The term ‘’germ’’ encompasses an army of tiny terrors, including viruses, fungi, parasites and bacteria. These ‘’pathogens’’ all have the ability to spread from victim to victim (called a host). Germs are so small you can see them only through microscope. They look like spiky blobs, oozing spirals, hairy hot dogs, or other microscopic monsters.

Once germs invade our bodies, they snuggle in for a long stay. They gobble up nutrients and energy, and can produce toxins, which are proteins that act like poisons. Those toxins can cause symptoms of common infections, like fevers, sniffles, rashes, coughing, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Most germs are spread through the air in sneezes, coughs, or even breaths. Germs can also spread in sweat, saliva, and blood. Some pass from person to person by touching something that is contaminated, like shaking hands with someone who has a cold and then touching your own nose. Washing your hands well and often is the best way to beat these tiny warriors. Wash your hands every time you cough or sneeze, before you eat or prepare foods, after you use the bathroom, after you touch animals and pets, after you play outside, and after you visit a sick relative or friend.


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