Germs 101: How They Spread and How to Stop Them
Healthy Habits Program
Germs may not always be top of mind, but these tiny living microorganisms are around us at all times. We constantly encounter good and bad germs in the environment, but it’s important to distinguish between harmful microbes and understand the importance of protecting against these pathogens that tend to cause disease and infection.1
Germs are mainly transmitted through person-to-person contact, or when a person comes in contact with an infected surface. An individual who harbors harmful germs exposes others when he or she coughs, sneezes or talks; viruses such as the flu also spread when a person touches an infected surface and then touches his or her nose, mouth or eyes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer insight below on how to stop the advancement of germs at home, work and school.
Hands are the common denominator in the spread of germs, which makes hand washing a priority in germ protection. Wash your hands often with soap – but if soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Along the same lines, bypass touching your eyes, nose or mouth, in case any germs outlast your hand washing efforts.
Avoid close contact with anyone you presume to be sick, and at the same time, stay home from work, errands and school if you personally are sick. By covering your mouth and nose with a tissue (or your elbow when a tissue is not available) when coughing or sneezing, this can also prevent those around you from contracting the virus. Frequently disinfect touched objects and surfaces in the home and classroom, including doorknobs, counters, phones, desks, water fountains and sinks to help remove germs.
Practicing good health habits on a daily basis, as routine preventive actions, can help slow the spread of germs that can cause illness.
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