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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Virus vs Bacteria

5/6/2022 (Permalink)

Germs are everywhere. What exactly is a “germ”? A germ can be any microorganism but usually refers to those causing disease. The most common germs humans come into contact with are bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. While good hand washing and clean, healthy living can help mitigate some of the damages done by bad germs, it is important to know what kind of germ is affecting you so that you can take appropriate actions. Bacteria and viruses both often lead to infections within the human body.

Bacterial infections are when a single-celled organism finds nutrients from its environment. Often times the environment bacteria settle in can be our bodies. Bacteria finding a home within our bodies can lead to things like cavities, urinary tract infections, ear infections, or even strep throat. Bacteria can often be fought with antibiotics. Using antibiotics too unnecessarily or leaving a dose of antibiotics incomplete can have adverse effects, however. As bacteria breed and multiply, it is Darwinism at its finest. Only the strong survive the antibiotics. Leaving antibiotics unfinished allows the strongest ones left behind ready to rage battle, or even catch a ride to the next flourishing environment.

Viral infections, however, work a little differently. Viruses are hardly even full cells, made mostly of genetic material. Viruses, unlike bacteria, can only live for a short time without their host, as they need to use the structure of their host to reproduce and live. Hosts can be anything living. A person, animal, or even a plant can carry a virus. Viruses typically cause illness in the host. Viruses are not usually treated with antibiotics, as they simply just aren’t as effective. Some anti-viral drugs have been developed against small groups or specific strains.

Germs are prevalent everywhere but can easily be transmitted directly from one to another through saliva, sweat, blood, aerosolized in the air, or at high touchpoints in public places. The best way to stop the spread of germs is to wash your hands regularly with warm soap and water, cough, or sneeze into your arm instead of your hand, sanitize your hands when able to, and STAY HOME WHEN YOU ARE SICK. If soap and water are not available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. While times may be becoming more and more uncertain, one thing biologists know is that following those basic rules will help slow the spread of diseases caused by germs.

At SERVPRO of Austin and Albert Lea, we have undergone particular training to handle dangerous microorganisms, blood-born pathogens, and many other situations that may pose risk to a bystander. Your safety, health, and wellness are of utmost importance to us. Don’t risk it by attempting to clean up a situation that warrants professionals. 

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