Germs are more than just sneaky little organisms that make us sick – they actually have a rich history. Germ theory, the idea that diseases are caused by specific microorganisms within the body, has been in development since Dutch scientist Antoni van Leeuwenhoek discovered tiny organisms under his early microscope. Then, in the 1860s, Louis Pasteur‘s research proved without a doubt that germs were behind everyday illnesses. Today, we know that germs cause disease – but there are several other facts about these tiny organisms that may come as a surprise. Let’s dive into the secret life of germs.
The Secret Life of Germs
What Is a Germ?
Germs are tiny organisms that can only be seen under a microscope. Certain types of germs exist naturally on plants, animals, and people; however, some types of germs can cause illness. There are four major types of germs:
- Bacteria: You’ve likely heard of bacteria, the tiny, one-celled creatures that eat nutrients from within their environments. Bacteria can reproduce outside or within the human body, causing infections like tonsillitis, strep throat, and pneumonia. However, not all bacteria are bad. Some bacteria help keep our bodies in balance – like the good bacteria in our intestines that help us absorb nutrients. Scientists can also use bacteria in medicines and vaccines.
- Viruses: Viruses can only grow and reproduce inside the living cells of a host, whether that is a plant, animal, or human. Viruses can live for short periods on surfaces like doorknobs, countertops, and computer keyboards, which is why it’s important to wash your hands regularly to avoid ingesting them. When viruses get inside the human body, they can cause illnesses like chickenpox, measles, and the flu.
- Fungi: These multi-celled, plant-like organisms get their nutrition from plants, people, and animals. They typically live in warm, damp places, which can result in fungal infections like athlete’s foot.
- Protozoa: Protozoa are single-cell organisms that love moisture, often spreading diseases like intestinal infections through contaminated water.
Are Germs Everywhere?
Short answer: Yes. A clean human mouth has between 1,000 and 100,000 bacteria on each tooth, and up to 1,000 species of bacteria live on the healthy human body. In addition, there are millions of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa living on Earth at any given time. In fact, it’s been said that if all the viruses on Earth were laid end to end, they would stretch for 100 million light years.
How Do Germs Spread?
The secret life of germs is complex because bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi all spread differently. However, a general rule is that germs can live anywhere with warmth, food, and moisture:
- Inside the human body
- Inside or on the bodies of other animals
- On food
- On trash or sewage
- In contaminated water
- In the air
Germs require a vehicle to move from place to place – but we’re not just talking about automobiles. Vehicles for germs can include the human body, dust, water, blood, insects, and animals.
The secret life of germs is pretty fascinating, but it can also be eerie. Although germs exist all around us, you don’t have to live in fear: There are several ways to protect yourself from germs, including healthy habits like frequent hand-washing. It’s also important to use hand sanitizers when you’re on the go and don’t have access to soap and water to wash your hands. Finally, consider heavy-duty germ-fighting products, like the original SafeSpace® Disinfectant Germ Fogger (since 2005), to rid rooms of excess germs, especially during cold and flu season.
The SafeSpace Company is a family-owned small business proudly selling American-made germ foggers, auto disinfecting and deodorizing mists, and alcohol-free hand sanitizers to keep your family safe and healthy. To ensure that you don’t get sick from germs, stock up on germ-fighting essentials like SafeSpace® Disinfectant Germ Fogger. For more information about SafeSpace, contact us online or call us toll-free at 1-800-735-2506.
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