Germs That Live On Our Hands

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Over the last eighteen months, there has been a much greater focus on public health and in particular, the importance of hand washing. Our bodies are covered in microorganisms and it might amaze you to learn that the bacteria in the world that we know about only accounts for 1% of all bacteria. Yes, 99% are still unknown!

Germs seem to thrive on the warm, slightly moist surface of our hands and some of them can cause potentially nasty illnesses. Here are just a few of those rather unwelcome visitors:

  1. E.coli

As well as eating contaminated meat, another way that humans can suffer with this illness is through having it on their hands. Not everybody washes their hands properly after using the bathroom so you can imagine that these germs could get anywhere – door handles, stair railings and anything else touched by many people. E coli is not often fatal in the healthy and non-vulnerable but can cause highly unpleasant symptoms such as sickness, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

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  1. Staph

These pesky germs are everywhere and thankfully most people who are exposed don’t know it and don’t get sick. Unfortunately, due to an excess of antibiotic use over previous decades, there are now antibiotic resistant forms of staph germs. Symptoms from a staph infection can include rashes, painful boils and even a heart infection!

  1. Salmonella

A Salmonella infection is normally the result of eating badly cooked poultry but it does live in the intestines and so can be passed on through contamination on our hands. Humans can also come into contact with Salmonella when handling raw meat or eggs, for example. The symptoms of illness are very similar to that of E.coli. The best way to avoid this illness is to wash hands thoroughly after handling raw poultry and eggs, as well as proper hand washing after using the bathroom. For advice about a Food Hygiene Check, visit

  1. Flu and Cold

Colds are a common visitor every year with billions of people across the world experiencing the generally mild but annoying symptoms. As we go about our daily lives, we are touching things that someone carrying cold or flu germs has likely touched too. Such bugs are infectious even before a person shows symptoms so there is little that can be done to avoid them apart from regular and thorough hand washing.

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  1. Gastroenteritis

There are a whole range of bugs that cause gastrointestinal illness similar to E.coli and Salmonella. These germs also live on our hands and can cause our stomach and intestines to inflame. They can be contracted from eating contaminated food or through touching contaminated surfaces. These illnesses usually present with vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps.

Not all germs are bad. In fact, most are completely harmless and some even beneficial to our well-being. The good news is that the beneficial germs can’t be removed but the bad guys can be eliminated with a soapy scrub and warm water!

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