Microbiology: The Bad Guys

Bad microbes

You may not have met one in person, but microbes are everywhere! They’re on us, in us and around us.

There are billions of microbes living in, on and around your body. Many of these microbes are really useful and only a few are harmful but it is usually the bad guys that are in the news.

Microbes can be helpful as they break down foodstuffs into nutrients that are easy for our bodies to absorb, they help create yummy food like yoghurts, and they even create most of the oxygen we breathe!

And that’s just to name a tiny fraction of the great things microbes do.

However, there are some that can make us very sick. We call these disease-causing microbes germs.

Germs can cause tummy upsters, coughs or colds – amongst other things – which nobody enjoys!

But you don’t need to worry – our bodies are well-equipped to fight off invading microbes that may cause infection and disease – that is why we are usually so healthy.

Skin acts as a great barrier preventing microbes from getting in, tears contain antiseptic which kills germs, and – guess what! – in our guts there is around 1kg of good bacteria that help fight off the bad guys.

Plus, there are lots of simple things you can do to keep yourself healthy – wash your hands when you have been to the loo, wipe your dripping nose with a tissue rather than your hand – and don’t forget to put the tissue in the bin… you you know, all the sensible stuff parents go on about.

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