Germs are found all over the world, in all kinds of places. The four major types of germs are bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. They can invade plants, animals, and people, and sometimes they can make us sick. Bacteria - tiny, one-celled creatures that get nutrients from their environments in order to live. In some cases that environment is a human body. Bacteria can reproduce outside of the body or within the body as they cause infections. Some infections that bacteria can cause include ear infections, sore throats, cavities, and pneumonia. Viruses - need to be inside living cells to grow and reproduce. Most viruses can't survive very long if they're not inside a living thing like a plant, animal, or person. Whatever a virus lives in is called its host. When viruses get inside people's bodies, they can spread and make people sick. Viruses cause chickenpox, measles, flu, and many other diseases. Because some viruses can live for a short time on something like a doorknob or countertop, be sure to wash your hands regularly! Fungi - multi-celled, plant-like organisms. Unlike other plants, fungi cannot make their own food from soil, water, and air. Instead, fungi get their nutrition from plants, people, and animals. They love to live in damp, warm places, and many fungi are not dangerous in healthy people. An example of something caused by fungi is athlete's foot. Protozoa - one-cell organisms that love moisture and often spread diseases through water. Some protozoa cause intestinal infections that lead to diarrhea, nausea, and belly pain.
How to sanitize properly There are important differences between washing hands with soap and water and using hand sanitizer. Soap and water work to remove all types of germs from hands, while sanitizer acts by killing certain germs on the skin. Although alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 70% alcohol) can quickly reduce the number of germs in many situations, but should be used in the right situations. Soap and water are more effective than hand sanitizers at removing certain kinds of germs like COVID-19 and norovirus, as well as chemicals. Hand sanitizers also may not remove harmful chemicals, such as pesticides and heavy metals like lead. Hand washing reduces the amounts of all types of germs, pesticides, and metals on hands. Knowing when to clean your hands and which method to use will give you the best chance of preventing sickness. Cleaning products There are many cleaning products to fight germs but not all are created equal. Most cleaning products have a specific contact time that is recommended to kill certain germs. The CDC highly recommends following these guidelines. Our office Our office takes special care to provide a safe and sanitary environment for our patients and staff.