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Handwashing is our best defense against germs
February 16, 2021

| By Healthy Hero staff | 

February 2021 … Dr. Jim Alsop recently spoke with the St. Veronica Healthy Hero staff to answer reporters’ questions about germs. He works at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children as a pediatric resident, which means he is training to be a specialist in treating children. 

Dr. Alsop began by saying that it is very important to protect yourself against germs. Wash your hands with soap and water every time you eat or sneeze, he said. 

He said people often think of germs as bad things. But some germs are good for your body, he said.  

What follows has been edited for length and clarity. 

How do germs get into the body? 

There are a bunch of different ways, such as touching your face or putting your hands in your mouth. That’s why washing your hands is super important. … Also germs can get into your body when someone coughs or sneezes and doesn’t cover their mouth. 

How do germs go away? 

Let’s say the germ comes into your body. … Your body has ways to protect itself. Your immune system … sends out protector cells. Sometimes your body needs a little extra help. … We can give you antibiotics that help against bacteria.  

How do viruses spread? 

It depends on the type of virus. Like the cold virus; it transmits itself through little droplets in the air. 

When did germs start to exist in the world? 

We think they are very old. They have been around longer than we have as humans. We weren’t able to see them or understand them until we could use microscopes.  

Which place do germs appear most? 

When we look under microscopes, there are a lot of germs on places where people touch a lot. In your house, it might be the kitchen counter.  

How long are you supposed to wash your hands? 

You want to make sure every part of your hand, including between your fingers and the back of hand, is cleaned. 

What are the different types of germs that help the body out? 

There are bacteria in your body that have grown up with you. …The bacteria [in your digestive system] help break down food for you. The body is taking in nutrients in the food.  

How long do germs stay in your system? 

It depends on the germ. Common cold germs stay about seven to 10 days, or two weeks.  

How do germs appear? 

They need help traveling around. They need help from you and me. It is important to keep things clean. Germs can be traveling on hands. They travel along with animals.  

St. Veronica Principal Mrs. Muller serves as the faculty advisor of the Healthy Hero, which is composed of third-grade reporters. 

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