What are germs?

Browse → Science → Microscopic World

Has anyone ever told you to clean your hands to keep germs from spreading? There may be certain times of the year, such as cold and flu season, when you are often reminded to help stop the spread of germs. But what exactly are these mysterious germs, and why do people tell us to avoid them?    

Germs are small living things, most of them so tiny that they can’t be seen without a microscope. They are everywhere in the air, on the surfaces you touch, even on your body! They come in many shapes, from spirals to rods to spheres.

Many germs can make people sick or irritated, such as the bacteria that cause strep throat and the fungi that cause athlete’s foot. Other types of germs include viruses, protozoa and helminths, such as tapeworms. -- The word "germs" is a term we use to describe all of these different microscopic living things.

Are all germs harmful? No! Some germs, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, are helpful! This bacterium lives in your intestines and helps break your food down and prevent disease.

It’s important to keep washing those hands...but know that not all germs in and on your body make you sick. In fact, without certain germs, we wouldn’t be healthy!

by   (whyzz writer)
  • Exploration

    Washing hands is the best way to avoid getting sick from germs! To really make sure those germs leave your hands, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests soaping up (with warm water if possible), then rubbing your hands together for 15-20 seconds“”as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday two times through! 

    To keep those hands extra clean, use the paper towel you dry off with to turn off the faucet!

Didn't find what you were looking for? Ask the Community          Ask friends & family