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What are Germs?


How many times do we keep yelling at our kids, telling them to wash their hands before eating or cover their mouths while sneezing? Why? We don't want them to catch or spread germs. What are these germs, they ask you, and you hem and haw and mumble something about how they cause diseases and slink away. Perhaps it's time you increased your knowledge. 

Germs are tiny living organisms that cause diseases. In fact, they are so tiny that you cannot see them. They can only be seen under the microscope. 

There are four kinds of Germs

Bacteria

Humans are made up of millions and millions of cells, while a bacterium is made up of one single cell.  Once bacteria enter your body, they will get their nourishment from within your body, and will keep reproducing, causing infection like a sore throat, cavities, etc. However, all bacteria are not bad. Some types of bacteria are good for you, and they help keep you healthy. The good bacteria live in our intestines, and they help the body use nutrition from foods, and discard the waste matter. So bacteria do an excellent job of garbage disposal! Similarly, bacteria are essential to make certain nutritious foods like curd. 
 

Fungi

Unlike viruses and bacteria, fungi are visible to the naked eye. This is because fungi consist of many cells, and not just one cell.  They are similar to plants, and while they do not cause illness, they can be uncomfortable and usually cause rash and itchiness. Athlete's foot is an example of a fungi infection. How do you get a fungal infection? If you don't shower regularly or if you let your body remain damp, sweaty and dirty for an extended period. This is because fungi grow in damp environments. 
 

Viruses

Viruses are like parasites. They totally depend on another living being to survive. If a virus doesn't attach itself to a living being, it cannot survive.
Thus, while we feel we could get a cold by using the same blanket of someone who has the flu, we are wrong. This is because if any viruses did get transferred onto this blanket, they would not be able to survive beyond a few seconds. Thus, viruses are only transferred through direct contact. They are responsible for diseases like flu and chicken pox. 
 

Protozoa

Protozoa are parasites that cause extreme discomfort and infection. They usually spread through contaminated water. Tapeworm and roundworm are
examples of protozoa germs. These attach themselves to your intestine, and keep growing inside of you. Thus, you should be extremely careful about the kind of water you drink.
 

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