Click on your TV and everybody’s in a panic about the ebola virus possibly becoming airborne.
Reality check, right there.
If you cast your mind back to the last time you saw pictures of a hurricane, you’ll quickly realise that ANYTHING can be airborne – buildings, people, sixteen-wheelers, livestock.
So how exactly can a microbe that is just a millionth of the size of the head of a pin be anything but?
One little waft of air will do it. Not even a puff. Get the right wind and it can blow right round the world. That’s how birds wind up on deserted islands. Or spiders from Argentina get to Antarctica every year.
Don’t hold your breath. Because if the ebola cells that land on your clothing are concentrated enough, you’re already at risk. If they get inside you, you’re in trouble.
OK, pretend they’re mosquitoes. They’re buzzing around almost invisible, trying to bite you, right?
Buzzing around IN THE AIR. Just like ebola – only you can’t see ebola without a microscope.
Mosquitoes are easy. You grab a can of bug-spray and zap them. Fffffff-ttt! in the air.
Take them down before they take you. No bites, no itching. No worst-case scenario – malaria.
Same thing with ebola. Take down those microbes in the air – before they can get to you. Zap them out of existence.
How? By oxidising them, of course.
Because – surprise, surprise – we’ve known since the Nineteenth Century that no germ can survive having oxygen atoms shoved at it.
Since 1818, when French chemist Louis-Jacques Thenard discovered hydrogen peroxide.
That’s right. Spray the air and everything around with hydrogen peroxide and that ebola virus is gone. Oblivionsville.
And so is every other bug in the air with it – MRSA, e. coli, c.difficile, HIV, the whole stinking lot of them.
Which is another clue right there. When a germ infects you, it stinks. That’s your body rotting – turning into some disgusting goo so the germs can eat you.
But when you kill germs, the smells are gone. They can’t eat you, ‘cos they’re dead.
So yes, there’s something in the air.
Remember that next time a load of dust blows into your face.
That there’s billions and billions of nasty microbe thingies in there too. Ebola’s not the only one that’s deadly.
But as long as your body’s defence threshold is good – you’ve slept, you’ve eaten, you’re not drunk, you haven’t taken drugs – you should hold up OK.
Because now you can strike back, with something in the air of your own.
It doesn’t have to be a problem.