How germs spread


Germs, germs, germs! They’re everywhere! This group of tiny invaders have the potential to make you very sick... unknowingly. What's more, they can only be seen under a microscope.

Your body's immune system, for the most part, effectively prevents germs from causing noticeable illness. However, the very same immune system can become overworked at times and you may develop a fever, nasal congestion and other symptoms of infection. The main types of germs are bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.

But how do these foreign invaders spread? 


Nose, mouth or eyes to hands

Sneezing, coughing or rubbing your eyes can transmit germs to the hands, which can then be passed on to others while shaking hands or hugging.


Hands on food

Germs are usually transmitted to food by an infected person preparing the food, who didn’t wash his or her hands after using the toilet or from being outside. After that, the germs are passed on to those who eat the food. Er… gross!


Food to hands

While preparing food, germs are transferred from raw foods, like chicken which have the salmonella bacteria, to hands. Germs on the hands are then shifted to other uncooked foods you could be preparing on the side, like a sandwich or salad. The initial germs are killed when raw food is cooked, but the sandwich or salad on the other hand, remain contaminated.


Infected child to hands to other children

During nappy changing especially, germs are passed from an infected child to the hands of the parent. The germs that cause diarrhoea then travel on to others if the parent doesn’t wash their hands right away after handling their child.


Furry ones to people

Animals and pets frequently roam around different and unhygienic areas, where they may meet a variety of things, including animal faeces. 


Hand hygiene can save the day!

Handwashing is one of the most effective ways to get rid of germs, avoid getting sick, and keep germs from spreading to others. It's so easy to wash your hands. Teach your kids proper hand hygiene: 

  • Soak your hands in warm water and wash with an antibacterial soap.
  • Gently rub the soap into your hands, the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your fingernails.
  • While scrubbing your hands with the soap, set your timer for at least 20 seconds or sing the "Happy Birthday” song.
  • Use warm water to wash your hands.
  • Use a clean towel to dry or let your hands air dry.


Alternatively, use a sanitiser

If soap and water aren’t easily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser containing at least 60% alcohol. Check the label to make sure that the sanitiser contains at least 60% alcohol.


Good to know

Hand hygiene is one of the simplest ways to reduce infection. Wash your hands after using the toilet, before preparing food and after petting or coming into contact with animals. Maintain a healthy immune system by eating well, exercising regularly and sleeping well. All of this will help you in being better prepared to fight illnesses.


This article is for informational purposes only. Always check with your doctor or medical practitioner about any health concerns, before embarking on any fitness or nutrition programme, and usage of any medication.