything we touch. On everything we eat. Even inside us – like the 100 trillion bacteria living in our gut.

OK, so because there’s germs everywhere, we’re told to wash our hands. Doing it properly with plain soap and water, rinsed and towelled off gets rid of 99.9% of germs – good.

Except then we go and touch something – the infested screen on our smartphone or whatever – and the germs come back again. Why do we bother? And why aren’t they carting us off in an ambulance, right now?

Miracle immune system

Basically, because our bodies are the amazing thing they are.

What’s the bet, until the media started with all the Wash Your Hands hoo-hah, you never thought about it much, did you? You didn’t have a problem, life was pretty normal – and the idea that your desk might have more germs than a sewer never occurred to you.

Which is why, like so many of the rest of us, washing your hands keeps slipping off the radar. Your hands LOOK clean, you don’t get sick – where’s the fire?

Uh huh. But you ARE playing with matches.

The only thing between the everyday you and being rushed to A&E is your truly miraculous immune system.

Yes, the germs on your desk DO get on your hands. They ARE transferred to your mouth (the average person touches their face 3 to 5 times every minute).  And they DO wind up in your gut.

So where’s the norovirus? The e.coli? The staphylococcus aureus? The campylobacter? Or something really deadly, like multiple sclerosis, AIDS, or cancer?

Protective bacteria

Well, among the many astounding things that they do, this where the 100 trillion bacteria in your gut come in. Aside from digesting food types we can’t do on our own, feeding our brain, and protecting us from food poisoning – they boost our immune function by outcompeting harmful pathogens.

Which comes back to the washing your hands thing.

Yes, you do swallow some bugs when you eat, that’s inevitable. But not as many as you might if you didn’t wash your hands.

So when it comes to outcompeting the bad guys down in your stomach, the odds are better than they were.

That yummy burger was zero germs when it left the grill – too hot for any to survive. Picked up a mess of e.coli though – from the print button on the photocopier. Down the hatch without you knowing – potential tummy explosion, right there.

Except your own gut bacteria ganged up against it. Gave it the treatment – like a jewel thief in some long-ago legendary bazaar. Problem sorted – and you never felt a thing.

Always under threat

Thing is though, the body is always at risk. And always on alert for surprise attacks.

Most of the time you’re OK because your immune system knows your environment. The expected germs are compensated for and everything stays normal.

Normal, that is, for you.

Except you’re not always alone, are you? There’s other people at work, at school, in the shops – or sitting at the restaurant table beside you. And what’s normal for you is not necessarily normal for them.

They might give you a bug, you might give them one. An out-of-the-ordinary pathogen your gut bacteria is not ready for. Behaves different, too big, too small, too armour-plated against the usual enzymes they produce.

Plus, chances are likely you have an underlying condition of some kind. Most of us do. Some weakness your body hasn’t been concerned with until now. An infection as a child that left one of your kidneys weak. Slight asthma from the damp conditions in your workplace. An allergy to nuts or eggs that triggers anaphylactic shock.

And now there IS a problem. Your gut is in imbalance. You should’ve washed your hands, but who does going out to a restaurant? And you got unlucky, using the salad servers at the buffet. An unusual germ for you, transferred from your fingers to the breadstick.

Again, it shouldn’t be a problem – not if your immune system is fully up and working – if your gut bacteria are fully prepared for everything that’s coming.

Antibiotic problems

Trouble is, there’s a hiccup – and it’s caused by antibiotics.

Nothing to do with you mind, you know zip about it. But, like a lot of us, you enjoy a high proportion of meat and dairy in your diet. And out in cattle farms, antibiotics are used on an industrial scale – not to make animals healthy, but to fatten them up faster.

You like milk shakes, so your own gut bacteria have been hit by antibiotics. Built up over time from your tea, coffee, breakfast cereal – and steady progression from vanilla, to chocolate, to banana, to caramel flavours.

Result? Well, you might not have a fungal infection yet – a common antibiotic side effect – but you are out of balance and your system is down. Shoulda, woulda, coulda washed your hands, shouldn’t you? Your only protection, this time round.

It CAN be easier, though not everywhere is doing it yet.

But count on it, as winter crowds us more together – and as more and more antibiotics are given out for colds, flu and all kinds of things that we strongarm our doctors for but shouldn’t – non-medical germ control is going to be on the up.

Press-button germ rescue

Right now, in your workplace, your kid’s school, public places – even trains, planes and buses – it’s possible to mist up everywhere with super-fine hydrogen peroxide spray, and oxidise ALL germs to oblivion. And that means everywhere, in the air, on surfaces – even into cracks and crevices where ordinary scrub cleaning never reaches.

The machine that does it is a Hypersteriliser – looks like a kind of electronic wheelie-bin – and all it takes is around forty minutes, depending on room size. All germs gone, completely. Kind of reassuring when you read those headlines back again.

Your desk infested with nasties and all that stuff. Overnight, gone. Totally sterile, for you and your colleagues too.

What germs, where?

Originally posted 2015-10-21 15:12:48.

Whoops, Dame Sally – antibiotics don’t work, but clean hands aren’t good enough either

Doctor with antibiotics
OK, what are you going to do when the pills don’t work?

Yeah, yeah, yeah – we hear you.

The hand hygiene brigade are always banging on about it. Wash your hands, wash your hands.

And you, Dr Dame Sally Davies, England’s Chief Medical Officer – you quite rightly push it further.

Wash your hands or die

Rediscover hygiene, you say. It’s a hidden truth that antibiotics don’t work any more. Superbugs have mutated to become resistant. All major surgery is under threat. It’s back to the Dark Ages – and in our only defence, if we don’t all remember to wash our hands, we’re going to die.

Dead right, Dame Sally (pun intended) – but nowhere near enough.

Clean hands might make a difference in the first microsecond – then we’re right back where we started.

Because it’s not just our hands we have to worry about. It’s everything around us.

Beyond medical

You see, as a high-powered doctor, Dame Sally is thinking in a medical sense.

Yes, she applies her principles to everyday life – to the way we behave, particularly after going to the loo. But her head is thinking hospitals and patients and operations and sterile surroundings.

Wash your hands. Yeah, well doctors and nurses do that already. It’s an ingrained way of life.

It’s the outsiders who don’t. The hospital visitors – and the great wide world beyond the front door.

And even if they did, it would never be enough. Because nothing out there is sterile.

Clean? Well, maybe.

An invisible truth

We judge clean by appearances – and all too often what we think is clean is actually loaded with germs. Looks are deceptive – which is probably why we never wash our hands enough. If they’re not visibly dirty, we reckon they’re OK.

Which means it’s an invisible truth that they’re not. Germs are so infinitesimally small, we have no idea that they’re there.

So if it’s not a sterilised area in a hospital, the very first object hands touch after washing will put billions of germs back again. Your phone, your car keys, money, the door handle to the coffee shop.

Give it five minutes and both hands will be back to normal – 10 million bacteria on each.

Wash our hands, Dame Sally? It can never be enough unless we wash our surroundings too. And not just wash for appearances – wash, scrub, disinfect, whatever, until the germs are gone.

And no, we don’t really do that at the moment. We just think we do.

Everyday germs

Take ordinary household washing up. And let’s refer here to another hygiene expert, Dr Lisa Ackerley. Millions of us do it, yet it’s a hazard highpoint of our lives – basically dipping our eating utensils into a germ soup, then spreading the germs evenly with a wiping-up cloth.

No, LOOKS clean isn’t clean – and certainly not safe from germs.

Nor is it either good enough to blitz the place with bleach and carbolic – scrubbing everything down to within an inch of its life.

Apart from the smell that could rip your head off, it never reaches right into all the dark corners. And most of the time we never remember to do UNDER surfaces or BEHIND them. Exactly the places that germs naturally gather.

It gets worse on your office desk. Because how often does that get done properly – if ever?

Nine times out of ten, a wipe-down from the night crew is the only lick and promise it ever gets. Promise of germs, that is. Because the same cloth gets used for every desk. Contact time is only seconds – and what kind of antibacterial stuff has it got on there anyway?

Looks clean, but isn’t.

Yet that’s where most of us eat lunch – with fingers that we THINK are clean – dropping crumbs, spilling sauces and getting our greasy paws over everything. Especially on that main germ transfer unit, the computer keyboard – press ENTER to guarantee collywobbles.

Yeah, no wonder we keep running to antibiotics. We take such chances with things we can’t see, a pill is our only rescue.

Kinda basic though, really – it’s way better to avoid germs in the first place.

But if washing hands isn’t enough – and even SAVAGE cleaning doesn’t crack it – what else can we do?

Especially when it’s not just surfaces that our hands touch, it’s the air around us too. Air is 80% of the space in any room, yet we never think of cleaning it. Heat it, yes. Cool it, yes. Filter it, yes. Even dehumidify it.

But apart from the HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters used in hospitals and aircraft, we never do anything to take the germs out. And there are more germs up there than anywhere else – at less than half the size of a molecule of oxygen, how could there not be?

More than hand washing

Yes, Dame Sally, we ARE washing our hands, we ARE being careful – but if our surroundings are always germ-covered, what can we do?

Yeah, well – get rid of the germs there too.

Not in the great outdoors of course – rain and wind would whip everything away in seconds – bringing new germs to replace the previous ones in the very same instant.

Ah, but we’re basically cave-dwellers, see. We huddle together in enclosed places – away from the wind and the rain, where the elements can’t get us.

And not the germs either, if we’re clever about it.

OK, this is the opposite end of looking after ourselves.

Hospital in reverse

Hospital is the back end – the last resort to rescue us from misadventure. Now we’re looking at the front end – not a doctor in sight, no antibiotics anywhere – a non-medical way of protecting ourselves from germs.

Easy, really. Room by room – enclosed space by enclosed space – we just get rid of them all.

Alright, fine. So what kills germs? And how do we take out the airborne ones – some kind of spray?

All kinds of things kill germs. Bleach, formaldehyde, ethanol, nitrous oxide – all pretty hazardous and not very safe – especially up in the air.

Way better is hydrogen peroxide – exactly like water, but with two oxygen atoms instead of one – H2O2. It’s even made by the body as a natural germ fighter – produced in the lungs, gut, and thyroid gland – and first responder to cuts and scratches, kicking in even before white blood cells arrive.

Same problem though, vaporised hydrogen peroxide has to be in a pretty strong solution (35%) to work in a spray. Hazardous to eyes, nose and throat – in molecule sizes too large to remain airborne for long. Very wet to use too, taking a long time to dry.

Ionised for effectiveness

The breakthrough is to use a weaker solution (6%) of hydrogen peroxide – allowing it to spread drier, finer and further – and ionising it on release to change its state from a gas to a plasma, an electrically charged super-vapour that disperses itself actively in all directions.

The charged plasma also releases further antimicrobials that reach out and destroy viruses and bacteria on the fly – hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, ozone (a more voracious oxidiser than hydrogen peroxide), and ultraviolet.

Close all the windows and doors, get everybody out of Dodge, put the machine in the room (it’s called a Hypersteriliser), press the button – and leave.

Forty minutes later, the whole place is sterile, safe for everybody to come back – with not a virus or bacterium to be found anywhere. No germs, no threats, no need for antibiotics.

Now, Dame Sally – doesn’t that answer your concern?

Originally posted 2015-10-20 14:07:27.

Why washing hands at the office is never enough

Fingers on keys
As fast as you wash germs off your hands, the things on your desk put them back

Wowee, lookit!

Hands immaculate, fresh scrubbed with soap and water.

No germs gonna get you, right?

Wrong.

The germ comeback

Because what’s the first thing you do when you get back to your desk?

Put your hands on the keyboard – lots to do, got to get on.

Except when was the last time your keyboard got scrubbed?

Probably never, no?

Oh dear.

Because if you’re like most people, you probably eat at your desk – like 74% of women and 64% of men. Driven by the work ethic, concern for job security, or determined not to go out because it means spending money.

Whatever. Eat at your desk and what’s the bet it’s mostly convenience food ? Sandwich, pizza, burger, fish and chips. Easy to eat with your fingers, good junk food to stoke up the furnace.

Uh huh.

Which means greasy fingers all over the keys.

What! You don’t touch your computer while you’re eating? Yeah, yeah – we gotcha, and you know it.

Or more accurately, you got yourself.

Same again, Sam

Touch that keyboard with your pristine clean fingers – and you’re right back where you started. Contaminated again with whatever is lurking there – pneumonia, diarrhoea, influenza – none of the possibilities is good.

So what are you going to do, clean your keyboard every time you eat too?

As if. The easiest way is with pre-moistened antiseptic wipes and a knife. Around twenty minutes, last time we checked. Oh – and you ought to turn your computer off as well. Don’t want things going bang with all that moisture – or frying your hard drive.

Mm, so it isn’t going to happen, is it? Too much PT.

And it’s not just your keyboard. It’s your whole desk. And your phone. The input panel on the photocopier. The lift buttons. All the things that you touch, that other people touch, that have germs from greasy fingers and whatever they brought in from outside.

Well done you, for washing your hands – but you’re still up a gum tree.

Looks clean but isn’t

Because let’s say Facilities Management have the cleaners in every night to look after the place. It’s just keeping up appearances, right? Anything, so long as the place LOOKS clean. So the carpets get done and the bins emptied.

Maybe the desks wiped too. Impressive microfibre cloth, yes – but the same one every time. So the germs from one desk get transferred to another – till all desks are contaminated to the same level. And boy, we mean contaminated – like with 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat.

Hmm, so even though you washed your hands, you’re doomed to get a bug? Flu, e.coli, norovirus? Whatever’s doing the rounds?

OK, suppose we told you, you could get away without sitting there like a guava, wiping down your keyboard every five minutes – just to keep yourself safe? That once you’d washed your hands, you could go to your keyboard, with little or no chance of winding up in hospital?

Yeah, but…

Oh sure, it’s like that now, you say. You’ve been there five years and ain’t caught nothing yet.

Really? Sure those aren’t porkies? Doesn’t everyone get flu every winter? An don’t you always have the sniffles, just as much as everyone else?

Yeah, we hear you. And suppose we could take the sniffles away too – so they don’t happen any more in your office? Not counting of course the mad weekends freezing in the stands, while your team crashes out of the league 2-nil?

You’re still gonna have to wipe off the greasy finger marks – but making the germs go away is easy-peasy. Tell the Facilities Management people get a Hypersteriliser.

Never heard of it?

You will.

There’s a lot of worried doctors right now, tearing their hair out because we’ve OD’d on antibiotics over the last 50 years – and now they’re not working because the bugs are immune.

Which means either get rid of germs BEFORE any of them can get to you – or take your chances in hospital AFTER they’ve struck, knowing the miracle drugs can’t save you any more.

Which is what a Hypersteriliser does – take out ALL the virus and bacteria in your workspace. Make the place sterile, so you’re safe.

Press button simple

Like we said, easy-peasy.

Press a button and the thing mists the place up with an ultra-fine spray of ionised hydrogen peroxide. The ionising is crucial because it creates a kind of super-gas – electrically charged to disperse actively in all directions at one – attracting germs like a magnet, annihilating them to nothing.

But wait a minute, aren’t some bacteria beneficial? Isn’t getting rid of them destructive?

Two things.

With most bacteria so small there’s billions and billions of them in every square inch, you can’t exactly ask them “are you nice?” or “are you nasty?” and still have time for a life.

More significantly, everybody’s different. You might be OK yourself, but most of us have an underlying condition of some kind – asthma, a weak tummy, prone to headaches – all kinds of things.

You and other people

So while you’re untouched, the same bug takes out your colleague – and every illness can have complications. Norovirus, for instance, can lead to dehydration. Which can mean hospital and all kinds of problems. 800 of us die from it, every year.

And, wouldn’t you guess? There’s no medicine for norovirus – just like there’s no medicine that’s sure to clobber flu. Yeah, there’s a vaccine – prepared for this year’s strain. But the germs mutate so fast, it’s a guessing game to get it right.

More medicine that doesn’t work. More reasons to stay out of hospital – the medics are battling to find ways to make you well.

Better to never get sick in the first place. By washing your hands. By avoiding the contamination loop and keeping your workplace sterile.

Enough is enough – and most of us are sick of coming down with bugs

Originally posted 2015-10-19 15:35:34.

10 million germs on our fingertips – no wonder we get norovirus

Painted fingers
A little bit of soap –
and it’s no, no, norovirus

It’s getting to that time of year again.

Cold outside, central heating on, everybody rugged up close.

Parked off with pizza and the TV – and then it starts. First the yuck feeling that maybe you overdid it.

Here it comes

Then the confirmation. Cramps, nausea – angst that you won’t make it to the loo.

Yeah, it’s back. The old winter vomiting bug and everybody’s favourite – norovirus.

Norovirus: a highly contagious group of related, single-stranded RNA (ribonucleic acid) viruses that cause acute gastroenteritis and food poisoning.

Hold that thought – highly contagious.

Not what we need to know – with a body that’s covered in germs all the time.

Yeah, covered. As in heavily colonised inside and out.

At any one time we might have 332,000 genetically distinct bacteria on just one hand – with another 332,000 on the other, not necessarily the same. That’s 332,000 different types – not individual microbes – all clustered in clumps of up to 10 million.

Watch out, they’re gonna get you

Makes you think when you chomp into that pizza.

10 million. Some of them benign, some of them necessary to be there. Some of them real nasties, like e.coli, salmonella, c. difficile, campylobacter, MRSA, colds, flu – and of course norovirus.

Did you wash your hands? Properly, that is – like get all 10 million of them off?

It only needs 10 particles of norovirus to make you ill – compared to 10,000 particles to give you flu. Six seconds under the tap isn’t going to crack it, especially without soap.

But that’s all most of us give it. IF we wash our hands at all – which 62% of men and 40% of women never do.

So yeah, face it – you’ve got germs on your hands, even if you washed them. And it only takes 10 to catch norovirus – one thousandth of one per cent of the bugs that are usually there.

Forget to wash your hands and it’s like trying to cross the M6 on a busy day – blindfolded.

Why winter?

OK, so why does this norovirus nightmare ramp up in winter?

The medics are still scratching their heads, but common sense says that’s when our resistance is down. With less of the summer feel-good, we’re not so blue-sky happy. Lower temperatures, out in the rain – depressing for your body and for your spirit.

Immunity is reduced – and norovirus is on the rampage.

Inevitable really. By choice we’re all indoors, together in groups wherever we are – at home, at work, at leisure. Often seriously crowded, like a night on the town, clubbing.

And not just with germs on our hands – with germs all over us too. It’s how we are every day. We’re even germs ourselves – our own human body cells outnumbered by bacteria more than 10 to 1.

So it’s not just our hands we have to get clean, it’s our whole living environment – as far as we can.

Because all the things around us are covered in germs too. Tables, chairs, knives, forks, phones – everything. And the air itself, the invisible 80% of the indoor spaces we live in – teeming with invisible microorganisms.

Germ protection force field

Right, so we wash our hands – but we can’t keep standing under a shower all day.

No, so how about we take the germs out of the enclosed spaces we need to occupy?

If there’s no germs in your office, you can’t catch a bug. The same with schools, hotel rooms, restaurants, supermarkets, cruise ships, you name it.

And how do you take the germs out like that?

With a Hypersteriliser.

It’s a bit pricey for home use, but perfect for businesses. Misting up the entire space with super-fine hydrogen peroxide, which grabs at all viruses and bacteria, oxidising them to oblivion.

Ionised too, so it reaches right in to cracks and crevices – all molecules repelling each other with the same electrical charge, forced apart trying to get away from themselves.

Forty minutes later, the place is sterile. Zero germs, no norovirus lurking, no nothing. Nothing to transfer to your hands either, so you’re safe.

Well, as safe as you can be with each of us trailing an invisible aura of microorganisms all the time – our own bio-signature of bacteria unique to us. Mostly benign, but able to affect others.

Sigh. You can’t win all the time. But if you’re living area is totally sterile, you can have a jolly good try.

Originally posted 2015-10-14 15:45:38.