Tag Archives: viruses

You’re nicked! How germ CSI fingers you for crime

Female cop
We know it was you –
your germs are all over it

They haven’t made the real Bio-Cop movie yet, though there is a fake trailer for it.

But you can betcha, it’s only a matter of time.

And more likely to be a CSI forensic drama than a horror flick with gruesome germs crawling all over the bad guys.

Science fact

Because reality is, the science fiction of it is fast becoming science fact – and it’s already possible to ID a perpetrator from germs left behind at the crime scene – who they are, where they’ve been, what they’ve been eating and who they might have interacted with.

The buzz-word in this new crime genre is “biome” – the unique germ-cloud or aura we all carry around with us. A personal microbial signature that IDs us far more accurately than a finger print or DNA.

You see, it’s not just that we’re full of germs – our bodies colonised by bacteria that outnumber our own human cells by 10 to 1.

We exude these bacteria too – they’re on us and around us, billowing about us wherever we go.

You was there

And the combination of bacteria we each put out is individually and separately different – according to who we are, where we were born, how we grew up, what we eat, where we live, the places we’ve been – and even the mood we’re in.

Which kinda says don’t pull any funny business like a Hatton Gardens jewellery heist – the cops will nail you so fast, it’s as if you left your personal calling card right there at the crime scene. And biologically speaking, that’s exactly what you’ve done.

Of course readers of this blog already know about personal germ-clouds and auras – “biome” is just a posher way of describing them. And recognising that they’re there is key to the most effective protection against germs we’ve seen yet – oxidising them out of existence with hydrogen peroxide.

Evidence in the air

Because we don’t just pull our germ-clouds around with us – they give off all the time, leaving swirls of themselves behind – a biological smoke trail that lingers everywhere we’ve been.

Best demonstration of that is the aromatic compounds given off by the bacteria on our skin when they metabolise. They make a unique scent dogs can recognise, so the cops can track us. Mosquitoes home in on it too – an “all you can eat” invitation triggered by the smell of our sweat.

And it’s from those lingering germ-clouds that we can easily catch a bug. Everyone goes home from the office at the end of the day – but their germ-cloud traces are still there. They’re waiting for us in the morning too – and over time they build up.

So if somebody’s got bird flu, or norovirus, or any of the really contagious nasties – we can pick it up too. Exposed to it all day with no clue that it’s there – a nightmare outbreak round the office and no-one knows why.

Which is why the hydrogen peroxide treatment. To extinguish the residual germ-clouds left behind after everyone knocks off.

And not just any hydrogen peroxide treatment either.

Serious protection

We mean with a Hypersteriliser.

Misting the place up with an electrostatically charged release of ionised gas plasma that super-actively disperses itself everywhere in all directions – right into every crack and crevice – reaching out and grabbing pathogens on the fly – oxidising all viruses and bacteria stone cold dead.

Result, the whole place is sterile. Safe and biologically neutral when folks clock in next morning. No germs to catch, no illnesses to suffer – unless people have already got them.

OK, so the technology isn’t there yet to prove you woofed the office stapler. But in the meantime you’re safe and protected from germs – all push-button easy.

Be a crime not to take care yourself and your mates like that, don’t you think?

Originally posted 2015-07-10 12:54:32.

All those germs still stressing you out? Why?

Girl shrugs shoulders
If we’re more bacteria than human,
why are we worried about ourselves?

Get a grip, not all germs are bad.

That pot of probiotic yoghurt you’re climbing into for a start. Full of good healthy bacteria to aid digestion in your gut. Where they’ll join the other 100 trillion bacteria already there.

You’re not actually yourself, you see. Or not who you think you are.

The real you is different

Because bacteria resident in the body outnumber human cells more than 10 to 1 – so tiny, 20 billion or so can fit on the head of a pin – and we’re each of us carrying around enough to fill a large soup can.

So you’re more bacteria than human – so what’s all the stress about?

OK, there’s good germs and bad germs.

And the trick for us human beings (humbos) is to live with them, not against them. Find the trade-off that streamlines the way for everything we do and think – yup, bacteria influence the brain too, we’re all under mind control.

A bit of a switcheroo, hey? Because maybe whoever we are is really the bacteria – and as the resident bacteria, we control the humbo, our own personal robot.

Uh huh. A very sensitive robot, easily knocked out of balance. To be looked after with great care, like a gun. Because treated the wrong way, it can blow up in your face.

Bang, not nice

Like cleaning – which when you think about it, is simply the business of putting everything in the right place. Dirt in the wrong place, things can go wrong. Germs in the wrong place, same difference.

Except this humbo robot thingy moves around in a whole WORLD of viruses and bacteria. The air around you alone teems with 1,800 different TYPES of bacteria – too many to think of putting a figure too. And we ourselves just by being there generate around 37 million more bacteria per hour.

You got it, that means bacteria and viruses are everywhere, right?

On your clothes, on your face, underfoot, all over the food you put in your mouth (yummy probiotic yoghurt, peach flavour) – and because they touch everything and move everything around for you – on your hands.

On the things that your hands touch too – they’re called fomites. Your mobile, computer keyboard, pens, door handles, knife and fork, everything around you.

Your own face too, which is how most of the bad germs get into your body – through the soft, sensitive tissue of your eyes, nose and mouth – which, if you’re like the rest of us, you touch 2,000 – 3,000 times a day.

Your hands have it

All of which presents another mind-boggling perspective – that your life is in your hands, literally, all the time.

Dirty or germ-infested hands – the body becomes contaminated, the bacteria balance goes for a loop. And you join the other humbos writhing on the floor with norovirus, or Ebola, or whatever else it was you ALLOWED to get in and infect you.

Dead right, washing your hands saves your life – every time you do it.

Yet 95% of us never wash our hands properly, or even think about it – we’re too full of being busy humbos to think about protecting out bacterial balance. Things to do, got to get on, no time for anything – go, go, go.

The same for the environment we’re in.

Out in the open, we stand a better chance. The wind blows, rain falls, bad germs have a tough time catching up with us.

But we don’t live out in the open – and haven’t for millions of years.

Modern cave-dwellers

Our lives are indoors 90% of the time – mostly with others, at home and at work. Sharing our living space, eating together – multiplying all kinds of opportunity to cross-contaminate each other.

Us and our bioplumes of bacteria. Good and bad germs lingering in the air long after we’re gone – picking up bugs from each other even though we’re not in the same place any more. Residual infection.

Which means, like your hands, clean the room – your life depends on it.

Except rooms are little more complicated – at least with the water-and-sponge wipe-down methods we use most of the time. Sort of OK for floors and surfaces, but rubbish for anything else – like the 80% air space that surrounds us and never gets touched.

Protecting air force

Unless of course, you use a Hypersteriliser – the only way to reach into all the cracks and crevices of our living space – and knock out bad germs lingering in the air. Putting out an ultra-fine mist of ionised hydrogen peroxide that grabs viruses and bacteria on the fly, oxidising them to nothing.

No viruses, no bacteria – the room is sterile. No bad germs in the wrong place. Safe.

No good germs either, but don’t worry. As people come and go – their bioplumes with them, filling the space with their bio-auras – the good bacteria will be back.

They are us, after all. And we control the humbos, not the other way around.

So like we said, why are you stressing?

 

Originally posted 2015-07-09 12:11:21.

Wash your hands and you get to live another day

Hip hop dancer
Clean hands! No germs!
Another day to celebrate!

Splish, splash, done. Now to have some fun.

Because germs are a real downer.

Feeling good one minute, feeling grim the next.

And you could even wind up dead.

Down the plughole

All because – just once – you missed out on the soap and water.

Nah! It’s never going to happen to you, is it?

You’re pretty clean most of the time anyway.

Check your hands, not a mark on them. Like you wouldn’t eat with dirt on them, would you? And not straight from the loo and down the hatch either.

Ew!

Not healthy. Not sexy.

But we all forget to do it all the time. You’re in a rush, you’re having a good time. And maybe, maybe, you just missed out washing yourself once or twice.

You only live once

Except it only takes once for germs to get a hold. Through your mouth. From wiping your eye. They’re not fussy.

And being dead is not sexy either. Neither is rolling in agony with guts ache. Or your head pounding. Or both. Sometimes so bad that you worry you might NOT die.

Or you might be paralysed, deformed, stuck in a wheelchair, or out of your mind.

A hell of a chance to take, isn’t it?

Yet with 100 trillion bacteria already living INSIDE your body – and trillions and trillions more always all around – those are the odds you’re up against.

An easy choice though, hey?

A proper go with soap and water gets rid of 99.9% of them. Drying off properly even more, because germs thrive on wet surfaces.

As quick as it takes to sing to yourself: Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, may you always live in sunshine, Happy Birthday to you.

Happy Birthday?

All for you

Sure, with no germs on you – no viruses or bacteria – you get to celebrate being alive again.

Another day.

Another one out of 22,000 – which is all most of us get.

Just by washing your hands.

So easy peasy, a child could do it.

Which kind of says – if it isn’t a lifetime habit already, it should be.

So you can enjoy the good times.

Because being sick isn’t fun. Out of it and lying in bed, sometimes for months – depending on what you’ve got. Not like an accident you have no control over. Stuck there because a germ was ALLOWED to find its way into you.

No way, José

Preventable, avoidable, unnecessary.

Just by washing your hands.

Do it now, while you think about it. Always after the loo and before you eat.

Yes, you’ve made it to another day.

Now enjoy it!

Originally posted 2015-07-07 12:31:38.

Good germs, bad germs – just make sure you’re safe

Good cop - bad cop
Invisible good and bad – one 10,000th of a millimetre in size

A bit of a head-scratcher this. Since our body cells are outnumbered by bacteria 10 to 1.

That’s 100 trillion microbes in the average HEALTHY body – believe it or not – bacteria and human beings getting along just fine.

Which raises a whole issue about keeping safe from germs.

Killing ourselves

Anything we might use to sanitise, disinfect or sterilise could actually attack us – killing some of the very bacteria we need to keep healthy.

You see, we’re not infested by these germs – like free-loaders out for what they can get. They pay rent to be with us. Especially with food intake and digestion.

That first hunger-driven chomp into a juicy burger meets over 7½ billion bacteria in the first second in your mouth – more than the number of people on Earth.

With every chew and swallow, a whole mess of processing takes place, preparing your food for being turned into energy – by the two to three POUNDS of bacteria that live in your gut.

Without them, no digestion. In fact you’d be pretty ill, all that food with nowhere to go, eventually poisoning your system.

Living with germs

So yeah, germs in our bodies.

Better take it easy with that chlorine bleach in the kitchen. That could bring big trouble – as your nose tells you by the way it bites. The body knows it’s harmful – and the smell you experience is a warning.

But you’ve got to get rid of germs, right? The bad things that kill.

The body is under threat when stuff decomposes or putrefies – blitz it fast, before you get infected!

Actually, there’s a whole bunch of experts who reckon we’re wrong to keep zapping germs. That our paranoia with pathogens indiscriminately kills good and bad alike, destroying useful microbes and upsetting the natural balance.

OK, we’ll buy it – but not all the time.

Away in the Great Outdoors, there’s not much we can do anyway. The wind blows, germs come and go – we could get infected any time.

Except we don’t usually – and one microbe by itself is not enough to take on the whole human body – unless it gets awful lucky. And ordinary air movement disperses germs anyway, so they don’t stand much chance.

Indoors, in danger

Anyway, we don’t live like that most of the time, do we?

We’re indoors, in our “built environment”. Enclosed air spaces, shared living areas. Our bio-auras of germs – the surrounding cloud of microbes we all carry around with us – all intermingling and mixing.

And if any of us happen to be infected with something – contaminating each other.

Which is what happens in a classroom full of kids. Thirty of them together, for up to six hours at a time. Breathing the same air, touching the same objects and each other – bio-auras fully exposed.

So two of them have rhinovirus – perfectly normal variations of the common cold – sneezing and coughing, but determined to stay in the loop. Yeah, well. Most of the other kids are healthy enough – a few days of discomfort if they come down with it. Nothing to worry about.

Except we’re not all equal are we? And we don’t all have the same health levels.

In any group of people you like, a large proportion invariably have some kind of underlying medical condition. Two or three in our classroom of kids – as high as 10% – asthma, TB and one of them with early cancer.

So how fair is it on them when rhinovirus hits – as it probably will, at six hours exposure per day, every day? And how sick will they be with the complications a common cold can bring?

Sure, let’s not destroy all germs everywhere willy-nilly because we’re paranoid about getting sick.

Protection where it counts

But doesn’t it make sense to treat selected areas where we’re more at risk?

With more people on top of each other at school than at home, school is a more likely place to pick up infection.

So is the office, or factory, or supermarket, or train, or bus – higher germ concentrations from a greater number of sources. More infections to choose from, higher odds of catching one.

But one disinfected school room – or even a whole school – does not destroy the eco-balance if it is treated to protect the weak. The greater world is too big – and goes on being just the same outside.

Besides, once our kids move back into their school room after treatment, their own bio-auras will re-populate the “germosphere” very quickly. A tummy bug like e. coli for instance, can double its bacteria every 20 minutes.

Yeah, the kids are still exposed – but not to the same level.

Mist up that schoolroom with sterilising hydrogen peroxide gas plasma from a Hypersteriliser and the germ threshold falls to zero – no viruses, no bacteria, totally sterile – in 40 minutes.

The kids start from totally safe – no lingering germs from yesterday, or the day before – not on surfaces, and not floating around in the air either – the room is totally NEUTRAL.

Germ zero

A lot safer than letting things ride – because some pathogenic nasties can survive outside a body for weeks or more. And wouldn’t it be luck of the draw if it was YOUR kid that came down with it?

Your own flesh and blood – in an isolation ward with with the first case of bubonic plague for 300 years – chance infection by an 8-year-old new kid – an immune carrier from Madagascar, where the disease still affects hundreds, every year.

Good germs, bad germs. Life and death.

Why take chances?

Originally posted 2015-06-30 11:17:48.

Positive edge to beating viruses and bacteria

Woman with jump leads
Positive, negative – the physics of attraction

It’s nothing short of electrifying.

You’d never know because they’re so small, but viruses and bacteria all carry an electrical charge.

Like tiny nano-batteries, they’re positive on the outside and negative on the inside – their own internal power source and life force.

Micro electricity

Even more amazing, their power can make them blink, giving off flashes like Christmas tree lights. If one of their cells contains a voltage-sensitive protein, they glow on and off.

Our all-time favourite, escherichia coli for instance, easily generates a voltage difference – possibly the resource it uses to resist antibiotics.

GOTCHA!

Because positively-charged pathogens like e.coli, norovirus, or even Ebola are sitting targets for anything negatively-charged. Remember magnets at school? Opposite charges attract – so strongly that they reach out and grab.

OK, so grab!

And the grabber we’re talking about is also a super-powerful oxidiser.

Which means instant trouble for “bad guy” viruses and bacteria because they’re anaerobic – they don’t live on oxygen, but glycogen. All the time they’re living inside us – infecting us and killing us – they breathe blood sugar.

Pathogens destroyed

So if an oxidiser with live oxygen atoms suddenly clamps onto them, they’re instant history. The oxygen atoms rip them apart and they die.

Which is what hydrogen peroxide does. IONISED hydrogen peroxide.

Misted up into a super-fine vapour then charged with high-voltage, it changes state from a gas into a plasma – a kind of super-gas that releases a whole load more of extra antimicrobials – hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, ozone and ultraviolet.

This germ-killing cocktail is exactly how it disperses from a Hypersteriliser – a nifty doohickey about the size of a small wheelie-bin, that sterilises enclosed spaces totally free from germs – no viruses, no bacteria, nothing.

Negatively-charged, the mist molecules seek and aggressively latch onto the positively-charged outers of viruses and bacteria, the oxygen does its stuff – end of story.

Except it gets better.

Spreads everywhere

Ionising the hydrogen peroxide means all its molecules are released with the same charge.

Remember magnets again? Like charges repel – so all those molecules are violently trying to escape from each other – forcibly driven apart and away.

Not drifting like an ordinary gas – remember this is a plasma – but actively scattered in all directions, pressed up hard against things, reaching under and behind, stretching deep into cracks and crevices. All the places that germs can lurk where ordinary wipe-down cleaning cannot reach.

And of course, through the air too – 80% of the space in any room – exactly where most germs are. At less than a 10,000th of a millimetre across, they’re so light that they ride every waft of air – just waving your hand around probably stirs up billions.

Yes, you’ve got it. Wherever those viruses and bacteria are – on the ceiling, clinging to the computer cables in the corner, on the underside of the desk – they are suddenly no more. Forty minutes average exposure, and they’re gone.

Ah! But what about the microbes that DO live on oxygen, the aerobic ones?

OK, there are exceptions, but most of these are the good guys – the billions and billions and billions that play a beneficial role in the functioning of Earth’s ecosystem. Bacteria in yoghurt, right? Or sauerkraut with your hot dog.

Among the odd ones out though, is mycobacterium tuberculosis – as it’s name implies, the cause of TB. But there’s a grabber for that too – and all other aerobes. One that also kills by oxidising.

Silver lining

Contained in the same mist that the Hypersteriliser deploys is silver – specifically colloidal silver – silver particles suspended in a liquid. And silver is a known antimicrobial from centuries back – one of the reasons we eat with silver cutlery or carry silver crucifixes to ward off evil spirits.

Bye, bye everything – the whole place is sterile. Safe until the first one of us walks in, trailing our own bio-aura of bacteria around us.

But even then we’re protected. A microscopically thin layer of colloidal silver coats all surfaces in the room – a lasting shield against infection for up to weeks afterwards.

We said positive edge, didn’t we?

Feel safer now?

Originally posted 2015-06-25 12:34:00.

Urgent update to medics: ALL germs are airborne

Woman fighting wind
Reality check – germs, viruses, everything up to a full-blown house can fly

It comes at you as a blast.

A dry, dusty gust in the Underground.

Grit stings your face and flies into your eye.

Your blink – a grain of dust at least as big as an elephant.

You blink again, realisation this time. Airborne dirt maybe 50 microns across. Feels like 50 miles, scratching across your eye.

Riding the wind

The train arrives and you step in.

You do the math – 0.05 of a millimetre. Ten thousand times bigger than a typical germ cell.  Eighty thousand times bigger than the cell of Ebola they discovered in that doctor’s eye two months after he was declared clear.

The train moves off and you pull out a tissue. Your eye is watering like crazy. The train lurches and a corner of the tissue stabs your cornea. Hurts like hell, but you’ve got the dust particle out. A boulder, the size of a small car.

You blink again, feeling better – turning your head from the constant draft through the open window between the cars.

You think hurricane, you think tornado. You’ve seen clips of storms picking up cars. You suddenly remember about jet streams – powerful winds six miles up, blowing a 350-ton Boeing 777 200 mph faster than its normal cruising speed.

And the penny drops.

Everything flies

Just yesterday you read that the MERS outbreak in South Korea could be going airborne.

For sure it could. You’ve just had a boulder several thousand times larger than any MERS cell slam into your eye. One grain of grit out of many. A whole cloud of them blown down the tube tunnel. You even coughed last time, remember? How many grains was that?

And how many cells of MERS could that be, clustered together?

50? 500? 5,000? And still way smaller than your grain of dirt.

A single cell wouldn’t do it of course, the body’s immune system is too good..

But 5,000 cells in a clump? All gulped in with a gasp of air, straight to your lungs – exactly as suspected in the spread of South Korean hospital cases – breathing through ventilator apparatus before diagnosis pointed to contaminated air.

Now your mind is in gear.

Effortless anywhere

If air can move cars, shifting bacteria is nothing.

Literally nothing.

At 20 nanometres, a single cell of rhinovirus is so small it has no gravity. It can ride the air indefinitely – just like billions and billions of other living microbes. Viruses or bacteria, no matter which – even the largest of them is barely a micrometre.

If there’s a fan going in the special care wing of a hospital in super-hot Saudi Arabia (where the virus was first reported), you wouldn’t want to be sitting downwind from a MERS patient.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Germs can transport pretty well anywhere without effort – both “airborne” ones and the types you can only catch on contact. They weigh nothing, so they can linger too.

Wheel the patient out of the room and the germs are still there.

Lingering threats

OK, so a hit team moves in and deep cleans the place – really thorough, complete wipedown of everything with sodium hypochlorite.

But your mind still tells you – germs in the air, germs in the air.

Not good enough – 80% of that room space is air.

They could be lurking at head height. Clustered behind the vital signs monitor. Down the back of the bedside cabinet. Jeepers, everywhere – and the room’s just been cleaned!

Which is when you know you need a Hypersteriliser. Ionised hydrogen peroxide that actively disperses everywhere – right through the air, deep into cracks and crevices. Oxidising germs on contact, ripping apart their cell structure. 40 minutes, and the place is sterile. No viruses, no bacteria anywhere.

So yeah, MERS might be a problem. That whole host of others too – especially those rogues resistant to antibiotics.

They might be airborne, they might be clinging on tight. But we have a defence.

And in this particular room – whenever you want – all germs are dead.

Originally posted 2015-06-22 11:31:16.

Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease ships into So’ton

Sad sailor
Cheer up, this is a cruise –
you’re supposed to be enjoying yourself

They know this bug in Southampton.

Seems every few weeks there’s another cruise ship in to be deep-cleaned and fumigated – another hospital ward closed and out of action.

This time it’s Fred Olsen’s flagship Balmoral again, back less than a month after the last norovirus hit. A setback this fine Norwegian cruise line does not deserve – especially when it looks like a passenger brought it on board with them.

No cure, no warning

But that’s the thing with norovirus – the complete lack of warning. Today you’re right as rain, 48 hours later you’re as sick as a dog.

That poor passenger walked up the gangplank, all fine and dandy – to be struck down with cramps and endless hours on the hopper. And endless more, driving the bus.

Not fair.

Er, almost. At least it’s not the cruise line’s fault.

But that’s the other thing about norovirus. Most of the time we bring it on ourselves.

Oh yes, we do.

Because without a doubt, the biggest cause of norovirus is not washing our hands – which almost all of us forget to do when we’re having fun. Or avoid.

Not a wise mistake to make. Norovirus is easily spread and highly contagious. The Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease.

All those things you touch

You pick it up slamming a taxi door – next moment you’re wolfing a chicken and bacon baguette between meetings and – boom! You didn’t wash your hands, did you? You swallowed the germs. Two days time and you’re hurling your guts out.

Maybe not even a taxi. Between us we have scary bad habits.

So it’s not IF you get norovirus, but WHEN.Wash Hands Logo

Unless you wash your hands – get rid of the germs that surround you every day whenever you can. Otherwise, you get on a cruise ship and it goes round like wildfire.

Well of course it does – there’s thousands of you all living close next-door to each other, sharing the same bathrooms, eating in the same space. It’s a wonder they ever stop it at all.

Unlucky for some

And just occasionally they don’t – like on this latest cruise with the Balmoral.

They could have been unlucky though, as happened to Holland America Line’s Amsterdam, back in 2002. The stuff lingers, you see – can survive on all kinds of surfaces for weeks. And cruise ships are usually turned round in just days – they can’t afford myths.

Four times, one after the other, Amsterdam set out on a new cruise – and four times, one after the other, norovirus made her turn back, hardly into the voyage. There are so many nooks and crevices on a cruise liner, even deep cleaning may not get all of the bug out – they even had to scrub individual poker chips in the casino!

A more effective way

Easier to use Hypersterilisers – a whole batch of them ganged together can do the ship overnight.

They work on ionised hydrogen peroxide, see. Negatively-charged microscopic molecules all repelling each other, forcing themselves into the tightest, smallest, most out-of-the-way places, trying to escape each other.

Riding up into the air too – and hard up against every surface. Underneath and behind too. Actively dispersing like no ordinary disinfectant spray ever can – a supercharged gas plasma grabbing at positively charged viruses and bacteria it meets on the way and oxidising them to destruction.

All viruses, all bacteria – norovirus too. And Ebola, if you’re cruising West Africa.

And safe too – reverting back to just oxygen and water when it’s done. No need for masks like they had to wear on Balmoral – though it can catch your throat when it’s working, so best to stay away for the odd hour.

No smell either – no chemical after-pong or nothing.

A good thing too. Smell is a good give-away that germs are still working – the easy way to tell that food is off. It’s why the loo pongs too – if it’s not clean.

But with hydrogen peroxide, you get zut. Sweet nothing at all.

No norovirus either. All ship-shape and shiny fresh.

Enjoy your trip.

Originally posted 2015-06-18 17:35:08.

MERS in South Korea – but what about here?

Pensive doctor in mask
We should worry about keeping our hands clean more than covering our face

The pictures are pretty scary.

People in face masks everywhere.

In shops. At work. On buses and trains. Teams of white-suited hit units spraying disinfectant. Trucks doing the same thing down city roads. Schools closed.

In South Korea, they take MERS seriously.

So should we.

MERS ticket to anywhere

It arrived on a plane to Seoul from the Middle East, carried by just one 68-year-old man. They’ve had a single case in Germany too.

Hop on a plane and your virus is suddenly the other side of the world. Riyadh airport has about 400 aircraft movements a day – Jeddah, around the same – almost half the traffic of Heathrow.

Which ought to be a wake up call for us here in UK.

Not for MERS, which is actually quite difficult to catch and probably less of a threat than it’s pumped up to be. But for any other kind of virus or bacteria that might be more easily spread.

Why?

Because the South Koreans handle these things properly – on top of it from the word go, hazmat suits and sprays everywhere. And they’re already on the case working jointly with the Saudis.

Not like us slap-happy Brits. Did you see anything like the Korean thing when we had that SARS outbreak a few years back? Or the swine flu?

Seems the only people wearing face masks back then were foreigners who knew the risk – or actual containment teams busy with handling the emergency.

Sloppy hygiene

Not that face masks are the big thing that we Brits need to worry about. Our personal hygiene levels are so lacking, it’s a wonder we’re not pegging off left, right and centre every day.

Our number one risk is from hands. And small wonder:

Which is why we keep reading stories about norovirus – the Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease – breaking out all over.

Last month Toby Carvery, HMS Raleigh and the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. This month The Western Isles Hospital, celebs at Glastonbury and the Longmynd Hotel in Shropshire.

The things we touch

But it’s not just norovirus. Dirty hands can transmit any number of diseases faster than you could imagine. Like Ebola, or typhoid, or the Black Death – all of them fatal unless you’re lucky. (Tweet this)

Wash Hands LogoAnd sorry, it’s not like putting on a mask and you’re safe – putting on latex gloves will get you precisely nowhere. You actually have to wash your hands, particularly before food and after the loo .

Because if nothing else, you actually touch your face up to 3,000 times a day without thinking about it – favourite entry into the body of every virus and bacteria – through the soft tissue of the eyes, nose and mouth.

Protect the space around us

There’s another defence we don’t think about either – which the Koreans are showing us in every news update. Spraying disinfectant everywhere, so that places are safe BEFORE they’re used again.

Except we can go one better with the Hypersteriliser. To actually sterilise the spaces we live and work in, so that ALL viruses and bacteria are gone.

Just one machine, misting up with ionised hydrogen peroxide automatically, is way easier, quicker (about 40 minutes a room) and more effective than teams of hazmat experts spraying sodium hypochlorite everywhere – 99.9999% of all germs destroyed.

But of course, this is Britain, so we’ll just fudge along until something major happens – then blame the NHS or the government or somebody for letting it happen..

Not to any of us though – we’re going to keep our hands clean.

After you with the soap.

Originally posted 2015-06-16 15:00:37.

You want ALL germs gone or just some of them?

Satisfied woman
If there aren’t any germs, what are we worried about?

Just possibly the craziest thing we do is all live together.

We all want be on top of each other, gathered in tight groups – 37 million in Tokyo, 20 million in New York City, 8.5 million in London – crowds and crowds of us in cities all over the world.

Are we nuts?

How on earth did we decide to do this? It’s not what our bodies are designed for. Physically we’re still hunter-gatherers, meant to be living out in the open. Clustered in groups, yes – but only large enough to ensure survival when very young or old.

Worse, we choose to live in enclosed environments – always surrounded by walls.

Of course, we don’t see it like that, prettied up with windows and doors and décor and bric-a-brac – in fact we kind of like it. Reality is though, that we’re most of the time sealed off from the world outside.

Hemmed in and forced to react with each other, our metabolisms interlink too. All of us in hives, sharing a common existence.

Except we don’t, do we?

We’re not the same

We don’t do the same things, share the same interests, eat the same foods, or follow the same lifestyle. Neither do our bodies – each of which it totally unique and different.

Which boggles the mind when you think of how germs impact on us. Especially since we’re more germs than human ourselves – inhabited by 90 trillion microbes, which outnumber our own body cells by around 10 to 1.

Uh, huh. You understand now why medics see us as so many different biological signatures. The bacteria that colonise one are not the same as those that colonise any other. Our bio-auras are different.

We walk around trailing our unique bacteria-clouds with us, each as distinctively different as our fingerprints and retina scans. Count on it, in the future, CSI forensic teams will be able to ID us by the bio-traces we leave behind – like recognising our perfume, but 100% more pin-point.

Thing is though, with all these bacteria-systems overlapping, we’re constantly exposed to an intensified spectrum of germ challenges – way more than our immune systems would face if we were living out in the sticks where we started.

OK, fine – as long as everything is neutral.

Whoops

But as soon as one of us gets a cold, it tips the balance.

Now just maybe we grew up with our immune systems exposed to colds on such a regular basis, our resistance is higher than anyone else’s. We’re OK, nothing to worry about.

But the Tom, Dick or Harriet living right alongside in our 8.5 million cluster might not have such resistance. The cold – let’s give it its real name, rhinovirus – hits them the way it could never hit us.

And down they go. Cough, sneeze, splutter, gasp.

Yeah, OK. This is where the Good Germs, Bad Germs philosophy comes in – that the body has the resources to fight back – just isolate it at home and let nature takes its course, with proper rest, food and hydration.

Except the dynamic doesn’t work like that when we’re living on top of each other. And not from the germ’s point of view either – we’re germs ourselves remember?

Crowd rules are different

Individually and separately that might make sense. But with 8.5 million of us so close together we can feel each other breathing, our germ-clouds interact way too fast for that.

In the 10 days it takes for the rhinovirus to incubate itself, we’ve passed it on maybe hundreds of times to others whose immune systems are not so acclimatised. And the closer we are, the faster it works.

Which is how a cold goes round a school so fast, your head spins. Well what do you expect, when the kids spend six hours a day together in the same classroom?

Of course we don’t think of all this – it sits at the back of our minds as a kind of brooding concern about hygiene. We do try to do something though – which is where the mop and bucket brigade come in at the end of the day, scrubbing and wiping everything down – and following up with a vacuum cleaner.

Under-responding if you think about it – and basically for surfaces only.

Because the kids might have gone – and their germ-clouds with them. But their bio-trace is still in the air. So are residual touches of the rhinovirus they have in them. Able to survive for weeks at a time and waiting to attach to new bodies when class resumes in the morning.

Yeah, it’s good to let things be natural and let them take their own course. Our own bacteria in balance with the rest of the world – what’s possibly wrong with that?

Bigger populations, bigger threats

But living on top of each other accelerates everything – multiplying its effect in a pressure cooker of fast-acting bio-clashes. Today rhinovirus, tomorrow Ebola.

And how do we deal naturally with that? By withdrawing and isolating, going into quarantine. Not wrong, but difficult to find space for with 8.5 million people on top of each other.

Since we can’t go round asking each bacteria if it’s good or bad for us, we have to clobber the lot. We already recognise this, which is why we’re attacking the place with detergent and bleach.

But if we’re going to do it properly, we’ve got to include the air too. Fish where the fish are – in this case, the micro-organisms so small we don’t even know that they’re there.

Which is why we keep banging the drum for ionised hydrogen peroxide – the one sure way to remove ALL viruses and bacteria totally from the room you’re treating.

Ionised – a different dynamic

And we mean IONISED hydrogen peroxide – not that vapoury stuff you might have experienced before – that double-strength fog that gets pumped in to oxidise germs, and then has to be dried out afterwards.

Remember your school magnetism? It’s the same effect, but multiplied several hundred times in the Hypersteriliser.

Ionising electrifies the hydrogen peroxide particles with the same negative charge, causing them to repel each other. Like a super-gas, actually a plasma – it spreads up and out, under and into, actively trying to get away from itself.

That same charge aggressively reaches out and grabs at viruses and bacteria which have the opposite polarity. Oxygen atoms are released that tear their cell structure to shreds. The charge dissipates – and all that’s left is oxygen and water.

No germs, nothing. Sterilised safe.

Safe, not sorry

OK, yeah. It’s overkill. Brute force tactics.

But with millions to protect, not just a handful, isn’t it better to shoot first and ask questions afterwards?

Because it’s not just you that needs protection. It’s the person next to you, and next to them, and next to them – some with stronger metabolisms, some with weaker – millions of times over.

With all germs gone, at least they stand a better chance.

Originally posted 2015-06-12 13:02:08.

MERS from camels: like bird flu meets norovirus

Camel girl
Not nice for animals, not nice for us – and it’s spreading

The word is “zoonotic”.

That’s a disease that jumps to us from animals.  Ebola is one, HIV is another. So is SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), remember that?

From birds, from monkeys, all kinds of living things.

None of them are nice.

Another coronavirus

And all of them have no cure when they first happen. People die, and the medics go into overdrive, looking for effective treatment.

Right now the alarm bells are ringing for MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), a new coronavirus thought to have started with bats and somehow transferred to camels.

Since first encountered in 2012, most cases have been in the Arabian peninsula – the camel connection.

The panic now is that it’s suddenly jumped to South Korea.  Which is of course the problem with all modern illnesses. A few hours on a Boeing and they could wind up anywhere.

Two in one

MERS is particularly nasty – a virus with two sets of symptoms for the price of one.

Like most respiratory illnesses, it feels like flu – fever, coughing and shortness of breath. The unwanted bonus is like norovirus – nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

If complications set in, pneumonia and kidney failure follow. And of course, dehydration. 3 – 4 out of every 10 who catch it die – a mortality rate of one-third.

Not to be played with. So if ever there was a spur to tighten up personal hygiene, this is it. Even camels can succumb to lack of fluids.

A good stimulus is to remember that schoolboy chestnut, “beware the camel spits.”

MERS is catching

Right there is one of the ways that MERS transmits – though the air from someone coughing or sneezing. Droplets from any kind of body fluid are a real danger.

The other way would be cuddling up to a camel, or someone unlucky enough to have MERS.

And not even a cuddle – a handshake will do it, or even borrowing a pen to sign something.

Touch your mouth, nose or eyes after that – and most of us do it 3,000 times a day – and you could already be at risk.

Hidden threat

You see, you can’t tell someone has MERS when it starts. It takes around ten days for the symptoms to show themselves. (Tweet this) The downer is that it’s contagious all of that time.

During which you’ve caught the plane, done your sales meeting, enjoyed the celebratory banquet, flown home again – and been in time for your daughter’s stage debut in the school ballet. So how many people did you glad-hand in that little jaunt?

Wash Hands LogoPersonal hygiene

You got it – wash your hands at every opportunity. Before food, after the loo – and whenever you can after touching somebody or something from outside your usual circle of living.

The other defence is to safeguard your immediate environment.

Not the great outdoors of course, but the enclosed spaces we all share – lots of us all together, moving in the same space, using the same things, breathing the same air – at work, at school, at places where we eat and relax.

Sterilised surroundings

HypersteriliserBefore we get there, all viruses and bacteria that may be present are destroyed with a Hypersteriliser. A fine mist of hydrogen peroxide plasma penetrates everywhere and actively oxidises them to nothing. So when we walk in through the door, the place is sterile.

Two defences – against a two-faced virus with serious implications if we don’t keep watchful.

Get lost, MERS.

Not “how do you do?” But “good riddance”.

Originally posted 2015-06-04 11:31:50.