how germs infect people?

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Is there some sort of threshold before they cause illness? Like if 1 drop of sewage landed on food would that be enough to contaminate it? Do they replicate in your body so ingesting any germs has the potential to be problematic? What about expired food/mold spores/food safety? How can you tell if food is safe if you can’t see germs/spores? My Mom had leukemia and was hyper susceptible to infection so it skewed my view. I’m hoping to ease my sanitation routine by understanding how a healthy body handles germs, but as of now they’re invisible dangers all around us that have me overly and hopefully unnecessarily wigged out.

In: Biology

2 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Germs multiply in your body, but your body also kills germs.

That means more germs increase the chance of infecting you, and also increase the chance of a more severe infection as the chance that they multiply out of control before your immune system catches them all is higher.

Your body is fighting germs every second. It’s impossible to fully avoid them.

Food is usually safe if you follow simple hygiene rules and throw stuff away when it looks visibly rotten/moldy. There are always germs in food, but in fresh food they are few enough that your body can kill them all without you even noticing it

What might help you feel better: being exposed to some germs is actually a good thing. It keeps your immune system ready and “trained” and helps avoiding overreactions to safe things (allergies) wich can develope when your immune system gets “bored”

Anonymous 0 Comments

>Is there some sort of threshold before they cause illness? Like if 1 drop of sewage landed on food would that be enough to contaminate it?

There is, and it differs for everything. It’s also different for *everyone*, so these things are expressed more like “X number of viral particles is enough to cause disease in 50% of healthy adults with no prior immunity”.

>Do they replicate in your body so ingesting any germs has the potential to be problematic?

Yes, but you have an immune system that actively kills them too, and kills them far better & faster if you were exposed previously, to the point where you probably don’t get symptomatic disease at all. This is why we vaccinate.

>What about expired food/mold spores/food safety? How can you tell if food is safe if you can’t see germs/spores?

Some of them may contain/end up containing dangerous live pathogens, others may be dangerous through toxic products from pathogens that aren’t dangerous by themselves… the mechanisms vary. If you want to be extra careful, stick to *use by* dates, but those err on the side of safety; if it’s just a little past the date but doesn’t smell/taste funny, it’s probably fine. Naturally, store things properly refrigated and don’t reheat multiple times.

>My Mom had leukemia and was hyper susceptible to infection so it skewed my view.

Sorry to hear that. However, a healthy person’s immune system can handle a lot and it’s fine to trust it while sticking to reasonable precautions.