Abundant germs surround us. They are in the air we breathe, and the things we touch. With a healthy and uncompromised immune system, we are largely protected from the detrimental effects that harmful germs could bring. We can keep our immune system robust by sleeping well, incorporating movement into our daily routine, exposing our biome to the outdoors, and eating whole, natural and organic food, free from antibiotics, fertilizer and glyphosate, that wrecks our gut and destroys our intestinal lining.
These being said, what are practical ways we can do to avoid contracting an infection, and prevent its spread, should we be a carrier ourselves? Some tips would include:
1. Avoiding direct contact with others either through touching or kissing. Germs are spread when body fluids of an infected person come in direct contact with another person through their eyes, ears, nose, mouth, skin, or mucous membrane.2. Covering one’s mouth when coughing or sneezing, with a tissue, handkerchief, or our elbows, in the absence of the former two.
- is key to contain the trajectory of the splatter of droplets coming from our nose and mouth when we cough, sneeze, or vomit, in order to prevent it from landing on a hard surface, or from accidentally being inhaled by another person. Germs that stay suspended in the air attached to dust particles or droplets can travel up to three (3) feet away. When we cough and sneeze, one should imagine a radius of 3 feet and beyond, taking wind into consideration, wherein droplets can land. Upon sneezing, one should immediately throw the used tissue in the trash, and wash their hands.
- Microbes live longer on hard surfaces such as plastic or steel, than they do on fabric, or other soft surfaces. Germs thrive on wet and dirty surfaces; viruses can live on hard surfaces for several hours, bacteria can live even longer
- Parasites and fungi are not transmitted by droplets
- Germs that are spread by droplets prove to be more contagious, as infection can spread even without direct contact between people.
- Even in a well ventilated room, germs that are airborne can travel into a ventilation system, across a room, to another floor, and even to another building, exponentially increasing the chances of someone else breathing in the germs.
3. Preventing airborne transmission. When we inhale germs deep into our lungs, this can cause more serious illness. Cleaning and disinfecting won’t be helpful here. An example of airborne viruses are ones that lead to measles and chicken pox.
4. Careful handling of blood and other body spills. Most blood-borne germs may enter someone’s body through contaminated needles coming into contact with broken skin.
5. Being mindful of insect bites. These are commonly transmitted through bites from mosquitos carrying bacteria or viruses in their own blood.6. Proper handwashing upon contact with fecal matter. Infection through transmission of fecal matter commonly occurs when hands are not washed properly after contact, and germs from this make their way into some else’s mouth, usually when dirty hands touch food. Infections from these usually cause vomiting and diarrhea. This is a common occurrence in most early education settings, where a child forgets to clean their hands, and touches food in a shared bowl, leaving germs on the left over food.
Exposure to germs or microbes is not a guarantee of getting infected. Some factors that would prevent sickness would be the persons overall general health, their immunity to the germ, and the strength of the germ. If someone is generally healthy, is eating and sleeping well, has been exposed to the microbe in the past and has thus developed antibodies that help their immune system fight off the present infection more readily, or the germs are relatively weak, there should be nothing to worry about. The practice of regular hand washing, and in certain cases, wearing a mask if one is already infected and needs to go out, is the most responsible thing to do in order to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.