Tag Archives: norovirus

Why cultures that eat with their hands are more germ-safe than we are

Indian family eating
More to savour, more to enjoy – and ALWAYS washing hands before anything

Germ-safe and healthy, despite what you might think.

Because whenever did you hear of a norovirus outbreak in India? Or Morocco? Or Thailand? Or Indonesia?

Not very often, right?

Not that it doesn’t happen.

Delhi belly is a world famous killjoy. But not always caused by overpowering curry.

More frequently, it’s accepted as as a lapse in ritual.

Hand hygiene is a way of life

Because the unbreakable etiquette in all countries that eat food with their fingers is – to always wash your hands first.

Not exactly what we do is it?

Though our whole lifestyle often involves eating with our fingers – sandwiches, wraps, pizza, burgers – hardly ever do we remember to wash our hands at all. Always assuming we can find a place to wash them in the first place.

It’s not in our culture, it’s not in our lifestyle.

And thanks to messy eating options like Nando’s or Sticky Fingers, we even get it backwards. That hand basin in the middle of the restaurant is for after, not before. Sticky fingers, smeary mouth. Right in front of everybody.

Weird.

Which shows just how iffy our knife and fork thinking is.

How can they be safer to eat with, or keep germs away, when our hands might have gone a whole day without washing? Office, bus, taxi, tube – plenty of places to pick up bugs. And pick them up off the fork into our mouths as we eat.

Respect your body’s temple

In Muslim countries, wudu or washing hands is pious ritual, far more than hygienic necessity. Being clean of body and mind is essential in all things about life. Hindus call it abhisheka . Among Jews it is netilat yadayim. All of them remove germs.Ritual washing

Not so ourselves, with our cruise-ship virus, our Don’t-Wash-Hands-Disease, our norovirus.

Beyond good, basic hygiene there is nothing in our culture to require us to wash our hands before meals – or at any other time. Hard statistics bear this out:

Unthinkable in cultures that eat with their hands. Probably even sacrilegious. Which when you reflect on the philosophy of My Body is a Temple makes a whole lot of sense.

Much better than writhing in agony with tummy cramps, violent vomiting and unbearable dairrhoea.

And look at the feel-good  people get from eating with their fingers. All senses working together to enjoy – seeing, touching, tasting, smelling, and hearing the sounds inside your mouth reminding you this is fun.

Wash our hands and we can have fun too.

Without the all-too-often queasy feeling that all is not well.

Enjoy!

Picture Copyright: Copyright: szefei / 123RF Stock Photo and alefbet / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2017-02-01 15:25:30.

Make norovirus gone – and stay gone!

GO AWAY lady
All those nasty bugs? They’ll have to GO now, you’ve got their number!

Actually, make ALL of them gone. All the tummy bugs – gastric flu, salmonella, campylobacter, e.coli, c.difficile. Whatever their fancy names are – make them totally gone.

All the other bugs as well – the colds, the twenty million types of flu, that foul rubbish MRSA and those full-of-themselves heavyweight jobs like TB, typhoid, cholera, ebola and zika.

Go away, gone, and don’t come back. Let us get on with living our lives. Just keep those germs away and staying away – we’ve all had enough.

It’s the “wash hands” thing, right?

Yeah, yeah, sure. We KNOW we’ve got to hike up our hygiene levels to do it – just don’t keep bugging us.

And get real too.

Yes, we know it’s important, but we’re not going wash our hands every five minutes. Like, get a life, where do you find soap and water, walking down the High Street? Ever tried to scrub your nails in the Underground?

Yes, we take chances and know we shouldn’t.

What, we’re going to stay home and hide under the bed instead?

So most of the time, we’re OK. Our hands don’t LOOK dirty. We live in a clean community with clean streets, fresh running water and proper sewage, we SHOULD be OK. And we’re most of us healthy, our immune systems kick in if there are any issues.

So what if we slip up now and then, and a bug gets through? Fix it!

OK, thanks for the antibacterial wipes and hand gel – should have thought of those. Easy to keep with us all the time, even down the High Street.

But what’s with this norovirus lark? The boomerang bug, or what? Keeps coming back, and back, and back. The clean-up squads go in there and do their stuff, three days later the gut-wrenching cramps, upchucks and runs are back again!

Same old, same old doesn’t work

Kinda says we should change the drill, doesn’t it? If gallons of bleach that pong like hell can’t fix it – or blokes in bunny suits squirting steam everywhere – what’s the point?

Pretty obviously that treatment isn’t getting to all the places it should. Bits get missed – and the darned virus is back again.

Not surprising with the gruesome way it works. Like “projectile vomiting”, what’s that about?

Only that bits of sick and puke wind up everywhere – not just where somebody hurls. Cleaning up the barf patch is all very nice, but how about everywhere else like these gaudy details in the National Geographic describe.

“Fine droplets released from sick people can float through the air and settle on food, on countertops, in swimming pools. They can survive freezing and heating and cleaning with many chemical disinfectants.”

Yeah? And how about those dark corners and underneath stuff? We need a new technique, and we need it NOW.

Fortunately there is one. And it works.

Gets rid of all the germs down to nothing, so there’s zip, nada, zilch to infect us. Zero germs, zero infection, what’s the problem?

The thing is called a Hypersteriliser, a nifty automatic machine about the size of a wheelie-bin. It’s made by the Halosil company in America.

And the hydrogen peroxide solution it uses is registered with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA Registration No. 84526-6), approved to kill norovirus and rhinovirus, influenza, HIV and a whole stack of others.

Uh huh.

So what it does is mist up the place with an ultrafine spray of hydrogen peroxide. IONISED hydrogen peroxide.

Super performance. super protection

That means it’s electrostatically charged, so every microscopic particle is shoving like crazy to get away from itself. Spreading everywhere, jamming itself into tight spaces, reaching into places you never knew existed.

Total dispersal, right? Any germs hiding anywhere, this stuff is going to find them.

Plus, surprise- surprise, that electrostatic charge is opposite to the charge that viruses and bacteria have. Which means these particles grab hold and clamp on like superglue, never letting go.

Next, they ram oxygen atoms at them, ripping apart their cell structure and oxidising them to oblivion. Oh, and because they’re ionised, they create a whole slew of other germ-killers to aid and abet. Hydroxyl radicals, oxygen species, nitrogen species, ozone and ultraviolet. Boosted killing power.

Take that, varmints! Let’s see you come back from that!

You get the picture though. The place is germ-zero. Sterile nothing. You can’t catch no bugs because there aren’t any.

Which of course changes as soon as one of us waltzes in with our usual germ cloud in tow – yup, believe it or not, each of us has one. Plus of course whatever nasties we might have on our (did I wash my hands or didn’t I?) itching-to-get-to-work fingers.

Thing is though, that we won’t catch anything NEW. Our usual bugs are our usual bugs and we’ve been safe enough with them throughout the day until now. Step into a sterile room and we’re still safe. No nasty unseen surprises, we’re good to go.

Meanwhile all those other misery-guts germs are gone. ALL of them. And they ain’t coming back because there’s none of them lurking in dark corners to start a reinfection. Gone means gone. Sterile and secure until one of us brings in a NEW bug from outside.

But that’s another story.

Picture Copyright: darkbird / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-12-05 15:18:27.

So you escaped norovirus. Will you be so lucky when it comes back?

Escaping businessman
If it can come back to curse cruise ships four times in a row, it can come back to nail you too

It’s called “projectile vomiting” – a norovirus specialty. And you’re lucky you’ve never experienced it.

Yet.

Because, count on it – if your workplace has just been through an outbreak, that nasty norovirus is sure as eggs coming back. That projectile vomiting guarantees it.

The super-nasty gut bug

It’s just one of the ways this super-contagious health horror spreads itself. A gut-wrenching upchuck so violent it reaches across a whole room. So when some poor cleaner come to clear up the accident on the office carpet, all kinds of traces are left behind.

On the opposite wall, under the furthest desk, in the coils of computer cabling in the corner, or just floating in the air. It’s a virulent virus too – just 10 microscopic particles are enough to infect you. Contagious flu takes 25.

And at just 27 nanometres across, its particles are smaller than smoke – so light in the air they may never come down. But when they do, they’re able to survive on surfaces for weeks or more. All on things that never get cleaned – lift buttons, light switches, touchscreens and keypads.

Plus it’s not just the vomiting. The diarrhoea is violent too – equally able to spread in the air, to get itself everywhere despite meticulous scrubbing. Not to mention the end-of-the-world tummy cramps you have to live with. Unless you’re lucky.

So yes, you might have escaped the first outbreak. But unless your cleaning team have got into every nook and cranny – as well as scrubbing the air… You’re right in the line of fire when this boomerang baby comes bouncing back. And you’re gonna get it. Especially since outbreaks this year are up 45%.

Bad for business too

Unless of course, lucky for you, you have defensive measures. You’re ready with protection against this recurring vomiting bug that can cost thousands in sick pay, lost production, delayed contracts and missed opportunities.  And a bill to the NHS of a whopping £100 million a year.

Which means a Hypersteriliser and nothing less – the world’s best health protection system.

Press a button and the thing generates a dry superfine mist of ionised hydrogen peroxide that reaches everywhere, dispersed by electrostatic charge. That same charge grabs at ALL viruses and bacteria like a magnet. Oxygen atoms rip through them, oxidising them to oblivion.

Germ-free and safe

40 minutes later, the place is sterile. All surfaces, walls, ceiling and floor – even the air is bare of any microbes. No viruses, no bacteria, norovirus ripped to pieces along with its brothers and sisters. Safe, secure and germ-free.

Will norovirus be back after that? Not unless one of your staff walks in after sick leave without washing their hands and hits the button on the photocopier.

But that’s not going to happen is it? Because lucky you has already put packs of antibacterial wipes on every desk. The only thing that’s coming back now is your productivity level.

Could have been nasty, but with all that one-touch button-pushing,  you never felt a thing.

Lucky you.

Picture Copyright: olegdudko / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-12-02 15:10:21.

However sick we are of norovirus, it’s our own careless fault

Depressed exec on bench
Is it worth it? Four days of hell like the end of the world – all from forgetting to wash your hands

Bah, humbug! Food poisoning, that’s what it is. Own careless fault be blowed, it’s those dodgy merchants.

Sure, sure. You’re not wrong about food poisoning. Norovirus pretty well always comes from something we’ve eaten, so can’t fault you there.

Thing is though, how did that food get poisoned in the first place?

Embarrassing reality

Yeah OK, dirt or contamination. You’re not wrong about that  either. But how does the dirt get there?

Tell you what, try a quick comparison. A Tom, Dick or Harriet nine-to-fiver going through a day. And a restaurant chef or kitchen staff member going through the same day – before our Tom, Dick or Harriet sit down to eat at the same place in the evening.

The 9 to 5 day

Start with the alarm at 6.30 (yes, people do get up at that time), hit the loo, wash and polish, cup of instant to get started and gone. The commute is an hour, so it’s newspaper or tablet – depends on whether they’re strap-hanging. The coffee-bar is their kick-start, for a takeaway flat white and Danish – then up in the lift and nosh at their desk while checking out the overnight emails. The rest of the day is computer and meetings, with the odd pop downstairs for a pee-break, and a sarnie from the local greasy spoon. Same drill in the afternoon and they’re done. Meet the other half for a couple of quick ones in the Red Lion and they’re ready. Sitting down and reading menus at just after 8.00.

The “Yes chef” day

More of a shock to the system, our caterer’s day starts at 3.30. Quick shower and black instant – allowing time for fresh produce shopping at New Covent Garden from around 4.30. Ten minutes for a cappuccino and an amaretti, then straight into Smithfield before the main mob arrive, meat-buying all done and dusted before getting to the shop at 8.00. Into the day with scrub-up and prep followed by staff nosh around 10.30, ready for serious head-down for the lunch rush – a whole day of scrubbing, chopping, slicing and dicing, all the time cleaning on the run. A break at 4.00 if all goes good, setting up for the evening and the VIP guest at 8.00.

Now the question in both cases – how many times did anybody wash their hands?

And just to keep things in perspective, here’s the normal behaviour pattern:

Gruesome hygiene facts

Uh, huh. Could just be that a chef or catering staff would have better hygiene habits than that. Dead-cert probability of getting fired otherwise. The slightest risk of food poisoning is the kiss of death – end of business, end of job, end of career. Careless faults are not allowed.

Worked out yet where the norovirus is coming from? Or how the bug got onto the food that got swallowed? Who’s careless fault is that?

The guilty nobody

OK, here’s another scenario. Exactly as before, except our chef is late arriving at the restaurant – buses on diversion because of a demonstration, cops everywhere, nightmare gridlock.

No problem, New Covent Garden deliver before it happens. Nobody there, so the stuff sits on the pavement by the front door. No chance of getting nicked, nobody at work yet. All restaurants do it anyway.

Only this time the underside of the lettuce crate picks up some yuck. And it winds up on the stainless steel table in the veg prep area when all staff flood in at a rush, running late because of the traffic.

It’s just a little hiccup in the hygiene, mind – so the steel table maybe gets less of a wipedown than it should. The clock is ticking and lunch could be late. Not a careless fault, but not forgivable either.

That’s all it takes and norovirus is in, all set to zap anyone ordering a salad. Three days later, disaster strikes – and the phone rings off the hook from irate customers.

OK yeah, it happens. And the careless fault is nobody’s. Or is it?

One finger pointing, three fingers pointing back

But it could just as easily happen the other way – when Tom, Dick or Harriet paw over the menu with their unwashed hands. Norovirus isn’t choosy, anyone taking chances with basic hygiene is fair target.

So who’s careless fault is it? ALL of us for not being watchful. Clean hands are so easy to achieve, yet most of the time we never even think about them.

Worth trying to remember though. Anything to avoid those end-of-the-world cramps and the deadly upchucks. Not to mention the acid runs that dissolve your guts out.

After you with the soap.

Picture Copyright: ljupco / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-11-29 15:19:33.

Norovirus: how to stop repeat performances

Scared woman
Unless you get serious, norovirus will always be back – again and again

Bad enough the first time. Unexpected, unpleasant, exploding across everybody’s world. Last thing anyone wants is a repeat performance.

But that’s what we’re going to get with regular cleaning procedures.

The place will LOOK clean – even SMELL clean. But that horrible gut-wrenching nightmare will burst out again like nothing was ever done to stop it.

Because that’s what norovirus does.

A very efficient nasty

It’s how it evolved to survive. Deliberately exploding far and wide, spreading it’s noxious particles in all directions to be sure of finding a victim to infect. Or a place to lie in wait for one to come along.

Which means two things.

We have to be super-careful with washing hands and things we touch. It only takes 10 norovirus cells to infect us – collectively smaller than the POINT of a pin. Pick them up from a door handle, or a coin handed to us in change – next thing we chomp a sandwich… That’s how easily it goes.

We have to make sure that ALL traces of a norovirus hit are completely destroyed. OK, so somebody upchucked in the middle of the office carpet – and somebody else didn’t make it to the loo when the runs hit. Aside from the yuck factor, easy enough to clean up.

But less easy to be sure of removing all of it.

Because it’s so violent, tiny particles could wind up on the other side of the room from any vomit patches – 20 or 30 feet away. But who’s going to make sure that’s taken care of, rubbing and scrubbing with stinky bleach? Or will even think to go cleaning so far away?

Not so easily chuffed

OK, zap it with steam.

Iffy, if you think about it. To be sure of killing any germs, it has to be super-hot – and maintain contact for two minutes or more. Not something you can spray around an office full of computers – or anywhere with sensitive electrical equipment.

Not if you want to avoid a sodden mass of papers on every desk either. Besides, moisture is exactly what germs prefer to breed and grow. Repeat performances are almost inevitable.

Only one way to be safe. Ensure whatever treatment is used reaches EVERYWHERE. Norovirus is pernicious – leave any area untreated and it will find a way to hide there. Miss that place, and it will come back – guaranteed.

H2O2 or else

Which leaves only one option – ionised hydrogen peroxide. The same stuff that hospitals use to sterilise surgical instruments. They can’t afford to have a trace of a germ anywhere – neither can you. A repeat performance for your whole department? Disaster all over again – especially in profit figures.

Thing is though, that hospitals use thumping great machines costing a fortune that are often bolted to the floor. Not exactly practical for an ordinary workplace.

Ah yes, but a lightweight Hypersteriliser can get in there easy. And blitz the place sterile in under an hour.

Because ionising is the one way to get TOTAL dispersal. Every microscopic hydrogen peroxide particle is charged electrostatically with the same charge – repelling them from each other in all directions.

Ionising super performance

Not at all like spraying with an aerosol. The stuff is forced out to the limits it can reach, burrowing deep into and under things to try to get away from itself. Wherever norovirus might have gotten into, the hydrogen peroxide particles will shove their way in there as well. By sheer brute force.

It gets better. Because the electrostatic charge of each hydrogen peroxide particle is the opposite to the charge of each norovirus particle. Or any germ for that matter. So instead of repelling, these particles reach out and grab – hanging on like they’re superglued.

Plus the ionising produces a whole stack of other germ-fighters as well. So that hunter-killer pack of hydrogen peroxide also includes hydroxyl radicals, oxygen species, nitrogen species, ozone and ultraviolet. Between them they rip germ cells apart by shoving oxygen atoms at them with NO CHANCE OF SURVIVAL.

And there you have it.

No repeat performances. No more norovirus.

No anything else either.

And if you do it every day, or once a week at the least – fewer staff illnesses, fewer absences, fewer deadline over-runs, more money in the bank.

Job done!

Originally posted 2016-11-23 16:26:04.

Still paying to get rid of norovirus, but it keeps coming back?

Angry woman with computer
Bills, bills and more bills. The only good virus is a dead virus

Face it, there’s only one way to get rid of norovirus.

Be thorough.

It’s a lasting toughie, evolved into spreading itself as far and wide as possible. Every remote crack and crevice. And able to survive on most surfaces for a month or more.

Which means getting rid of it has to reach far and wide as well. Every nook and cranny. Not forgetting it’s a microscopic, lighter-than-smoke virus. It’s floating in the air too.

That far and wide dispersal is why it’s so violent. It wants to reach everywhere.

Know your enemy

Think the cramps are bad? Fine particles of vomit can easily spread 12 feet or more. And the diarrhoea – are you ready for this? There’s 5 billion noroviruses in every gram of faeces.

Which means clearing it up is only the beginning of the job. Removing all trace is a mission.

Yes, bleach will do a pretty good job of killing what’s left in vomit patches. And everywhere else that’s treated with it too. But applying by hand is difficult and lengthy – making it almost impossible to reach everywhere.

The place might look clean – and the bleach smell might be convincing. But this is a microbe that can survive freezing and heating, as well as chemical disinfectants. If there’s any trace left – and even a big bucks manual clean will leave plenty – it’s going to come back.

More money, more money

Not thorough enough – and already it’s cost money.

Bad news if the next try is a steam clean. Aside from shutting the place down to do it, this is a big ticket item. Expectations might be high, but it’s doomed to failure.

That’s because to be effective, it has to be super-hot – and maintain contact for 5 minutes or more. Unlikely while hose-piping around, hitting germ pockets momentarily.

Plus the heat could damage sensitive materials. Not to mention the moisture – exactly the warm, damp conditions that most germs prefer in which to multiply.

So before you know it, the norovirus is back again. More bills, more lost revenue from closures, more victims complaining and talking to their lawyers. The meter is running, and already into thousands.

Pernicious, isn’t it? Which means stop pussy-footing around.

To beat norovirus’s super survival skills and spreadability, any treatment must disperse everywhere to be sure of clobbering it. And destroy it utterly, with no chance of a comeback.

Do it properly or not at all

That leaves only one option.

Ionised hydrogen peroxide.

And that means using the world’s best germ elimination system – a Hypersteriliser. If you really want to get rid of norovirus, it means taking a gun to a knife-fight.

Get rid of, defo.

Like bleach, hydrogen peroxide kills germs by oxidising them, but way more effectively. So a Hypersteriliser generates an ultra-fine mist of hydrogen peroxide – spreading everywhere to grab germs and send them to oblivion. Norovirus included.

Which is where the ionising comes in.

As the stuff leaves the machine, every particle becomes electrostatically charged, changing the state of the hydrogen peroxide from a gaseous vapour into a plasma. This produces a slew of more germ-killing antimicrobials – hydroxyl radicals, oxygen species, nitrogen species, ozone and ultraviolet.

Because each has the same charge, the particles become agitated, shoving each other to get away from themselves. This propels them forcibly away in all directions – through the air and hard up against all surfaces – behind and underneath everywhere, deep into all cracks and crevices.

Exactly where the violently vomited particles of norovirus have spread themselves and hidden away.

Plasma power

It gets better. Because each plasma particle carries the opposite charge to the norovirus ones. They grab and latch on like magnets – and attack by shoving oxygen atoms that rip the viruses apart.

Which explains why it’s the world’s best room sterilising system – and why it can get rid of norovirus for sure. Dispersal is everywhere – and destruction is total.

All viruses and bacteria are destroyed to 99.9999% – that’s down to just 1 in a million – a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 6. In just 40 minutes, depending on room size, the place is sterile. No germs, no norovirus, no more expense – job done.

And all without fuss or bother or anything. Just wheel the machine in, hit a button and let things happen. Way more cost-effective than anything else – for way less effort.

Because cheap is expensive. And cutting corners never works.  Not for all the bleach jobs, deep cleans or steam treatments in the world.

If you want to get rid of norovirus, you’ve got to do it properly.

Be thorough.

Originally posted 2016-11-16 15:24:07.

How good is your protection for your greatest business assets?

Sick woman exec
Prevent, not cure – taking medicine means you’ve already lost a stack of money

By business assets we mean people, right? Earning power. Protecting company income.

Sure, sure, all of those things. And yes, you have a plan.

At least, OK, you’ve got insurance. Not really protection though, is it? More like disaster recovery. Makegood payout AFTER things go wrong. Nothing to reverse your calmity – or prevent it happening in the first place.

After the event

Because the damage is already done, isn’t it? Whatever happened – lost business, unforseen write-offs – it’s never coming back. Whatever opportunity or advantage you had is gone and all you have is money.

The real work is in starting all over again. Re-energising, finding momentum, renewing contacts or finding new ones. The whole business of rebuilding from scratch.

Big bucks, big effort. Daunting enough to make you pack it in and go home.

You might be sitting on a pile of money, but you need a whole lot more to re-invest in the future. More risk, more worry, more sleepless nights.

And all entirely preventable.

Avoiding sickness saves money

Staff, customers – keep people hunky-dory and everything should be fine. Properly motivated, feeling committed, wanting to get on and do things.

All of which are probably objectives high on your list of people priorities. But none of them achievable if they’re not feeling so good.

When people get sick, they’re not on song.

At best they’re irritable, grumpy and short on attention. Down in productivity maybe 50% or more. Which means you’re paying double to get your usual results out of them.

Add the headache that makes them ignore stuff, and reluctance to apply real effort – they might as well not be there at all. Send them home, you’re already paying for them to do nothing anyway.

On top of which, they could be infecting everyone around them. So suddenly you’re a whole team down – not producing, not moving things forward, not maintaining relationships that are the life-blood of any business.

Germs are super-expensive

OK, and what if it’s something more than the sniffles, or a tummy twinge? Flu or norovirus are the usual trouble-makers – and both can do big damage to your balance sheet.

Norovirus particularly, is a big money loser. Sudden, violent and super-potent, it’s developed itself to spread as far and wide as possible – ensuring as many victims as possible can get it.

Without warning, one of your staff gets up with a howl and runs for the loo. They don’t make it and upchuck all over the floor. Pick themselves up and run again, stuff squirting through their clothing.

Gruesome yes, but dangeous too. The whole place is highly contagious. Other staff members WILL succumb going anywhere near it – and normal cleaning procedures are useless at getting rid of it.

Until it’s entirely destroyed, it’s a health hazard that can last up to a month or more. And it doesn’t just spread on contact. Every molecule is lighter than air – and it only takes 10 of them, microscopically smaller than a pinpoint, to infect someone.

A fortune for you, big money world-wide

£44 billion – that’s the LOST PRODUCTIVITY bill for norovirus worldwide every year. But nobody even calculates the LOST REVENUE cost, it’s too astronomically high.

So ask yourself, how much money are you going to lose with a norovirus outbreak in your place?

And how are you going to stop it coming back – over and over again, which it does, pretty well every time? And that’s despite steam cleaning, scrubbing with bleach till everyone’s head spins and even SHUTTING THE PLACE DOWN for a month or more.

Can’t afford it, huh? Who can?

Well you don’t have to.

Because now, you have it within your power to eradicate germs completely. No viruses, no bacteria, no moulds, no fungi – to provide a completely safe and sterile environment.

How to save thousands

If there’s no germs, nobody can catch anything. Nobody gets sick, your investment in people is protected – safe and secure BEFORE anything happens.

Somebody can of course, bring in an illness they’ve picked up from outside. In fact ALL of us trail germ clouds around with us. And since we’re not all immune to the same things in the same way, sterilising the place becomes a regular maintenance event – not a one-off you-pays-your-money-now-hop-it situation.

How’s it done?

It couldn’t be easier – which might make you wish you’d thought of protecting your people assets -and their carefully chosen income-generating skills – yonks ago.

All it takes is to mist up the place with ionised hydrogen peroxide at the end of the day when all of your assets have gone down in the lift and home. The machine that does it is a Hypersteriliser – and the time taken is around 40 minutes depending on room size.

What happens is the ionised mist spreads everywhere through the room, filling the air and penetrating deep into cracks. As it does so, it electrostically grabs at viruses and bacteria wherever they are and oxidises them. Oxygen atoms rip through their cell walls and they are gone, baby – a one-way ticket to oblivion. All of them to 99.9999% – a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 6.

Recover costs, feel better

Now stack that up against the thousands you could already be paying for absenteeism and diminished performance costs – probably even without realising it – and just possibly it becomes a facility you cannot do without.

Crazy, isn’t it? We all accept getting sick as a fact of life, without really ever doing anything about it. But once you realise that it’s assets you’re protecting – and your most valuable ones at that – it seems more like an essential.

One thing’s for sure. Once you get your head round this, the penny quickly drops that your most expensive option is to do nothing.

And what business couldn’t do with a few extra thousand swelling the balance sheet?

Picture Copyright: whiteboxmedia / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-11-10 15:04:25.

Cramps, upchucks, squitters – the cost of being careless

5 girls with tummyache
You know that you wash YOUR hands – but what if other people don’t?

Careless? Not you.

You never take chances, always wash your hands thoroughly, make sure everything you touch is spic and span.

So if ever the misery of norovirus hits, you know it isn’t you.

Trouble is though, it’s not necessarily you that’s careless.

Other people can make you sick too. THEIR carelessness, not yours.

For instance, you always wash your hands – keep them clean at all times.

The things you touch

But you handle money, don’t you?

All of us do. You need coins for pay-and-display parking, the newsagent only accepts cash, and the till in the coffee shop doesn’t work on contactless.

And money NEVER GETS WASHED, does it?

Despite that,  80 PER CENT of people never wash their hands after handling it. And the average £1 coin has more germs on it than a toilet seat.

There are plenty of other high-touch things that never get washed too. Still thinking cash, how about the keypad of your nearest ATM? About the only time it might get cleaned is if it rains. Which is why, like the money you take out of it, it too is covered in germs like a toilet seat.

OK, now walk yourself through the average day. How many high-touch areas do you touch without even thinking, and maybe forget about your hands?

Sure, you’re disciplined about always before food and after the loo. But do you realise how many times we touch our faces in between? Believe it or not, two or three thousand times a day is about average.

Some things are never washed

Uh huh. So germs might get in, no matter how meticulous your are. Because of all the things you touch that you don’t realise never get cleaned.

Like any keypad. On your phone, on your computer, the cashpoint in any shop, lift buttons, security locks, you name it. And even if somebody did come along with a damp rag, the thing would probably stop working because water got in.

Then there’s supermarket trolleys. Never cleaned from one day to the next , the problem is such an issue that stores in the US have started deliberately offering sanitising wipes – or even putting trolleys through a machine that mists them with germ-killing peroxide.

Supermarket conveyers are another high-touch, out-of-mind source of germs we take for granted. So are the actual shelves of produce themselves. Watch next time you’re shopping, and see how people feel fruit and vegetables for ripeness and freshness. You’ve washed your hands, but have they?

Secondary touching

And it’s other people’s collective carelessness that could put you in danger, no matter how careful you are. On top of which, food poisoning nasties like norovirus take three or four days to assert themselves, so you have no idea what you might have touched or swallowed in that time.

It might even be from “secondary touching”. You pack your shopping into bags and take them out to the car. Getting your key is a fumble, so you put the bags on the ground to fish it out. Then you put your bags in the boot.

Uh huh, again. What might now be on the underside of those bags? Or lurking on the floor of the boot, transferred from the last time you did it? And when you unpack those bags on your kitchen countertop, do you always remember to wipe down with disinfectant as you do it?

Only this week a TV programme revealed how easy it is for fresh vegetables covered in germs to find their way into your fridge, simply by being packed loose in home delivery crates. And again, you’re meticulous about washing your hands, but who else is?

The answer is not very encouraging.

The “Ew” factor

All of which means you have to assume that everything is a germ hazard before you even touch it. But you can’t clean everything every moment of the day. You have a life – and who can afford to sacrifice that amount of time?

Ah, but what you can do is eliminate germs on ALL surfaces and throughout the air before anyone else gets to them. After the day is over and people are gone, a  nifty machine called a Hypersteriliser can mist up your workplace with ionised hydrogen peroxide, oxidising all bacteria and viruses down to zero.

Now if we can just persuade supermarkets, shops, restaurants, schools and other public places to do the same thing – at least all of us will be safe from high-touch surfaces, even if we are lax with washing our own hands.

(Sigh!) It’ll take a while though, before we get to that stage.

In the meantime, best to be as careful as we can and on our guard. It’s not just norovirus we have to look out for, there’s lethal nasties out there as well.

Already there are signs that the Ebola crisis could be ready to flare up again. Or some other world epidemic we’re nowhere near ready for.

Let’s be careful out there.

Picture Copyright: gpointstudio / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-11-04 14:56:37.

Dead by your own hand, or rescued by soap and water?

Suicide girl
Goodbye cruel world – self-inflicted killer tummy cramps, from eating with unwashed hands

OK, OK, “dead” might be a little OTT.

But make no error, plenty of people die from contamination on their fingers.

Like the old tin miners in Cornwall, back in the Thirteenth Century. There was arsenic in the dust that they gouged out of those tiny, confined tunnels – which killed plenty of them before they discovered what it was.

Poison protection

Which is how come those savvy Cornish womenfolk developed the world famous pasty.  That thick crust around the edge was so the men could grab hold without touching the good stuff in the middle.

Oggy, oggy, oggy,” the women would cry down the top of the mineshaft. “Oy, oy, oy,” the men would yell back from deep underground. And the women would throw the pasties down – the tough crust keeping it from bursting when it hit the bottom.

We don’t have crusts on a lot of our favourites these days, so a lot of people go sick from the swallowing the crud that’s on their hands – the price for sloppy hygiene.

Which is how come as many as a third of all norovirus cases are self-inflicted.

People don’t wash their hands – but launch straight into finger-food. Burgers, pizza, chips, sandwiches, wraps – just about every kind of food-on-the-go you can think of.

Finger-lickin’ dangerous

Straight off their fingers, straight into their gut – whatever germs might have decided to linger on the things they touched before they sat down to scoff. A whole day’s worth of being out and about, if you think of it. On the tube, on the bus, out in the street, lurking on cash and credit cards, on keys and clothes, on door handles and light switch – and of course on the phone.

Ever looked at the screen of your phone after making a call? Yucky, greasy stuff, right? Skin grease and grime mixed in with germs picked up from the air – as many as 10 million bacteria and even more viruses. The most visible demonstration yet of the stuff you swallow, if you eat without washing your hands.

And yes, death is possible.

Norovirus or some kind of gastroenteritis upset is the most likely result of eating with unwashed hands. And in America – fast-food nirvana – around 800 people die from it every year. From the dehydration that sets in with severe diarrhoea and vomiting. Not a nice way to go.

When it gets serious, your blood pressure drops and your whole system starts going tits up. A heavy price to pay for some fast food when you’re hungry, hey? Especially if you’re in such a hurry to eat, you neglect to wash your hands.

Stupid really, and we should all know better.

Wash hands, or die

Not enough time? Rubbish!

Choosing to die by not taking five minutes to wash and scrub up. Blind suicide is what it is. Maybe it won’t happen this time, or not even next. But what you’re doing is taking a risk just as deadly as crossing the road without looking.

So soap and water is cissy stuff, yeah?Washroom poster

Never mind, there’s plenty of time to reflect on the wisdom of it once you’re dead.

And if you don’t die, maybe you’ll wish you will with the cramps and the upchucks and the burning runs that never seem to stop.

You want to play silly buggers? Norovirus is not a nice playmate. Neither are any of the other billions and billions of harmful pathogens you could swallow just from a moment’s carelessness.

Which means, do yourself a favour, if you don’t want to wind up dead.

Wash your hands whenever you think of it – especially before food and always after the loo.

Otherwise you might just as well blow your brains out, right now.

For finger food? You must be nuts.

Picture Copyright: sifotography / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-08-03 16:55:35.

Should your boss penalise you if you bring a cold to work?

Sceptical lady
Good hygiene is good business – and shows on the balance sheet

Yes, penalise.

You’re not off from work, so you can’t claim sick leave.

But since you’ve dragged yourself in, what are the implications?

Never mind that you feel like grim death. You shouldn’t be showing yourself at all.

Sneezing all over the place, all round your desk littered with tissues – could be that penalising you is right.

Most obvious of course is, you’ll give your germs to everyone else.

So it’s not just you under-performing, it’s the whole office. Not good.

Especially on the boss’s calculator.

Do the math

Start with efficiency and productivity.

You might be at your desk, but is your job getting done? Your head’s like boiled knitting, so how good are the decisions you take? Are you really on the ball, or a blundering loose cannon –colleagues chasing after you for damage control?

All by yourself you could be costing a bomb.

For instance, if you get things wrong, they have to be done again – paying for the same thing twice.

And how about if they’re at the negotiation stage, or subject to a time crunch? Business lost altogether, more red ink on the balance sheet.

And when everybody else comes down with what you’ve got, what then? Two, three days at the wrong time and the place could go bankrupt.

At least if you stay away, the boss is only paying for your empty desk. And staff absences are probably already factored in – part of the cost of doing business, a staggering £29 billion a year for the whole country.

Which means you owe it to yourself and your work mates to steer clear of the place if you’re not well. Your work ethic is admirable, but more liability than asset.

Or if your conscience is troubling you, you’re probably in the wrong job anyway.

Where from the guilt-trip of having to work extra hours and weekends or when you’re feeling sick? If the work can’t be done in the proper time allowed, there’s something wrong with the management.

A business partnership

OK, there’s two sides to every relationship, including business ones.

So here’s a poser for you.

Shouldn’t the boss penalise you for allowing yourself to get sick in the first place?

Colds, flu, tummy bugs and a lot of others are all mostly self-caused.

Oh yes, they are. Just think about how they’re spread.

Mostly by contact, right? Either direct touching, or from fomites – common objects that all of us handle – light switches, door handles, keypads, documents, phones, money, keys.

Which makes hand washing the single most effective way to prevent the spread of your cold or flu, or whatever it is you’ve got – hopefully not norovirus, that’s the pits for everyone.

Yeah, so why don’t we do it?

Because if the boss made 1p from every time staff forgot to wash their hands, there’d be enough for everyone to do a company jaunt to Venice all expenses paid – flights, two nights in a hotel, dinner–dance, special concert and guided sight-seeing – at least once, or maybe twice a year.

Think we’re joking?

Get the picture? We are our own worst enemies at making ourselves sick.

So why shouldn’t the boss DEMAND that all staff wash their hands whenever appropriate – or be penalised?

Payback time

Yeah, well like we said, there’s two sides to every relationship, including business ones.

Because while the boss is jumping up and down, saying “wash your hands” – you’ve got the goods on her with how dirty the place is. Dirty and germ-laden.

So no sooner have you washed your hands than they’re contaminated again – from all the day-to-day filth and detritus gathered throughout the office and on everyone’s desk.

Despite an every day swamp out by cleaning teams, most office desks still harbour around 10 million pathogenic bacteria – in the dust bunnies under and behind keyboards – and the hard-to-reach places that never get touched.

That next attack of norovirus could come from no further away than the latest memo in your IN-tray.

Uh, huh.

So don’t staff and management owe it to each other to get this right?

Germs at work are unproductive, unprofitable and no good for anybody.

Which means staff owe it to themselves and everyone else to wash their hands regularly – always after the loo and always before food as the very minimum discipline.

To maintain momentum, management can also put hand-wipes or gel on every desk, every day, so there’s never a time anyone’s hands should stay contaminated.

At the same time, management owe it to staff and the balance sheet to eliminate germs in the workplace. Easily accomplished by a nightly mist-up with a Hypersteriliser – sterilising the whole place and destroying germs on and behind surfaces, in the air, everywhere – all in one go.

Nobody penalises anyone, everybody wins.

Easy to keep justifying the Venice trip too – check the profit figures and decreased downtimes.

See what we mean?

Picture Copyright: devas / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-07-13 13:28:23.