Tag Archives: quarantine

Got your business insured against Aussie flu yet?

Biz team against Aussie flu
This year’s Aussie flu is everywhere – unless you’re insured against it

H3N2 it’s called. Three times more horrible and twice as nasty – shouldn’t you be insured against this potentially deadly killer?

So far it’s zapped Oz and France – and already swamped most of UK. Not good, however you skew it.

Got you, right in the balance sheet

Particularly for business. Half your team off, all at the same time. The other half hanging in, waiting for it to hit. Critical jobs stalled, errors all over from battling to cope.

So how are you doing for protection?

You have it for data, of course – insured big time, belt and braces. Encryption from hackers, surge protection on every computer, your servers backed up to the cloud.

But how about your people?

All that data means nothing without them – to shape it, plan with it and drive it forward.

And between them and disaster is a flu jab that’s only 20% effective? Come on, now!

Time to start that quarantine rule you’ve been trying to avoid. The one that sends staff home for ANY kind of ailment – cough-sniffle, tummy cramps, pounding head, the works.

Boy, you’re going to get it

Because, sure as hell, what goes around comes around. So if one of your team gets it, sooner or later they all will.

Forget discipline or calling them wimps. How good is the work quality they produce when they’re sitting there, feeling like grim death?

And how are you going to protect everyone else? Put screens round them and shut off the air-con, just to keep the sick ones up to the mark? Hardly insured at all – good luck with that.

Send them home and they can’t do any damage.

Then get some serious protection going. Antibacterial hand gel or wipes on every desk for a start. Most infections start from things we touch, so clean hands are the first defence.

Getting rid of all germs is next.

If the place is sterile, nobody can catch anything. Not unless they bring it in themselves – and you’ve already triggered the quarantine rule, the first part of being insured.

The workplace war zone

But count on it, there’s germs everywhere – unless you do something.

And good though it might be, that nightly office cleaning service is usually just to make things neat and tidy. Vacuum the floors, empty the trash, give it the once-over.

Meantime, the germs sit unchecked on the high-touch areas – fomites, the experts call them. Touch-screens, keyboards, control buttons, light switches, door handles. And personal stuff like handbags, wallets, keys, money, clothing, you name it.

Plus of course, the air itself – 80% of any room space. Stuff we breathe and move through without thinking. Full of dust, smoke, all kinds of particles – and germs, of course.

OK, so maybe you have an ioniser, or a HEPA filter like they have on jet liners. Except ionisers don’t get rid of anything – it either sticks to plates inside the machine, or to the walls. HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters work better, but only down to particles of around 3 microns – horrible nasty H3N2 is smaller than that.

And anyway, both machines only process the air that sucks THROUGH them. Everywhere else is untouched. Not insured at all.

Just like the bug busters

But despair not, there’s other methods like bug exterminators use – that fumigate the whole place after everyone’s gone home. A lot gentler, but highly effective, they take out germs on all surfaces and from the air itself, making the place sterile like you need.

The alternative?

Well you COULD take out a conventional insurance policy against your staff coming down with anything. Not cheap, if you’re hoping for cover against everything. And unless you pay whopping premiums, you’d still be out of pocket for staff who DID go off sick and all the system hiccups that would cause. Not so hot for your bank balance, or productivity.

One thing’s for certain though. This Aussie flu’s not going away overnight.

Your choice then.

Is your business prepared to take a chance without being insured?

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. Achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. The only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

Woohoo, back to school! But norovirus says NO

Crosspatch at gate
School’s closed because norovirus keeps coming back and back – why can’t somebody DO something?

No school, no friends, no play, no fun.

Just staying at home, feeling horrid.

A whole week after that nasty tummy bug. Sick like your whole insides want to come out. Fiery poo, squirting round like a hosepipe. Cramps like your tummy is broken into little pieces, all churning round.

Quarantine, Mummy calls it. But I’ve been OK for days now.

It’s because they can’t get the school clean.

Cheap cleanups won’t stop norovirus coming back

Those two Year 6 boys were sick all over the place – all down the corridor and right through Reception. It was on the carpet and splattered up the walls.

Then that stupid Mrs Ferguson let her class out and they ran all over it. Just the smell was enough to make you sick.

But being home and suddenly sick was worse. Just going to play with my Pokemon and my tummy exploded.

I cried ‘cos it went everywhere and Mummy made us all stay home. Even Daddy never went to work.

Anyway the holidays were horrible – and now school is closed. Why can’t they clean it properly?

Mrs Callum, she’s the bursar, told Mummy they had a whole team in over the break. Face masks, overalls and rubber boots, scrubbing everything with that ewey bleach stuff.

It didn’t work ‘cos the caretaker, Mr Absun, went in there and got sick, working in the hall. So Mrs Callum got cross and they had to do it again – then SHE got sick after going in to have a look.

Keeping paying until it’s right

Mummy says that’s when the Council sent in the steam cleaners.

Two days they were at it, then Mrs Callum got sick AGAIN. So now the school’s in quarantine, just like I am at home. They’re leaving it 10 days for all the germs to go away.

Except Mummy says that won’t work either – she looked it up on her iPad and this norovirus stuff can last for up to a month if they don’t clean it off properly. You pick it up on your fingers and pouf – it’s back!

Meanwhile I’m sitting at home every day and I’m bored. And Mummy’s very nice staying here to look after me – but she doesn’t want to be here either. What’s the matter with them, why can’t they make it go away?

Because it goes everywhere, Mummy says. In all the cracks where the cleaners can’t reach.

And I know she and Daddy are cross, because the school has asked them for money to pay for it. Daddy had his fierce look, asking why they should pay for something that doesn’t work. He wanted to throw things, but Mummy took them away from him.

Every year, again and again

It was the same last year when Linda Marshall came back from that holiday in the Caribbean. Their family got sick on a cruise ship and brought it back with them. Daddy got cross then too, ‘cos I didn’t get it, but Damon did – my younger brother in Linda’s class.

Daddy’s really fed up. Says the school should have something to cope with stuff like this. Or the Council should. It’s not like this tummy sickness happens every day – but three-four times a year somebody sicks up at school, then we all get sick or have to stay away, and nobody does anything.

They need a machine, Daddy says. Something that you press a button and it makes all the germs go away.* Otherwise they’ll keep paying money and nothing ever happens.

Oh I wish that school would open and I can play with my friends again!

*There IS a machine – and you can see it here. It kills all germs everywhere indoors in about 40 minutes. Sterile, so they can’t come back again. Grabbed out of their hiding places and oxidised to nothing by hydrogen peroxide.

Picture Copyright: dekanaryas / 123RF Stock Photo and corund / 123RF Stock Photo

How Ebola could double your airfare

Aircraft at gate
Twenty minutes to sterilise a whole plane? And 99.9999% germ-free too.

An aircraft sits on the ground – quarantined for suspected Ebola. No confirmation or anything, a passenger just threw up on the flight.

Air sickness? Rich food? Nervous tension? Or good old norovirus?

Nobody’s taking any chances. So passengers sit to have their symptoms checked.

Time is money

And the meter is running – landing fees, apron fees, security, ground staff support, aircraft servicing, facilities supply, passengers transfers, aircraft valeting, sanitation.

At Heathrow, it could cost over £20,000 just to land. Once down, just sitting parked is around £200 an hour. None of the other fees are cheap either. You wouldn’t want them to be. Passenger safety and security is much too important.

It may be slightly cheaper at Madrid’s  Barajas airport. Where an Air France Airbus A320 landed on Thursday to be be immediately quarantined – because a passenger from Lagos was on board who displayed signs of the Ebola virus.

After getting the passengers off, a statement  by Air France said the return flight was cancelled and the aircraft would be disinfected. More time, more money.

And it’s starting to happen more and more.

Everyone in a tizz

Like Flight 1143, another Airbus A320, the Frontier Airlines aircraft on which Ebola victim Amber Vinson flew from Cleveland to Dallas on 13th October.

This one has the Americans in a total tizz. It’s been returned to service, cleaned several times following the Centers for Disease Control guidelines which themselves are vague, and now sits grounded in Cleveland – presumably awaiting major decontamination.

The same hesitation is all over – aircraft quarantined and then grounded. Emirates Flight 237 from Dubai to Boston on Monday. The KLM flight to Amsterdam from Glasgow three days ago. Another KLM flight from Amsterdam to Værnes in Norway back in August. The Gambia Bird flight from Freetown to Gatwick via Banjul the week before.

A lengthy process

It takes time to decontaminate an aircraft. And it’s a messy business. Recommended by the World Health Organisation, the preferred procedure after thorough cleaning is to seal the aircraft and admit carboxide gas – a mixture of 10% ethylene oxide and 90% carbon dioxide – pumped in under pressure and maintained at a constant temperature for 6-12 hours.

A second method involves ethylene oxide and Freon II for a similar period. Or introducing betapropiolactone in vapour form for two hours – which must be 98% pure, or it causes a sticky polymer to form on all surfaces.

But it has to be done. Though the Ebola virus can exist outside the body for only a short time, its incubation period is 21 days. During which time how many passengers came on board and what did they touch?

Do the math. Schedule an increasing number of planes through the process as Ebola cases multiply – and sooner or later, it’s going to hit your credit card.

The Nigerian alternative

Unless of course, the airlines choose to use hydrogen peroxide. Twenty minutes per aircraft and all viruses and bacteria that may have been on board are gone – a reduction of 99,9999%.

The same stuff is already being used to combat Ebola in Africa. Already more than 100 super-misting machines have been sent to Nigeria, the only country which can claim to have brought the outbreak under control.

Let’s hope the airlines are watching – before our fares go through the roof.

SWAT teams for Ebola as world markets catch a cold

SWAT Team Assault
High-risk bugs like Ebola stand everyday hygiene on its head

America has hit the panic button with Ebola.

Last night President Obama directed the US Center for Disease Control to send out rapid response SWAT teams to any hospital reporting patients displaying signs of the virus within 24 hours.

Taking chances

The entire system is clearly in a scramble as pictures emerge of an unidentified man with a clipboard fussing round Ebola victim Amber Vinson on her way to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

His only protection against Ebola? He’s out there in shirt-sleeves.

World-wide wheelspin

Such wheelspin and confusion quickly hit international markets, already reeling from pension fund and other losses . The Dow Jones fell 1.64% to 16047.88 – accelerated by a CDC statement that it was not clear how Miss Vinson had contracted Ebola.

Watch the panic snowball. Alongside Ebola, it’s the start of flu season. Up to 20% of Americans are likely to be affected, with as many as 200,000 needing hospital treatment.

Atishoo!

And here’s the scary bit. In the first week, flu symptoms are similar to Ebola’s – fever and fatigue. Already monitored at major airports, if too many sneezes happen on transcontinental flights over the next few months, the health system could go into meltdown.

But that’s just part of it. Already the World Health Organisation put the possible death toll from Ebola at 10,000 by December. Over-reacting politicians are contributing to international dread.

Over-reacting?

Lost in today’s Ebola-surge is a side report from Ghana, neighbour to the Ivory Coast which suffered an Ebola outbreak in 1994. Eight students at the Atebubu Teachers College of Education in the Brong Ahafo have died of cholera.

And cholera is way more scary.

First, it kills within hours, not weeks. Second, it’s highly contagious. According to the World Health Organisation, there are up to 5 million cases and 120,000 deaths every year.

The upside

The difference is that it’s treatable.

But so is Ebola BEFORE it infects anyone.

Like most viruses and bacteria – cholera too – Ebola is defenceless against being oxidised. Health authorities may be swamped handling existing cases – but they can prevent more by sterilising treatment areas with hydrogen peroxide or other oxidisers before patients are admitted.

It won’t cure the patients. But it will raise the resistance threshold for medics, care workers and support staff already risking their lives.

Safer at home

It will do the same thing too at your local supermarket, eliminating germs and odours.

Except that according to President Obama, the likelihood of a widespread Ebola outbreak is “very, very low.” So don’t expect your local Tesco to go spraying the place just yet.

Better go with the paracetamol then. And hope that an effective wide-scale treatment for Ebola can be found soon.

 

Welcome aboard! Gasp, is that Ebola sitting next to you?

Plane passengers
Let’s hope Ebola hasn’t got a ticket

Er, probably not.

Unless it’s an actual person who is infected.

But the actual virus, lurking in the cabin from an earlier flight? Hopefully not, though it’s getting to be a headache for the airlines.

You see, when you’re up there at 36,000 feet, you really are pretty safe. That air you’re breathing is totally refreshed 20 times an hour. Better still, it’s filtered and purified.

Running continuously under the floor is a set of hospital grade high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters – very effective at trapping microscopic particles like viruses and bacteria.

Because don’t believe that myth about aeroplane flu. If you get the sniffles, it’s more likely that the air is cold and dry – so that’s your mucous membranes  compensating.

So it’s not around while you’re flying.

Different on the ground though, when the aircraft powers down and the aircon goes off. That air is from exiting passengers. As your nose can sometimes tell you – if the turnaround’s a quick one and somebody forgets the air freshener.

And yes, you’re quite right – an air freshener won’t stop Ebola.

But hydrogen peroxide will.

Misted up so it fills the cabin, it takes out bacteria and viruses by oxidising them. They can’t survive the extra oxygen atoms, so their cell structure disintegrates. Bye, bye bad guys like Ebola.

Because it’s not just in the air that the hydrogen peroxide works. It settles on the seat backs, cushions, grab handles and tray tables. Zaps any germs that might be sitting there too.

Right now though, there aren’t too many airlines using the stuff. They’ve never needed to – and any vapour generating systems they might know about are big and clunky – massive trucks, manoeuvring on the ground. Not cheap or quick, either.

That may change real soon. Especially if health authorities start putting aircraft in quarantine. And not just parking in a remote part of the airport either – a complete lockdown for however long it takes.

Real quarantine.

Forty days that used to mean, when the word was first used back in the Fourteenth Century. From the Italian quaranta giorni – the time a ship would be isolated to prevent the spread of Black Death – a nightmare twice as deadly as Ebola will ever be.

But what airline can afford a fleet of multi-million pound Boeings, sitting going nowhere?

Especially when a couple of cans of aerosol ammonium chloride can do an emergency mist up in around half an hour?

Or a hospital-type auto-robot can be hauled aboard to do the same thing with IONISED hydrogen peroxide? Ten times more efficient than the vapour job – and done in half an hour at a cost of around a tenner.

A couple more scares and what’s not to like?

99.9999% germ reduction. No more Ebola. Gone.

So no, that’s not Ebola sitting next to you. Or MRSA, c. difficile, HIV, bird flu, norovirus – or any one of possibly thousands of bio-nasties.

More likely it’s the start of an on-board romance. Or a business deal. Or that well-deserved holiday that you owe yourself.

Enjoy the flight.