Tag Archives: MRSA

Let’s wash our hands of all our troubles

Uncle Fred in hospital bed
It’s a miracle – clean hands and Uncle Fred is well again

Shocked at the figures?

No, no, not for the election.

The ones from NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) – which shockingly reveal that 1 in 16 people being treated by the NHS picks up an HAI (Hospital Acquired Infection).

Not just dirt, germs

You’re right, that means a landslide vote for better hygiene – specifically better hand washing.

Because while doctors and nurses know hand hygiene is a must, looks like the rest of us don’t have a clue.

Only a quarter of us wash our hands more than three times a day – and more than half of us never wash our hands after going to the toilet.

We just waggle our fingers under the tap and reckon that’s good enough. The great British fudge.

Put a filthy habit like that together with going to visit Uncle Fred in hospital – and no wonder the poor bloke winds up with MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) – a serious nasty that can’t be treated by antibiotics.

Oops.

People get ill

We don’t think of ourselves as filthy people. But more and more the evidence is there that just by washing our hands properly, we could make most of our sicknesses and ailments go away. (Tweet this)

Like 95% of them.

Imagine.

95% of our troubles taken off the NHS – we’d have empty beds all over the place and medical staff actually getting a regular good night’s sleep.

The equivalent of a whole new NHS alongside the one we already have.

That’s, wait for it – an investment worth another £100 billion.

£100 BILLION!

More than £1,500 for every man, woman and child in the country.

Better than the lottery

Just from washing our hands.

One heck of a prize for something so simple.

Fun too, if you treat it like those fantastic folks at Northampton General Hospital.

If that’s where Uncle Fred was admitted, looks like he’s in good hands.

Like we said yesterday, pass the soap.

Now gut-ache is ready everywhere: the don’t-wash-hands disease

Girl with hands out
They might look clean, yes – but unless you actually wash them…

Look clean, do they?

OK if you’ve just washed them.

Except most people don’t – especially after going to the loo.

Ew!

They’re in denial about it too.

The dirty hands brigade

Fact: though 99% of people claim to wash their hands, reality is that only 32% of men and 64% of women actually do.

There’s poo on there. Wee too.

So which illness would you like to catch, or pass on?

Choose from norovirus, respiratory illnesses, chicken pox, meningitis, or Group A and B streptococcal infections for starters.

Or how about methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), clostridium difficile (c diff), vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE), escherichia coli (e. coli), pseudomonas or hepatitis A?

Almost all come complete with nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach cramps and severe dehydration. Complications are also available, particularly if you have an existing underlying condition. Death too, is definitely an option.

Basic lack of hygiene

For goodness sake, WHAT IS WRONG WITH US!

It’s not as if washing our hands is so difficult.

Are we forgetful, or just plain deliberately obstinate?

Surely we can’t WANT to be sick?

But it seems like we do.

We know the risks, we know it’s unpleasant – yet we still keep avoiding a basic daily discipline.

That’s it, of course, isn’t it?

Discipline.

Nobody’s going to tell us what to do. We’re not children any more.

Or are we?

Didn’t our mothers teach us basic hygiene?

Show and tell

Why is it necessary for posters to be put up in toilets and bathrooms about how to wash our hands?

Our even how to use a paper towel.

Have we never done it before?

Certainly if 95% of us don’t ever do it properly, it sure looks that way.

And there’s 95% of our sickness and ailments, right there.

The Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease.

A very serious condition for which there is no treatment.

Except maybe, a smack on the head.

Carelessness

Not even a Hypersteriliser can compensate for it.

As quickly as you sterilise a room, some careless unthinking ego-tripper blunders in, wiping their paws all over tables and chairs and door handles and stuff. All the objects other people touch.

And bingo! Suddenly everybody is up-chucking and holding their bellies. Claiming there’s something in the room that gave them an infection.

Yes, there is.

It’s called carelessness.

And now that more and more antibiotics are not working any more – compensating for our over-use because we don’t wash our hands – we deserve all we get.

Wash your hands, or die – is the way we are going. (Tweet this)

We’re not there yet, but we’re getting very close. By the time our kids have grown up, maybe it will be inevitable. A social responsibility we can never wash our hands of – if we want to survive.

Pass the soap, please.

Good germs, bad germs – we need both to survive

Before-after girl's face
Don’t worry, everything’s OK –
just as long as we keep the balance

This whole page exists because we have a problem with bacteria.

More correctly, we have a problem with hygiene.

If it wasn’t for bacteria we wouldn’t exist – and most bacteria are benign anyway.

Yes, bacteria are dangerous. Yes, they can kill.

Most of the time we co-exist in balance – and maintaining that equilibrium is what keeps us healthy.

Bacteria prejudice

Because we’re psyched to believe all bacteria are bad, it’s creepy to be reminded that they’re crawling all over us – inside and out. We wouldn’t last long however, if they weren’t there.

Our whole digestive system depends on them to extract nutrition from food. One of our key needs is nitrogen, which our bodies are totally unequipped to process. Which is why a bunch of bacteria sits in our gut, munching through nitrogen sources to power us up.

So how about the bad buys?

Time to stand our preconceived thinking on its head.

Our whole existence works on the synergy our bodies have with bacteria – a tit-for-tat relationship that most of the time works just fine. But there are billions and billions of bacteria types – and not all of them work best with humans. The soil might be better, or some kind of tree.

Right and wrong

And that’s when things go pear-shaped. They can’t co-exist because they’re in the wrong place. Wrong reactions happen, things get out of kilter and the body suffers – the bacteria start eating or changing the wrong things and some kind of infection usually results.

In the wrong place? Get rid of it – which is what antibiotics are for.

And since we don’t have any mechanism for encouraging these bacteria to leave peacefully, the only thing we know how to do is kill them. Wrong bacteria out of the way, we start getting better – or more appropriately, we return to balance – over the worst, we’re convalescing.

But killing those wrong bacteria can be brutal, with punishing results for our bodies. One well-known side-effect of antibiotics is diarrhoea. Way out of balance, we get the squitters, which the body voids as harmful waste – including the wrong bacteria. Like norovirus, say – or even nastier – gastroenteritis.

Not nice, being ill

Yes, it happens to all of us at some time – and we know it takes time to come back. The body has to repair the damage before the good guys can get to work. The collywobbles settle down and we’re back to normal.

Or take the other bad guys of the moment, MRSA – methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus to be exact. At any one time, staph bacteria is all over our skin – its function, to keep OTHER harmful intruders out. OK José, everything fine.

But get a cut that lets it into the wrong place and boom! – the body has a problem that the Doc has no medicine to fix. Why? Because with overuse of antibiotics for every little thing for the last 50 years, certain bacteria have learned how to resist them. The price of antibiotics-abuse.

Outside our bodies, of course, is another world. Some environments are safe, others have hazards – wrong bacteria, unable to find the right host, so they choose you and throw your balance out.

Again, we don’t have the mechanism to politely tell these bacteria to go away. We only know how to kill them. And experience has shown us that if we don’t get rid of all of them, they still keep coming. So we hit them with whatever – bleach usually – sodium hypochlorite, formaldehyde, whatever might work.

Brutal tactics

Trouble is, we have to spread it everywhere in our surroundings to clobber them all – good, bad together, we’ve no way of telling the difference. Just so long as we don’t affect anything INSIDE our bodies.

Brutal yes, but this is war – germ war. And we have to protect the bacteria inside us that help us live.

Kinder to practice better hygiene. To wash our hands every time we do stuff that lets the wrong bacteria get to us. But not just for five seconds. Properly, to make sure they all get away – about as long as it takes to sing “Row, row, row your boat” in your head.

After all, we’re all in this together.

Whole rooms sterile safe like surgical instruments

Girl student raises hand
Safe from viruses and bacteria – in this room the germ threshold is zero

Hotels know the concept.

It’s why glasses in the bathroom are wrapped in paper – and why there’s a band across the loo.

Sanitised for your protection.

Feel-good reassurance that your room is safe and free from germs.

If only

Wouldn’t that be great?

Thing is though, that “sanitised” only means clean.

And there’s a huge difference between clean and safe.

Sure it smells clean. Except all an air freshener does is mask odours.

But hey, clean is good. It’s the first part of setting your mind at rest.

Because better still and right now, sterile surroundings are possible. With scares like Ebola and MRSA around – they’re rapidly becoming part of our everyday. Real hospital operating-room sterile, the same as a heart surgeon’s instruments.

Hospital safe

Easy too – much simpler than the sterilising autoclaves you’ll find in hospitals – which typically require high temperatures and partial vacuums to make them work.

OK, the business of cleaning still has to be done. Dirt is dirt, that requires physical scrubbing, wiping and vacuuming to be removed.

But microscopically small, germs still remain – less than before, but still a hazard. And because you can’t scrub air, they’re still filling the empty space that is most of a room – lighter than air and able to survive for weeks or more.

Time to bring in the Hypersteriliser – about the size of a small wheelie-bin, and just as manoeuvrable. Ready to sterilise your room to the same Log 6 Sterility Assurance Level that hospitals demand. All at the touch of a button.

Like hospital sterilisers, the Hypersteriliser uses ionised hydrogen peroxide gas plasma that destroys virus and bacteria cells by oxidising them into oblivion.

Low temperature ionisation

The difference is ionisation by electricity instead of heat – kinder to sensitive materials, generating less moisture and leaving no residues. And of course, instead of a small cubby-hole, the entire room becomes the sterilising chamber.

The ionised hydrogen peroxide is released into the room in an ultra-fine mist – a safe and ultra-low 6% solution, the same as you might buy in the chemist to whiten your teeth.

The cloud of molecules disperses rapidly in all directions – repelled from each other by the negative charge they all have – forcing them to the far limits of the enclosed space, hard against furniture, equipment, walls, floor and ceiling or any other objects in the room.

And of course, deep into any cracks or crevices that let them escape each other further.

The charge also energises them, releasing ozone, ultraviolet light, hydroxyl radicals and highly reactive oxygen species – oxidising atoms that actively seize harmful pathogens, attracted by their positive charge – latching onto them and ripping them to shreds.

This action dissipates the charge, the hydrogen peroxide reverts to oxygen and small amounts of water, which immediately evaporate.

How do you know it works?

You can’t see germs anyway, so you can’t see when they’re not there either.

But here’s a clue.

One indication that bacteria are active is the smell caused by infection or their reaction with organic substances. After hydrogen peroxide treatment, all odours should be gone.

The other giveaway is mould.

Dirty black and difficult to remove when active, it subsides to a pale grey as its cells die off with oxidising. Its discolouration is still there of course, but now an easy wipe should take it off – job done. No mould, no germs.

What haven’t we told you?

Ah yes, if you’re worried about using chemicals to make the room sterile, remember that hydrogen peroxide is manufactured by the body as its own germ-fighting defence. It’s a chemical yes, but occurs naturally to do exactly the same thing.

So there you have it. A way to make rooms safely sterile in around 20 – 40 minutes, depending on size.

It doesn’t kill the germs we might carry around on our bodies, or inside us.

But it does reduce the germ threshold to zero so we can’t catch anything new when we walk in.

Yes, prevention is better than cure. So here’s a hospital-type way to stay out of hospital and stay healthy too.

Should help with all the pressures they’re having right now. Phew!

How to keep well when flu jabs don’t work

All frosted up
Flu germs are everywhere –
don’t let them get you

Cold and getting colder.

All that stuff sweeping in from Siberia.

The polar bear’s pyjamas.

Worse, according to Public Health England, this year’s anti-flu vaccine is barely effective – working in only 3% of cases.

Defences are down

Not good, particularly if you’re older.

Because this year’s nasty, a mutation from the H3N2 strain of the flu virus, particularly affects the elderly. (Tweet this)

Despite the £100 million spent on flu vaccination annually, this mutation has smartly glitched the guessing game that world health authorities play every winter – deciding which variants of flu virus will be “fashionable” this year.

You still need a flu jab, because other types are still around and each year’s vaccine can usually clobber about three.

But H3N2 has decided otherwise and mutated so much, that this year’s vaccine is about as effective as water.

Flu is not all

Woe and grief, yes – but it’s a useful wakeup call.

You see, it’s not just this year’s flu vaccine that doesn’t work.

It’s a whole slew of medicines – starting with antibiotics.

Big time mutation across the board has made many pathogens immune to them.

So if you’re rushed to hospital with complications from catching flu – cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis or asthma for example – doctors are going to think twice before giving you anything.

Overuse of antibiotics in the last 50 years means that, increasingly, they stop working altogether.

Maybe not so bad with your flu complications – medics can quickly put you on oxygen.

But it’s a disaster for medicine across the board – just about every major procedure in any hospital could fail without them.

Back to the Dark Ages

Any kind of surgery – any incision or breach of the body’s skin – is suddenly a major infection threat. Which is why the big worry among health experts is HAIs – Hospital Acquired Infections.

You go to hospital to have your hernia repaired. But MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) gets in to your surgery area and you’re lucky to escape with your life.

Exactly the headache every surgeon faces with even the simplest case.

But what can you do?

The flu virus is out there and raging rampant. What’s to stop it getting you?

Better than cure

Prevention is what. Simple avoidance.

Alright, you can’t do much in the big outdoors. If it’s your turn to breathe in some H3N2 cells on the rampage, that’s just unlucky.

You also can’t do much if Hooligan Harry sneezes all over you in the lift or Underground. Especially when us Brits are about the most unhygienic people around and never wash our hands enough.

But you can clobber germs indoors so nothing lingers. Sterilise the place when nobody’s around so the germ threshold sinks to zero.

Twenty minutes misting up the place with hydrogen peroxide spray completely destroys all viruses and bacteria. Any room you treat with this stuff is totally sterile.

Which is a lot better defence in your workplace or home than the quick vacuum and dust that most places get.

And why take chances when you can be totally sure?

Especially with so much flu around.

Every year, between 250,000 and 500,000 people die from it worldwide.

Don’t let one of them be you.

Je suis Charlie, every day of your life

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

Je suis Charlie, three little words.

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

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

Inspired vigilance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Invisible terrorists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ever-present danger

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

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

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

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

It’s not all doom and gloom though.

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

Time to up our game

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

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

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

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

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

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

En garde!

Squeaky clean hospital, narrow squeak in surgery

Ballet dancer in box
Escaping germs is always a close squeak

A simple operation.

Routine, routine, routine.

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

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

Always a risk

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

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

Not just experts with a scalpel either.

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

Because of the germs.

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

Hospital battlefield

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

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

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

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

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

Anti-antibiotics

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

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

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

But count on it, they always are.

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

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

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

They need them too.

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

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

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

Against the enemy

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

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

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

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

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

A squeak you’ll be glad to be out of.

Over-85s rock night clubs Big Time

Granny Partying
ALIVE, baby!
And no germs on me!

Non-stop parties, five nights in a row. Sex like rabbits never knew. Bonkers, the lot of them. So that kids of 50 have no idea what they’re missing.

It’s not just happening, it’s happening more and more. Currently, Britain has 12,000 people aged 100 and over – 191 of them with driving licences.

And why not? Death rates are coming down. Living expectancy is going up. Our seniors are fitter, more alert, and getting more out of life than ever before.

Super-oldies

Some of it is diet. Most of it is exercise. The driving force is attitude. But none of it would be possible without the dramatic rise in hygiene standards since World War Two.

More specifically, we human beings have developed better ways to protect ourselves.

Cars have seat belts and air bags. Ultra-light thermal clothing keeps out the cold. So does double glazing and central heating. Hats and sun-cream hold back harmful UV rays. We all have phones if we need to call for help.

Living fit and healthy past 100 is not just within reach, it’s already a reality.

And all about to go down the tubes.

Doomsday disregard

Because the one protection we have yet to secure for ourselves is against germs.

Oh sure, we’ve got hygiene practices and sterile procedures coming out of our ears.

Joseph Lister wised us up to washing hands back in the Nineteenth Century. Flame sterilisation was even practiced by the Romans.

And of course, we have the miracle of antibiotics. No worries about infection, the Doc has pills to sort it.

Or not.

You see, there’s a problem – antibiotics over-use.

We’ve been bingeing on antibiotics for nearly 100 years now – so that to your average virus or bacteria, they’re strictly ho-hum. Take the pills and nothing happens.

500mg three times a day? Been there, done that.

Killers and more killers

Result – there’s not just killers like MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) – there’s 270,000 different strains of it – particularly prevalent in hospitals.

Why?

Because that’s the most likely place you’ll have open cuts and airways – germ portals into the body. All that life-changing surgery we’ve invented – it could be life-ending overnight.

Scary, huh?

Because if these antibiotic thingies aren’t actually working any more, our life expectancy can sink back to 50 – or even 25 if your work is physical, prone to lots of cuts and scratches.

Well yes, but then antibiotics aren’t really protection are they? And right now there’s a bunch of super-docs working round the clock to make them kill germs again.

If you think about it, antibiotics are fix-its – intended as cures, restoratives to bring the body back to health, compensation for germ-strikes.

They don’t actually stop you catching a germ in the first place – like a crash helmet stops you getting a head injury.

Proper protection

But there’s lots of stuff that can. Germ-killers that can take out viruses and bacteria before they get anywhere near you. Carbolic soap, bleach, formaldehyde – or oxidisers like ozone and hydrogen peroxide. Ultra violet light is also like a death ray.

So what the heck are we doing, letting germs get to us – when we’ve already got all these weapons we can use against them?

Sticking our heads in the sand is what.

Except for health professionals, we all think of hygiene as a schlep.

Oh yes, we do – we’re a nation of soap dodgers. One in five of us doesn’t wash our hands after using the loo.

Even though, with the right mind-set, it can actually be FUN! (Thanks, Northampton General Hospital!)

Up to hygiene plus

On top of which, in just twenty minutes we can STERILISE any room so there’s NO VIRUSES or BACTERIA – all dead and gone – just by touching a button. An auto-robot mists up the place with hydrogen peroxide and makes it safe again.

Feel better? You should – as long as you up your hygiene habit.

Yes you, time to up your game.

Do you want to live to 100 or what?

 

Prepped for Ebola, wide open to MRSA

Disaster Man
Ebola in your home –
unlikely to happen yet,
or any time soon

Call it dumb luck. Call it misdirected. A growing number of “preppers” are making ready for an Ebola pandemic, but leaving themselves wide open to all kinds of other misfortunes.

“Preppers” are serious people, convinced they need to prepare for a dystopic future. “Ebola has broken out in the UK, there’s rioting in the streets and food is scarce” suggests the scenario of a background report on Sky News.

Ready for “What If”

Assuming the worst is going to happen, one “prepped” contingency is to be equipped with a gas mask and hazmat suit in anticipation of a pandemic. All manner of iron rations and emergency equipment are also at the ready – to be keep preppers as safe as possible.

The hazmat suit is a security blanket – but with every single one of us surrounded by upwards of 3 million assorted viruses and bacteria at any one time, not likely to offer much protection if hygiene levels are not equally secure.

Coping with poo

The preppers quite rightly imagine doom and gloom, but stop short of practical calamities that are likely to hit us as well. Like no electricity, no water, no sewage or waste disposal. A whole catastrophe of germ-generating situations just as deadly as Ebola, or worse.

Because Ebola, apart from being three thousand miles away, is hard to catch. So far it is not transmitted through the air, or by water, and cannot be contracted from someone not already sick.

But just imagine what happens in your household drain if the poo doesn’t go away. And how you’re going to sort it if there’s no way to wash your hands.

Which means it’s not just Ebola that preppers should worry about. It’s all the usual suspects – MRSA, campylobacter, norovirus, c. difficile, AIDS/HIV, e. coli, bird flu, salmonella and all the other nasties.

A hazmat suit is too little too late – after the event, not before.

Prevention, not cure

Because the name of game with any infection is prevention, not cure. Once something is in your body, it’s up to your Doc and luck.

There is of course a way out, assuming the preppers are thorough enough. A standby generator for electricity would be pretty basic – but vital if defence against germs is to be seriously addressed.

With power on hand, they could run an auto-robot to spray their quarters with hydrogen peroxide. The ultra-fine mist would reach everywhere, oxidising viruses and bacteria so that their cell structure was ripped apart.

Bye bye Ebola

And not just some of them either – there’s no pathogen yet that can survive being oxidised. Bye bye Ebola and all the others as well – before they even get anywhere near a vulnerable human body.

Of course we don’t have to wait for disaster to sterilise our surroundings. We can do it now, in twenty minutes, with exactly the same machine.

Just plug it it, hit the button – and whoosh, you’re safe.

As for Ebola – the preppers might have a point. But right now it’s as likely as a Number 9 bus being on time before the rain comes down.

Better not take any chances though.

Deadly Killer Viruses 341- Hero Medics 2

Doctors with football
Better hygiene is not a game –
you lose, you die

We’re not winning.

At least that’s the way it looks.

With ruthless slayers like Ebola around, every day is a nightmare.

Even right here at home.

The Annual Epidemic

With winter well on the way, World Health Organisation figures expect around 3 to 5 million cases of influenza, with between 250,000 and 500,000 deaths.

Didn’t know flu was that deadly, huh?

Which makes you marvel at how amazing our professional medics are.

Doctors, nurses and all kinds of support people work round the clock to make us well. Long hours are the norm, lack of sleep, living on coffee. If the rest of us tried to work like that, we’d be living in chaos.

Super Docs

But medics are made of tougher stuff. Always ready to help – never ready to quit.

Look at that amazing organisation Médecins Sans Frontières. All volunteers, all resolute to give of their best. Up against killers like Ebola, nobody shows more concern or commitment.

Human bodies might be weakening, but never has human spirit and care for each other ever been so strong.

We ought to have more respect for these doctors. And we do when we remember.

But we backslide, because that is human nature.

Sloppy Hygiene

As fast as doctors achieve a win, we’re seem equally determined to lose – careless of any dangers, sloppy in our hygiene, derelict in our regard for ourselves.

No wonder we’re not winning.

In our daily lives we let billions of germs surround us without a thought – viruses and bacteria intent on us as prey – natural born killers.

We know the risks – and yet we still take chances.

We prepare food in sometimes shocking surroundings. We forget or avoid washing our hands. We eat dodgy stuff, rush out in all weathers – and then wonder why we suddenly come down with something.

Kind of an insult to all those medics, don’t you think? We treat our body with contempt and then expect them to fix it. Never a thought about avoiding trouble in the first place.

“It can’t happen to me,” we think – without realising the game has already changed.

Yes, Ebola’s bad – and there’s no cure yet.

But through our own carelessness and dependence on miracles like antibiotics, there’s suddenly no cure for a lot of things.

Oops!

Resistant Microbes

While we weren’t looking, a whole slew of viruses and bacteria have found ways to resist the medicines we throw at them. MRSA alone has developed into 270,000 strains.

And look at the price of our carelessness.

We go into hospital for a routine operation – say a hernia, because we big deal lifted something without help. A tiny routine tummy cut, keyhole surgery, no problem.

The doctors take care, the nurses take care, the recovery team take care. And then we don’t wash our own hands, going to the loo. All set to be discharged – bang, MRSA.

Do we have a death wish or what?

Higher Hygiene Levels

It’s time to up our game. To hike hygiene habits up a level that evens the odds.

We’re still going to be careless. We’re still going to forget washing our hands. But we CAN do something to keep ourselves more safe.

Sterilise our surroundings.

If there aren’t any germs around, we can’t get sick.

So you watch.

As more and more of us realise the threat, we’re going to see new ways of winning.

Like misting up the place with hydrogen peroxide every day – oxidising viruses and bacteria to nothing before they even get near.

Easily done – and it’s all automatic.

Score 1 to us, yay!

Let’s get back to having a ball.