Tag Archives: MRSA

Shock, horror – infections at work

Bugs at the Office
Count on it – if it’s going around,
it’s gonna get you

In hospitals they call them HAIs – Hospital Acquired Infections.

Outside medical circles, nobody’s started talking about Work Acquired Infections (WAIs) yet. But they’re gonna.

Controversial topic, HAIs.

A lot of people think they’re proof of incompetence – it’s a disgrace that infections should happen in the first place. Totally unfair and not very realistic.

Because if you’re in hospital for an accident or operation, you’ll most likely have some kind of cut or incision. And right there, is a major risk of infection. It can happen, even with the most stringent hygiene measures.

Not so safe any more

But the world has changed since the last time you looked.

Hospitals have an even bigger threat to face behind HAIs. Because we’re so gung-ho and Harry Casual about antibiotics, there’s a whole load of viruses and bacteria out there that have learned how to resist them.

You get an infection, the Doc can’t shoot you full of penicillin any more because a lot of the time it won’t always work.

Take MRSA, the first line infection most hospitals are so worried about. The name says it all – Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. Against that, antibiotics are about as useful as coffee sweeteners – your body just has to tough it out.

More hazards

Now think of that in the wider world.

Antibiotics are starting not to respond  – so if something happens to you, you could be in big trouble.

And things do. Accidents at work happen way more than you think. Check how the Health & Safety people see things happening in a year:

  • 133 workers killed at work (2013/14)
  • 2,535 mesothelioma deaths in 2012 due to past asbestos exposures
  • 78,000 other injuries to employees were reported under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences)(2012/13)
  • 175,000 over-7-day absence injuries occurred (LFS) (2012/13)
  • 1.1 million working people were suffering from a work-related illness (2011/12)

Those are the big dramas. But what about the little ones?

It’s just a scratch

You drop something, you cut yourself, something digs into you. What’s the bet hygiene levels at work are nothing like in hospitals?

Even an office can be anything but “harmless”.

Just think of it. Maybe thirty or fifty of you, all in the same room. All breathing the same air, all exposed to the same environment.

You don’t even have to have an accident, there’s plenty of germs ready to have a go at you. With so many people concentrated together – more viruses, more bacteria – the threshold is higher. WAIs are almost inevitable.

High germ thresholds for instance, are almost certainly the cause of “sick building syndrome”. Headaches, nausea – you’re not sick of the job, you genuinely have a health issue.

Germs everywhere

But you don’t have to. And as the effect of antibiotics not working becomes more acute, you’re going to see a lot of places taking active steps so you never do.

You’re probably already aware that desks and computer keyboards are breeding places of germs – as many as 20,961 microbes per square inch according to research.

Sure, your workplace gets vacuumed and wiped down every day by good, professional services – but they can’t do everything. What about under things, or nooks and crannies – or even the air itself?

Higher-level hygiene

Know how the smell of fish and chips lingers when everyone has gone? Germs linger the same, able to survive up to a week or more – floating in the air because they’re so incredibly small. An infection waiting to happen.

You guessed it, our hygiene habits need to ramp up a level. Clean isn’t necessarily safe. And once somebody catches a bug, sure as anything, you know it’s going to get everyone.

So the trick is to sterilise the place. Not just the desks and floors – those are done already, and look at the hazards we face. We need to do the air too – after all, it’s 80% of the space – and day to day, it never gets touched.

All automatic

Enter the hygiene robots – machines that take down germs and make the place totally safe from viruses and bacteria. They may be ultra violet generators or oxidising foggers – but they work, and very effectively.

Still feeling queasy at your desk? If it’s not lunch, maybe you should pressure the boss into getting the place sterilised every night. A hydrogen peroxide super-mister eliminates all germs in around twenty minutes.

It won’t stop infection if you get a cut of course. There’s germs on your skin and clothes from outside, so you still have to take all precautions. You’re less likely to develop problems though, because the germ threshold is less – at zero when you walked in this morning.

WAIs are likely to increase – but not on your watch.

Originally posted 2014-10-22 11:51:55.

Ebola, pshaw! With all these antibiotic-resistant bio-nasties around, you could die from a paper cut

Woman in gasmask
You can run – and you can hide –
but you can’t stop taking precautions

No good hiding under the bed. The germs will get you there too.

Because washing hands is only the start. If we’re all going to survive, our whole hygiene habit needs a big re-think.

Like, what have you got in the house that kills germs?

Bleach? Disinfectant? Puh-leeze!

Against the kind of viruses and bacteria we have lurking around these days, they don’t even feel it.

And yes, you’re scared about Ebola. But you should be just as worried at catching the flu.

What does that poster in your doctor’s surgery say? “Unfortunately, no amount of antibiotics will get rid of your cold.”

They won’t work on a lot of other things either. Ebola is one. MRSA is another – methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus – a 9-to-5 germ that lives here in good old UK.

And if you’re not worried, your doctor is.

Because now there’s a whole stack of illnesses he can’t treat you for because the drugs don’t work any more. The whole medical profession is faced with going back to the Nineteenth Century. Maybe not leeches and blood-letting, but still pretty clunky.

But don’t just worry, do something.

Think twice about everything you do, and don’t take chances. That Spanish nurse in Madrid? All she did was wipe her face with her surgical glove. Ebola misses nothing.

Better yet, hike up your bio-resistance threshold.

Your bio-wha…?

Your bio-resistance threshold – your germ defence, the force field around you that protects you, your anti-germ shield.

OK, there’s not much you can do about that in the open – though with winds and breezes around blowing everything away, most of the time we’re safe enough.

Indoors though, is where we are most of the time. And with winter coming, we’re all set to pass on infections one to another. Kids in school. Colleagues at the office. If there’s a bug going around, we’re all going to get it.

But not if we’re smart.

Because right now it’s possible to sterilise the entire room you’re in in around ten minutes flat – the walls, the furniture, the floor, the space you move around in. No viruses, no bacteria, no anything. Every trace of a germ, gone.

It won’t get rid of the cold you’ve got. But it will lower the chances of anyone else getting it. Or you going down with the tummy twinges THEY had, lingering in the air from yesterday.

The quick way to do it, is with an aerosol can of ammonium chloride. Hit the button, mist the place up, germs gone in ten. Any viruses or bacteria are destroyed by being oxidised. You’re safe.

Thing is though, it’s like brushing your teeth. You have to do it regularly. Miss a day and the germs pile up. Because don’t forget, each of us is walking around in a cloud of maybe 3.5 million microorganisms – germs – every moment of every day.

But like we said, don’t worry, there’s also a cheaper, better way – almost two thirds cheaper – and 100,000 times better.

Trundle in that wheelie-bin-sized auto-robot and press the button. It releases a super-fine mist of hydrogen peroxide, oxidising germs just like ammonium chloride. But way more efficiently – 99.9999% – a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 6.

And sterile means sterile. It knocks out germs by shoving oxygen atoms at them. Out in the open instead of munching away inside your nice warm body, they cannot survive.  They are dead, killed, annihilated, destroyed, eliminated, sent to oblivion. All viruses and bacteria.

And because Ebola is a virus, it will be gone too – if it was ever there in the first place. Along with all this winter’s crop of the usual bio-villains – MRSA, E. coli, norovirus and Clostridium difficile.

Breathe easy?

You can. But you’d better keep watching for those paper cuts. You may not get an infection – but they still hurt like hell.

Originally posted 2014-10-10 12:38:30.

Why do we let so many people get sick needlessly?

Girl covered in dirt
Most of the time, when we get sick, it’s our own fault

Don’t blame it on the hospitals or NHS.

They’re busy with so many patients, a lapse now and again is inevitable. And they’re dedicated professionals. Committed, every one of them.

If you’ve ever been in for surgery – and watched with honest eyes instead of the hysteria mind-set the media luck on to you – you’d see hard-working people doing their best and going the extra mile every day.

So the message to 99.9% of the people who complain is… “Back off!”

Most of the time you are your own cause of being ill.

Why?

Because your hygiene isn’t good enough that’s why – completely up to maggots

Already we’ve got the hand hygiene people going crazy, reminding us to wash our hands at every critical moment.

And it’s not that it’s not effective.

It’s despite being politely reminded as often as possible, most of us just don’t do it.

But there’s another reason why we get sick so often – one that most of us, including the NHS are most of the time simply not aware of.

The illnesses we get are from airborne germs – not physical contact.

Well there’s a surprise.

And something else we’re not aware of – we’re surrounded and covered by billions and billions of germs every second of every day. Viruses, bacteria, too small for the eye to see – thousands of times smaller than even a grain of dust.

So is it any wonder that we don’t breathe one in, or gobble it down, or get one through a cut? And still our bodies are so savvy that most of the time we’re OK!

What it means though, is that we can’t take chances. Do something stupid and we WILL pay for it.

Especially with so many of us so close together, sharing the same air, eating in the same place, even sleeping. Packed into tube trains, jostling each other in fast food joints, crowded like sardines into holiday hotels.

No wonder a nasty like norovirus goes through us like wild fire – we’re all on top of each other.

But here’s another surprise – sloppy hygienists and NHS please take note.

We none of us need to catch any of those bugs milling around. We already have a way to get rid of them. Not a secret weapon, just something that most of us don’t know about.

And it means we can zap germs before they get to us.

ALL viruses, ALL bacteria, including the horrible ones – c.difficile, MRSA, H1N1, SARS, HIV-1, e. coli, anthrax, bird flu, salmonella. Or even the ones that have us scared stiff. Like smallpox, malaria or even ebola.

Hit any of them with hydrogen peroxide while they’re still up in their air and they’re goners.

Yup, hydrogen peroxide. The same stuff that girls use to go blonde. That our white blood cells manufacture as a defence against a cut or other injury.

But with a difference.

Ionised first so it can be misted up into the air, smaller and finer than drops of water. Electrostatically charged so it reaches out and grabs onto any pathogens it finds. Spreading deep into cracks and underneath things where cleaning gets forgotten.

What happens next is murder. Which is what the germs do to you if you let them.

The hydrogen peroxide shoves extra atoms of oxygen at the individual cells of bacteria and viruses, ripping them to shreds. And there’s no germ comes back from being hit by H2O2. They’re gone for good and you’re 99.9999% safe.

So how come we’re not using this stuff everywhere? In hotels, schools, public building, restaurants, buses, trains, everywhere?

Because we don’t know about it is why. In the same way that, once upon a time, we all of us thought the world was flat.

But it isn’t flat, it’s round.

And hydrogen peroxide could save your life over and over – if only you knew about it.

Well if you’ve read this far, now you do.

Which means if you ever get needlessly sick again, it’s YOUR fault.

Time to get a grip. Those NHS people have still got serious cases to deal with – injuries, children, old people – and all the other ailments that happen once germs have taken hold.

Let’s salute them and give them a rest.

Because now we know, we can fix it.

Keep well!

Originally posted 2014-09-08 13:05:36.

There’s only one way to treat deadly resistant superbugs

Man with gun
Viruses and bacteria don’t stand a chance, hydrogen peroxide kills them all

Get them before they get you.

Make them dead. Wipe them out completely.

You can, and it’s easy. All the nasties we’re scared to death of: MRSA, e. coli, salmonella, hepatitis C, H1N1, SARS, measles, rabies, yellow fever, polio – even ebola.

Because outside in the open, viruses and bacteria are just as vulnerable as you are.

No nice warm body to hide in and infect. No dirty slime to hide under on a tabletop. Defenceless against the right weapon.

And you just happen to have it. Good old O2 – oxygen.

Shove oxygen atoms at any pathogen and it rips their cells apart – oxidises them to oblivion. No germs, no chance of infection, nothing to invade your body. You’re safe.

And the delivery system?

A super-fine mist of ionised hydrogen peroxide. “Hyper”.

Seal up a room, spray this stuff in – and within 40 minutes all germs are dead. The place is sterile. Not a trace of a bug anywhere – including superbugs, the growing number of ugly mutations that are able to resist antibiotics.

Catch one of them, and you could be a goner.

So don’t take chances. Zap them first, while they’re floating around looking for you.

A pre-emptive strike.

Sprayed up into the air because that’s where germs are.

What, you think they’re only on worktops, floors and surfaces?

20% of them are, maybe. That’s where they settle, where most of their food opportunity is.
But 80% of any room is empty space – how else would we move around and be able to do things?
And these germ things are microscopic.

Take rhinovirus, for example – a really nasty infection as summer comes to an end. One cell is not even 0.02 microns across – you could get thousand of them on the head of a pin. A million.

Which means they’re so light, they’re always floating around- riding the air, sometimes not even settling in their whole life cycle.

Ready to catch on your clothing though. And your face, and your hands and any bit of you that’s exposed. Well, you’ve seen the pictures of the medics suited up against ebola.

And yes, they might spread on contact, but how do you think any kind of infection got there in the first place?

But ionised hydrogen peroxide is super-fine too – smaller than droplets of water. And electrostatically charged to spread up and out, reaching into cracks and crevices. Actively grabbing germs and destroying them.

All that’s left is oxygen and water – a film of moisture so thin, you hardly know it’s there.

Except that the room you’re standing in is utterly safe. No chance for superbugs, no illness, you’re well on your way to reaching 100.

Unless of course, you brought a bug with you.

Although you’re pretty safe, even then.

It can never be said enough, our doctors and nurses are the best in the world.

Originally posted 2014-08-27 17:48:33.

Why our old-hat approach to hygiene could make us crash and burn

Airport runway
Now arriving, a more effective way to be safe from germs

Living is a lot like flying.

Everything’s fine as long as it’s in balance.

Looks easy, feels easy – until it goes wrong. And sooner or later, something always does.

Off-course or off-colour – the tiniest thing could bring you down.  And they don’t come any tinier than bacteria and viruses.

So what makes you so sure that washing and scrubbing will keep you safe?

Just like flying, up in the air is where all germs live. And at less than 2 microns across, they’re so light they may never stop floating around – ready to grab hold as you walk through, billions and billions of them.

Which means clean hands are not enough. Not nearly enough. And such old-hat thinking could be the death of us.

Planes use radar to get through storms and other hazards.

But we just walk into room – blind to the norovirus or e.coli hovering in clouds – or the c. difficile and MRSA eddying by the doorway, just waiting to hijack us.

Most of the time, they just swirl off us. Another day in jeopardy, safely overcome.

But often they find a way into our bodies. A gasp of air laughing at a joke. A bite of a cheese-burger. The paper-cut on your finger from your letter of promotion. A common cold or something life-threatening in hospital? Whichever germ gets you first.

And we have no idea they’re there, those germs. Like how about a hotel room with 67.6 colony-forming units of bacteria per square centimetre? And that’s just on the TV remote.

We have no radar and germs are all over us.

Unless we get them first.

Because it IS possible to sterilise every room completely free of germs before we walk in.

No germs, no risk. Safe.

A completely different approach to hygiene altogether. On top of the usual.

It’s done with hydrogen peroxide – misted up super-fine so it permeates everywhere – electrostatically charged so it actively grabs viruses and bacteria and oxidises them to death.

Fact: and you can ask any doctor – no germ comes back from having extra oxygen atoms shoved at it.

So we might be blind to germs, but we can take them out totally in just 45 minutes a room. Utterly gone. No hazards at all.

Pilots still have clear air turbulence and wind shear to face, invisible perils that could kill.

In a sterile room we face nothing, no hazard, no threat of infection – unless before we enter some pathogen has already found a way inside our body’s defence system.

Yes, you should wash your hands.

But against increasing antibiotic resistant mutations, a new approach is vital if we’re all going to survive.

Hydrogen peroxide is your boarding pass.

Have a pleasant flight.

Originally posted 2014-08-26 10:49:55.

Don’t get sick or have an accident. You may never get well again

Man hit by car
Staying safe is getting harder

Don’t believe it?

Well now, just think. How many medical issues have you ever had that did NOT involve medicine?

Especially an injury or corrective surgery. Can’t take chances with infection, right? So there’s usually a ton of antibiotics pumped into you, to make sure you’re safe.

Same thing if you catch a bug and your body takes strain. The Doc has you on get-better medicine so fast, you’re back in action in days – or if it’s serious, a couple of weeks tops.

Except if you’ve checked the headlines lately, the medicos are not looking so positive.
The antibiotics are holding up for now, but more and more nasties are successfully developing immunity. You get the shot or take the pills – and pretty much nothing happens.

Which means you don’t get better. Infection doesn’t get corrected. You could even get sicker.

Suddenly all that hand-washing stuff has new significance, not so? And your mind goes doolally wondering how effective clean hands are against raging MRSA. Or if you want to be really panicky – full-blown Ebola fresh off the plane from Gatwick.

If you said “Not a lot”, you’d be right.  And disinfecting everything in sight is not going to help much either. Because once a resistant bug finds its way into your system, you’re on your own.

So you’ve got to stop it happening in the first place. Destroy germs before they destroy you.

Which means where you are, and everywhere around you. Not just the worktops, floors and surfaces – the space you move around in too. Because there’s more germs in the air than there are anywhere else. It’s 80% of your room space – and they’re riding the breeze, every little microscopic waft of it.

But you do have a defence

One sure way to stop germs is with a superfine mist of hydrogen peroxide.
Yup, the same stuff your own body produces to fight infection.

Except out in the open it’s one-on-one, so that viruses and bacteria don’t stand a chance. The hydrogen peroxide has them for breakfast – totally destroyed, gone.

Yes, gone. Killed by oxidising. The oxygen atoms released in the spray simply rip them to pieces.

So at least now , if you do have a mishap, you’re in sterile surroundings. Less chance of anything taking you over and bringing you down.

Reassuring while those hard-working med teams bust a gut researching for super-performance medicines to keep us all safe, all the time.

Just be careful out there.

Originally posted 2014-08-05 17:49:49.

It’s not the size of bacteria that matters. It’s the size of the challenge.

Cleaning team
Yes, but will this clobber the germs?

Just to turn your mind upside down, in the microworld of bacteria and viruses, size is irrelevant.

The staggering thing is the numbers.

Billions and billions of these things are all over us, all the time, so when are we going to take them seriously?

For a truly mind-numbing perspective, take a look at the animation at Cells Alive. It’s a simple depiction of how many microorganisms can fit on the head of a pin – a space that they calculate as being just 2mm in diameter.

Get right down to ten thousand times magnification and the place is teeming with E. coli, Staphyococcus, Ebola virus and the diminutive Rhinovirus – as an image enlarged a million times, not much more than the ball of your thumb, just 0.02 microns.

All of them deadly, and all of them so small that they’re easily missed – even by the strictest disinfecting procedure. If your cleaning cloth was just another 5mm to the left…

For an even more sobering comparison, take a look at Engineering Toolbox’s table of particle sizes, and the summary of how they behave.

Now imagine, at that size, how sensitive they are to air movement, like the almost nothing whisper of your hand dropping by your side.

Yes, you’re right. It means that basically they’re ALL airborne and move around with ease, taking maybe years to settle – and sometimes never settling at all.

THEY’RE IN THE AIR!

Yet just about every cleaning procedure we follow is cleaning hands, clothing, surfaces, floors… What about the space around us that doesn’t get touched? The moving space? The headroom? The air?

No wonder those nasties like MRSA and Legionnaire’s disease spread so easily. Even with meticulous hygiene, there’s nothing to stop them.

Nothing conventional, that is.

Which is why we keep banging the drum for total room sterilising with hydrogen peroxide. You can’t scrub air – and even if you could, a sponge and water wouldn’t crack it. You’ve got to kill the germs, not give them a bath.

A mega-challenge, yes. But one you can meet in just 45 minutes at a cost of around 80p for an average-sized room. And at that rate, less than you might spend on mop and bucket doing a supermarket or commercial kitchen.

And if it’s that easy, why do we ever allow ourselves to fall sick again?

Originally posted 2014-08-05 17:46:17.

Don’t run to the Doc because you’re sick – you’re more than likely the cause

Operating theatre
Why catch a germ, when you can avoid it?

We really are chancers, every single one of us.

Not always knowingly – in fact often with the best of intentions.

But every day we take chances that are so deadly, we’re lucky to be alive.

Ah yes, says the Hand Hygiene brigade, we know.

People are in a hurry, they either forget to wash their hands, or mean to do it later – or simply wing it, hoping nobody will notice.

And because the human body is so amazingly resilient, 9 times out of 10 they get away with it.

Day to day we don’t get tummy bugs, or colds and flu, or something way more serious.
Because even if we do there’s usually a pill for it. Slurp, swallow, sorted.

Recognise ourselves?

Yet all the time we know there’s monsters – e. coli, MRSA, campylobacter, salmonella or norovirus, just waiting to grab us. Not to mention TB, yellow fever, ebola, polio or any of the other heavyweights. All floating in the air, waiting for their moment.

And any one of them can take us down, clean hands or not. You might scrub your nails, but then you touch your hair, or simply take a breath and – whoops!

But come on, this is the Twenty-First Century, we don’t have to live like that.

If it’s too hot, we have central heating – too cold, air conditioning.

And because it’s so germy, we have total room sterilisers too.

Yes, we do, all ready to go right now, but nobody thinks about them. Why? Well they didn’t even remember their hands, did they?

Actually they’re pretty smart – and effective, these germ-killing auto-robots. Before you go into a room, they can eliminate every known bacteria or virus there is by oxidising it to nothing. With a supermist of hydrogen peroxide that gets in everywhere.

You might have germs on your hands or in your clothing. You might waft in with a whole stack more all clouded around you. But there’s nothing lurking waiting for you, not a thing.

Not in the air, underneath anything, or hiding in the cracks.

Unless you’ve been careless beforehand, you’re safe.

So are your kids, or anyone else who uses the same room. Free from germs, all OK.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

If germs can be zapped outright, why so iffy wherever you go?

Why aren’t these things in hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants – everywhere? Why are people still getting sick?

Because we’re all chancers is why. It can’t happen to me.

Oh yes, it can. And if you’ve been watching the news lately, you’ll know it will.

Because all those pills we’ve been taking for when we chance it? The bugs we take them for are becoming immune. Resistant to antibiotics. Our miracle cures are beginning not to work any more.

Eek.

Best not to take chances at all. Eliminate germs, everybody wins.

Originally posted 2014-08-05 17:29:33.

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

Man surrounded by germs
Get worried – germs are all around

Harry Venables was still an intern when it happened.

They chose him because he was single, with no girlfriend or family connections. A loner working the night shift who could keep his mouth shut.

At least that’s how it occurred to Harry later, after the spooks disappeared back into the woodwork.

It was just after three, in the middle of the graveyard shift, and he was loitering in the ambulance loading bay at Coombe General. Loitering with a pack of twenty he was about to finish.

He’d just lit up when The Voice spoke to him. He thought of it as The Voice because he never saw the bloke. They only spoke at the ambulance bay and The Voice was always behind him.

Ten grand they offered him, a good step towards a deposit on a flat. He was young, he was observant, he was qualified, he had the nerve and stamina for long hours in A&E, he was a natural.

Nothing bad, they told him. Nothing to do with crime or terrorism.

Yeah, right. They “forgot” to mention terrifying.

They were sort of virtual reality goggles and he was to test them. Choose a quiet moment and walk through A&E with them on. Make a professional assessment without anyone seeing him.

Ten minutes, ten grand. A walk in the park.

They were made by the same people who invented thermal imaging surveillance for the CIA. The difference was, they were medical – to view and be aware of germs. All the pathogens and bio-crud in the environment of the hospital. Back at Vauxhall, they called them “biofecals.”

He put them on twenty minutes later, after the ruptured appendix and just before the three car pile-up on the M3.

Wow, but they shocked him. A horror movie with the aliens already infecting the planet.
The hospital had high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtering in the aircon, so he thought the place was safe. When he saw the vents stirring around this film of bluey-pink stuff, he was not so sure.

Wherever he looked there was this haze of colour, darker in some places than others. He got it after a moment, different colours for different germs, he just didn’t know which was which.

It reminded him of something – swirls of dyed coffee crystals, but not so brilliant – caught up and moving in the air all around him, like stuff suspended in water.

The red stuff worried him most, at its thickest around patients with external wounds. He hoped it wasn’t MRSA, or clostridium perfringens, one of the bacteria that caused gangrene.

There was stuff on his hands too, though he washed them after the fag – and rubbed them off with alcohol gel. It wouldn’t wipe away, though more alcohol helped.

But the worst was the whole place infested with these tinges of colour. The hospital prided itself on its hygiene, it’s A&E was one of the most impressive in the country. Light tinges coloured the beds and the worktops around them.

The killer was the darker smudges of colour around the edge of the surfaces. Where the cleaning wipes hadn’t reached because the top was priority. The underside of things was grim too. And on the cables and tubes connecting equipment, a thick coating of coloured spider webs and dust.

It made him scared and it made him sick. He ripped the goggles off and just made it back to the ambulance bay before he threw up. Damn, and now he was out of cigarettes too.

The Voice reached from behind and took the goggles. Describing his experience was worse. As a practicing doctor he knew what the colours meant. By the time he finished, he was shaking.

No wonder people got sick and died – even in hospital, where they hoped to be protected.

Out of sight, out of mind, whatever our germ protection system was amounted to virtually nothing. And how bad could it be in the outside world?

He went back in and washed his hands again. He was a doctor, he had to do something about this. There had to be a way to keep patients safe and sterilised. And the greater public too. Another story that starts here.

He found the ten grand in his bank account. It felt dirty, diseased, like the germs that had put it there. Without even thinking, he donated the lot to cancer research.

Originally posted 2014-08-05 17:16:10.

Time to kick up stink about germ protection

Girl holding nose
There’s something rotten about our hygiene

What’s with the big shots who run this world?

People still catch germs, people still die – but we can stop viruses and bacteria any time we like, just by pressing a button.

It’s shocking, but it’s true.

Any germ you like, we can kill it dead, before it starts anything, right now.

So why are people falling ill and catching infections, when it’s all preventable?

Inertia.

It’s easier to do nothing. And save the money.

There’s no crisis to worry about, so why bother?

Unless you happen to be one of those with MRSA, e. coli, aspergillis, c. difficile, campylobacter, HIV-AIDS, or any of the other nasties that can kill you.

Because the cruel truth is, you didn’t need to be exposed to any of them in the first place.

Sure, medical science can do amazing things to help when you’re ill. But how many wash their hands of proactively staying healthy? Of preventing infections before they start?

It’s not difficult to sterilise the space around us. To kill all the germs and make sure it’s safe to be there. We’ve known how to do it since the Nineteenth Century.

The cheapest and easiest is to oxidise them. Out in the open, before they invade your body, viruses and bacteria are unprotected. Shove extra atoms of oxygen at them, and you rip their cell structure to pieces. They’re gone, permanently.

And with an oxidiser like ionised hydrogen peroxide, you can mist-spray a whole room to sterilise the moving space and all surfaces – tables, chairs, worktops, beds and floors – for around 80p. Not exactly buying an aircraft carrier, is it?

Or if you really want to blast germs out of existence, use ozone.

It works the same way, but is even more oxygen rich. Which gives you any level from simply removing smells and odours, to the industrial strength triple whammy that purifies chemical pollutants after shale oil fracking.

Too chemical for you?

Against viruses and bacteria, we even have a death ray – ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) it’s called in the trade. Five to ten minutes direct exposure and germs are history, their DNA twisted and reduced to nothing.

So why aren’t we using all these things? In hospitals, in restaurants, in foodstores, in schools, or even in our own homes? Do we have a death wish?

Because without them, we’re at risk every second of the day. Billions and billions of microbes surround every one of us all the time, yet we’re so full of ourselves we do nothing.

And all the while, doctors are going nuts because they know that antibiotics are starting not to work any more. The germs have found a way round them. They’ve developed a resistance. We’re back to the Dark Ages.

And you’d better believe it. Cut yourself making a sandwich and infection could kill you.

Except it’s totally unnecessary.

Where’s the sense in dying for a BLT?

Come on now, we’ve all grown up, haven’t we? We clean our teeth, use deodorant, and wash our hands before and after we do everything. Stay healthy, that’s all we have to do.

Dammit, why shouldn’t we make a noise until every public place is properly protected in the same way it is cleaned every day? And public transport too – buses, trains, planes, ships – everywhere.

Make a stink, write to your MP.

Give those germs the same stinking treatment they give you.

Originally posted 2014-08-05 17:12:33.