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What are germs and how do they spread?

Discover the most common types of germs and how to help prevent them from spreading

No one wants to let germs get in the way of their fun. But to continue spreading the love and not the germs, we need to get to know them a little better.

Most of the microbes in the world are harmless to people. Some types of bacteria even do us good, like the ones in our gut that help us digest food. But it’s worth knowing about these germs (microbes that cause illness), and how they can be spread in your home – especially when you’re hosting loved ones or having unexpected visitors pop over. Make yourself aware of the different ways you can help stop them from spreading to you and your family and keep those pesky, unwelcome germs out of your home.

What are germs?

Germs (also known as “pathogens”) are microscopic organisms that can cause illness and infections if they get into our bodies.

The most common types of germs are:

  • Bacteria (e.g. Salmonella, which can cause food poisoning)
  • Viruses (e.g. Rhinovius, which can cause the common cold)
  • Fungi (e.g. Trichophyton, which can cause athlete’s foot)
  • Parasites (e.g. Giaridia Intestinalis, which can cause diarrhoea)

So, how do they spread?

Different germs spread in different ways. Take bacteria and fungi – they can survive anywhere warm and moist in your home. But viruses are different. Being around one hundredth the size of a bacterium, viruses need to be inside a living host to reproduce. And it’s through this process that they can cause disease and start affecting both you and the people you care about.

Common sources of germ spread:

  • Contaminated food and water
  • Regularly touched surfaces like doorknobs, taps, TV remotes, and phones
  • Cleaning and waste areas like bins, sinks, and toilets
  • Household waste – used or gone-off food, used tissues, and dirty nappies
  • Cleaning items like cleaning cloths, sponges, and toothbrushes
  • Pets and other animals like rodents and flies
  • People

How do germs get into the body?

There are multiple ways that germs can sneak their way into our bodies.

  • They could be eaten in contaminated food
  • Germs in the air getting inhaled through our nose and mouth and into the lungs
  • Germs on our skin can enter through untreated cuts or wounds
  • They can be introduced to our bloodstream through injections, surgery or through animal or insect bites
  • Some specific germs in our body fluids can be passed onto others through bodily contact

How can you protect yourself?

Germs can spread quickly and efficiently. That’s why knowing how germs spread and how they get into your body can help you protect yourself and those around you. Here are some quick hygiene habit tips to help you stop those illness causing germs.

Hand Hygiene

  • Remember to regularly wash your hands – this helps stop the spread of bacteria as you go about your daily life.

Disinfect regularly touched surfaces

  • Spray and wipe countertops in your kitchen.
  • Disinfect your bathroom (including basins, shower doors, and faucets) and other continuously touched surfaces to reduce the spread of germs.
  • Use Dettol Surface Cleanser Spray to kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses* on surfaces in and around your home.
  • Pay particular attention to the hotspots in your home where guests, children and pets are likely to spread germs.
  • Keep a pack of antibacterial wipes like the Dettol Cleansing Surface Wipes handy for use around your home. Be sure to give surfaces a wipe down after they’ve been touched by any visitors or pets.

Clean your clothes

  • If you, your family members, or any guests you’ve had into your home have been suffering from colds and flu, add Dettol Antibacterial Laundry Sanitiser to your laundry to kill 99.9% of bacteria in temperatures as low as 15C.

For more information on how you can stop the spread of germs, visit our tips page.

*enveloped viruses. Use biocides safely. Always read the label and product information before use.


Related Products:

Dettol Surface Cleanser Spray

Dettol Cleansing Surface Wipes

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