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Published on December 02, 2019

5 Ways Germs Spread and How to Stop Them

5 Ways Germs Spread

Germs. They are nasty little creatures that can make us all very sick. In fact, Americans spend nearly $5 billion each year on illness caused by germs.

Germs lie in wait on surfaces, having been left there by something or someone that is infected. Our hands come in contact with the surface and we then touch our eye, mouth or nose, allowing the germs to enter our bodies, making us ill.

Here are five ways they can be spread:

  1. From your nose, mouth or eyes – Sneezing, coughing or rubbing the eyes can cause germs to spread to others.
  2. Food – Germs from raw foods can be transferred to uncooked foods, such as salads. While the raw food is cooked, killing the germs, the salad is not and can make you sick.
  3. Animals – We love them, but animals are very germy creatures.
  4. Dirty hands – You can become sick when someone is preparing food with dirty hands, typically from not washing them after using the restroom.
  5. Children – Dirty diapers, coughs that aren’t covered, and runny noses spread many germs, especially if the child is ill.

So what are we to do? It’s really quite simple. Washing our hands with regular soap under warm running water is one of the best ways to prevent illness and the spread of germs to others. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the following steps:

  • Wet your hands with running water and soap.
  • Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub well for 20 seconds.
  • Remember to clean your wrists, backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your fingernails.
  • Rinse your hands well under running water.
  • Dry your hands with a clean towel or air dryer.

It is recommended that you should always:

  • Wash your hands often during cold and flu season.
  • Wash your hands while preparing food. Be especially careful to wash before and after preparing poultry, raw eggs, meat or seafood.
  • Wash your hands after going to the bathroom or changing a diaper.
  • Wash your hands often while caring for someone who is sick. 
  • Wash your hands before and after you treat a cut or wound.
  • Wash your hands before you eat.

Hand washing is one of the best ways to keep yourself from getting being sick. It is especially helpful during cold and flu season when we are more likely to be around others who are spreading germs. Take the time and wash your hands regularly. You, and those around you, deserve it.

About the Author

Katherine Tabori, MD

Katherine Tabori, MD specializes in Family Medicine at LeBauer HealthCare Summerfield Village