How Do We Get Infections?

By understanding when and where there is potential for germs to spread, we can take steps to help avoid infection. To cause disease, germs need to get inside the body. Since germs do not jump or walk, they have to be transported into the body by other means:

  • Inhalation of small particles, dust and water droplets into the respiratory tract via the nose and mouth. Influenza, Measles, and TB are transmitted this way.
  • Ingestion of contaminated food and water. Salmonella is transmitted this way.
  • Inoculation via injury, injection, bites and wounds to the skin and mucous membranes.Hepatitis B, STAPH, and Tetanus are transmitted this way.
  • Sexual contact between partners. Gonorrhea, Herpes simplex type 2 and HIV are transmitted this way.

Many infections spread by indirect contact when germs are transferred from a contaminated item (cutting board, cleaning cloth, door handle, telephones, TV remote, etc.) by our hands to our body. 

Who Is Most at Risk?
In most Healthy people, infections are short-lived when they are treated properly. However, in individuals whose immune systems are vulnerable, infections can have severe consequences. These susceptible people include:


  • The very young—Babies and children under the age of five are more susceptible because their immune systems are still developing.
  • The elderly—Our immune system deteriorates with age.
  • The ill—Disease weakens our immune system further.

How to Reduce Your Risks
We can't make any environment germ-free—nor is it necessary. To keep our families Healthy, we just need to reduce the risks of infection where and when germs are likely to spread. There are several ways to remove or destroy germs in your home:

Washing—Often you can remove sufficient germs from an item using detergent and hot water-but you must wipe or scrub the item to loosen the dirt and germs, then rinse thoroughly under running water. This method is suitable for decontaminating items such as pots and pans, cutlery and your hands.

Heating—Cooking food thoroughly will reduce the number of germs in food to a level that is safe to eat. Generally, the higher the temperature reached, the more germs are killed.

Disinfecting—Disinfectant cleaners are ideal for killing germs on surfaces throughout the home such as kitchen counters, sinks, toilets and bathroom tile.

Drying—Germs cannot live long on a clean, dry surface but they love moisture. Remember that re-using damp dirty items such as cleaning cloths, towels and mops can easily spread germs around your home.

Always remember to:

  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for using cleaning products.
  • Store cleaning products and other chemicals safely out of reach of children.
  • Get all members of your family involved in establishing a regular cleaning routine for your home.
Did You Know

Germs are most often spread by hands through person-to-person contact

Did You Know

Germs can enter our bodies through the mouth, nose, eyes and breaks in the skin without our even knowing we’ve been infected

Did You Know

Four out of five of all illnesses are spread by touch