If you could see germs, you’d be scared too

Man surrounded by germs
Get worried – germs are all around

Harry Venables was still an intern when it happened.

They chose him because he was single, with no girlfriend or family connections. A loner working the night shift who could keep his mouth shut.

At least that’s how it occurred to Harry later, after the spooks disappeared back into the woodwork.

It was just after three, in the middle of the graveyard shift, and he was loitering in the ambulance loading bay at Coombe General. Loitering with a pack of twenty he was about to finish.

He’d just lit up when The Voice spoke to him. He thought of it as The Voice because he never saw the bloke. They only spoke at the ambulance bay and The Voice was always behind him.

Ten grand they offered him, a good step towards a deposit on a flat. He was young, he was observant, he was qualified, he had the nerve and stamina for long hours in A&E, he was a natural.

Nothing bad, they told him. Nothing to do with crime or terrorism.

Yeah, right. They “forgot” to mention terrifying.

They were sort of virtual reality goggles and he was to test them. Choose a quiet moment and walk through A&E with them on. Make a professional assessment without anyone seeing him.

Ten minutes, ten grand. A walk in the park.

They were made by the same people who invented thermal imaging surveillance for the CIA. The difference was, they were medical – to view and be aware of germs. All the pathogens and bio-crud in the environment of the hospital. Back at Vauxhall, they called them “biofecals.”

He put them on twenty minutes later, after the ruptured appendix and just before the three car pile-up on the M3.

Wow, but they shocked him. A horror movie with the aliens already infecting the planet.

The hospital had high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtering in the aircon, so he thought the place was safe. When he saw the vents stirring around this film of bluey-pink stuff, he was not so sure.

Wherever he looked there was this haze of colour, darker in some places than others. He got it after a moment, different colours for different germs, he just didn’t know which was which.

It reminded him of something – swirls of dyed coffee crystals, but not so brilliant – caught up and moving in the air all around him, like stuff suspended in water.

The red stuff worried him most, at its thickest around patients with external wounds. He hoped it wasn’t MRSA, or clostridium perfringens, one of the bacteria that caused gangrene.

There was stuff on his hands too, though he washed them after the fag – and rubbed them off with alcohol gel. It wouldn’t wipe away, though more alcohol helped.

But the worst was the whole place infested with these tinges of colour. The hospital prided itself on its hygiene, its A&E was one of the most impressive in the country. Light tinges coloured the beds and the worktops around them.

The killer was the darker smudges of colour around the edge of the surfaces. Where the cleaning wipes hadn’t reached because the top was priority. The underside of things was grim too. And on the cables and tubes connecting equipment, a thick coating of coloured spider webs and dust.

It made him scared and it made him sick. He ripped the goggles off and just made it back to the ambulance bay before he threw up. Damn, and now he was out of cigarettes too.

The Voice reached from behind and took the goggles. Describing his experience was worse. As a practicing doctor he knew what the colours meant. By the time he finished, he was shaking.

No wonder people got sick and died – even in hospital, where they hoped to be protected.

Out of sight, out of mind, whatever our germ protection system was amounted to virtually nothing. And how bad could it be in the outside world?

He went back in and washed his hands again. He was a doctor, he had to do something about this. There had to be a way to keep patients safe and sterilised. And the greater public too. Another story that starts here.

He found the ten grand in his bank account. It felt dirty, diseased, like the germs that had put it there. Without even thinking, he donated the lot to cancer research.

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.

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Originally posted on 14 May 2018 @ 5:32 pm

Originally posted on 14 May 2018 @ 5:32 pm

OK, so Ebola’s coming – don’t be scared, be prepared

Woman looks at hands
Relax, you’re safe as long as you’re clean

Think of it as a great, big, wake-up call.

There’s this dread disease coming and we’re all going to die.


First of all, it’s got to get here – and we’re protected by an alert and watchful health emergency service.

That poor lady on the flight from Sierra Leone? Sadly she died, but not from Ebola – the plane was quarantined and everybody on it was checked and registered.

Second, we’re a lot more fortunate than Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone.

No super-challenged medical  teams over-stretched against impossible odds. No under-funded hospitals or emergency clinics. No ambulance shortage or emergency workers scared for their lives.

Most important of all, we lead healthier lives. We eat healthier, so our bodies are stronger. We’re more aware of hygiene and preventing infection in the first place.

It’s still not enough though.

We know about washing hands, but how many of us do it properly? A proper scrub, not just a rinse.

And how about the towel we use – a disposable paper one, or the same old cloth hanging on the bathroom door?

Or how about antibacterial hand gel?

Oh sure, we all know about it and use it whenever we remember.

But did you know it takes a minimum of 30 seconds to work? Or that you’re right back where you started once you touch your face, your hair, or the nearest door handle?

Yes, we’re careful. But we’ve got to be carefuller.

Because it’s not just Ebola, it’s a whole slew of other viruses and bacteria queuing up to have a go at us. Germs that have become resistant to antibiotics. Killers just as deadly.

Of course they can’t touch you if your hygiene is good.

So ask yourself, is it?

And are you really watchful?

Do you wipe dust away with your fingers? Do you tap your teeth with your pen? Do you put your keys in your mouth when you bring the shopping through the front door? Have you looked at the face of your phone after you’ve made a call?

No germ can get you if it can’t make contact – through a wound, through your skin itself, breathed in or swallowed. That’s why the Ebola teams wear full body protection. So the disease can’t touch them.

We’ve got to think the same – keep our bodies protected so germs can’t get us. Like all the things you try to do when you’re away on holiday. Be careful, remember you’re in a strange place, your body does not have built-up local resistance.

Don’t go swimming in dirty water. Don’t eat food that you sense is off or not cooked properly. Careful what you drink, if necessary take the cap off yourself – insisting that it has a cap in the first place.

Keep yourself clean. Avoid contact with the body fluids of others – don’t let yourself be sneezed on, no drinking from the same glass, super caution when you change junior’s nappy. In other words, don’t be careless.

Because it’s not Ebola that’s going to get you. It’s norovirus or e.coli. Really unpleasant – and an unnecessary price to pay for sloppy hygiene.

Just be watchful – and you’ll be fine.