Once upon a time there was no such thing as antibiotics. No Plan B.
No superbugs to catch if they were resistant. People survived by living clean and healthy.
What kept us alive back then was clean water supplies, good sewerage, proper waste removal and high personal hygiene.
Kids went to school, washed and polished, hands and faces bright from brushing. All water was boiled. And washing got done the hard way – by hours of rubbing and scrubbing.
It worked too. People knew that living clean kept them safe from germs. Dirt made you sick.
Then antibiotics came along and people started taking chances. Dirt might make you sick, but antibiotics made you well again. Doctors could perform miracles without risk of infection. To infinity, and beyond.
Our great hygiene leap – backwards
Fifty years later, our water systems are older. Make that ancient – they were 100 years old in the first place. Pipes have rusted, other stuff has seeped in, leaks enough to fill 1,235 Olympic swimming pools a day flood our streets.
Our waste problems are even worse. For instance, in 2013 and 2014, 1.4 BILLION TONS of raw sewage were pumped into the Thames, far more than before our sewer system was even invented.
In the meantime, we’ve also become careless.
A little dirt in our lives? No problem, antibiotics will make us better when we get sick – wonder lifesavers for everything, so we gobble them down like sweets. And today we get away with chances our grandparents would never have dreamed of.
Except that germs no longer want to play that game. After 50 years of misuse and abuse, they learned how to survive antibiotics. To become immune. To stay alive, no matter what we chuck at them, resistant even to our last-resort triple-whammy specials.
Last resort drugs failure
Today, when all else fails, doctors fall back on two hard-core antibiotics they keep in the back of the cupboard. Carbapenems (actually a whole spectrum of antibacterials) and colistin. Our antibiotics Plan B.
Now here’s the bad news.
Carbapenems are already compromised by the emergence of a superbug more potent than existing villains like MRSA (methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus). Known as carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE), around 50% of people who get it into their bloodstream die.
Very much the second choice because of its kidney-damaging side-effect, colistin is not much better. Chinese researchers first found a strain of escherichia coli resistant to it in 2013. Not surprising, since down the road is a factory producing 10,000 tons of it a year – as a growth promoter for pigs and poultry.
So that’s it for Plan B, then. What now?
Our horrible hygiene habits
Back to basics, of course. It worked for our ancestors, it can work for us too.
And keep us alive.
Amazing what you can do with soap and water, isn’t it?
Which we certainly need to climb into. There’s three times more of us on the planet than there was back then. Which means three times more germs, because we’re all made of bacteria anyway. Plus the personal germ clouds each of us carries around with us. And three times more sewage – 11 million tons A DAY in London alone.
That’s a lot of germs, all milling around waiting to infect us. Waiting for us to get careless.
Which we seriously do, because we can’t see germs. They’re too small.
So we look at our hands and we reckon they’re clean.
Meanwhile, our reality check is that:
- 95% of people don’t wash their hands properly.
- 62% of men and 40% of women NEVER wash their hands after the loo.
- Only 12% of people wash their hands before eating.
Since we’re that dirty, our workplaces are not so clean either. All those things that never get cleaned – light switches, door handles, touch screens and keypads. Not forgetting our desks of course, with 10 million germs on average, just waiting to have a go at us.
Wash your hands – or else
Puts a new perspective on why we’re always coming down with colds and tummy bugs, doesn’t it? We’re lucky it’s not something more serious. Which, with something like sepsis and NO ANTIBIOTICS THAT WORK, it could easily be. A simple paper cut could be the infection that kills us.
Which is why we should be getting rid of the germs around us too – in the workplace, in restaurants and public buildings, in schools – even on public transport.
You leave home healthy, your hand grabs banisters, strap handles, escalator railings and door knobs. Then you pick up the office phone, which hasn’t been wiped since it was installed five years ago – and wonder where the tummy cramps came from that night.
So, get rid of the germs if we want to survive. Make it part of the daily cleaning routine so the place is always safe first thing in the morning. All it takes is a dose of ionised hydrogen peroxide every night and the place is sterile.
OK, so if antibiotics aren’t working, there are options besides Plan B.
Ramp up the hygiene and it’s back to the future – saving our own lives.
Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi.
Hypersteriliser units are supplied to businesses and institutions across the UK, notably the haematology and other critical units at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester; Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital; South Warwickshire Hospital; Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital; and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.
The Halo Hypersteriliser system achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. It is the only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. It is also EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.
Originally posted on 24 April 2017 @ 5:11 pm
Originally posted on 24 April 2017 @ 5:11 pm