Germs or microbes are the tiny organisms that cause disease and make us sick. Diseases like pneumonia, urinary tract infection, food poisoning are all caused by germs. In fact the above diseases are associated with poor hygiene.
How then can germs be good for you?
For starters, the whole of our body surface is covered with germs. The whole of our digestive tract from mouth to anus too. This set of germs have a natural mutually beneficial relationship with the human body. For example the germs in the intestine produce vitamin K necessary for blood clotting. The ones on the skin prevent more dangerous germs from thriving on the skin and causing infection.
Very importantly the good germs play an important role in the development of our natural immunity during childhood. They stimulate the body to produce antibodies which fight off infections. Various studies have shown that children that were not exposed to these germs during childhood have a higher incidence of allergic diseases like asthma later in life.
There is however a delicate balance between good and bad germs and things like indiscriminate antibiotics and medicated soap use tilt the balance in favour of the bad germs.
What should we learn from all these?
Not all germs are bad.
It’s okay to let children get a little dirty (for their long term health).
We should avoid unnecessary antibiotics which also kill the good germs.
We should avoid bathing with medicated soaps every time as this also kills good germs on the skin. (It’s okay every now and then)
It should be noted that there are instances where the good germs can be harmful for example when they cross to parts of the body which they don’t normally inhabit and also in persons with low immunity.
Those tiny little germs can be our friends after all.
Feel free to use the comments section to share your thoughts.