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learn Worrying

How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love Germs Again

Photo: Nixx Photography (Shutterstock)Concerns about germs have shaped the last year and a half of our lives thanks to one germ in particular: the virus that causes COVID-19. But the billions of other bacteria, viruses, and microbes that surround us haven’t exactly ceased to exist. What do we really need to be afraid of? And…

hand about to grasp a public handrail

Photo: Nixx Photography (Shutterstock)

Concerns about germs have formed the last year and a half of our lives thanks to one germ specifically: the virus that causes COVID-19. But the billions of different germs, viruses, and even microbes that surround us haven’t precisely stopped to exist. What do we really need to be frightened of? And how can we protect ourselves without going overboard?

I read this informative article from Today on office germs with a little”nature is healing” wistfulness. Remember when it was a habit among local news groups to swab a pair of objects and announce them to become dirtier than a toilet? It seems like we are back.

We are constantly surrounded by microbes, and that’s ordinary

Have you been outdoors with kids? Sooner or later, one of these will complain about an ant crawling on or close them. If you are the parent, they’ll expect you to do something about it. And then you have to clarify that we’re outdoors, and outside is where bugs live.

Similarly, there is no requirement to be shocked at germs being in your home, or on the surfaces you often touch. This is where they live. (Everywhere.)

Bacteria and other microbes occupy every corner of the earth. They reside on our skin and in our own bodies, in miniature ecosystems which we refer to our”microbiome.” A number of them cause disease, but many are bystanders.

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So what about all those bacteria on your desk, or your kitchen counter, or whatever? Most frequently, we attracted them . They haven’t marched in just like a little invading army from Microbe Central; they’re just the germs that were already on our skin, then we touched things, and left some of them .

As microbiologist Mark O. Martin advised us through a previous germ trend (this one about hand dryers in public baths ),”You’ve got microbes all over your skin, but that doesn’t stop you from holding hands.”

What’s actually worth doing to steer clear of germs

Now that we’ve established that we’re surrounded by mostly harmless microbes, let us discuss what we can do to protect ourselves from those that actually could make us ill.

Be careful with raw meat and other food-safety risks

Certain food items can be contaminated with harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella in raw poultry and legumes, E. coli in beef, etc . That is why it’s very important to clean your hands after preparing these foods, and to wash or disinfect the utensils and surfaces that those foods touched at the process. (Hot soapy water is great enough for most kitchen tools, but if you prefer using a disinfectant onto your countertops, that’s fine too.)

Wash your hands fairly regularly

Besides washing your hands after touching raw meats, you also need to wash them afterwards touching the garbage, pets or pet-related items (like their waste or their food bowls), diapers, real dirt (you’ve no idea exactly how many microbes are in dirt), and after you use the bathroom. The CDC has more tips in their hands washing manual here.

It’s also a good idea to clean your hands before you eat, to be certain that whatever you have been touching is not likely to make it into your mouth.

Reasonably frequent hand washing may also keep the yuckier microbes off surfaces such as your desk–since, as you’ll recall, we mostly bring them via our own grubby hands.

Take precautions about people that are sick or may be sick

The thing about germs that make people sick is that we have a tendency to get them out of different men and women that are sick. If your kid has diarrhea, be scrupulous about cleaning the restroom. (This is a good time to utilize a suitable disinfectant, such as bleach).

Some of the things we’ve learned from COVID will come in handy here, too. Wearing a mask in public might help keep your germs from others if you are sick; it may also keep you from becoming ailing, from things such as influenza and colds.

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