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When you get sick, your body’s natural defenses try to fight back. Your immune system produces antibodies to attack germs and viruses. Antibodies attach to these germs and kill them. The immune system also sends white blood cells called macrophages to the infection site. Macrophages swallow germs as they pass through their bodies. They release chemicals that help other organs in the body deal with the infection too. Viruses are very smart enemies – they work together to avoid being killed by the body’s defenses. When a new virus encounters an infected person or animal – it doesn’t immediately attack the host, instead it waits for a moment when it is most likely that nobody will be able to defend themselves against it again: when they are sick! Then it attaches itself to a cell and makes its escape into another body on a new unsuspecting victim. It is called “resurgence” or “secondary infection” because the virus has returned from the grave!
How Does Infection Work?
Viruses, bacteria, and parasites cannot live on their own. So when a person, animal, or plant gets infected, a germ enters the body, replicates, and spreads. Infection can occur several ways. – Human to human transmission – Germs are everywhere in the environment. Humans are part of that environment too. When someone is infected and another person touches or inhales the infected person’s air, dust, or saliva, the germ enters their body. Similarly, if you touch an infected person, the germ can enter through your hands. If you touch an infected wound or another object, the germ can enter your body. – Human to animal transmission – When you are sick, your immune system is already busy battling germs. It doesn’t have much energy to look for other germs in your body. But when you get better, your immune system gets weaker and less able to protect you from other germs. At this time, other germs can more easily get into your body. For example, if you are bitten by a mosquito that has bitten someone else who is sick, the mosquito’s germs can enter your body. – Animal to human transmission – If you are sick or have a wound and touch yourself, the germs on your hands enter your body. If you touch another person, your germs might get into their body.
What Is the Cause of Infection?
Ultimately, the cause of any infection is that a germ got inside your body. Bacteria and viruses are just microscopic bits of DNA or genetic material that can be found in soil, animals, or humans. When you inhale or touch a germ, it enters your body. From there it can spread to other parts of your body or to other people or animals through the air, through wounds, or through direct contact with a sick person’s body fluids. Bacteria and viruses cause different diseases. Bacteria cause infections such as pneumonia and Lyme disease. Viruses cause infections such as the common cold and Zika virus. Both bacteria and viruses can cause serious diseases.
How Do Germs Spread?
Germ-containing droplets or particles in the air travel to other people by air currents, flying insects, or direct contact with contaminated surfaces, clothing, or other people. Bacteria can be spread by direct contact with infected animals or people, by eating contaminated food or water, or by touching animals or plants that have been contaminated by bacteria. Viruses are tiny particles that cause diseases by entering a cell through a germ. Then the virus can spread to other cells, where it can grow and make more viruses. Humans can spread germs when they are sick, when they touch an infected person, or when they touch an infected object such as a doorknob or table. If you touch a sick person’s skin, nose, or mouth, germs can enter your body. If you touch an infected object, germs can enter your hands or feet.
How Can You Avoid Getting Infected?
– Wash your hands often – especially after going to the bathroom or changing diapers. You can also use soap or an alcohol hand sanitizer. If you wear gloves or wash your hands with water from a community water system, make sure those hands are clean too. – Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs can spread from your hands to your nose, mouth, or eyes. Washing your hands and covering your mouth with a piece of clean tissue will stop this. – Disinfect surfaces that can be touched by people coming into contact with germs. Examples include doorknobs, tables, chairs, phones, computers, and other objects. – Stay away from sick people and animals – they might be carrying germs in their own bodies or in their environments, such as in food or water.
Don’t Be Afraid of Hand Washing!
Many people think that washing their hands will spread germs. But germs are living organisms. Washing your hands will not kill germs. Germs can only be killed by using a disinfectant to kill the germs on your hands. Only certain kinds of germs are hard to kill with water. Disinfectants like bleach, alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide kill a wide range of germs. So when you wash your hands with water, you are only getting rid of the germs that are in the water. Then you put those germs back into the environment by splashing those germs on nearby surfaces.
Protect Yourself From UV Rays and Cold Temperatures
Sunlight is important for your body to make Vitamin D. Vitamin D is necessary for your immune system to kill germs. So make sure to protect your skin with sunscreen and wear a hat and sunglasses when outside. You can also protect yourself from germs by covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Coughing and sneezing are some of the ways that germs are spread inside and outside of buildings.
A healthy immune system can protect you from many infections. But sometimes your immune system can make mistakes and allow germs to get into your body. It is important to get sick and get better so that your immune system can rebuild. Your immune system can cause problems if it is too active or if it is not working as well as it should be. You can protect your immune system from getting hurt by being active, eating healthy foods, and getting enough sleep.