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By: Leanna Stevens & Lauren Murray

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1 By: Leanna Stevens & Lauren Murray
GERMS! By: Leanna Stevens & Lauren Murray

2 NEED TO KNOW Germs are tiny organisms, or living things, that can cause disease. Germs are so small and sneaky that they creep into our bodies without being noticed. In fact, germs are so tiny that you need to use a microscope to see them. These germs can spread easily from one person to another - and have wide-reaching effects.

3 NEED TO KNOW Germs live on the skin, mouth, intestines, and breathing passages. They can enter the body through openings such as the nose and mouth and also through breaks in the skin. If they do enter the body, they can destroy healthy cells and cause infections.  Three major types of germs are bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

4 When to wash your hands when your hands are dirty
before eating or touching food (like if you're helping cook or bake, for example) after using the bathroom after blowing your nose or coughing after touching pets or other animals after playing outside before and after visiting a sick relative or friend


6 Nice to Know  Nearly 22 million school days are lost annually due to the common cold. More than two-thirds (32 million) of school-aged children (aged 5–17 years) in the United States missed school in the past 12 months due to illness or injury 52.2 million cases of the common cold affect Americans under age 17 each year. About 10 million U.S. adults (ages ) were unable to work during 2002 due to health problems.

7 One of the most common ways people catch colds is by rubbing their noses or eyes after touching someone or something that's contaminated with the cold virus Frequent handwashing and not sharing items such as cups, glasses, and utensils with an infected person should decrease the spread of virus to others.

8 Essential Skills Use warm water (not cold or hot) when you wash your hands. Use whatever soap you like. Some soaps come in cool shapes and colors or smell nice, but whatever kind gets you scrubbing is the kind you should use. Work up some lather on both sides of your hands, your wrists, and between your fingers. Don't forget to wash around your nails. This is one place germs like to hide. Wash for about 10 to 15 seconds — about how long it takes to sing "Happy Birthday." (Sing it quickly two times or just once if you go nice and slow.) Rinse and dry well with a clean towel.


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