Why corporate wellness programmes won’t save you from the flu

Exec surrounded by germs
Wellness is not the issue – start thinking illness prevention

The usual pitch for wellness programmes is to advance employee health.

That’s if you believe the glossy brochure.

Ask any bean-counter and you’ll get one of two answers.

In the US, a wellness plan is about reducing insurance costs that underwrite employee healthcare.

The UK is closer to the mark, where a wellness plan aims to slash absenteeism.

Wellness or money?

Not really health-related at all, either of them. More geared to pushing productivity.

Work harder, work longer – here’s a bribe to persuade you.

Most staff would probably prefer more money. But if the feelgood perks are dishing out, sure why not?

Just don’t expect protection from illness – that’s not on the radar.

People get sick, it happens. That’s their lookout, not their employer’s.

Besides, KEEPING well is easier to handle than illness – that’s what doctors and hospitals are for.

Which is why pretty well all wellness programmes avoid it like the plague.

  • Health risk assessments, check
  • Weight loss incentives, check
  • Screenings for blood pressure, weight, height and BMI, check
  • Fitness classes, check
  • Gym membership, check
  • Stop smoking groups, check
  • Lifestyle coaching, check
  • Flu shots, check

Wait a minute, flu shots! We’re talking rubbish, right?

Real world perspective

Well no, because against this year’s virus particularly, flu shots are only 20% effective. And we’re up against FOUR types of flu, not one – H3N2, H1N1, B/Yamagata and B/Victoria.

Plus flu is not the only bug to knock us flat on our backs.

What about norovirus, the winter vomiting bug? Or all the other gastric nasties – salmonella, campylobacter, e.coli and c.difficile? What do wellness programmes do to stop any of them?

For Pete’s sake, they even encourage them!

Ever heard of gym germs?

According to Fitness Magazine, “Gyms are hotbeds of germ activity, researchers say.” All that sweat and gasping breath. Just the place to pick up colds and flu, norovirus, staphylococcus, streptococcus, MRSA, athlete’s foot, hepatitis, take your pick.

Some wellness programme! And who’s going to believe you got sick in the gym?

Unhealthy workplace

Meanwhile, the average office isn’t much better.

There’s another thing about wellness programmes. We all get signed up, and then we have to DO something to make them work. Actually go to the gym classes – in our own time of course, lunch or after work – never office hours.

Same thing with the health checks, the smoking clinics and everything else. Busy-body employers, who do they think they are?

We’re lazy at a personal level too. Unthinking and unobservant. Which makes us our own worst enemies.

How can we get revved up about a wellness programme when we can’t even help ourselves?

Wellness, schmellness

Which means for any kind of plan to work, it has to assume we do nothing.

We arrive for the nine-to-five thing, sit there like a sack of potatoes and it all has to happen around us. Laying a guilt trip on us because two-thirds of us are fat isn’t going to crack it.

And anyway, if we DO go to the gym, it takes six months before any of that flab visibly comes off.

No, no. Any SERIOUS wellness programme just has to happen. Like in the background while we’re not looking. HEPA filters in the aircon maybe, taking out the germs – fine until the penny drops that most germs are too small to be caught.

How about the nightly cleaning brigade? Mop and buckets, plenty of bleach – problem sorted. Except the bleach stinks, so everybody has a headache – and the rub and scrub never gets to the hideaways where germs wait to grab us.

Nope, nope and nope. For a wellness programme to work, it has to PREVENT illness.

Which means getting rid of three things:

  • Germs
  • Stress
  • Pain

Germs are easy. Sterilise the entire place on a regular basis, so there aren’t any. No germs, no illness – sorted.

Stress is more difficult. People clam up when it’s personal – emotions and worry going round and round. Which takes listening, understanding and lots of time to get right.

Tick, tick

Except time is suddenly something you have a lot of. Because there’s no germs, people are at their desks more. They’re feeling better about it too – without the nagging off-colour complaints that ALL of us go through every three days or so.

All adding up to the 57.5 days of being at work but unwell with it – not able to concentrate properly, making mistakes and dragging our heels through the day.

Yes, time. Time to talk and reach out. To relate and demonstrate concern. To take off and sort out the circling monsters that bring work to a halt – child care, finances, relationships, bereavement, accidents and personal responsibilities. Make the stress go away and there’s more time than ever.

Which leaves pain.

Not much you can do against something this physical. Bones and muscles out of whack. Cramps, injuries, spasms.

Unless you give away time for this too.

Time for physiotherapy, massage and heat treatment. Maybe even at the office if it helps. Rescue sessions on the spot to ease the agony and up the commitment to perform. All paid for out of the time reclaimed from getting rid of stress and germs.

So wellness programmes, get real.

Start thinking illness prevention.

About this blog

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Hypersteriliser units are supplied to businesses and institutions across the UK, notably the haematology and other critical units at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester; Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital; South Warwickshire Hospital; Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital; and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.

The Halo Hypersteriliser system achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. It is the only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. It is also EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

Originally posted on 22 January 2018 @ 4:37 pm

Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease ships into Southampton

Sad sailor
Cheer up, this is a cruise – you’re supposed to be enjoying yourself

They know this bug in Southampton.

Seems every few weeks there’s another cruise ship in to be deep-cleaned and fumigated – another hospital ward closed and out of action.

This time it’s Fred Olsen’s flagship Balmoral again, back less than a month after the last norovirus hit. A setback this fine Norwegian cruise line does not deserve – especially when it looks like a passenger brought it on board with them.

No cure, no warning

But that’s the thing with norovirus – the complete lack of warning. Today you’re right as rain, 48 hours later you’re as sick as a dog.

That poor passenger walked up the gangplank, all fine and dandy – to be struck down with cramps and endless hours on the hopper. And endless more, driving the bus.

Not fair.

Er, almost. At least it’s not the cruise line’s fault.

But that’s the other thing about norovirus. Most of the time we bring it on ourselves.

Oh yes, we do.

Because without a doubt, the biggest cause of norovirus is not washing our hands – which almost all of us forget to do when we’re having fun. Or avoid.

Not a wise mistake to make. Norovirus is easily spread and highly contagious. The Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease.

All those things you touch

You pick it up slamming a taxi door – next moment you’re wolfing a chicken and bacon baguette between meetings and – boom! You didn’t wash your hands, did you? You swallowed the germs. Two days time and you’re hurling your guts out.

Maybe not even a taxi. Between us we have scary bad habits.

So it’s not IF you get norovirus, but WHEN.Wash Hands logo

Unless you wash your hands – get rid of the germs that surround you every day whenever you can. Otherwise, you get on a cruise ship and it goes round like wildfire.

Well of course it does – there’s thousands of you all living close next-door to each other, sharing the same bathrooms, eating in the same space. It’s a wonder they ever stop it at all.

Unlucky for some

And just occasionally they don’t – like on this latest cruise with the Balmoral.

They could have been unlucky though, as happened to Holland America Line’s Amsterdam, back in 2002. The stuff lingers, you see – can survive on all kinds of surfaces for weeks. And cruise ships are usually turned round in just days – they can’t afford myths.

Four times, one after the other, Amsterdam set out on a new cruise – and four times, one after the other, norovirus made her turn back, hardly into the voyage. There are so many nooks and crevices on a cruise liner, even deep cleaning may not get all of the bug out – they even had to scrub individual poker chips in the casino!

A more effective way

Easier to use Hypersterilisers – a whole batch of them ganged together can do the ship overnight.

They work on ionised hydrogen peroxide, see. Negatively-charged microscopic molecules all repelling each other, forcing themselves into the tightest, smallest, most out-of-the-way places, trying to escape each other.

Riding up into the air too – and hard up against every surface. Underneath and behind too. Actively dispersing like no ordinary disinfectant spray ever can – a supercharged gas plasma grabbing at positively charged viruses and bacteria it meets on the way and oxidising them to destruction.

All viruses, all bacteria – norovirus too. And Ebola, if you’re cruising West Africa.

And safe too – reverting back to just oxygen and water when it’s done. No need for masks like they had to wear on Balmoral – though it can catch your throat when it’s working, so best to stay away for the odd hour.

No smell either – no chemical after-pong or nothing.

A good thing too. Smell is a good give-away that germs are still working – the easy way to tell that food is off. It’s why the loo pongs too – if it’s not clean.

But with hydrogen peroxide, you get zut. Sweet nothing at all.

No norovirus either. All ship-shape and shiny fresh.

Enjoy your trip.

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Hypersteriliser units are supplied to businesses and institutions across the UK, notably the haematology and other critical units at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester; Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital; South Warwickshire Hospital; Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital; and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.

The Halo Hypersteriliser system achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. It is the only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. It is also EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

Originally posted on 10 October 2018 @ 5:31 pm

Originally posted on 10 October 2018 @ 5:31 pm

First UNEQUAL pay, now TOO MUCH sick leave – how misreading women makes business losses snowball

Unfair to women
Being sick at work is bad enough, no wonder women are sick of the attitude

Women are right to be furious. Because what is British business becoming, a misogynists’ bean-feast?

Hard on the scandal of unequal pay for women come fingers pointing at disproportionate sick leave.

“An additional 2.8 million days of absenteeism more than men in the past three months alone, ” according to a report. 19.8 million days lost, versus  17 million.

How shocking. How disgraceful.

Unequal everything

You can feel the prejudices kicking in, can’t you?

All those clichés about headaches, period pains and emotional upsets. Easy to misread when your own most regular health distress is likely to be a hangover.

Oh sure, some issues are serious.

A gastric attack like norovirus is no joke. Neither is flu, especially the H1N1 variety – hovering at the edge of pneumonia and just waiting to do you in.

Yeah, men can suffer these too. But never any of the other anguish that comes from being a woman.

Which puts management understanding of women’s wellbeing about on a par with that hangover. A minor issue to be suffered in silence against the unbreakable discipline of being at one’s desk.

Uh huh.

And does management ever consider the QUALITY of such work with a pounding head or churning stomach? How good that might be for business?

Multiply that hangover several times over for period pain – especially if accompanied by dysmenorrhoea, the days of spasms experienced by many women on both sides of it.

Boiled knitting syndrome

Now try to give full attention to that sales meeting. Or input that critical figure with the decimal point in the right place. Or respond to that crucial client request so easily glossed over in a telephone call.

Just a few hours being unwell at one’s desk can cost thousands. Far more than the salary days lost staying at home in bed. A whole million pound contract and more – down the tubes with a phone call, a missing staple, a misstyped computer key.

So what kind of a manager allows a staff member to influence business when they’re not capable? As long as everybody’s at their desk, who’s going to notice that productivity’s gone for a ball of chalk?

Sod’s Law, isn’t it? Everything drags its heels. Processing gets continually stuck in the works. A job that should take five days takes ten. The wheels keep coming off.

And all because they’re women. Look, that one there, holding her head.

Sure, she has a string of degrees as long as your arm, passed out top of her class at business school – but what kind of asset can ANYBODY  be when their brain is like boiled knitting?

Take time off – it’s better for business

So OK, women have to take off more days than men.

Let them do it. Insist on it.

Because yes, it’s scary that absenteeism costs the country £29 billion a year.

What’s even scarier is that the cost of presenteeism – being unwell at work – is TEN TIMES HIGHER. As you can work out for yourself in your own business, here.

You see, though the bean counter’s perspective is that staff assets are supposed to perform according to their salary package 100% of the time – reality is that they’re off-colour for 25% of it, experiencing pain or nagging discomfort roughly every three days.

And that’s men as well as women. Except men tough it out more often – increasing the opportunity for mistakes and oversights. Women know better.

Which makes paying for sick leave the easy bit.

Nobody imagines picking up the tab for a string of omissions, errors or misdeals. But that’s what most businesses do, every day of the year. Written off as inevitable – when it’s unthinking management that is really to blame.

Pilots and bus drivers aren’t allowed to fly or drive drunk. But that’s what staff do when they try to function while ill at work. And management encourage it instead of sending them home.

Paying for mistakes, how smart is that?

OK, so the business may not crash and burn like a 747. But unaware and unseen, profitability takes a hit out of all proportion to the perceived economy of insisting staff are all at work all the time.

Especially with women.

Naturally more caring and sympathetic than men – more customer responsive and sensitive to needs. Biologically built that way.

And management wants to pay them less?

AND penalise them for days off because of who they are?

Like we said, a misogynists’ bean-feast.

Lets hope for sake of all of us that more women get through that glass ceiling soon.

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Hypersteriliser units are supplied to businesses and institutions across the UK, notably the haematology and other critical units at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester; Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital; South Warwickshire Hospital; Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital; and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.

The Halo Hypersteriliser system achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. It is the only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. It is also EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

Originally posted on 3 August 2017 @ 2:38 pm

Originally posted on 3 August 2017 @ 2:38 pm

Saved by your doctor, killed by your friends

Serious doctor
Norovirus is a never-ending battle against people who don’t care

Saved, whew! That was close.

First the heart attack, then the operation. Everyone was worried you would make it.

Touch and go now though. Even though you’re out of ICU.

Carelessness costs lives

Friends, see. Well-meaning but deadly.

Hey, hiya, how are you? Kiss, kiss, looking good.

Yeah, right.

Two of them, straight in off the street, on their way tea at the Ritz.

Alright for some. They can get away without washing their hands, they’re not stuck in bed rigged up with wires and tubes. Healthy, up and going, chances are good they’ll throw off any bug. Not like you – cannula, sutures, open body apertures and vulnerable.

Out of sight, out of mind

They could have used the antiseptic gel at reception, but breezed straight in. Or the gel at the entrance to the ward, but this is a quick visit. Or the gel in the squidge-bottle at the end of your bed.

All a bit of a rush, though. Kids to school, morning coffee, the supermarket schlep, usual stint at the charity shop, then straight here. Can’t bring flowers, they don’t allow it – pollen hazard to other patients. Choccies are good though – and this is a big box.

Kiss, kiss, hold hands.

Ooh, not so much of that. Hands LOOK clean, but they’ve been on the steering wheel – and remember that panic session with Julia’s little one yesterday? Emergency nappy change, right there on the driver’s seat. Poo everywhere.

Yeah, yeah, nice to see you. Nice when you’re gone too, too waggy dog for a convalescent.

And the damage is done, isn’t it?

Norovirus at the worst possible time. From hands that look clean but aren’t. They never are, straight in off the street. Which is why all the gel bottles.

Highly contagious, invisible transfer

Six hours later it’s you that gets the price tag. Violent upchucks that rip your sutures apart. A run to the loo because the night nurse isn’t quick enough with a bedpan. Drip-stand, wires and everything trailing behind you. Crash to the floor, you can’t move your arm and it feels like a fractured cheek.

And of course, the norovirus signature – poo everywhere.

A bad one this, the duty doctor’s called the crash cart. You’re going into arrest from all the convulsions and they can’t take chances. Code Blue, shut the ward, de-fib on the floor in a pool of poo. Double-plus super not hygienic.

CLEAR!

1,000 volts, right through you. Back splatter from electrified poo – going to be a few medics with the runs and upchucks too.

Not working, you’re gone. No heavenly lights or anything, just black.

CLEAR!

No breathing in the black, no anything, just a ringing sound.

CLEAR!

Oh, that smell! You’re back and everything hurts, your worst experience ever. And heaving too. That’s not 1,000 volts, that’s you.

The end of the world – almost. All from beautifully manicured hands that LOOK super-clean.

Nano-dirt

Except you can’t see germs – ever. That invisible super-thin layer that gathers on all of us every second of the day. No trace of dirt, not even of micro-dirt. This is NANO-DIRT, so fine you need a microscope to see anything – and even then you could miss it.

Yeah, norovirus. Always around, highly contagious, just waiting for an unguarded moment. Transferred from things you touch – everyday stuff, supermarket trollies, door handles, your phone. And all it takes is 10 tiny particles – less than half the next most potent bug, flu-virus.

From your hands to the biscuit with your coffee – or the soft part next to your eye because you rub it when it waters. So easy, so quick.

And totally preventable with soap and water or antiseptic gel.

Yeah, norovirus – with complications, you could die. And people do, around 80 a year in the UK. But it’s not hospitals that give it to you – you watched them closely, lying there – these places are rub and scrub, 24/7.

No, no, not hospitals – the real cause is careless friends and family. People who would be horrified if it ever occurred to them. But it never does when hands LOOK clean, does it?

Wash, wash, wash

Soap and water before and after doing anything – or pay the price. Otherwise, sooner or later, it’s gonna get you. Before food and after loo, always – or else.

And not just you, but everything around you too. Norovirus transfers from things you touch – from thing other people have touched. Floats around even on the air itself – sure it does, it’s smaller than dust, smaller than smoke, smaller than perfume particles, why ever not?

Which is why norovirus is so impossible to get rid of. It’s a survivor. And in densely-packed places like schools, offices, restaurants, hospitals – and of course, cruise ships – it collects victims like wildfire.

And yeah, sure enough, right now there’s another cruise holiday ruined for thousands – Anthem of the Seas, turned back for the second time in weeks – the first time by a full-blown live hurricane, the second by a grinding hurricane in passengers’ tummies.

Good luck with fixing that – norovirus spreads everywhere. That’s why it’s so violent – to spread its awful discharge of puke and poo as far and wide as possible. Unless a clean-up reaches into every crack and crevice, it’ll be back, again and again – repeat performances are its party trick.

An end to it all

Which makes you glad there’s a Hypersteriliser. The fine mist of ionised hydrogen peroxide it puts out is electrostatically charged. Super-fine oxidising molecules of H2O2 jostle to get away from each other, almost lighter than air, pushing against walls ceilings and all surfaces, penetrating deep into every nook and cranny.

Forty minutes, an hour – and the whole place is sterilised. Germ free and secure for you, back from the dead for a second time. Saved yet again, to live another day.

As long as your friends wash their hands.

Picture Copyright: auremar / 123RF Stock Photo

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Hypersteriliser units are supplied to businesses and institutions across the UK, notably the haematology and other critical units at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester; Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital; South Warwickshire Hospital; Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital; and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.

The Halo Hypersteriliser system achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. It is the only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. It is also EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

Originally posted on 20 January 2019 @ 7:48 am

Originally posted on 20 January 2019 @ 7:48 am

Productivity: how most British businesses are standing on the brake

Employee Health Protection
Not healthy – businesses spend a fortune on accelerating productivity, but peanuts on taking the brakes off

OK, so we’re lagging behind if you believe the Office for Budget Responsibility. Not keeping up, hanging onto our shekels, not investing in the future.

Doesn’t look like it with the new start-ups making the headlines. New ideas, new technology, the front-runners are showing the world.

Across the board though, there’s no doubt performance could be better. Bigger, more established businesses are not so quick to jump in the gaps – and too many cut corners with low income immigrant labour.

They might look like they’re trying to go places, but the fact is that pretty well all of them are standing on the brake. Holding back, without even knowing they’re doing it.

But as winter draws in and the days get colder, the evidence becomes more obvious.

The first sneeze, the first sore throat, the first coughing attack in the office. A team member gamely pushing themselves at their desk, determined not to give in to whatever bug it is – common cold, H3N2 Aussie flu virus, MERS, SARS, or any one of a billion possible illnesses.

No protection against germs

And that’s the clue – being unwell at work. Trying to keep going, but feeling like death warmed up – at what kind of capability level? 60% of their normal? 40%? 25%?

Under-powered performance and under-powered concentration. So the work load suffers and accuracy with it. Lots of good intentions, but unwell staff are unable to deliver their best – which means productivity can only take a dive.

And how long will it be before other team members start coughing too? Everyone sharing the same work space, breathing the same air, touching the same things – it’s going to happen isn’t it? What goes around, comes around – a setback is almost inevitable.

Which is what we mean by standing on the brake.

Because what do most businesses do about protecting staff from colds and flu – or anything else for that matter? A company flu jab, maybe – and that’s your lot.

And how about prevention?

It’s winter – so expectations  are high for norovirus,  the vomiting bug, to appear. What measures are taken against that?

Or legionnaire’s disease, a pneumonia-like killer that spreads through the air via the HVAC system? Neglect that one and it can cost millions in health and safety fines, as G4S Cash Solutions found out.

What about duty of care?

Also on top of the health risk, other hazards like mould and damp can trigger a £5K spot fine. Or as one charity found out, £12,000 in compensation and six months of expensive renovations.

That’s in addition to the 30 other notifiable diseases listed by Public Health England – along with 60 notifiable organisms that present a significant risk to human health. 90 illnesses any business is liable for if found negligent in duty of care.

All of which are expensive oversights to make. But a drop in the ocean compared to on-going unwell-at-work costs and the impact of under-performance on productivity.

Because unlike time off for sick leave, which for most people is just 6 days a year according to the CIPD – being unwell at work is likely to be 10 times that at 57.5 days a year, almost three working months.

Three working months of under-powered performance. And that’s for EVERY team member – from the lowliest apprentice to the top-ranking CEO – because we’re all human. No wonder productivity is less than it could be!

And the cause?

Germs holding us back

Sure, we’re exposed to germs all the time, so some of them may have come from outside.

Reality is though that we spend 90% of our time indoor, particularly in winter – and most of our waking hours are spent at work. So it’s no surprise our workplace is where we’re exposed the most.

On top of which, because we can’t see germs, we don’t imagine we’re at risk. We LOOK clean, therefore we are. But again in reality:

There’s another dimension too. Germs are so tiny, they’re airborne most of the time. And around 80% of any room space we work in is air.

We might clean our workplace thoroughly, scrub every surface within an inch of its life, but there’s no way to scrub the air. And in a study prepared for the Wall Street Journal, germs were found to spread from the front door handle to more than half the office in less than four hours.

Up in the air – and waiting

Uh huh, the air. We share it, we breathe it, we move through it – and all the time we’re immersed in germs, surrounded by them, constantly in contact.

Sometimes we fall victim, sometimes we’re lucky. We get something and throw it off quickly, or it has us seriously out of action for several days. We’re at constant hazard, yet how many businesses provide protection against it?

Surprisingly, nobody thinks about it, accepting getting unwell as a fact of life. Productivity with the brake on, even when money and technology are trying to accelerate it.

Yet releasing the brake is easy. Mist the place up with an effective biocide like ionised hydrogen peroxide, and ALL germs are eliminated in under an hour depending on room size. Throughout the air space, across all surfaces, and into all the nooks and crannies too.

Back to 100%

And with no germs to catch, there are no illnesses to fall victim to. Those three lost working months are restored, with team members able to perform at full capacity all the time – 33% more than they could previously.

33% better productivity.

The brake is well and truly off – there’s nothing to hold back from a rapidly brightening future.

Full throttle – look out world!

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Hypersteriliser units are supplied to businesses and institutions across the UK, notably the haematology and other critical units at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester; Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital; South Warwickshire Hospital; Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital; and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.

The Halo Hypersteriliser system achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. It is the only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. It is also EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

Originally posted on 24 November 2017 @ 3:21 pm

Originally posted on 24 November 2017 @ 3:21 pm

Holiday health hazards – it’s all in your hands

Pisa pizza girl
Lip-smacking, finger-licking, germ-spreading, whoops!

Step away from the street vendor!

Yes, it’s the most amazing croqueta de jamón in the whole world. And the same guy does the meanest shawarma ever.

But step away, NOW!

Fast food alert

No, not because the food is iffy. And not because that trolley is unhealthy. Tourism is big business, so everything gets checked with a magnifying glass. Watch out for the cops on their quad bikes, doing surprise inspections. It’s not the vendor you should be worried about.

It’s you.

Like, you’re hungry and you’re about to scoff yourself stupid. Street food on the way to the beach and a genuine all-over tan.

So when did you last wash your hands?

When you got up? Before breakfast? When you did your teeth?

And how long ago was that?

How many streets have you been down since? Did you grab the boat rail when you climbed aboard? You put suntan lotion all over that guy’s back – did you get it off your fingers?

And is that your beach bag lying on the deck? Reckon they hosed it down this morning? Before all the flip-flops and bare feet? And how about that beach you sat on?

Plus you high-fived with those Italian guys, chucked coconuts at the fair stall, hung on tight on the white-knuckle roller coaster – are you sure you’re ready for that croqueta de jamón?

Because if you come down with a bug or something, it’s not going to be the vendor’s fault.

The price of sloppy hygiene

It’s going to be yours.

And how’s he to compensate that your hygiene is so lax?

Yet chances are, while you’re groaning with tummy cramps, that you’ll blame him for your troubles.

Always dodgy in the street, you never know where anything’s been. Foreign food anyway, your system’s not used to it. You can never trust these places.

Yeah, right.

A load of bull, isn’t it?

Because you know when you washed your hands. And now something’s happened, you’re super embarrassed by it.

Like, how can you admit that you didn’t? Or that you don’t look after yourself regularly? You and the crowd that you’re with – your family, your mates? Ew!

But that’s not you, is it?

You’re on holiday, hyped up, getting out and doing stuff – you know you need to take care.

So you wash your hands every chance you can get. Like Jack Nicholson in The Bucket List, never trust a fart. Never pass up the opportunity to keep clean – because you never know what’s coming next.

Every time you go to the loo, of course. 30 euros in the turnstile, you might as well.

And excuse yourself to go to the bathroom before you eat anything. It makes space for more and you know you’re safe.

Pocket backup

Plus carry a hand gel, just to make sure. Your holiday is a whole eating experience, you don’t want to miss out.

Uh, huh. You get the picture now.

That mob at the hotel, groaning with norovirus. Going to sue the tour operator, are they? And you SAW the woman never went near the taps when she went for a sprinkle.

Clean is as clean does – and you’re ahead of the game. So when you climb on that jet to go home, it’s not you saying “never again”.

It’s a great big world out there – and you’re going to put your finger in every pie.

Go on, enjoy. Your hands are clean.

HR’s new bankroll: hack proof staff health in the cloud – so no virus can crash your business again

Rocket penguin
Light-hearted escaping with the cloud – a cloud of hydrogen peroxide that is, the one that knocks out viruses and bacteria to keep workplaces healthy and safe

How much of a bankroll?

We’re talking thousands, maybe even tens of thousands.

It’s HR’s unexpected contribution to the bottom line. Maximising staff productivity up to a third more than you’re getting now – all on the same salary budget.

Easy-peasy too – by putting staff health in the cloud. An overnight bankroll from sickness costs.

Er, but it’s not the kind of cloud you might expect. Or the kind of virus.

Serious cloud, serious virus

This cloud is hydrogen peroxide, our own body’s natural killer of germs – rolling in all-penetrating mist through your workspace. Ionised so it reaches everywhere and grabbing with its electrostatic charge.

And the virus is biological – far more treacherous than any browser hacker or Trojan. One outbreak of norovirus could have your whole staff writhing with cramps for days. Spewing their guts out with projectile vomit- or ripping them apart with hell-fire diarrhoea.

Bacteria, viruses, fungi, mould – they none of them stand a chance.

The hydrogen peroxide oxidises them – destroying their cell structure. In a just a few minutes, your whole place is sterile.

Hmm, sterile – all germs knocked out, dead. No chance for anyone to catch a bug or infection, the workspace is safe.

Which means no-one going off sick from illness caught at work. No sick pay, no replacement staff costs – everyone’s at their desk working.

No unwell at work costs either. The price you pay for underpowered staff trying to do their jobs while they’re feeling like death. Taking ten times longer, making mistakes, snapping at customers, jeopardising business through sheer lack of concentration.

Computer crashes, fixable – staff crashes, hospital

That’s where the thousands come in. Not so much the absences, more the soldiering on against all odds – and inevitably making a hash of it. Ten times more than ordinary sick costs if you add it up. Thousands and thousands – and tens of thousands.

All that expenditure – and it happens to every organisation and every employee, everywhere. Drip, drip, more and more unfulfilled salary resource, unstoppably down the drain, every day.

Except now HR can snatch it back – a bankroll present to you of one-third more staff productivity. More effort, more input, for the same money you’re already paying – because now your staff capabilities are fully realised.

Because your most valuable assets are properly protected. Shielded from every kind of bug – common colds and flu, respiratory infections, tummy upsets and various kinds of gastroenteritis. And the serious illnesses too – legionella, TB, or even worse.

Over to you

You provide the daily sterilising – piggy-backed with regular cleaning perhaps, or from your own Hypersteriliser machine (a press-button automatic jobbie that does the place in minutes).

Your staff just get on with the job. Unhackable by bacteria or viruses.

A productivity bankroll out of the blue – just by being in the cloud.

Picture Copyright: lightwise / 123RF Stock Photo

Eating out food poisoning: dodgy hygiene culprit exposed

Pizza selfie
Self-inflicted misery – self-accused too. The phone for that selfie has her greasy fingerprints all over it. And mobiles are the most germ-laden of all

Culprit is right.

Dodgy hygiene can kill a restaurant reputation. Somebody screws up and the customers stop coming. So who’s the likeliest suspect in any food poisoning scandal?

We’ll give you a clue.

You’ll find the culprit among whoever hasn’t washed their hands.

The one-sided blame-game

Kinda crucial in the food preparation business.

So it can’t be kitchen staff, they’d get fired if they took that chance. Not the serving staff either, for the same reason.

Which leaves who – the manager? The sweeper-upper? But neither of them ever touches food.

There’s one person who does though. And they seldom if ever wash their hands before handling anything. Yet they’re the ones most likely to squeal if food poisoning strikes.

Cramps, vomiting, diarrhoea – must have been something they ate.

Yep, we mean the customer.  Frequently first to complain, even more often last to accept any blame.

Fingers of suspicion

But look at them. Did they wash their hands when they came in? When they sat down? When they ordered? Or when their food arrived? Plenty of opportunity – and pretty well all restaurant have washrooms.

How about before they got to the place? Out in the street, on the tube or bus?

Or before that. When they left home or parked their car?

How about when they went to the loo?

So is it any surprise they feel a bit queasy after an evening of eating out?

Sure, their cramps are real and horrible. The upchucks and runs aren’t much fun either.

But if you think about it, aren’t their woes more often than not self-inflicted?

There are regulations about restaurants – or any food joint. Bye-laws to follow, standards to keep up, inspections to pass. Yes food poisoning happens, but there’s a lot of safeguards in place deliberately to prevent it.

Not so in the customer’s case. There’s no restrictions at all.

Which makes it doubly dodgy. Bad habits make many a new culprit.

Yet how many restaurants get bad-mouthed for salmonella, norovirus, campylobacter or e. coli? As if there’s staff wilfully using unrefrigerated, out-of-date food prepared with hands steeped in old WD40 and serving it undercooked.

Unaware, unhygienic, unsafe

Unrealistic, right? And not exactly fair.

Hunting a culprit where there most likely isn’t one. Unwilling to accept any personal blame or liability. Falsely accused.

But not out of any maliciousness. It’s just that washing hands and careful hygiene is not on anyone’s radar.

Every restaurant patron knows about germs. But you sit and watch – a whole evening can go by and not one of them will make the effort to wash their hands before eating.

And they’re the ones jumping up and down about food poisoning!

OK, there’s always exceptions. Food joints that get careless – with ropey washrooms you might never want to know about. But the customers still take risks – not washing their hands, evidently trusting that they have cast-iron stomachs.

Finger-lickin’ dicey

It gets iffier still when you consider how many foods are eaten with just fingers – burgers, sarnies, pizzas, chicken, fish and chips – and all varieties of curry.

If nothing else, we owe it to ourselves to carry hand gel or wipes for when we can’t get to facilities. Or to use at table before touching anything. Nobody’s going to mind if you sit there carefully giving your hands the once-over. They might even admire you for it.

Better than being the culprit for an unpleasant experience – knowing or otherwise.

Picture Copyright: ammentorp / 123RF Stock Photo

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

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