Tag Archives: sterile

Whole rooms sterile safe like surgical instruments

Girl student raises hand
Safe from viruses and bacteria – in this room the germ threshold is zero

Hotels know the concept.

It’s why glasses in the bathroom are wrapped in paper – and why there’s a band across the loo.

Sanitised for your protection.

Feel-good reassurance that your room is safe and free from germs.

If only

Wouldn’t that be great?

Thing is though, that “sanitised” only means clean.

And there’s a huge difference between clean and safe.

Sure it smells clean. Except all an air freshener does is mask odours.

But hey, clean is good. It’s the first part of setting your mind at rest.

Because better still and right now, sterile surroundings are possible. With scares like Ebola and MRSA around – they’re rapidly becoming part of our everyday. Real hospital operating-room sterile, the same as a heart surgeon’s instruments.

Hospital safe

Easy too – much simpler than the sterilising autoclaves you’ll find in hospitals – which typically require high temperatures and partial vacuums to make them work.

OK, the business of cleaning still has to be done. Dirt is dirt, that requires physical scrubbing, wiping and vacuuming to be removed.

But microscopically small, germs still remain – less than before, but still a hazard. And because you can’t scrub air, they’re still filling the empty space that is most of a room – lighter than air and able to survive for weeks or more.

Time to bring in the Hypersteriliser – about the size of a small wheelie-bin, and just as manoeuvrable. Ready to sterilise your room to the same Log 6 Sterility Assurance Level that hospitals demand. All at the touch of a button.

Like hospital sterilisers, the Hypersteriliser uses ionised hydrogen peroxide gas plasma that destroys virus and bacteria cells by oxidising them into oblivion.

Low temperature ionisation

The difference is ionisation by electricity instead of heat – kinder to sensitive materials, generating less moisture and leaving no residues. And of course, instead of a small cubby-hole, the entire room becomes the sterilising chamber.

The ionised hydrogen peroxide is released into the room in an ultra-fine mist – a safe and ultra-low 6% solution, the same as you might buy in the chemist to whiten your teeth.

The cloud of molecules disperses rapidly in all directions – repelled from each other by the negative charge they all have – forcing them to the far limits of the enclosed space, hard against furniture, equipment, walls, floor and ceiling or any other objects in the room.

And of course, deep into any cracks or crevices that let them escape each other further.

The charge also energises them, releasing ozone, ultraviolet light, hydroxyl radicals and highly reactive oxygen species – oxidising atoms that actively seize harmful pathogens, attracted by their positive charge – latching onto them and ripping them to shreds.

This action dissipates the charge, the hydrogen peroxide reverts to oxygen and small amounts of water, which immediately evaporate.

How do you know it works?

You can’t see germs anyway, so you can’t see when they’re not there either.

But here’s a clue.

One indication that bacteria are active is the smell caused by infection or their reaction with organic substances. After hydrogen peroxide treatment, all odours should be gone.

The other giveaway is mould.

Dirty black and difficult to remove when active, it subsides to a pale grey as its cells die off with oxidising. Its discolouration is still there of course, but now an easy wipe should take it off – job done. No mould, no germs.

What haven’t we told you?

Ah yes, if you’re worried about using chemicals to make the room sterile, remember that hydrogen peroxide is manufactured by the body as its own germ-fighting defence. It’s a chemical yes, but occurs naturally to do exactly the same thing.

So there you have it. A way to make rooms safely sterile in around 20 – 40 minutes, depending on size.

It doesn’t kill the germs we might carry around on our bodies, or inside us.

But it does reduce the germ threshold to zero so we can’t catch anything new when we walk in.

Yes, prevention is better than cure. So here’s a hospital-type way to stay out of hospital and stay healthy too.

Should help with all the pressures they’re having right now. Phew!

Originally posted 2015-04-20 12:11:06.

How to kill superbugs before superbugs kill you

Happy wman doctor
Superbugs? Yes but antibiotics aren’t the only defence we’ve got

“Look out,” the government says, “there’s a superbug outbreak coming. 80,000 people could die in one go.”

Down in the mouth about it?

Don’t be. Because there’s over 100 billion microbes ALREADY living there. In your mouth, that is – more than 15 times the number of people living on earth.

Germs everywhere

Better believe it. And just one tooth has over 100,000 living on it – greater than the biggest crowd that can fit into Wembley.

So when you start thinking about “the germs are coming”, better calm down before you give yourself a heart attack. They’re already here.

Fact is, though we have big ideas otherwise, we’re just a bunch of microbes ourselves. A whole load of specialised cells living together, walking around, full of ourselves.

Uh huh.

Reality, we’re an alternative version of the Great Barrier Reef -microbes instead of coral polyps, kinda like germs ourselves, at least we share our bodies with them – a complete living microbiome.

We are germs too

We’re riddled with germs – and need to be.

Don’t think of your body as a sterile temple, it’s not. Every inch of us is colonised by bacteria – some good, some bad – but pretty well all of them necessary for our bodies to continue to function.

Your gut, for example, has billions of bacteria that handle digestion. They do the work and our bodies are charged with energy as a result.

The secret is that everything has its place and exists in balance with everything else. Throw the balance out and the body suffers. Which is why this superbug issue gets to be such a problem.

Once upon a time we used to be able to take them out with antibiotics.

Great while they lasted, but the bugs got wise and developed immunity. Easy enough to do when you reproduce yourself several million times an hour, correcting and improving yourself as you go along.

Antibiotics came out of the 50s – so the bugs have had seventy odd years at it. Plenty of time to dream up new defences when those stupid old humans sit on their butt thinking they’ve licked the problem for good.

Superbugs? No wonder.

Continuous mutation

Because effective thought they were, antibiotics couldn’t target everything.

And with continuous mutation, the bugs they were designed to destroy aren’t just immune, they’re not even the same any more.

But we’ve got to be careful, because we’re made of bugs too. We won’t just shoot ourselves in the foot, we could take ourselves out altogether.

So what defence do we have?

Very simple – avoid, avoid, avoid.

Step outside the enclosed environments we live in for an hour or two – and sterilise the whole place.

Not us, our living space. No viruses, no bacteria, nothing. Blitz the lot so they’re gone.

We’re fine and in balance with our existing bacteria already – we don’t need a bunch of new ones screwing things up and making us dead.

But the trick is to do the WHOLE place, not just some of it.

Wiping down surfaces and floors might feel like making things safe, but it’s too hit and miss.

Mostly miss.

It’s a pain to do as well. Hard work, rubbing and scrubbing. And never getting underneath or behind everything. Never being sure there’s nothing lurking in the cracks.

Brute force, with finesse

Which is why we use the Hypersteriliser. It pumps out hydrogen peroxide, which kills all viruses and bacteria, but reverts back to oxygen and water so it doesn’t harm us.

And the Hypersteriliser ionises it into a dry-mist plasma, so it gets everywhere by force – way better than anything we could do with a hand wipe.

Ionising charges the hydrogen peroxide particles so they all go frantic, trying to get away from each other. They’re lighter than air too, so they spread up and out – underneath, behind and into every crack and crevice they can find.

That same charge attracts them to germs like a magnet. They grab out and latch on – in mid-air, on the ceiling, through the coils of cabling behind electronic equipment, everywhere. Oxygen atoms release on contact and all those pathogens are gone.

To do the same job by hand would take forever – but allowing time for the plasma to do its work thoroughly, the average room is clear and safe in around forty minutes.

Of course the superbugs are still out there in the Great Outdoors and you could get unlucky.

Safe at last

But nary a one can survive indoors as long as you sterilise the place first. Not MRSA, not c. difficile, not e. coli, not acinetobacter baumannii or any of the other current crop of nasties. Not even Ebola.

Feel safer now?

Remember to wash your hands too and you should be untouchable.

Good health!

Originally posted 2015-04-08 13:32:13.

Germ Wars: auto-sterile defences move closer

Asking doctor
Emergency time is short – how long do we have to get completely sterile?

HAIs on the increase.

Antimicrobial resistance more unchecked than ever before.

The beginning of the end?

Not if Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn have anything to do with it.

They’ve just taken delivery of one of those American UV sterilising jobbies for evaluation. The thing that zaps pathogens with a blast of pulsed xenon.

Turning the tide

Way to go, QEH.

ANY move against infections is hugely good for all of us.

Especially the automated kind.

Because disinfecting and sterilising by hand is not just a thankless labour intensive schlep.

It takes forever and it’s too easy to miss bits.

High touch surfaces and work tops of course – but what about underneath things? Or behind medical equipment with all those coils and tubes and wires? Or the massive bit that never gets done because you can’t scrub empty space – the surrounding air in every room?

Zap! The American jobbie will do most of it. The UV rays attack virus and bacteria cell DNA, destroying it almost immediately. So it’s quick too, everything in sight sterilised in under ten minutes.

Short, sharp hits in places with a time crunch, wow.

But not everywhere.

UV’s Achilles heel

Because the UV rays only work in straight lines radiating out from the machine. Underneath and behind things still need attention. Follow-up hand-wipes on grab-rails and handles for instance.

A mega-step in the right direction though. Nailing anywhere from 60 – 80% of pathogens dead in minutes.

Especially those in the air. So microscopically small – but floating around – lying in wait in the biggest undefended space in any hospital room – more than 80% in some high-ceilinged wards.

Zap! Sorted. Zap! Sorted.

Imagine one of those in a hard-pushed A&E. No time to catch your breath, the next patient is in for treatment stat – and at least most of the place is sterilised. A fleet of smaller, inexpensive versions like the Hyperpulse, could chop infections massively.

So is 100 percent auto-sterile possible? Yes, with hydrogen peroxide plasma. (Tweet this)

Total room sterilisation

Ask the team in the haematology unit at Salford Royal NHS. For two years now, they’ve been holding infections in check with Hypersteriliser machines.

OK, they do take forty minutes to do a room, not ten.

But the ultra-fine hydrogen peroxide plasma mist that they disperse clobbers all viruses and bacteria completely. Any room treated with these things is sterile to Log 6 – 99.9999% of all germs totally annihilated.

Like a kind of super-gas, the hydrogen peroxide ions are charged – each molecule actively trying to get away from the same negative charge of all its neighbours. This spreads the plasma everywhere, forcing it hard against walls, ceilings, beds and furniture. Deep into cracks too, where hand-wipe cleaning cannot reach.

In the same instant, the negative charges actively reach out to grab positively-charged viruses and bacteria, releasing oxygen atoms at them that rip them to shreds. Boosted with silver, this action is multiplied three times over and more.

Forty minutes and it’s all over – any remaining mist reverting to harmless oxygen and water, which immediately evaporates. It can’t cure the patient, but at least you know the room you put them in is safe and totally sterile.

The war of course, never stops.

But it’s reassuring to know we have some effective weapons.

Originally posted 2015-04-01 14:18:30.

Spreading Corrie virus can be stopped

Girl with TV camera
The show must go on,
contingency plans are already in place

“Deadly manflu virus,” Simon Gregson called it – already signed off for a week as Steve McDonald in TV’s popular soap.

A possible disaster for TV viewers as their favourite programme falters.

Seems the rest of the cast and crew are flaking too, as this mystery illness takes hold in one after another.

Favourite soap in jeopardy?

Will cameras stop?

Not if producer Stuart Blackburn can help it. There are always contingency plans. But so far they stop short of everyone on the Street coughing and spluttering on camera.

Not surprising that it’s spread so fast though.

Sending sick actors off to bed doesn’t take the germs away, whatever they are. Especially on the interior sets – inside the Rover’s Return and everywhere else there’s plenty of places for viruses to hide.

They’re survivors too. Unlike the poor cast. Some types can last for a week or more, clinging to sets and scenery. Microscopically small no-one can see them.

But cough, choke, gag, sneeze – everyone knows they’re there soon enough.

A real headache for the production team. Because lurking germs continue to infect other cast members, even though the first lot are booked off and safe in bed.

A giant-sized job

And can you imagine disinfecting a warehouse-sized building full of intricate nooks and crannies – making sure there’s no germs anywhere on any surface?

Especially up high in the lighting grid. Or round the back of those impressive and convincing scenery walls.

All that electricity. Getting up there with wipe-clean disinfecting liquids is asking for trouble. A sure risk to life and limb too.

Right, it can’t be done.

Not so anyone can be sure.

So is life on the cobbles going to be sniff, splutter for the next few months while this “deadly manflu” does the rounds?

It doesn’t have to be.

A TV studio might be impossible to disinfect by wipe-clean. (Tweet this)

Technology to the rescue

But it’s a breeze with a good fogging system. And a sure-fire way to sterilise the entire place to hospital operating-theatre standards – no viruses or bacteria anywhere. Safe and gone.

It might take a while though. Big studio, lots of space. A couple of hours overnight when everyone’s grabbing some shuteye.

Time enough for a couple of Hypersterilisers to mist up the place and let their magic reach everywhere. A studio is a massive place to treat when you get behind the scenes.

Don’t worry though. Corrie people can be sure it will work.

The mist is hydrogen peroxide, one of the most powerful antimicrobials around.

And it gets everywhere because it’s ionised – a treatment that makes it more like a super-gas – actually a plasma, charged with electrons that get everywhere by physically trying to escape from each other – but grab hold of oppositely charged viruses and bacteria and oxidise them to oblivion.

Sterilised, safe and secure

A one-way ticket if you’re any kind of germ.

But a totally sterilised studio to work in if you’re an actor or camera crew.

99.9999% germ-free. Safe as houses.

Not just the studio either. But dressing rooms, wardrobe, make-up and other work areas – the whole shooting match.

Sure, it might be a few days before Steve and Liz McDonald, Sally Ann and a few others are fully back to normal.

But at least nobody else should come down with it – or anything else. And Kal Nazir can leave the Street without any unhappy lasting experiences.

Your favourite show would be protected.

Originally posted 2015-03-25 13:11:24.

Open wide… no chance of infection here

Dental checkup
No chance any infection
will get you while you’re here

Terrified of the dentist? You shouldn’t be. These days it doesn’t hurt – and when your mouth feels healthy, so do you.

Unless you’re worried about infection of course. That Nottingham dentist did nothing for anyone’s confidence.

Strictly come clean

But your own dentist has strict hygiene rules to follow – and you can bet he does. With around 20 billion oral microbes living in your mouth – more than the number of people living on earth – no way he’s taking chances.

If you think about it, a dentist’s surgery is like a hospital operating room, so some basic rules apply:

  • All surfaces are disinfected between patients.
  • Hands are washed and new gloves pulled on between patients.
  • All instruments are heat-sterilised between patients.

UV in the OR

Plus, after the Nottingham case, you might notice your dentist has a new toy. A schnazzy new ultra violet light generator.

Because in a hospital you personally get prepped before any operation – cleaned, disinfected, sterilised – made safe.

But dental patients walk in straight off the street. And every single one of us wears an aura of at least 3 million viruses and bacteria all the time – every one of them looking for a way into our bodies to start their mischief.

OK, so you’re at the dentist.

Then what happens? Your dental operation starts bang, straight away.

But you’re still in your street clothes, with slush on your shoes, no opportunity to wash your hands – you touch the dentist’s chair, the armrest and maybe something else – what sort of things are you bringing in for the next patient to run the risk of?

Well, none.

NONE.

Because you’ll notice that when the patient before you comes out, so do the dentist and the nurse –they don’t want to be exposed and things are about to happen in there.

Death ray for germs

They close the door. The dentist presses a remote control – not for catch-up TV, but for the ultra violet generator.

ZAP!

Inside the surgery the machine goes into action, blitzing every germ dead  – in the air, on surfaces – destroying their DNA by irradiation. Pumping out high intensity ultra violet light in the shortwave C spectrum, pulsed in concentrated flashes to minimise human exposure.

5 minutes and it’s safe. The room is sterile. No germs for you to catch except those you brought with you. And you’ve survived the day so far, ain’t nothing going to happen now.

You go into the surgery with the dentist and nurse. No germs, no nothing, the whole room is 99.999% free of them – what they call Sterility Assurance Level 5 (ever so posh).

Still worried about the dentist?

Don’t be.

If you’ve ever had raging toothache at 4.00 in the morning, you’ll know he’s on your side.

Originally posted 2014-12-17 14:30:00.

Time to celebrate – you need never catch an infection again

Happy, happy! You've survived the germs AGAIN!
Happy, happy! You’ve survived the germs AGAIN!

Congratulations. Your body has just survived exposure to 29,743,987,435 germs.

That’s about how many surround you at any one time.

And congratulations. Thirty seconds later, and you’ve just done it again.

Only this time it’s 32,867,201,591 germs. And no, they’re not the same ones.

They just keep coming and coming and your body has to cope with this onslaught every second of every day.

Don’t believe it?

When was the last time you stood waiting in the Underground, and your face got blasted with dust?

And how many dust particles do you reckon that was? 8 million? 80 million?

OK, now your average virus or bacteria is probably around a million times smaller than a single speck of dust.

Smaller than the pollen that gives you hay fever. Smaller than the particles in cigarette smoke. Smaller than droplets of water vapour in a cloud. So really, really tiny, it’s why you can’t see them at all.

But they’re there alright.

You wouldn’t walk into a room full of people with bird flu, would you? But you can’t see the bird flu. So how do you know it’s there?

But it’s not just the bird flu you have to worry about. It’s the 23,849,362,072 other viruses and bacteria floating around. By the way congratulations. You’ve just survived again.

But what if you didn’t?

What if you forgot to wash your hands , just the once? Or breathed something in? Or did something stupid like the philosopher Sir Francis Bacon back in 1626?

Famously in March of that year, he was driving in his carriage when it occurred to him to check out how coldness might affect the decay of meat. He stopped, bought a chicken, had the guts pulled out, and crouched down on the ice to stuff it full of snow, right there and then.

Spot the mistake?

Yeah, he caught a chill so bad that he couldn’t go home. So they took him to his pal’s house, the Earl of Arundel, put him to bed. It didn’t help. The chill became pneumonia and the poor bloke conked on 9th April.

Oh, and by the way, congratulations again.

Maybe now you’ve got some idea of how much hazard we all face, every single day. And it gets worse when we’re all together.

Some of us are healthier than others. And as we know well, very often the sick ones pass on their germs. Because the one particular bug is more concentrated in their system and ready to invade.

So down we come with the bug and we didn’t even do anything!

All unnecessary.

Because, as we have known since the Nineteenth Century – only 200 years after Bacon’s time – ALL germs die if we clobber them with hydrogen peroxide.

And if we get clever with Twenty-First Century technology, we can spray it up in the air in an ultra-fine mist and knock out every single one of them in an average room in just 20 minutes.

No congratulations this time because there aren’t any germs any more. The place is sterile.

Still cause for celebration though.

For the first time in history, you’re safe. You can’t get ill because nothing can touch you.

So why don’t we do this all the time – in schools, restaurants, hotels, offices, everywhere?

No idea, you tell us.

Which makes us just as stupid as Sir Francis. All of us.

Why let disaster happen when you don’t have to?

Better stay off the chicken and bacon – just in case.

But at least you’re safe =- at least for now.

Because there’s one more thing.

You have to keep at it with the hydrogen peroxide because the germs come back.

People bring them in on their clothes, or let them waft in when they enter.

So congratulations again. You just survived another 35,987,061,362 potential infections.

But you could get awfully hammered, celebrating all the time.

Originally posted 2014-09-09 13:19:25.

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.

Boosting productivity: how to work harder by taking it easy

Sofa work
Ever noticed productivity goes up when it’s easy?

Productivity, productivity, how staff must hate that word. Working longer, working harder, always going the extra mile. No easy way out.

Faster, faster! Seems there’s no escape from having to work MORE, just to stay in the same place.

Yeah sure, not so bad if there’s extra money and longer holidays up for grabs. Though neither can lessen the pain.

All those hours lost, families fragmented, personal life down the tubes – where’s the magic?

Enjoyment vs resentment

Carrot and stick, see? Working late like everybody else does.

Because that’s what it takes to still have a job. Nobody WANTS to slave. But everybody HAS to. With brooding resentment every step of the way.

Which is one hell of a way to run a railroad – or anything else for that matter. Nineteenth Century sweatshop thinking. Head-on into everything and coming unstuck.

Much simpler to go with the flow. Bending with challenges and shaping around them. Making them work FOR you and not AGAINST.

Working harder by taking it easy.

Advanced technology and AI (Artificial Intelligence), for instance. Finishing in seconds where us humans take days or weeks.

Fast, yes – but not necessarily smart. Great for industry and automated business. Not so hot in the real world, where the business is satisfying people. Customers of course – and those amazing people called staff. The ones who make it all happen.

The very same who are always working those extra hours.

And what do they get for it? Tired, worn-out, nervous, irritable and depressed.

The productivity puzzle

Unwell of course with it, but unable to stay away. Jobs are few, nobody gets paid sick leave, and there might not even be a job to come back to afterwards.

Exactly why British productivity is down the tubes. The productivity puzzle they call it, though a solution is within reach – just by taking it easy.

Experts agree the puzzle started in 2008, with the financial crash. Redundancies, cutbacks, firms going belly up – kind of inevitable productivity took a dip.

But surprise, surprise, absenteeism took a dip too. With jobs thin on the ground, it was not the time to stay away from work if you were sick. Ten to one if you did, there’d be a junior in your place at half the salary. Bargain basement work quality, but money was tight.

Check the records. From 163.2 million days lost in 2007 just before the recession, absenteeism plunged 20% to 132.4 million days lost in 2011 – with only marginal recovery since.

Loud warning bells, right there.

People don’t suddenly stop getting sick. And germs don’t suddenly stop attacking us – after four billion years as the most successful life forms, they’ve learned to never give up. Reality check: in the whole history of the world, there’s never been such a thing as a get-well epidemic.

So if they didn’t take off sick, what were these people doing?

Unwell-at-work syndrome

Going to work unwell, of course. Toughing it out and pretending they were OK. And reality check again: hiding it as best they could from colleagues and employers. Whatever their numbers look like, the true picture is far worse.

And the truth is that since 2008, presenteeism – that’s people unwell at work – has increased steadily.  There are no official figures, as the issue is largely invisible. But with the all-pervasive culture of long hours now firmly established, it’s not unreasonable to suggest they’ve doubled.

And productivity in the meantime?

Down 15% on other G7 countries. 27% less than the Germans  and 31% less than the French. Hence the Euro-joke that it takes the Brits an extra day to do a week’s work.

Well, yes. For so many of us, it’s doing the job with one hand tied behind our backs.

Exactly what it’s like trying to work when you’re not well.

Hard to focus when your body’s out of balance. Just keeping your mind on the job becomes a mission. Mistakes get made, deadlines get missed, business flies out the window. Get really unlucky, and the whole company could crash.

OK, so in easy steps, how do we turn things around?

Prevention is better than cure

Prevention is better than cure – remember that one?

Eliminate germs that cause illness, and the problem turns around.

Because make no mistake, the germs are there – in their billions, just like normal. Too small to see so they’re not on our radar – but we are certainly on theirs. And because we not aware of them, we leave ourselves wide open to attack, particularly in the workplace.

For instance, as we’ve pointed out many times:

Again, because we can’t see germs, our personal hygiene is not much better.

From germ-free to engagement

Getting rid of germs therefore is like saving us from ourselves.

And it’s easier than we might think. A nightly mist-up with ionised hydrogen peroxide takes out ALL germs in the air and across all surfaces to make the place sterile.  As simple as pressing a button, it makes workplaces safe and secure for around £30 a day – probably less than the existing office cleaning bill.

It’s a proactive step too.

More positive than pretty well all staff wellness programmes. In their excellent Absence Management report, the CIPD list TWO PAGES of popular wellbeing options – from counselling, to gym membership, to healthcare packages – but not one addresses health protection.

But if there’s no germs, there are no illnesses to catch. A big impact from any staff point of view. Effectively demonstrating with actions not words that management is concerned for their welfare. That keeping them well and healthy is a top-level priority, and a major gesture at encouraging engagement. How’s that for effective motivation and retention?

A major boost to work quality too – without any demands on staff commitment. No longer hours to work, no extra mile to go, staff can give fully of themselves without being impeded by health issues.

So, with the ball rolling – and a boost to staff output capability now climbing by up to a third – productivity should be well on the upswing.

Productivity by involvement

Continuing staff engagement maintains this momentum. Dialogue to gain their involvement, listening sessions to ease their anguish. The easy but crucial step, from old-style Us & Them conflict, to useful two-way partnership.

Involvement, yes – because Beryl from Accounts knows more about VLookups in Excel than the IT consultant about to commit thousands on yet another system upgrade. The consultant might never touch Excel, but Beryl uses it daily.

And anguish, because everybody feels some – which could be stress, emotional strain, relationship issues or financial worries. Except a problem shared is a problem halved, especially if the boss is sympathetic – an engagement landmark and another notch up for recovering productivity.

On the road again

See? All of them easy steps, all of them key to everyone working better, enjoying what they do, feeling mutual respect and sharing their commitment to get on with the job.

Smarter, right?

A quantum leap from the Dark Ages of harder, faster, stronger.

So easy does it. Smarter, friendlier, healthier.

Productivity up and on the road again.

Picture Composite: Jordon Whitfield and Neonbrand on Unsplash

How germs at the office just got more dangerous

Germs in the office
Yes it all LOOKS reassuring – but we’re not as safe as we think we are

Dangerous? Germs at the office?  Poppycock!

A dose of flu maybe – kid’s stuff.

You’re more likely to have an accident with the photocopier.

Except there ARE germs in the office.

And if you read your papers, you’ll understand why doing something about them suddenly got a lot more serious.

First off is the report about superbugs in our travel network.

Nasties in the Underground

Research by taxi insurers Staveley Head recently turned up 121 different types of bacteria and mould in buses, taxis and in the tube – 9 of them antibiotic resistant.

As Staveley Head’s spectacular website demonstrates, pick one of those up on the way to work, and the Doc’s miracle medicine cure suddenly doesn’t work any more, them bugs have mutated to have immunity.

And pick them up you certainly can – nasties like e.coli, MRSA and klebsiella pneumoniae. Swab tests found them lurking on hand rails, seats, doors and walls – fomites waiting for contact with human hands.

To be carried along to work with all the other hazards we’re exposed to – in the air and on the things we touch. Dust, exhaust fumes, chemicals like acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, toluene and ethyl alcohol, or substances like lead, cadmium and methylene chloride.

We can’t see them of course, they’re microscopically small. But they’re on our clothes and skin and hair. We breathe them in. Ready to transfer to all the things we touch when we get to work. And for when we breathe out. Dangerous germs, unwittingly brought in for our colleagues to catch and succumb to.

And they’re not the only ones. Things are happening in other parts of this sad old world of ours that are equally dangerous to our health.

At war with disease

Like second, war in the Middle East.

Decades of conflict that have devastated whole countries and health systems. And in their wake, epidemics of diseases not seen by doctors for more than half a century. Polio in Syria and cholera in Yemen.

Not our problem, we say to ourselves. Syria is 2,000 miles away, Yemen 3,600.

Except sadly, in this age of direct jet travel, local problems are world problems. Already, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced, pouring into Europe or wherever they can get to. And like us tube travellers or the bloke on the No 9 bus, bringing their germs with them.

For every polio victim, how many are carriers? How many are there with the disease incubating inside them as they thankfully emerge on our streets, looking to start a new life?

Meanwhile, in Yemen, cases of cholera have already topped 167,000 and the disease is currently killing one person an hour. How many Yemenis are in Britain, heaving a heavy sigh of relief?

And how many of either have – without meaning to, or even know they’re doing it – transferred their germs to you?

Not directly, but via the grab handle in the back of a taxi, or a rush-hour strap on the Victoria Line – swabbed the worst for germs in the whole London system. Well of course, the Victoria Line runs right through incoming refugee central – King’s Cross & St Pancras AND Victoria.

Unseen, unheard, unrecognised

Worries, yes, And bigger than we think too.

Because third, American reports indicate that antibiotic-resistant superbugs are not as closely tracked in hospitals as they should be. Infection-related deaths are uncounted, greatly hindering the fight against an increasingly global health challenge.

Hopefully, protocols are more strictly adhered to here. But with the NHS in a a state of permanent overload from challenges in all directions, it is likely the same dangers exist in UK too. You peg off with a superbug that your Doc couldn’t treat when you were admitted for something else, who’s going to know?

Which comes back to how safe are you at the office?

And the unpleasant truth, not very. A fact that stems largely from our own hype about standards of hygiene. We think we’re cool.

Reality is way different from what we imagine. For instance:

All of which puts terrific dependence on how well the office itself is cleaned if we want to stay safe.

And the answer is, not very. Not when office cleaning is usually a grudge purchase at the lowest rate. A quick vacuum and wipe-down is min protection against the 10 million germs to be found on the average office desk.

Which, together with the germs we brought in off the street, make the place a lot more dangerous than we confidently kid ourselves it is.

The cost of doing nothing

Once a luxury, it is fast becoming a necessity to do something specifically about office germs. And if bosses won’t do it for staff health, maybe they’ll do it for the sheer economics.

Or “germonomics” if they choose to get serious. The thousands and thousands of pounds that can be saved – just by removing germs that threaten productivity. Push-button technology already in place to make offices sterile, safe and secure.

So how dangerous is YOUR office – because, since it affects us all, this is one of those where you CAN believe all the things you read in the newspaper?

And the answer is very easy.

Does the button get pressed every night, or not?

Why the next hotel luxury is fast becoming a must-have

5-star Halo
Luxury at the touch of a button. No viruses, no bacteria – 99.9999% germ-free

It’s not really a luxury, these days it’s a necessity.

A stylish hotel room that’s clean, welcoming – and STERILISED.

Completely germ-free the moment the door is opened.

No viruses, no bacteria, nothing.

And of course no dust, no odours, no disturbing noises.

Surrounded by germs

A haven from the world outside – immaculate, secure and safe.

Exactly as it should be for discerning guests.

Away from teeming germs. In the air, on every surface, on everything thing people touch.

Hardly surprising really, because microbes are everywhere – bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi.

We’re even half-bacteria ourselves. Our microbiome is home to over 12 trillion of them. In our gut and throughout our bodies. Beneficial bacteria that enable digestion, create proteins and even regulate our immune systems.

Plus each of us tows around with us our own invisible microbe cloud. Good and bad bacteria, dead skin cells and body detritus – a biological signature more distinctive and individual than a fingerprint or a retina scan.

A most insistent signature too.

It takes only an hour or two for our microbe cloud to completely take over a room. Displacing all other microbes, making the place completely ours.

It not only possesses the room, it lingers afterwards. As some police CSI specialists will be able to take advantage of in the very near future.

Bio-readings will not only tell them WHO was in the room. They’ll know, WHEN they were there.  WHAT mood they were in. Even what they had for their last meal.

Of course, none of which has any appeal to the discerning hotel guest.

The previous room occupant might have had a cold or flu. Or worse have been carrying norovirus at the incubation stage – not suffering yet, but about to. And might have touched things like the TV remote or air conditioning control – easy ways for the new guest to pick up germs on contact.

The germ-free hotel room

But not any more.

Because THIS particular hotel room has been treated by a Hypersteriliser.

All germs have been eliminated as part of regular house-keeping and room preparation.

The usual care and luxury touches with vacuuming, cleaning, tidying, clean linen and polishing first. Then a special dry mist treatment with ionised hydrogen peroxide – a powerful oxidising antimicrobial that reaches everywhere.

And we mean everywhere. An electrostatic charge forces it actively through the air, hard up against all surfaces, and deep into all nooks and crannies. In as little as twenty minutes, there is nowhere that the mist doesn’t reach.

Bacteria and viruses don’t stand a chance. That same electrostatic charge reaches out and grabs them like a magnet – holding them in a death clamp. Oxygen atoms rip them apart, they are eliminated. The mist then reverts to oxygen and water, which evaporates.

A 6-log Sterility Assurance Level it’s called. 99.9999% of all germs gone – down to just 1 microbe per million.

Necessary luxury

So that whatever the new guest breathes or touches is completely safe. Reassuring to VIPs vulnerable from intensive schedules or travel exhaustion. Luxury, yes – but to anyone busy with commitments to meet, absolutely essential.

Many celebrities or public figures cannot afford to let germs impair their performance or slow them down. Cancelling engagements to unexpected illness can cost millions.

But not to guests in STERILISED luxury. Away from the world in peace and quiet.

AND safe from infection.

Safer than in their own homes – unless they have a Hypersteriliser there too.

Luxury must-have, yes.

But to those at the very pinnacle, when only 100% is good enough, a total necessity.

Picture Copyright: cherezoff / 123RF Stock Photo