What are Germs?
Germs consist of various microbes, biohazards and pathogens. “Microbe is another name for microorganisms. Biohazards are infectious agents or dangerous biological materials that present a risk or potential risk to human health. Pathogens are germs that can cause disease,” explains McFadden. The three most common types of germs are bacteria, fungi and viruses, and these germs are found everywhere. “We find germs in water, air, food, blood/body fluids on nonliving environmental surfaces, humans and animals,” McFadden says. Many of these microbes pose no threat to your health, but there are germs (pathogens) that can lead to serious illnesses like HIV, Salmonella and E. Coli.
How do Germs Cause Disease?
For germs to cause you harm, they must find a way to enter into your body, and unfortunately, this is an easy task for germs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that handwashing is one of the most effective ways you can keep germs from entering into your body. As germs accumulate on your hands, you increase the risk of infecting yourself by touching areas like your nose, mouth and eyes.
How to Fight Germs
There are four major things you must do in order to prevent invisible pathogens from entering into your body and making you ill:
Eliminate or Reduce Infectious Agents – Handwashing is one of the things you must do to reduce your contact with germs, but there are other ways to do so. Germs cover surfaces in your home, car and office, so you want to be sure that you are thoroughly cleaning these areas. There are different levels of clean: “Cleaning is the removal of unwanted soil or contaminants. Sanitizing is the removal of microbes from an object to meet a minimum sanitation requirement. Sanitizing reduces the microbial population by killing 99.9% of the targeted pathogens. Disinfecting is the total elimination of most pathogenic organisms from inanimate objects. Disinfecting provides a higher level of germ killing than cleaning or sanitizing,” advises McFadden
Keep Your Immune System Healthy – Germs that enter into an already weakened immune system have a higher chance of causing serious illness than those that enter a healthy, functioning immune system. Keep your immune system healthy by following a nutritious diet, getting plenty of sleep and keeping an active lifestyle.
Inhibit Germ Growth – While you can’t ever fully rid your surroundings of all germs, you can help inhibit germ growth. Common areas that are full of germs include kitchen sinks, toilet seats and doorknobs or handles. Proper cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting of these surfaces regularly helps to prevent germs from multiplying and growing.
Prevent Germ Transmission – Even if you are most diligent at handwashing, you may come into close contact with others who aren’t or who are already ill with a germ-caused disease. Limit your contact with sick people, and carry a bottle of hand sanitizer around with you. It might seem rude to sanitize immediately after shaking someone’s hand, but doing so can help you prevent germ transmission.
Germs really are everywhere and you will never be able to rid your life of these microorganisms. Fortunately, with proper care and caution, you can reduce the number of germs that you expose yourself to. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you at all times and use proper cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting methods to keep your life as germ-free as possible.