Know
the Risks

Health & Germ Facts

Flu

flu virusIt is estimated that 340,000,000 to one billion people are infected with the flu each year. Of that number, approximately 60 million of those cases are people that live in the United States. 200,000 of the total end up hospitalized, while 36,000 people die. The flu is transmitted through the air by coughs and sneezes that create aerosols containing the virus. People can also become infected by direct contact with contaminated surfaces. The flu spreads around the world in seasonal epidemics, resulting in many deaths—up to millions in pandemic years.

While the flu sometimes has similar symptoms to the common cold, it is a much more severe disease and is caused by a different type of virus. Some symptoms of the flu include chills, fevers, sore throat, muscle pain, headaches, coughing, weakness, fatigue, body aches, nausea and vomiting.

Salmonella

virusSalmonella are microscopic living creatures that pass from the feces of people or animals to surfaces, other people and other animals. Salmonella can survive on various surfaces and can be picked up when someone touches the surface. When someone is infected, they have symptoms that include vomiting, diarrhea and fever. There are approximately 50,000 salmonella cases reported each year in the United States and the most common form is nontyphoidal salmonella.

The second type of salmonella is called typhoidal salmonella or typhoid fever, and it’s carried only by humans and is usually transmitted when one comes in contact with the fecal matter of an infected person. Typhoid fever can be life-threatening and includes vomiting, diarrhea and fever, the liver and spleen can become enlarged, and “rose spotted” skin rash may appear. This infection can cause meningitis and pneumonia.

Little Known Germ Facts

A fact that most of us already know about germs is that they are everywhere. But did you know that germs can travel from a person to an object, from an object to a person, even from a speck of dust to a surface? It’s called hitchhiking, and it’s a phenomenon that researches have known about for centuries. A study done by scientists at Switzerland’s University of Geneva confirmed that dust collected by Charles Darwin while he was at sea in the Atlantic Ocean some 200 years ago actually contained dust particles that originated in West Africa. The researchers also found that those same dust particles were carrying several species of bacteria and fungi that had continued to live for centuries.

If left alone, these tiny, harmful microorganisms can survive days, weeks, months, or an astronomical amount of time. Germs may be small, but they are mighty. The hand-held, portable and electronic devices that we use on a daily basis can be a breeding ground for live viruses, bacteria, and infections that can make you sick.