Tag Archives: soap and water

Wash your hands, yes – but dry them safely?

Girl with soapy hands
And for your next trick – how to get them dry safely

You’ve done the whole thing – soap and running water for two minutes, the backs of your hand too, and in between the fingers.

Phase One complete – exactly the way we’re inspired to by those hygiene experts at Northampton General Hospital.

So now your hands are dripping.

Clean, yes – but with residual germs contained in the water drops.

Which means Phase Two – removing the moisture AND the residual germs.

Where’s the drying doohickey?

If you’re at home, there’s probably a towel within easy reach – a fresh one, because you’re that kind of person.

That’s OK, as long as you only use the thing once. Wiping your hands gets rid of the moisture – and has a certain scraping action that gets a lot of the germs off.

But now they’re on the towel which is already moist and at room temperature. Perfect for germ reproduction, which they will certainly do, doubling in number every twenty minutes or so. Chuck it in the laundry and they’ll get sorted.

But put the towel back on the rail to be used again and you’re setting yourself up for re-contamination. You wash your hands again and a whole load of new germs arrive just when you think you’ve got them clean.

Uh, huh. You’ve gone backwards.

Re-germing

Better if you’re in a hotel of course. Fresh linen every day, so it’s use once and chuck. But have two showers, one in the evening and one next morning, both with the same towel and… you guessed it – you’ve re-germed yourself again.

How about elsewhere? Public places, shared washrooms, lines of loos and hand basins and – gasp – other people.

Keep your eyes open, what you’ll see will shock you. Like around half of everybody busily pushing through don’t even bother to wash their hands. Weirdly, some of them will even look like they’re going through the motions – actually standing at the basin – but not physically doing anything.

Why is this, people all in a rush? The place might be done up nice, but it’s hardly where you’ll want to linger. No plugs in the basins for a start – though that’s a good way of compelling you to use running water.

I don’t wanna queue

There certainly IS an issue with hand drying. If the place gets anywhere busy, like Saturday morning at a shopping mall, there’s ALWAYS a queue for the towel dispenser or air dryer.

Right there could be one reason people don’t wash – they see the queue and stump out of there in a late model huff. Another sub-group avoid the queue by wiping their hands on their clothes. Let’s hope neither of them are going to sit down and have a meal with their hands like that.

Could also be the drying method puts them off. Plus the six to ten steps across the floor to the drying thing with your hands dripping, before you can even start.

The yuck method

It’s dying a death now, but the old cloth roller towel dispenser is still around. You know the one – where you grab both edges of a section previously used by someone else to give yourself a fresh piece, pull down hard and then wipe.

Yes, it gets your hands dry – but there’s a good chance you’ve got somebody else’s germs in using it. And the somebody after you gets yours.

How about a paper towel dispenser?

Fiendishly difficult contraptions to operate when your hands are wet – jamming, bunching up, or refusing to dispense all together. You get your hands dry alright, but usually with a wodge the size of a football before you’ve finished – and requiring a dexterity level at least on par with those amazing technical ladies who solder miniature circuit boards.

Despite all this, paper towels are undoubtedly the safest. Use once and throw away – brilliant in principle.

The turbo-blaster

But technology’s not finished with you yet, because there’s also the air dryer. Either a weak buzzing machine that does nothing, or a force-feed jet blast from a supersonic wind tunnel. Yes, you’ll get you hands dry if you wait long enough – though it will auto shut-off at least five times before you do.

Uh, huh. Check the floor underneath. A lot of people like you dripped for several minutes before the drying became effective. And have you noticed how humid it always seems to get in there?

A lot of water drops are being blasted off into smaller germ-laden droplets and spreading throughout the room. You walk in to go for a sprinkle – and walk out with a dose of flu.

King of the dryers right now is undoubtedly the triple whammy air blade dryer. Pioneered by the Dyson people, who are all totally brilliant. But again, not designed for someone with dripping hands.

Check the floor of the compartment underneath where you put your hands in though – there’s usually a pool of water. Look at the walls alongside and you’ll see damp squidges radiating out – airborne germ clouds, just like the other jobs.

So what to do?

Hygiene magic

Lucky for all of us, there’s a guy called Joe Smith who has it all worked out. Shake your hands after washing, then dry them with a single sheet of folded paper. Check out his video on TED – if nothing else, his charisma will have you remembering how to get your hands dry safely for ever.

Joe’s mantra is SHAKE your hands to get rid of the drops – then FOLD the paper to give you enough absorbency to remove the moisture. Try it, it works – big time.

But there’s still the problem of acquiring your piece of paper in the first place. Joe has them all primed and ready. But you will have to battle with some kind of dispenser – and with wet hands as we’ve seen before, you really need to be Fukimoto-san, high-tech solder expert.

There is however, a way out. To reverse Joe’s mantra and do it backwards: first FOLD, then SHAKE.

Fold, as in have the single sheets pre-folded in a dispenser you can extricate them from with wet hands. NONE of the existing ones on the market allow you to do this with any ease.

Pre-folding

OK, so have a cup of coffee while you think about it – at Costa’s, where they seem to know a thing or two. Including – though they don’t know it – how to get your hands dry.

Because the paper napkin you take to your table is already pre-folded into four – and easily accessible, packed loose in an open-topped container along with the spoons, sugar, straws and stir-sticks for you to help yourself.

Picking up one of those without lifting a whole fistful is a breeze. So if your washroom had a box of those on the vanity slab beside each basin, it would be a doddle.

No more trudging to the dispenser or dryer, dripping on the floor. The FOLD is already done. You SHAKE your hands, keeping them in the basin so all the drops stay in the right place. Then you pick up a sheet and dry your hands. Clean, dry and safe, because all the germs go in the bin.

Back to Earth

So why all the rigmarole with expensive machines that don’t really work?

Search us.

Though the legend is not lost on us that when the Americans sent the astronauts into space, they spent millions developing a pen that would write in a vacuum, upside down if necessary, and on all surfaces.

The Russians gave their cosmonauts pencils.

Paper, scissors, rock – paper wins.

Originally posted 2015-06-11 17:51:00.

Feeling ick? Ever twigged it could be your fault?

Sick woman with medicine
Wrong again. Medicine is for afters – it’s washing hands before

Nice restaurant, was it?

Never been there before. Never had clam, chorizo & white bean stew before either.

Dangerous living, on-the-edge exotic. No wonder you’re feeling queasy. Ick de luxe – not nice.

Price of carelessness

Except, may we ask you a personal question?

OK, it was a whole evening out. You took the tube to town, had a few drinks at that stunning wine bar (they serve nuts, but it couldn’t have been them). Then a short bus ride and romantic stroll to this new Spanish place. You had a booking, they sat you down, you ordered and stuff arrived.

Perfect.

So when did you wash your hands?

Touchy, feely world

Hey, it’s a big city – 8 million people. Lots of them ride the tube too. Hell in the rush hour – strap-hanging, clutching the grab rails. Same on the buses. And every door handle in this magnificent burg – touching, grabbing all kinds of other things as well, just like you.

And most of them never washed their hands either. Out and about, doing stuff – never occurs to anyone, right? Oh, and yes – most people never wash their hands properly either, like 95% of us.

Plenty germs with 8 million people – and it only takes one.  More than half of us never wash our hands after going to the loo either.

Just a few cells should do it – maybe 20 or so. Microscopically smaller than the point of a pin. So tiny they could even fall THROUGH an unglazed plate. But that small, they’re so light that gravity has no effect, so they’re probably swirling round in the air.

No, we’re not going to suggest that you breathe them in, though you could.

They’re everywhere, they’re everywhere

Much more likely they’ll catch on your clothing or your skin – particularly your hands, because they’re always exposed and doing things. Touching doors, handbags, mobile, money, grab rails, menus, knife and fork – even food itself, ‘scuse fingers.

And your face more than anything else – which we all touch unconsciously 3,000 times a day. Especially the soft, moist tissue round the eyes, nose and mouth – the germs’ favourite way in to cause infection.

Heck, we even jam stuff in our mouths while we’re searching for something in our pockets. Keys, credit cards, plane tickets.

Unthinking, yeah? Never even remembering to ask “do you know where it’s been?”

So now it’s hours later and the cramps have started. Seriously ick. You’ve been to the loo twice and it’s all liquid. You’re shivering and your head is starting to pound. Something you ate, for sure – or so your head tells you.

Clams and chorizo, what were you thinking?

Not the chef’s fault

Except that wasn’t some greasy spoon, hole-in-the-wall place, it was a decent restaurant. Good professionals making an honest buck – not much chance the food was off. Nobody else came down with anything either, and the place was spotless.

Sure there are places with mice and cockroaches, but this wasn’t one of them – you’d know before you stepped in the door, that kind of carelessness gives itself away. And you’re fussy enough to walk out if it doesn’t feel right, so you stayed and enjoyed yourself. You know about being ick.

But unless you’re allergic to clams, your suspicions could be a little off. The likeliest cause is something transferred from your own hands – directly to the food, or from your face.

Out of sight, out of mind

Be honest, when was there a soap and water opportunity before you ate? Unless we deliberately make one, it’s not even on the radar for most of us, so don’t feel you’re the exception. It was a special moment. You took the chances we all take every single day – and this time you were unlucky.

So yes, it’s probably norovirus. But no, not from the food. From your own not-quite-so-fair hands and your own forgetfulness. Which is how most of us get ick.

Sure, not everything you touch can harm you. But just about everything DOES transfer to you. It’s on your palms and all over your fingers – too small to see and too impossible to tell whether it’s harmless or dangerous.

Which is why the hand washing thing is so vital. You can’t take a chance on good or bad, so you wash your hands to avoid the risk.

Spanish treats

Sorry you’re ick. But you enjoyed the food at the time, didn’t you? And Spanish people go crazy for fresh seafood, so you can imagine the care they take to get it right.

Let’s hope you remember next time, to avoid misadventure. If you like clams, you’ll freak for nécoras – those velvety crab done with white wine, sofrito and olive oil. Or the pulpo with olive oil, paprika and salt…

Mmm, what are you doing next weekend?

Originally posted 2015-06-10 12:49:05.

Hand wash ritual to save us all from vomiting bug

Girl showing hands
Super clean, before every meal – super healthy, every day

Know that expression, “if you can’t beat them, join them”?

Applied to the awkward fact that 95% of us don’t wash our hands properly after going to the loo, we don’t like the way it’s looking at us.

Especially when that kind of carelessness brings so many of us down with the vomiting bug, norovirus – aka Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease.

So our suggestion is to turn it around – “if you can’t join them, beat them.”

Reverse psychology

Because frankly, there’s no way we’re going to risk our health out of aversion to a little soap and water. Not if it means stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea – where’s the sense in that?

And it makes least sense of all when we go out for a meal.

A special moment, special food, special friends – suddenly cut short by the awful vomiting bug.

Except it’s our fault, isn’t it?

Grubby paws

When was the last time we washed our hands before we sat down? And all that yuck on them from the loo two hours ago? Small wonder that our tummies go heave-ho as the first mouthfuls go down.

Nicely contaminated by our grubby fingers – they don’t look it, but they are – covered in norovirus or salmonella, too small to see so we kid ourselves that they’re clean anyway.

Next stop, A&E to have our stomachs pumped out.

Or not.

Blame the restaurant

Because no restaurant wants a bad rep for food poisoning when the real cause is so often customers with dirty hands.

So if you can’t join them, beat them, make a ritual out of it – a special hand washing ceremony before anybody eats.

Far-fetched?

Not a bit of it. In some restaurants, it’s already the practice to provide finger bowls – a ritual by themselves. So the idea of washing your hands at table is not so foreign.

And though it’s unusual, they’re not so crazy in popular restaurants either – nobody minds the focus on hygiene, it’s just unexpected.

Which leaves plenty of scope to take it a lot further – if nothing else, people will like it for the novelty.

And though it’s really a serious thing, you can even make it fun. (Thanks again, Northampton General Hospital!)

Halfway there already

On some airlines already, a sealed courtesy-wipe is provided to do hands and face with a meal. Biz-class and above do the same with hot towels.

And in the more exotic Turkish restaurants, part of the whole character is a huge copper basin with hot water brought to the table – and a copper jug to pour water over guests’ hands in a welcoming ritual.

Add scented soap and complimentary towels, and you have a whole hygiene procedure. A restaurant with unique, memorable character too.

Seems other countries have a better take on hygiene than we do. Go to Malaysia, and you’ve got to try “street food” – real, intricate, restaurant quality meals served out in the open, at the roadside.

Scrumptious yes, with your crockery and cutlery brought straight to your table in a basin of boiling water. Haul out your handy tube of gel that you carry always, and your hands are just as safe and sterilised.

A new ritual

Which is why we’re suggesting that a ritual is the thing. We’re already halfway there with the ritual of the phone. Look around you next time you’re out. Everyone on other tables always starts with Facebook or Twitter or something.

OK, so do the same with the gel. Haul it out, pass it round. Make it a feature of being out together. Everyone will know it’s good and hygienic, so there won’t be many refusals.

And if anybody asks why, simply say that nobody’s going to catch Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease if you can help it – not on your watch.

Which is why you do it at home too. These days, folks tend to sit round the TV more than the dinner table. But it’s the easiest thing in the world to pass the gel around.

Habit forming

Before you know it, a quick squidge before eating becomes everyone’s habit – and Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease becomes a rarity more than the norm.

Easy-peasy, huh?

Didn’t know staying healthy could be so simple?

Sure beats being ill when you don’t have to be.

Originally posted 2015-05-20 13:56:09.

It’s up to us now – if we don’t each of us help the NHS, nobody else will

Doctors warning - help the NHS
The writing’s on the wall – help the NHS, or we’ll all go down together

Forget the headlines and the soundbites – the only people who can help the NHS now are ourselves.

Never mind WHY there’s a crisis, if we all of us do our bit, we can get through this together.

First off, the NHS are right – don’t get ill. We’ve got to stop running to them unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Help the NHS – no more chances

There’s too many of us otherwise. Our numbers just swamp the place.

So we’ve got to stop making ourselves ill. Taking chances with our health that don’t do us any good.

Like our dodgy hygiene – we’re really lousy at keeping ourselves clean.

OK, we can’t see germs, so we can be excused for thinking that we don’t LOOK dirty.

We know about germs though, and the kind of precautions we should take.

But because we LOOK OK, we don’t do anything – and we hate being nannied about it.

None of which will help the NHS.

With an Aussie flu epidemic about to hit, on top of the usual winter tsunami, being precious about washing our hands is not exactly useful.

Especially when our track record is so iffy:

Ugh, the winter vomiting bug

Which gets really crazy when you think of the winter vomiting bug.

Norovirus is highly infectious and spreads on contact. Yet nine times out of ten, if ever we come down with it, we always blame the restaurant or fast food outlet of food poisoning.

Sure, the vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramps are so bad, we have to blame it on someone. It’s just extra hard to swallow that we caused it ourselves.

None of which can help the NHS when we show up, moaning and groaning. Norovirus is the one thing that can go round everywhere like wildfire – the last thing they need on top of the winter flood of patients and Aussie flu.

How are we so sure that norovirus is usually self inflicted?

It’s not just the poor washing of hands, it’s whether they’re washed at all.

Think about your day, from the time you left for work, to the time you meet your friends for dinner at the pizza  joint.

Think about the things you’ve touched that other people touch as well – the heavy traffic hand contacts everybody else makes, also without washing their hands.

Door handles, light switches, keypads, money, keys, hand rails, grab handles for instance. When do those things ever get cleaned – and how germified are they before you touch them?

Follow that with a whole day at the office, with perhaps 2 or 3 trips to the loo, and just maybe you’re also in that gruesome 62% or 40%. Yes, it’s possible. You do the whole day and show up for eats, without even washing once.

And then you order a double pepperoni and pineapple – which you EAT WITH YOUR HANDS.

So where does the food poisoning come from – out of the pizza oven, or off your own fingers?

Same thing with burgers, chicken drumsticks, kebabs, hot dogs, chips, bacon butties and anything else you munch on the go.

Finger lickin’ good, sure. And finger lickin’ norovirus, e.coli, campylobacter, salmonella or whatever else you swallowed at the same time.

Soap and water and safe

Yet all it takes – to help the NHS and spare yourself the agony – is a short session with soap and water. Always before food and always after the loo.

The same five minutes should help you duck the Aussie flu too. Because, yes, it’s airborne, but mostly spread on contact. Those gobs of snot and dribble are too heavy to stay up for long. Keep your hands and face clean and you can avoid them altogether.

Which is exactly how best to help the NHS.

Avoidance.

Don’t get ill in the first place, and the four-hour misery of A&E never happens. You never have to worry about getting a bed, or a possible appointment with the Grim Reaper in the corridor.

You do your bit – and everybody else does theirs – suddenly the NHS stands a fighting chance.

No more slagging them off. That belongs to the politicians, who can’t keep their mitts off, pretending to organise things. They’re not doctors, and they’re not managers – so what would they ever know about running a health service?

They’re the mob who shut down all the care homes, so the old folks have no place to go except stay in their hospital bed. The same mob who contracted local doctors so they’re no longer on call – and don’t work evenings or weekends either.

Want to see your GP? Sorry, on the golf course, come back next week.

See your Westminster wunderkind

All of which means contact your local party wunderkind and give them hell. All those people crowding into the NHS are their doing and it’s up to them to stop things.

And if you really want to help the NHS, make them think about the future too, not just the votes they’ll lose next time we go to the ballot box. Because if this winter’s NHS crisis looks bad, get ready for Armageddon in ten years’ time.

According to Dr Dame Sally Davies, England Chief Medical Officer, two calamities are coming that make Aussie flu look like child’s play.

The first is antibiotic resistance. Those wonder-drugs that make modern medicine such a miracle are rapidly becoming useless. The bacteria they’re up against have mutated themselves into immunity. All of a sudden, basic surgery isn’t possible any more – no heart bypasses, no hip replacements, no C-section births. You could even die from a paper cut.

Worse still, there’s no replacement. Nothing in the pipeline. The medicine cupboard is bare ands we’re back to the Dark Ages.

The second is obesity. Already two-thirds of us are either fat or obese – and a third of our kids too. All set for the slippery slope to asthma, type 2 diabetes, possible amputations, heart disease and cancer. Unless something is done quick, 30 million of us are going to die – long, slow and agonising – half the population of UK.

The politicians are doing nothing about these either. Still thinking about lunch, their picture in the paper, and a salary equivalent to five nurses.

So, want to help the NHS?

Lay it on the line to your local wunderkind – do something now, before it’s too late.

Oh, and keep your hands clean while you’re doing it. It could save your life.

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.

How to fix the NHS – in 45 seconds flat

Girl showing stopwatch
If each of us took just 45 seconds with soap and water after everything we do, most NHS problems would simply go away

45 seconds is the time most people take to sing one verse of God Save the Queen twice.

Same length as the official version played at major events, like the FA Cup or international athletics meets.

It’s also the same time health experts recommend we should all take to wash our hands.

Not just a wiggle under the tap. Or just a rinse. The full Monty with soap and hot water – including between the fingers and backs of hands.

OK, big deal.

Soap and water to the rescue

So how does this rescue the NHS?

According to the latest media uproar, the system is drowning under the sheer number of patients. A&E departments swamped, operations backed up for months, not enough beds to care for people properly.

To spell it out more clearly – way too many patients.

Huh?

The NHS is a massive organisation with a budget this year of £107 billion, how can there be too many patients?

Because a lot of them SHOULDN’T BE THERE.

Our political train smash

Thanks to political machinating twelve years ago, most GPs don’t work weekends any more, so patients go to A&E instead of their local clinic. Except – surprise, surprise – the human body doesn’t take the weekend off, just like professional hospitals don’t.

Because when you’re sick, you’re sick. And you can’t wait around haemorrhaging all over the place because some politico bribed doctors for votes by letting them loose on the golf course.

Yeah, but politicians don’t sign up to the Hippocratic Oath – or any other code of conduct, it seems. For yonks doctors knew that their whole career was on call, day or night. They even made house calls.

Now, thanks to Westminster – none of whom are practicing doctors, last time anyone looked – you either call an ambulance, or you go to A&E. An organisational train smash.

And that’s not just weekends. It’s every day.

Because appointment times are so backed up, it takes a month to get to your GP anyway. Even then, there’s hours in reception, waiting to get your 5 minutes. Not exactly helpful with that headache killing you, or the pain in your chest that won’t go away.

Wash the whole problem away

So how does washing our hands help?

Think about it. Most everyday ailments are caused by infection of some kind. Tummy troubles, respiratory problems, allergies – viruses or bacteria at work to make you feel lousy.

And how do you catch them?

By swallowing them, or breathing them in, or sometimes by absorption through the skin. Nearly always introduced into your body by your hands – those things you do everything with – touch, feel, hold, grab, move, rub, scratch. Oh yes, and eat.

At the same time, we all know the importance of hygiene – that there are viruses and bacteria everywhere, waiting to do us down. But somehow washing our hands never seems to be on the radar.

We’re too OK, most of the time. Unaware that our hands become loaded with germs with everything we do. That they need constant “de-germing” to keep us safe. And that ordinary soap and water for 45 seconds will get rid of 99.9% of them.

Dishing the dirt – on ourselves

It’s more like we have a death wish. Because, believe it or not:

OK, so if 95% of us aren’t washing our hands properly, how many of us are falling ill from side-stepping 45 seconds of soap and water?

Probably at least half – maybe even a lot more.

But suppose we DID remember – and DID NOT fall ill as a result?

No need to go to the Doc at all, hey? No need to run to the NHS because the Doc’s not available. No crowds, no hours of waiting, no A&E staff stressed out from non-stop pressure. Problem sorted.

And all from 45 seconds of easy self hygiene.

Brexit from germs

A lot better than the politicians can do, because they’ll never get it right. Unless they can see votes coming out of soap and water, they won’t think about it anyway. They play best at down and dirty – and we’re all paying for it.

Wash our hands of them and our £107 billion NHS organisation suddenly becomes the amazing support mechanism it’s supposed to be. Brexit from germs.

Not bad for 45 seconds.

God Save the Queen.

Copyright: nomadsoul1 / 123RF Stock Photo and dolgachov/ 123RF Stock Photo

What do you mean, A&E can’t take us any more?

Girl taken aback
When antibiotics stop working, so does A&E – they’re too busy, coping with life and death cases

No A&E is not closed. They’re just very busy. Life-threatening crises only – there’s some seriously heavy doctoring going on in there.

Life-threatening because that’s what they’re swamped with. Lots of people who might die.

Because of antimicrobial resistance, that’s the nightmare they’re fighting. You may have heard of it as AMR.

None of their antibiotics in the cupboard are working any more – they’re failing because of superbugs.

Doctors always knew it was going to happen. Since antibiotics were first discovered, bacteria have always found a way to develop immunity. Sooner or later, the next wonder-drug becomes useless. And now all of them are.

The end of modern medicine

So it’s back to hands-on medicine with bandages and antiseptics. Doing everything the hard way.

No more miracle recoveries, from now on we all have to face the hard facts of life.

It hasn’t happened yet of course. But it’s sure as hell going to. And very, very soon. Dr Sally Davies, England’s Chief Medical Officer, has been warning us of it for years.

And when it does, all the amazing capabilities of modern medicine will come tumbling down in ruins. No more heart bypasses. The end of hip replacements. Caesarean births no longer possible. The end of any major surgery because drug-driven infection control is finished. A&E stalled.

Not just operations either. Think of all the ailments we run to the GP for that we clobber with antibiotics. Especially for our kids.

When antibiotics fail, there is no safety net. No more bacteria-bashing for us. It’s bacteria’s turn to strike back.

Yes, we’re vulnerable. But we’re not dead yet. If we’re watchful, we can survive.

Friends, not enemies

First off, if we can’t beat them, we should join them. A lot easier than most of us think, because we’re not the living beings we think we are. Only 10% of us is human.

The rest is bacteria, actually essential to our needs. Fulfilling a zillion functions – from digestion, to protein production, to even managing our immune systems. Going to war with bacteria is going to war with ourselves.

Of course there is good bacteria and bad bacteria. Or more accurately, bacteria in the right place – and bacteria in the wrong place. When we come down with bacterial ailments, those are really the bad guys in the wrong place.

Which means our best survival chances are by protecting the good bacteria from the bad. Shielding them from contact, or avoiding possible exposure. Effective defence, long before getting to A&E.

Hygiene protection

Yes, so second, we need to take care. No more blundering around without thinking. We need to be alert always. Aware of accident opportunities and steering clear. Slice your finger chopping vegetables, and you could be in serious trouble. Especially if A&E can’t help.

Third, we need all the protection we can get. Keep those bad bacteria away. Never let them get near us, so we’re never threatened.

Which puts a major stress on hygiene. Deliberately taking it way more serious – and never letting our guard down. Bad bacteria can’t get to us if there aren’t any around.

So it’s washing hands before and after we do anything. And much more thoroughly than we might have done before. Two minutes with soap and water, not the token rinse we usually kid ourselves with.

It’s cleaning and washing everything around us too. No good if our hands are clean and we touch something contaminated. Bacteria are everywhere, billions and billions of them – on every surface and in the air around us.

Yeah, OK. We can rub and scrub with bleach like we’re paranoid. We still won’t reach everywhere and bacteria are persistent. Bugs like norovirus and salmonella are notorious for coming back over and over again.

Stacking the odds

Luckily, there is a way to annihilate them. Oxidise them with hydrogen peroxide. Their cells are ripped apart by oxygen atoms. No more threat – ALL viruses and bacteria are destroyed.

And the easy way to do it? Use a Hypersteriliser. Taking the heat off A&E.

Press one button and the place mists up with IONISED hydrogen peroxide – more potent and way more effective than other methods. Electrically charged, the ultra-fine mist particles are galvanised into escaping from each other. Pushing into every crack and crevice, reaching underneath and behind things, hard up against walls, floor and ceiling.

That same charge reaches out and grabs at germs like a magnet too. With the opposite charge, they are helplessly attracted – to be zapped into nothing by an oxidising phalanx of hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, ozone and ultraviolet.

Germ-free – safe

Give it 40 minutes and all germs are gone. 99.9999% of them, to a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 6. Down to just one germ out of every million particles in the room – almost infinitesimally nothing.

Imagine, the room is germ-free. Even though we bring our own cloud of germs in with us, we’re stepping into a zero threshold. Can’t get much better protection than that.

And don’t panic, A&E might be hard-pressed, but they’re not totally swamped yet.

Bump our hygiene levels all round though, and they stand a better chance of riding the tsunami to come.

Amazing though isn’t it?

We can prevent the end of the world, just by washing our hands.

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

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

OK, OK, “dead” might be a little OTT.

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

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

Poison protection

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

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

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

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

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

Finger-lickin’ dangerous

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

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

And yes, death is possible.

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

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

Stupid really, and we should all know better.

Wash hands, or die

Not enough time? Rubbish!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For finger food? You must be nuts.

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No more life-saving with antibiotics – what do we do now?

Ophelia dead
Without antibiotics, everything around us becomes life-threatening

No life-saving because the antibiotics don’t work any more.

Ask any doctor, we’re already  living on borrowed time.

Maybe not today, or even tomorrow – but one day soon, we’re looking at total failure.

Antibiotic resistance, see? The bugs are too smart for the drugs we throw at them.

We’re better off with paracetamol.

A riskier world

OK, we’re safe as long as nothing happens to us.

But Sod’s Law says it will.

Hopefully not a runaway car crash – but suddenly even a paper cut could be a disaster.  And what life-saving do we have then?

No more protection from infection.  Something goes septic on us now and the Doc will have to cut it away. Yes, risky – but our miracle-drugs can’t crack it any more.

And us with our sloppy hygiene habits – those germs will be laughing all the way to the morgue. Overnight, life-saving is way more urgent than it ever used to be.

Hygiene first

Unless – we smarten up our act and put hygiene first – recognise germs are everywhere and start being seriously clean.

Yeah, the hands have it. Big time soap and water. Except now, we need to wash slightly more than once or twice a day. Always before food. Always after the loo. And always before we touch our faces.

Plus of course, everything else needs to be scrupulously clean too. Kitchen surfaces and utensils. Anything to do with food. And our workplaces, where millions of germs thrive that we’re not even aware of.

First rule in germ warfare is infection avoidance. There’s always billions and billions of bacteria around us – viruses and fungi too. And yes, it is a war – they never give up trying to invade us.

There’s trillions of them INSIDE us too – friendly gut bacteria we actually NEED to help our bodies survive. Harmless enough where they are. But deadly in the wrong place.

Escherichia coli for example, is a bacterium that lives in our gut to aid digestion and protect us from other harmful microbes. But disease-causing strains of it, like O157:H7, disrupt body functions, triggering diarrhoea or worse. And e.coli in the bloodstream is seriously life-threatening.

Hygiene technology

So sure, washing hands and everything else becomes essential – but with no antibiotics safety-net, is still woefully short of keeping us safe.

However hard we try, we can never reach every hidey-hole, crack or crevice where germs like to lurk and breed. And pulling things out to clean underneath and behind all the time makes effective protection impossible.

Which means we need another dimension – to use our smart Twenty-First Century technology to clobber the germs we can’t get to – in a way that allows us to relax.

Enter the Hypersteriliser – a familiar sight in hospitals like the Salford Royal, South Warwickshire, or Queen Victoria in East Grinstead. Expect them soon all over the place – the most effective all-in-one total room sterilisers yet.

You do the rub and scrub. The Hypersteriliser backs up with one press-button start – removing ALL  viruses and bacteria in a room completely, oxidising them to nothing.

It works by misting up the place with ionised hydrogen peroxide – electrostatically charged so it reaches everywhere – behind, underneath and on top of things, walls and ceilings too. Germs are actively grabbed and shot through with oxygen atoms, their cell structures totally destroyed.

Forty minutes later, the room is sterile. No viruses, no bacteria – 99.9999% of harmful pathogens destroyed – a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 6.

Be watchful – and live

OK, that’s your front-end germ insurance taken care of, a hyped up level of hygiene – prevention is better than cure.

From now on, you have to be more watchful too – avoid germ hazards, don’ let accidents happen to you, be super-careful around anyone sick.

Maybe not as miraculous as antibiotics, but just as life-saving BEFORE any illness gets anywhere near your body.

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All your worries, gone, safely down the plughole

Woman pleased with herself
No probs with disease or illness – you know your hands are clean

Down the plughole and clean away.

All your troubles, fears and niggles – you can wash your hands of the lot.

Because now you can relax, knowing you’re healthy and safe.  Time to enjoy getting on with your life.

Yeah, your health.

Without that, the whole world goes pear-shaped.

You can’t do your job, you can’t enjoy your food, everything is difficult and relationships go haywire.

Totally not nice when you can’t be yourself.

Your world, destroyed

And so easily taken away – by illness or accident.

Sure, nothing’s going to stop you from your next big achievement – you are determined, you’re going for it, you’re totally in the groove.

Then, boom – you get hit by a bus. Or you pick up an infection, out of the blue.

Nothing slows you down like concussion and a punctured lung. Or a screaming high temperature and the worst headache you’ve ever had – meningitis is not to be played with.

Either way, you’re out of action. Whatever was on your mind before now has no significance. Like it or not, the world gets put on hold until you recover. Only one issue faces you – the state of your health.

Which is where the plughole comes in. More significant in your life than you could ever imagine.

Bye-bye germs

Because it’s down the plughole that germs go, when you wash them away. And if you’re ill from injury or infection, washing them away becomes a life-saving event. Warm water and suds going down, glug, glug, glug.

Because they take 99.9% of all the germs on your hands with it – escherichia coli, salmonella, clostridium difficile, campylobacter, MRSA, colds, flu, norovirus – the usual suspects around you every day.

Don’t think you have germs on your hands? Hey, with a life-threatening condition like you already have, the last thing you want is to add secondary infection. Sure there’s germs on there, they’re just too small to be seen.

Want a reality check?

So somebody feels sorry for you and brings you a box of chocolates. Expensive gift selection, but whoops, they got left in the car for a couple of hours – and this is the first day all year the temperature has gone over a mild 22⁰. Closer to 35⁰ in the parking lot.

The chocolate test

As you find out when the cellophane comes off.

Chocolate everywhere, right? Even with you doing everything you can to avoid it. Across ALL your fingers, not just the picky-grabby ones. On the backs of your hands too, and on the box, over the sheets and the bedside table, with more tacky paw-marks all over things you don’t even remember touching.

That’s what germs are like. They get everywhere. And they don’t wipe off. They’re there until you get serious and head for the bathroom.

They don’t rinse off either – you have to do it properly. Actually get the soap out and lather up. That separates the stuff chemically from your fingers – kinda like making the water super-wet, so it does its job better.

The same thing happens to germs, tiny though they are. The soap makes them detach easier, so there they sit, milling around in the basin with everything else. Pull the plug and they’re gone – bye-bye infection risk.

Almost.

Paper towels better

You still have to dry your hands, so there’s several million other germs clinging to your skin until you do.

Which is why paper towels are so good. The wiping action scrapes the germs off and then you chuck them away – safely into the bin, if you didn’t get them with the plughole. Much better than cloth, which stays moist after use – exactly what germs like to breed and multiply further.

It doesn’t take a bus or meningitis to wake you up to this truth either.

Whatever we’re doing, most of us are waltzing around with up to 10 million germs on each hand anyway.

Add the fact that we also touch our faces all the time too – like 2,000 – 3,000 times a day – and germs get a good old go, invading us through the soft tissue of our eyes and mouth.

Always at risk

Count on it, unless you make a serious habit out of washing your hands every time after you’ve been to the loo, or before you eat food – you’re risking exposure to just about every illness on earth. Only your body’s own immune system saves you – which it probably does, thousands of times a day.

Far better to send germs down the plughole. You’ve got things to do and a life to live. Who wants EXTRA worries about how well you are on top of everything else?

Besides, when you’re fit and healthy, worries get easier to handle, don’t they? A major mission with a busted rib, but a breeze when you’re whole again.

So, the plughole is ready. Better get the soap out.

Like we said, troubles, fears and niggles – you can wash your hands of the lot.

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Remember not to die, wash your hands

OMG Girl
It’s only soap and water – and it doesn’t hurt a bit

It’s an OMG moment – when you remember not to die.

So easy to forget with everything happening around you. Things to do, people to see – busy, busy, busy – no time for anything

But nobody wants to die, right?

Which is why you wash your hands.

Life habit that kills when you forget

Not because you ought to. Not because you’re nagged to. Not from any pressure of any kind.

Simply because you don’t want to die, and washing your hands can fix it.

Easy peasy, soap and water – you get to live another day.

Not really a game, is it? Or do we all like dicing with death?

Because we all know WHY we wash our hands, don’t we? We all know about germs. We all know about illness. And we’re not so stupid to expose ourselves needlessly to something that will kill us.

Or are we?

So easy, so simple, so how come we NEARLY ALL OF US forget to do it? To wash our hands and take away the risk?

Even doctors – who know the score and how critical it is to saving lives – even they forget to remember, right there in the hospital.

So what hope is there for the rest of us? At the rate we’re going, we’ll all be dead tomorrow.

Suicide or murder?

Yeah, goodbye. It was nice knowing you.

Or are we going to wise up and do something about it?

Because it’s not just ourselves we might kill with our forgetfulness – not just suicide.

The germs on our hands might transfer to other people – or to things other people might touch.  So they might die too.

And then it’s murder.

Murder for forgetting to use soap and water?

You bet.

As we all know, ANY illness can snowball into something worse.

Yet every day we take chances – lucking onto ourselves and others around us such nasties as the common cold, influenza, pneumonia, hepatitis A, gastroenteritis, stomach bugs like salmonella, campylobacter and norovirus, contagious illnesses and MRSA.

What the hell’s wrong with us?

If we get unlucky we could even wind up with brain worms  – already more common than any of us would like to think.

So what do we need? A tattoo on our wrists, like on cigarette packs?

NOT WASHING YOUR HANDS KILLS.

Our own worst enemy

Yeah, yeah – so why aren’t we dead already?

Because it’s not the soap and water that protects us from germs. It’s our skin, with its acid mantle – a natural barrier that most bacteria and viruses cannot get through.

They can’t get through – and they don’t always die either. So they just hang around, waiting for a break. Like when they’re rubbed into soft tissue around the eyes or mouth.

Not good. Because most of us have the instinctive habit of touching our faces 2,000 – 3,000 times a day.

Uncomfortable reality, huh?

Because it means most of the ailments and illnesses we come down with are self-inflicted. We touch ourselves all the time with unwashed hands, it’s inevitable we become infected. And it’s just luck of the draw we aren’t dead yet.

A paper cut at the office might be just that, a sore finger for a couple of days that then goes away. Or it might develop into sepsis, an infection where the immune system goes into meltdown and the body attacks itself. Get unlucky and you could be dead in days. And don’t kid yourself it can’t happen. Sepsis kills 44,000 a year in the UK, a really unpleasant way to die.

So what’s the problem?

Killer forgetfulness

Is our forgetfulness a death wish?

Or do we forget that dying is something that happens to all of us – so avoiding soap and water is some kind of denial?

Washing our hands won’t kill us. But not washing them might.

A sobering thought next time you’re in your favourite restaurant. How much of a risk will you take? Sure most of the time, you get away with it.

But don’t forget, that could be you on the floor, writhing in agony. And just your luck that the ambulance gets stuck in traffic.

Food poisoning, poppycock! With our shocking hand hygiene, most stomach illnesses can only be self-inflicted – we bring them on ourselves. One finger pointing, three fingers pointing back.

Remember that, next time the cramps get you and you feel like you’re going to die. And remember that one day you will.

Just hope it’s not from silly bugger forgetfulness about soap and water.

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