Why we’ll all have to start living with coronavirus

Ill at work
Other people’s germs. We also breathe them when they’re not there

It’s not exactly like we didn’t know it was coming. Or that we didn’t know coronavirus was going to be bad.

Pandemics have happened before – and they’ll happen again. Maybe bigger, maybe badder.

And we’ll be just as unprepared next time too, even if our experts guide us 100% right.

Because it’s not as if we’re waiting for a bus, Nature is unpredictable.

Pandemics like storms

Which makes pandemics are more like storms. They can come along anytime. There’s a tornado coming, better take shelter – because if we don’t, a lot of us could die.

So, OK. We go into lockdown, like into a storm cellar. Stay safe at home while disease rages all round us. Out of harm’s way, where a virus can’t touch us.

Except sometimes the storm doesn’t go away. It hangs around for longer than we anticipate. Days instead of hours. Longer than our food lasts. Longer than we can stand being cooped up in an enclosed space.

So what then?

It’s still dangerous out there, but we’ve got to get out.

But venture out and inevitably the storm gets us.

Just when you thought it was safe

Some of us are buffeted and drenched, but OK. Some of us are picked up by a gust and flung hundreds of metres, a bit bashed up, but also OK. And some of us get hit on the head by a flying roof tile, dead before we hit the ground. Not OK.

Yes, but we knew the odds. If we’d stayed in the storm cellar, it wouldn’t have happened.

Which becomes a trade-off between how long the storm lasts and how long before we go stir crazy.

Stay, or take your chances, maybe even die.

Stay or die: your choice

Same thing with lockdown. And there’s not a lot that medics or governments can do about it. Storms and pandemics don’t recognise they exist. Nor the moaners and whingers and know-it-all media either.

At the whim of Nature, storms and pandemics happen whenever the hell they like. And keep coming back whenever the hell they like too.

So all of a sardine you’re caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Exposed. At the mercy of the elements – or whatever viruses and bacteria happen to be present.

If it’s a storm, you maybe get blown around, drenched in the odd downpour, delayed getting home by floods or fallen trees.

If it’s a pandemic, it grabs you to whatever your level of resistance.

Chances of survival

Fit and healthy, you can maybe shrug it off. Down with depression, it shoves razors down your throat, flushes you hotter than a blast furnace, or sandbags you with the worst headache ever. Already under the weather, and it hits your lungs, every breath a last gasp. Obese or old, and you feel the Grim Reaper alongside with every second.

It all depends on your state of mind and resilience. And no doubt about it, some people can hype themselves out of it by sheer will power. Others succumb, even though they’re quite healthy – just not protected enough by the will to survive.

So what’s the right way to play it? Choose to self-isolate at home, or must the government force you?

One thing’s for sure – if you go out there and get hit by a roof tile, it’s nobody’s fault but your own.

And that’s the reality.

Nobody’s fault. People might play the blame game, except what’s the point if they wind up dead?

Which is of course, the question on everybody’s mind.

So when is it safe to go back into the Big Wide World? What happens now?

And how safe is it once you’re there?

The virus has a two-week incubation period, maybe longer – and lots of people display no symptoms, even if they’ve got it. Things might LOOK safe, but you could still be exposed.

We are all of us exposed anyway to each other, virus or not. An issue likely to be more top-of-mind now we’re conscious of how easily illness can spread.

Personal germ cloud

Though it’s invisible, each of us is followed around by our own personal cloud of microbes, good and bad, part of our individual microbiome. Unique to each of us, this cloud is as distinctive as a retina scan or fingerprint. Pinpoint enough to identify which one of us out of a roomful of people might be carrying live coronavirus.

This cloud doesn’t just follow us – it also lingers in places where we’ve been. Walk into a room after everyone has gone home and the residual cloud of each of them is still present and waiting for you.

Normally, that’s not a worry. But these times are not normal. Which means it’s perfectly possible, even though we observe every precaution and social distancing, that we pick up coronavirus from an empty room hours after anyone was ever there.

Did you flush the loo?

Uh huh. And the closest parallel to that is like leaving the toilet unflushed.

Ew, unhygienic, right? Who wants to use a toilet still full of germs and waste after somebody else has used it?

But that’s exactly what every room we live and work in is full of every day. Invisible airborne germs and waste – exhalations of the microbes and carbon dioxide other people have breathed out – waiting for us to breathe in.

Until now, it hasn’t been an issue. Or even something we think about. Unconsciously though, we recognise the possibility. The colds and flu that seems to go round everybody at the same time. Or more unpleasant and unwanted sicknesses like norovirus, the winter vomiting bug.

Other people’s waste

How did we pick them up? From breathing in air laced with other people’s exhalations and microbiomes.

And right now, that’s a hygiene step we need to fix and quickly. Because we’re not that good at putting things into practice.

Back in the 1840’s, we learnt that hand washing was vital to reducing infections and keeping us safe. Fifteen years later we learnt that drinking water contaminated by sewage was also a cause of disease. And round about the same time we came to our senses that safe disposal of sewage itself was a major factor affecting our safety.

Today, thanks to coronavirus and nearly two hundred years later, we need to take the next step. Just like using the loo, to wash our hands and flush out the places we live and work in so they’re free from airborne germs every time after we’ve used them.

Bye bye coronavirus

It can be done too. The technology exists right now – all we have to do is use it.

Yes sure, we still need to be careful of each other. To practice social distancing, with gloves and masks where necessary to avoid spreading germs.

And now at last we can be rid of germs we never knew were a threat – the lingering invisible clouds that must finally go to make us really safe.

Coronavirus 2.0? It’s a hazard like cholera, typhoid and all the rest. But at least now we can handle it.

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.

Coronavirus: our massive price tag for bingeing antibiotics

Desolate girl
COVID-19 feels like the end of the world. But it doesn’t have to be.

Huh? Coronavirus and antibiotics? There’s no connection, right? Antibiotics have no effect on any kind of virus.

Absolutely right, they don’t. But how about the other way round?

Like, how come coronavirus – by which of course, we mean the COVID-19 strain currently ravaging the world – was able to happen in the first place?

A disaster waiting to happen

Forget about its origins, the way the world was going it was bound to happen anyway, sooner or later. It just needed an opportunity – then bingo! a raging pandemic. All thanks to our accelerating binge of antibiotics over the last fifty years.

OK, OK, it wasn’t antibiotics that triggered COVID-19 immediately. As David Attenborough quite rightly points out, it’s mainly because there’s too many of us human beings for the Earth to sustain – 7.8 billion right now, rocketing to a thundering 10 billion by 2056.

And because of those numbers, we’re facing a whole wodge of challenges – global warming, climate change, deforestation, vanishing animal and plant species, whole ecosystems being destroyed.

Plus now the latest disaster – coronavirus COVID-19.

And every single one of them directly attributable to antibiotics.

Killer life-savers make us fat

Wha…? Antibiotics save lives, right? They’re the backbone of modern medicine. How come?

Well back around 1950, when antibiotics started taking off as the medical miracle of the century, the world’s population was just 2½ billion. Back then, that was around the biggest number possible. The maximum amount of land was producing the maximum amount of food – there was simply no capacity to produce any more.

Until that is, farmers lucked on to using antibiotics as growth boosters. Around the beginning of the 50s, researchers discovered that feeding these life-saving medicines to animals caused them to grow bigger, faster. Spectacularly faster. A piglet weighing 3 pounds at birth for instance, could be a full 270 pounds and market ready in just six months.

And not just animals, humans too. “In 1955, a crowd gathered in a hotel ballroom to watch as feed salesmen climbed onto a scale; the men were competing to see who could gain the most weight in four months, in imitation of the cattle and hogs that ate their antibiotic-laced food. Pfizer sponsored the competition.” (New York Times, 8th March 2014).

Of course faster growth meant quicker money – and farmers were quick to latch on. Plus antibiotics boosted growth in PLANTS too, year on year pushing production capacity through the roof.

Which is why today, world consumption of antibiotics is 240,000 TONNES a year. Of which by far the bulk is used in agriculture – essential to producing the 19 billion chickens, 1.4 billion cattle, 1 billion sheep and 1 billion pigs that currently feed us.

Our overloaded planet – too many people

And all that food is essential to supporting the 7½ billion people that we have become since the 1950s. THREE TIMES the number that we were more than fifty years ago. Yet the world hasn’t got any bigger. Everything is produced off exactly the same land area as it was back then. It’s growth boosting on an industrial level – and antibiotics that made it possible.

Except that now, there’s too many of us. The Earth can’t sustain us all unless something gives. Another global war perhaps, or an asteroid smashing into us. Or a world-wide plague like the original Black Death to bring our numbers down.

Yeah, right. So against our densely populated cities with millions living in flats and tower blocks, people almost on top of each other, Nature chose COVID-19. Perfect

Bad, yes. And about to get worse as the virus really gets going. Think the figures in Europe and the US are bad? Wait for the untouched areas of Asia and Africa. Huge populations without the medical support of more developed countries, already challenged by AIDS, poverty and political instability. And of course, the many refugee camps.

Billions and billions and billions of people. None of whom could be on this Earth without the growth boosting sorcery of antibiotics. That’s one heck of a price tag.

And not the only one either.

Second pandemic

Antibiotics have already set ANOTHER pandemic on the go. Except it’s one we can’t see because it’s in slow motion.

Obesity.

You see, it’s not just animals that antibiotics fatten up fast. It’s humans too. But there’s a difference. That poor little pig we met earlier only lives for six months, then it gets eaten. Humans of course, go on for much longer. And because we live longer, we keep getting fatter and fatter.

That’s inevitable because there’s antibiotics in everything we eat. They’re in the animals that provide us meat, in the manure they make that fertilises food crops, in the ground water that seeps into our rivers, even in the water that comes out of our taps. So yes, we’re getting fatter and already two thirds of adults are regarded as clinically obese.

And obesity is a LONG term condition. It lasts a life-time. Bringing with it other conditions as it challenges the body more and more with the strain of carrying extra weight. Asthma, type 2 diabetes, heart attacks and cancer are just some of effects we can look forward to – set to claim altogether 30 million of us, half the population of UK.

Third pandemic

There’s yet another pandemic looming too. Not a medical one, but a pandemic none the less. Brought on by the coronavirus itself already running amok the world over. By its effect on the economies of every country – the businesses shut down, the jobs lost, the huge cost of containing COVID-19 and paying out to compensate for it.

Poverty.

And the malnutrition that goes with it. The inevitable illness and death. More billions still.

Is it worth it?

From the Earth’s point of view, probably yes. If 5 billion of us are wiped out, there’s a chance it can return to normal. Everything back in the balance and David Attenborough will be happy.

From our point of view, who wants to die?

Not the end of the world

Well, we’re not dead yet. And there’s a good chance most of us will survive, despite COVID-19’s severity. It’s not the Black Death after all, we can get through this.

At which point we should dump antibiotics before they really are the death of us. Stop using them for everything and like the Earth, let our bodies return to normal.

No more miracle drugs?

Well here’s another surprise. Because when antibiotics stop working – and already so many of them are neutralised by antibiotic resistance – the one resource we can turn to that might do the job is viruses.

Specifically bacteriophages that eat harmful bacteria and even other viruses to return us back to health again.

You read that right, viruses.

Viruses to kill germs and make people healthy – our new medical miracles.

Oh yes, and just remember you read about it here first, on Back Off, Bacteria. Before it goes viral.

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.

Why taking antibiotics is like chopping off your leg

Crazy girl with knife
Without knowing it, we’re doing ourselves more harm than good

Crazy, right? Round the twist. Who in their right mind would want to chop their leg off?

But that’s how crazy we are when we take antibiotics.

We don’t think so, of course.  But without knowing it, we’re doing ourselves serious harm.

Because antibiotics are prescribed to do one thing – kill bacteria.

Killers as life-savers?

And surprise, surprise, though none of us ever realise it – our own bodies are more bacteria than human, our cells outnumbered by more than 10 to 1.

Seems impossible and about-face, but that’s actually a good thing.

Bacteria are one of the longest-lasting life forms on Earth. Amazing survivors too. Capable of withstanding fierce high temperatures. Triple-figure sub-zero freezing temperatures. Even living and breeding in acid.

Our bodies are colonised by hundreds of trillions of these remarkable creatures. They’re vitally necessary to handle our digestion, produce proteins and manage our immune systems – among thousands of other functions. They live with our human cells in harmony – and we could not exist without them.

So yeah, we take antibiotics to kill bacteria that are harming us. The WRONG bacteria in the WRONG place, running amok among the RIGHT bacteria that are who we are.

Oh dear – chop, chop, chop.

A bomb in the guts

Because in targeting harmful bacteria, those same antibiotics inevitably kill some of our good bacteria too. Their killer action is spread wide to be sure of effectiveness. So our own systems take a hit – though we may not know it at the time.

The bacteria inside us know it though, particularly in our gut. To the trillions and trillions that live in our insides, a dose of antibiotics is like exploding a hydrogen bomb.  Millions get the chop.

Sure some of them regrow, reproducing themselves sometimes in as little as 20 minutes. But not all. Some are damaged and can’t do their job. Others –  the rarer ones – might be lost altogether. Our gut population depleted, our bio-diversity gone.

We might feel the same when our illness passes – back to normal and our usual selves.

But we’re not.

Biggest of the known side effects of antibiotics is growth promotion. The body bulks up very rapidly, putting on weight overnight . Damaged or missing bacteria cause the metabolism to gorge on food more than normal. And to extract a higher proportion of nutrients, directly accelerating the body’s over-development.

Fatter and fatter

See what happens with kids aged two, put on antibiotics. By the time they get to five they’re already overweight, well on their way to increasingly chubby childhood.

It’s this quality that has revolutionised the food industry, enabling factory farms to pump out THREE times the world’s meat and plant crop output in little more than 20 years.

Such weight gain doesn’t happen to everybody.

But it’s already a fact of life – and a key reason why two-thirds of adults are already overweight or obese.  Not just from medical treatments – frighteningly made worse by one third of all prescribed antibiotics being completely unnecessary – but from daily exposure through our FOOD.

You see, spectacular growth boosting in food production has exploded antibiotics use all over the world. Currently 240,000 tonnes annually and rocketing.

That means that through direct dosing with feedstuffs – and even more through indirect absorption of manure used to fertilise, enriching all plant life and those same feedstuffs – all of us receive a small daily intake of antibiotics with every meal we eat. Exactly the way to make us bulk up fast.

Fatter and sicker

Animals and plants quickly get eaten, so their life expectancy is not very high – a few years at most. But we go on for decades, getting steadily fatter, deeper into obesity. More prone to illnesses that obesity brings – diabetes, heart disease, cancer and many others. All long goodbyes.

Not the same as chopping off a leg – but equally unpleasant. And a lot more life-threatening.

Nor is it just getting fat that antibiotics threaten us with.

Damaged or missing bacteria deny us any immunity to serious illness we may have inherited from our parents. Our kids are denied them for the same reason, they’re no longer there to be passed on.

Worse, our bodies start reacting to conditions that aren’t there. Misreading normal signals as hostile, confusing everyday reality with phantom attacks against us.

Which is how, out of nowhere, we develop allergies. Hay fever, eczema or asthma. Or how about urticaria, anaphylactic shock or gluten reactions? People never had them 20 years ago –not in the snowballing number we have now.

Superbugs rule

And then of course – really chopping off our own leg – our undisciplined and wild overuse of antibiotics has triggered the development of superbugs.

Our cure-all miracle drugs are starting not to work any more because bacteria have become immune to them. Antimicrobial resistance.

Yes, well – we wanted to kill off bacteria, But nobody thought we were chopping off bits of ourselves.

So now we sit with life-savers that don’t work, medical surgery brought to a standstill, and all of us steadily getting fatter.

Not a survivable future

Though count on it, the bacteria that brought us down will still be around, long after we’re gone.

Oh yeah, and that antibiotic resistance superbug thing?

Wait till that runs riot across factory farms. Flash pandemics among livestock. No more food for most of us. Death by hunger is not a nice way to go – and we’re probably already too late to stop it.

Chopping off a leg, huh? Looks like we’ve already done it.

Time to reverse this antibiotics debacle now, to get off the train and find alternatives. Other solutions like bacteriophages – something, anything.

Either that, chop, chop – or we’re limping towards a future that doesn’t exist.

Picture Copyright: vatikaki / 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 3 April 2019 @ 2:18 am

Originally posted on 3 April 2019 @ 2:18 am

PM’s pandemic hit squad forgets prevention need

Skeptical woman
Pretty impressive – but a bit like bolting the stable door after the horse has scarpered

Nice one, Dave.

Yes, the next pandemic is going to be worse than Ebola, and probably some kind of flu-based virus.

MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) is a good candidate – already running amok in South Korea after an opening zoonotic hop from camels in Saudi Arabia.

The plague is coming

But we can’t wash our hands of the fact that these hit squads medics won’t stop pandemic pandemonium – fantastic and state-of-the-art though they might be.

The clue is “wash hands” – and we’re none of us very good at it.Wash Hands logo

But that’s exactly how any new virus is most likely to accelerate into a pandemic. Through sloppy hygiene and poor standards of personal cleanliness.

Direct contact is how Ebola did it – touching victims out of care and love – or contamination from their bodily fluids.

And yes, you’re right Prime Minister – if the next super-bogey is flu-based, it’s likely to be airborne. “Coughs and sneezes spread diseases” territory – spiralling out of the air around us, just waiting to be breathed in.

Sloppy hygiene

And yes, it’s going to be seriously bad – until we get our hand-washing act together. Plus defend our environment against airborne invaders.

Fact: 95% of us don’t wash our hands properly. Five seconds shaking them under the tap won’t stop any self-respecting coronavirus.

A lot of us are also super-yuckists – because Fact: 62% of men and 40% of women don’t wash their hands at all after going to the loo. (Tweet this)

Five minutes later, they might be eating. Or scribbling notes while they’re on the phone. The germs from their bum are on their food – or on the pen they’re chewing while they think. Usually they wind up with norovirus, the usual Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease.

But pandemic pandemonium is more serious, right?

Self-infecting

Which is why we’ll need the hit squads, Mr PM sir – these super-yuckists are sending a message direct to germ headquarters – INFECT ME NOW. When your super-virus actually hits, we’ll be going down like flies all over.

Because – Fact again – most of us touch our faces 3,000 times a day – most germs’ favourite way into the body, through the soft tissue openings of the eyes, nose and mouth.

Our own stupid carelessness, not so? Actually sitting up and asking for illness because we’re too lazy or forgetful to take the right precautions.

Because you watch, when the panic starts stampeding us, how many will there be running round with surgical facemasks, completely neglecting that our hands have traces of poo all over them? Suddenly, our Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease has notched itself up to a whole new level.

Cruise ship virus

Yup, Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease – a.k.a. norovirus.

That’s the one that keeps popping up on cruise ships – a bad place to have a virus going round. Lots of people living close together, sharing the same food and hygiene facilities, in direct contact with each other and breathing each other’s air.

No wonder it spreads like wild-fire.

Which is what our new super-virus is likely to do too, because that’s exactly how we live day-to-day, isn’t it? Particularly in the colder countries – indoors in the central heating, sharing the same space – at the office, wherever we eat, on buses and trains, in schools, sitting together watching a show.

All those unwashed hands, applauding together – what kind of chance do we have?

Double defence

Actually, better than we might think. Because though we might be at hazard all clustered together by our lifestyle, we can sterilise these communal spaces before we enter them. Ensuring all viruses and bacteria are gone before we set foot in the place.

Conventional cleaning and disinfecting though, is not going to crack it. We can rub and scrub all we like, treating surfaces is not good enough, we’re expecting an airborne virus, remember? And normal procedures do not touch the air, even though it’s 80% of our enclosed living space.

To do the whole lot, we need a Hypersteriliser – about the size of a small wheelie-bin – the one sure way to destroy all viruses and bacteria in any room space completely.

This clever gadget works by misting up the entire room with ionised hydrogen peroxide. This causes the mist molecules to repel each other – driving them as far away as possible, hard up against walls, ceiling, floor and everything in the room – and of course, deep into any cracks and crevices.

At the same time, those charged particles actively reach out and grab at viruses and bacteria, attracted by the same magnetic charge. On contact, oxygen atoms, hydroxyl radicals and even ozone is released, oxidising all germs to destruction – on surfaces; under, over and behind things; and everywhere throughout the air.

High-level hygiene saves us all

Together with careful and consistent hand-washing, these two defences should keep us safe from pretty well any harmful pathogens, the super-virus as well . Fewer of us to catch the bug – less of a pandemic – more like isolated outbreaks, a more controllable size for the PM’s hit squads to handle.

A real pandemic of course, would swamp them entirely. So it’s up to us to make sure we’re properly protected – prevention being better than cure. Thanks, Prime Minister, we’ll take it from here.

Yup, you guessed it – it’s wash-your-hands time.

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 5 October 2018 @ 2:07 pm

Originally posted on 5 October 2018 @ 2:07 pm

30 million deaths every year – our next pandemic is already here

Large and lonely
It’s not fair – getting fat without eating more – and it’s going to be the death of you

30 million deaths – almost half the population of Britain. With a waiting list of 1.4 billion. That’s a pandemic alright.

All driven by the one thing we know about, but prefer not to think about – our rapidly expending waistlines.

Unwanted obesity

Bigger tummies, fatter figures, unstoppable obesity.

We never used to be like this, but we are now.

In the UK, fully two thirds of us are already clinically overweight or obese – 1.4 billion worldwide. Already on the downhill slope to serious health complications – heart disease, cancer, diabetes, asthma. Known killers with a combined death rate of 30 million a year worldwide – and rapidly accelerating.

How did this happen? We’re not stupid, we’re not irresponsible.

Damn it, we’re not even confirmed gluttons, for goodness sake. Sure, some fat people eat like there’s no tomorrow – but most of us are miserable with our weight and eat like birds.

It’s as if we’re cursed.

Oh yes, indeed – there’s a curse alright. For far too many of us, obesity is a long and lasting illness ending in a death sentence.

We can play around with diets, we can delude ourselves with exercise – and for a lucky and very determined few, maybe that will work.

For the rest of us, there is no escape. Like it or not, at some time in the future we’ll be going to hospital more and more often – closer and closer to our one-way ticket with destiny.

The curse of antibiotics

Most unpalatable of all is the truth of how we got here.

“It is impossible to be obese unless one is eating too many calories,” said Lord McColl, emeritus professor of surgery at Guys Hospital, in an address to the House of Lords last week.

Yeah right, we’re dying of hunger and ridiculed as fatties, what the hell’s going on?

The real curse is antibiotics.

Miracle lifesavers in the medical field, miracle money-makers in agriculture.

Because antibiotics are champion growth promoters bar none. Added to livestock feed in small doses every day, they boost growth like crazy, accelerate development up to four times faster.  From egg to full-grown roasting chicken in 6 weeks. From calf to Aberdeen Angus sirloin steak in 16 months instead of four years.

And the same thing is happening to us.

We eat them, so small traces of antibiotics get through in our diet with every meal we eat. Either directly from their meat, or indirectly from the manure they produce – laced through with antibiotics that fertilise every kind of vegetable and fruit crop.

Just like the animals, the antibiotics make our bodies resistant to the hormone that tells us when we’ve had enough to eat – leptin resistance – we keep eating unconsciously. As Lord McColl says, ” Obesity is a hormonal disorder leading to abnormal energy partitioning, which cannot be solely fixed by increasing exercise.”

Growth promoters – the fat makers

Unfortunately, that’s not all that antibiotics do. As champion growth promoters, they make us more efficient at absorbing the nutrients we do consume. Even if we’re not eating more, we’re EXTRACTING more – squeezing out more calories than normal people are capable of.

Not difficult when you think how digestive systems work. As part of Nature’s wonderful cycle that interrelates everything to everything else, most livestock only digest 80-90% of what they eat, the rest is excreted as waste. That’s where the manure comes from that fertilises almost all commercial plant life – and where we get our daily dose of antibiotics from, pooed out with other nutrients.

But antibiotics cause animals to grab a whole chunk more nosh value than just 10%. Squeezing more calories out, they beef up bigger and faster – and we do exactly the same. Instead of passing through 80%, we might pass through 60% or even 50%. Without our knowing it, we’re absorbing the equivalent of two meals instead of one, every time we eat.

No wonder we’re the size of a house without any effort!

And all the rest

Which is how come we’re obese – and how come we’ve developed all those other disorders that have crept up on us since bacteria-killing antibiotics started messing with the delicate balance of our own internal gut bacteria. Allergies, immune system deficiencies – phantom disorders that feel very real, making our bodies react to conditions that just aren’t there.

Is there anything that can be done about it?

Not a lot.

We all have to eat – but round the world, our food production process is a gigantic machine almost impossible to stop.

We could try to eat less – deliberately try to bring our calorie count down. Going serious cold turkey, like giving up smoking. Very, very hard if you’ve never tried. But we NEED those nutrients to keep our systems ticking over. Starving ourselves is dicey and unlikely to be healthy.

Or we can change our food source. Get off the antibiotics and hope that by removing our daily fix, we can reverse some of the damage they’ve done. Which means organic foods, growing our own at home without fertilisers – and eating fish that’s only deep sea fresh, none of the farmed stuff.

Ways of winning

Which leaves exercise. We’re small eaters already, shamed by our bodies – so with antibiotics off the menu together with some sensible workouts, maybe expending energy will be a little less like pushing water uphill.

There is hope. Reducing even a teaspoon of fat from around our pancreas can have the effect of reversing type 2 diabetes.

One down, fewer to go.

With luck you’ll lose more of the right kind of weight before any of the other big hitters kick in.

Picture Copyright: iahulbak / 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.

Not washing hands more dangerous than terrorism

Man with AK
Deadlier than you know.
His gun might jam, he could miss altogether – but a virus won’t

Read the headlines, and the world is a scary place.

Not as scary as everyday living though – and a lot more dangerous than we might like to think.

Yes, terrorism is awful – and yes, it is deadly. Last year it claimed the lives of 32,727 people worldwide.

Bad & badder

But no lesser person than President Obama claims that global warming is MORE dangerous. Well yes, if you think in natural calamities like hurricanes and tsunamis – the jury is still out long-term.

Closer to home, European statistics put road accident deaths at 25,700 last year – not far off the total for UK deaths from sepsis, a form of blood poisoning that nobody’s heard of, but which is a major killer just the same.

Scary, scary.

But still chicken-feed against what COULD happen. Even obesity is scarier – like two-thirds of adults and a quarter of children.

Look no further than the government’s National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies.

Top of the list is not terrorism, war, or even natural catastrophe. It’s pandemic influenza – the same killer that wiped out 50 million people in 1918 – more than all fatalities in the whole of World War One.

Our worst nightmare

And it could happen tomorrow.

Lesser outbreaks have already shown how such viruses can spread around the world.

Bird flu, Hong Kong flu, MERS – they just hop on a Boeing, courtesy of some unsuspecting traveller – and they’re there in eight hours, twelve tops.

And beware. As we already know flu viruses are super-CONTAGIOUS.

Yeah, yeah – you know all that stuff about coughs and sneezes.

About the handkerchief to – and trapping germs in your tissue.

But that still leaves your hands – which handle the tissue and dispose of it.

And do everything else for you as well – feed yourself, do things, get you through the day. Including touch your face maybe 2,000 or 3,000 times.

Which is where the pandemic bit really starts – from the shocking facts of life that:

Kind of inevitable, no?

Uh huh.

The ultimate killer

Slightly more menacing than a crazy with an AK47.

And the world has got bigger since 1918. When the world population was 1.8 billion and flu knocked out 1 billion, killing a third of the world’s population – all within the space of 8 weeks.

Now, today, nearly 100 years later, we’re 7.5 billion and counting – do the math.

Better get the soap. It’s a lot easier – and safer – than chasing bad guys.

El Nino freezeups coming: brace for superflu threat

All frosted up
Don’t worry, superflu can’t get you –
as long as you can protect yourself

Brr!

The way this winter is already shaping up, get ready for superflu.

No, no, not the German pop group, you’ll find them here.

National Danger

We mean pandemic superflu – 30 million of us out of action and 80,000 dead. Listed as the UK’s biggest danger after “catastrophic terrorist attacks” in the National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies.

Certainly looks like we’re getting the weather for it. The El Nino effect is already happening in the Pacific – which means super-cold winter like we saw in 2010.

What makes it a superflu?

However hard medics and researchers try to second guess it, we’re just never ready. For either a superflu virus, or any other kind of fast-spreading superbug.

Yes, we can clobber existing strains – this year’s vaccine protects against the H1N1 “swine flu” virus that struck in 2009, plus two other predicted variants.

Deadly mutants

But the trouble is, viruses keep mutating all the time. As fast as we come up with the vaccines to throw at them, they develop resistance and start again.

And there are lots of strains. For instance, H5N1 is a deadly virulent bird flu that originated in Asia. It’s rare, but 60% of the people who catch it die.

To make things worse – like the common cold – all flu types spread rapidly. Which is why a pandemic is top of the hit list for natural disasters. When a new flu strain strikes, it takes six months to develop a new vaccine against it.

During that time of course, everyone is exposed. Unprotected except for their own daily hygiene habits. Which is where the worst-case scenario figures come from – 30 million infected, 80,000 dead.

Uh huh.

So we’re not just going to be cold, we have to be prepared.

To up our daily hygiene habits and keep those germs at bay.

Get ready

It starts with soap and water. And now it’s deadly serious. Not just a rinse under the tap, but a proper rub and scrub every time we put ourselves at risk.

Always before meals – and always after the loo. Because this winter, our lives could depend on it.

Our surroundings need anti-germ treatment too. We spend winter all closed up and indoors – sharing the same space, breathing the same air. Any germs in that lot and we’re in for it.

Best is a Hypersteriliser.

Mist up the place with ionised hydrogen peroxide and no viruses or bacteria stand a chance. In just forty minutes, they’re oxidised to nothing and the room is totally sterilised, safe.

All germs are gone – to a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 6. That’s 99.9999% destroyed, or 1 in a million.

OK, so the germs are coming.

But they always are.

So it’s not just superflu we’re protecting ourselves against, it’s all the other bugs as well. Especially the superbugs – the nasty ones that have become resistant to antibiotics and other medicines.

MRSA, c.difficile – that other winter misery-guts, norovirus – and all the others.

Vaccine or not, our own hygiene can protect us – come what may.

But don’t forget to rug up well.

It’s going to be cold out there.

Red-faced Rudolf forced to take a rain check

Sneezing Santa

Christmas emergency: a serious infection alert has cancelled this year’s traditional delivery

Sorry folks, that famous and long-awaited sleigh ride won’t be happening this year.

Seems that red nose of Rudolph’s is causing major ructions at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Alarm bells are going off that it’s a warning symptom of H5N1 or other avian flu – one of the nasty ones.

Pandemic alert

With only days to this year’s round-the-world distribution trip, the whole delivery team – Rudolph, Santa and all the helpers – are under lockdown. Strict quarantine against any new pandemic breaking loose.

Despite high expectations and the world-famous nature of the trip, looks like the CDC has had Santa and Rudolph under surveillance for a long time.

Germ-spreading fomites

High on the list of worries is the huge sack of fomites – objects or substances which are capable of carrying infectious organisms from one individual to another.

Though each is individually gift-wrapped and addressed, there are no facilities aboard the sleigh to ensure they are properly disinfected and pathogen-free.

The lack of washing facilities aboard is also identified as a major health risk.

Asked for comment, Santa was overcome by a coughing fit, but did manage to identify that a back-up system was in place.

UV protection

Prior to departure, presents will be sterilised by longer than usual exposure to the Aurora Borealis at the North Pole. The ultra violet light present in the phenomenon will ensure all viruses and bacteria are removed before take-off.

Actual delivery will be by a fleet of high altitude NASA Global Hawk drones. For Santa watchers, high intensity white strobe lights will substitute for Rudolph’s more familiar red glow.

The whole journey can be tracked as normal via the official NORAD Santa Tracker website.

Hike hygiene levels high

Advice from the Santa Corporation is that children should be sure to wash their hands thoroughly before eating or opening presents – and be sure to follow proper hygiene when going to the toilet.

An upgraded delivery system is already in preparation for next year.

Merry Christmas everyone – and keep well!