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4 Myths About Germs and Bacteria

 
Bacteria, Encompass HealthCare & Wound Medicine, West Bloomfield, Michigan.
 

We have all heard wives tales regarding germs and bacteria.  How do you know what’s truth and what’s fiction?

At Encompass Healthcare, we can clear that up.  Let’s look at these 4 common myths:

Myth #1:  MRSA (Methacyllin Resistance Staph Aureous) On The Skin Makes People Sick.

The truth is that 50% of us have MRSA bacteria already colonizing on our skin.  That’s because our skin is our body’s first natural defense against the outside world and it’s normally teeming with bacteria. These germs are usually safe because your skin is your protection. It acts as a barrier to bacteria from entering the body. The only time this becomes a problem is when the skin is compromised by a cut or a wound, allowing the bacteria to enter into the bloodstream. Most of the germs living on our skin are, interestingly enough, staph and strep. And it’s okay for them to be there as long as you don’t suffer a cut, scrape or non-healing wound.

Myth #2:  Wearing Your Coat When Outdoors Prevents A Cold.

We’ve all heard our mothers say, “Don’t go outside without a coat or you’ll catch a cold!”  But the truth is you should wear a coat because you may get cold, not necessarily catch a cold. When studied by the New England Journal of Medicine, kids without coats did not catch colds, viruses, or any other bacteria-related illness by not wearing a coat outside in cold weather.  Viruses are contracted by contact or close contact with another person who has a virus or bacterial infection.

To prevent colds and other viruses from spreading, make hand-washing a priority.  This will help drastically reduce the incidences of colds and viruses. This is especially important when you’re among those known to have a cold, virus, or bacterial infection.

Myth #3:  Most Reported Deadly Bacteria Are Deadly.

When the news reports that an area has been hit by a deadly bacteria, it may or may not be true. The truth is that many deadly bacteria can be harmless and many harmless bacteria can be deadly. It all depends on your immune system. In fact, reports show that when a new virus hits, only 10% are really at risk, usually people aged two years and younger, or aged 65 years and older.  Most people can tolerate severe bacteria as long as their immune systems are reasonably healthy.

Myth #4 Every Respiratory Track Infection Requires Antibiotics

In reality, 95% of all respiratory infections are caused by viruses and the only “cure” is to allow our bodies to heal naturally. This is because viruses do NOT respond to antibiotics, which are used only to treat bacterial infections. Viral infections are controlled by our immune systems and simply need to “run their course.”  Most people who are in good health are able to fend off viruses with no problem at all. The only time antibiotics are used to treat respiratory infections is when the infection is caused by a bacteria. In those cases, a culture is taken to determine which bacteria to treat.

We hope that clears up some common misconceptions about germs and bacteria. Remember, don’t go outside in the cold without a jacket or you’ll get cold. And that doesn’t mean you’ll catch a cold.

 

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