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Where to Find the Germs that Make Us Sick

Updated on October 8, 2011
microorganisms magnified 10,000 times, in a cluster
microorganisms magnified 10,000 times, in a cluster

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While I was learning how to do dialysis, I had to learn about germs, how and where to find them, and what it was that must be done to kill them.  Some of what I learned, I found a bit disturbing, for I had been ignorant of the reality of spreading germs, and what had to be done to sterilize things.

The one thing that I learned was the fact that there are more staph germs in one room than there are people in the world.  It is true, that we are so surrounded by the staph germ that we must learn to be more careful than most people are about what we do, what we touch, and then what we touch after that.

Everybody has the staph germ on their skin at all times.  Even after taking a shower in an anti-bacterial soap, and washing your body twice, you can come out and dry and still be covered in staph.  After taking that shower, a doctor can take a swab, use it to swab your skin in whatever spot you choose, put it in a Petra dish, cover it and within 24 to 48 hours have a staph infection full grown in that dish.  I was shocked.

This is one good reason why it is so important that everybody in the family should shower every single day.  There is no way to keep it from growing on your skin, but this simple yet important act of showering knocks the number of germs you carry down to a reasonable amount, making it less probable to become sick from them, from something as easy as eating with your fingers.

What can we Do to Kill Germs

I was always under the impression that certain things we commonly use to clean our homes, have in our first aid kits, and things we keep under the sink to clean our bathrooms, were good for killing the germs. Allow me to wash away the myths of what does not work.

One of the big ones, was rubbing alcohol. Because I saw the nurse at the doctor's office swab the skin before giving an injection with an alcohol swab, I assumed it killed the germs that grew there. This is not true. There are very few things that kill those stubborn germs, although alcohol does help some, it does not effect the staph germ at all. There are only a couple of things that kill staph, and that it bleach, and a red, iodine looking substance that they use on a person going in for surgery, called beta-dine.

Bleach is the best cleaner we can use to clean your house with. Bleach is what is used to clean operating rooms, and is very effective in killing almost all germs. Beta-dine kills all germs except for one.

Another myth that is quite common is that hydrogen peroxide kills germs. This is an absolute misconception. The one and only good use for hydrogen peroxide, is that it is good for cleaning dirt and gravel out of scraps and cuts. The bubbling that occurs, simply lifts the dirt out of the wound. It does nothing to kill any germs that might be infecting the wound.

Antibiotics are useful for killing infections that are already established, but I am not going into that part of killing germs and infections, but am only going into the pre-infection cleaning and maintaining clean and germ (free) surfaces in our homes and body.

We might also think about the other places that germs live, in our homes, work places, that we might not think about cleaning that are some of the primary places we get them from one person to the next, thus spreading our colds and flu from one person in the family to the other. One of those places is the telephone. If we think about it, every one's mouth is only an inch or so from the phone and sometimes does touch the skin. Other places and things that should be cleaned with bleach water, mixed half and half, are door knobs, cabinets, the front of the refrigerator, faucets, water cooler dispensers, computer keyboards and mouse, and any other handles or knobs that get handled regularly by many people. It is also a good idea to add a cap-full of bleach to your dish water, or dishwasher soap dispenser.

If someone in your home is sick, keeping them away from others is a good idea, as well as making sure that their dishes are disinfected after each use, and only used by them until they are better. Toys and other entertainment items should also be cleaned daily if they are shared by more than one child. Your car is another place that is not thought about, but is a breeding place for germs that gather from many people touching everything.

Again, the best disinfectant to clean the house with in order to keep germs from being spread, is bleach and water, mixed half and half. Cleansers such as Comet or Ajax has bleach in them in powder form, but not as much as is needed, and should be used in addition to the bleach solution if desired, like in the basin in the bathrooms. This bleach solution is only for cleaning objects though, not people as it is too irritating to the skin. For kids and adults, a good anti-bacterial soap in a dispenser is a good idea at all times. The washing of hands, not only before food preparation and eating is not enough. Everybody in the family should wash their hands at least three times a day in addition to before meals or cooking. Hand washing before doing anything that could spread germs to another person should be a good habit to get into. For example, a good hand washing should always be done before doing and after doing anything with a baby.

The main things to remember when dealing with spreading germs that can cause sickness between people in a home is this.  Make sure that everything  that is used commonly is wiped off and cleaned on a regular basis.  Make sure you separate those who are sick from the remaining people.  Make sure that sneezing, coughing, or anything that will spread germs from one to another is done into a tissue and disposed of, or is a tissue is not available, done into your sleeve.  If you cough or sneeze into your hands, wash them.  The washing of hands is the one and main thing that will eliminate sharing germs for the most part.  Getting into the good habit of hand washing several times a day is very important.  Good health to you.


Submit a Comment

  • ddsurfsca profile imageAUTHOR

    deb douglas 

    7 years ago from Oxnard

    Having a family and keeping everyone healthy is a tall order unless you can get everyone trained into washing their hands, especially around food and mealtimes. Thanks for your comment, I appreciate them.

  • JY3502 profile image

    John Young 

    7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

    Lot's of information here DD. I was surprised at how much I forgot after working as a surgical tech.


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