Why do germs spread from person to person?
The why of germs spreading from person to person is unfortunately quite simpleWhy do germs spread from person to person? Because that’s what germs do best. A person would have to live in a sterile bubble to avoid contact with germs. They’re everywhere.
When you sneeze, cough or simply talk you are dispersing microorganisms to others who are within a three foot range of you. When you touch something -- a door knob, the bathroom sink -- you are spreading the ‘love.’ Flu germs can live for a long time on surfaces that have been touched. If only we could see them we could avoid them but we can’t.
In the period of 24 hours, one microorganism can turn into eight million germs because they divide every 20 minutes. Sneeze germs travel at 80 mph. Unbelievable but true!
Illnesses are contracted from animals, swimming pool, in the food we eat and the air we breathe as well as from what we touch.
‘Chain of infection’ means the movement of germs. An ‘agent’ may be fungi, bacteria, a parasite or virus which is the source of the germ. The’ host’ of the microorganisms -- a person, plant or animal, food, water or an inanimate object which transfers the ‘agent’ to the ‘host’ -- is called the ‘reservoir.’
Studying how microorganisms move from one person to another is called epidemiology. You may acquire the infection via airborne transmission, direct touch or indirect contact with inanimate objects.
Fungi can live on the skin’s surface. If you touch someone who has the fungi on his skin, you will get it. The worst bacteria residing on skin is staphylococci and streptococci, which lead to infection. Shaking hands is a great way to transfer microorganisms.
Our mouths contain lots of microorganisms leading to disease such as strep throat, ear infections, pneumonia, and cold sores. We pass these germs when we kiss or sneeze, touch another person’s skin, cough or shake hands. Mouth microorganisms can be transferred in droplet form.
Gastrointestinal bacteria resides on skin in the genital area. If a person has gastroenteritis and doesn’t wash his hands after using the bathroom this results in spread of salmonella and other bacterial organisms to others.
Contact with blood and other bodily fluids can spread microorganisms. Pregnant women can transfer infections to their unborn child. A woman with HIV should not breastfeed her infant because the baby can potentially be infected by her breastmilk.
Everyone needs to cover their mouth when coughing but not with their hand, as many of us were taught when young. Put your mouth in the crook of your arm when you cough or cough into a Kleenex or handkerchief. Once you use a Kleenex get rid of it.
Routinely wash your hands with soap and water or with hand sanitizer that is alcohol-based. Alcohol kills the flu virus. This prevents the passing around of microorganisms. Before and after you handle food, wash your hands. Definitely wash your hands after disposing of trash and wash your hands before eating or drinking.
If you’ve been in public, particularly in a public restroom, wash your hands vigorously. When washing, do so for 20 seconds.
If you are sick, don’t go to work. Yes, we know, you think you have to go but your co-workers aren’t going to appreciate Typhoid Mary coming to work and contaminating everyone else. If you do go, wear a surgical mask over your nose and mouth.