Connect with us

WASH Programme

#SwasthBharat: What Are The Different Types Of Germs And Ways To Guard Against Them In Everyday Life

Here’s a quick guide on different types of disease causing germs and how basic hygiene practices like handwashing can help prevent and protect against such infections 

#SwasthBharat: What Are The Different Types Of Germs And Ways To Guard Against Them In Everyday Life

New Delhi: Germs are omnipresent – be it in air, water and soil or food, plants and animals, including inside the human body. But not all germs are harmful, according to experts, but beware of the ones that can breach your natural defense mechanism of the immune system and cause diseases. Ailments can range from common cold to cough, fatigue and diarrhoea.

Here’s a quick explainer on the different types of germs and the ways we can guard against them in our everyday life to avoid future infections.

Also Read: Nearly Half The World’s Population Lacked Safely Managed Sanitation In 2020: Report

What Are Germs?

In layman’s terms, germs are tiny organisms, or living things, that can cause disease in the human body. They are so small and sneaky that they creep into our bodies without being noticed. Explaining the concept of germs attacking the human body, Dr. Bharat Agarwal, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Apollo Hospitals Navi Mumbai said,

Once germs invade our bodies, they stay inside for a long time. They feed on nutrients and energy, and in return produce toxins, which are proteins that act like poisons. Those toxins then cause symptoms of common infections, like fever, sneezes, rashes, coughing, vomiting, and diarrhoea.

What Are The Common Types Of Germs?

According to health experts, there are four most common types of germs that are found in the environment:

Bacteria are basically the tiny, one-celled creatures, which can survive in any environment by feeding on the nutrients. One such environment for bacteria can be human body. Some common infections that bacteria can cause include ear infections, sore throats, cavities, and pneumonia.

Viruses are the organism that need living cells to grow and reproduce. Most of the viruses can’t survive for longer duration if they’re not inside a living thing like a plant, animal, or person. When viruses get inside people’s bodies, they can spread and make people sick. Some common examples of viruses are chickenpox, measles, flu and COVID-19, which has given the world a terrible blow.

Fungi are multi-celled, plant-like organisms. Fungi cannot make their own food from soil, water, and air, instead, fungi get their nutrition from plants, people, and animals. They love to live in damp, warm places. Many a times, fungi are not dangerous in healthy people. A common example of disease caused by fungus is athlete’s foot, an itchy rash that people sometimes get between their toes.

Protozoa are one-cell organisms that often-spread diseases through water. Some protozoa cause intestinal infections that lead to diarrhoea, nausea, and belly pain.

Also Read: Wash Your Hands Regularly And Prevent These Diseases From Spreading

Explaining how germs can spread in a human body and the risk it poses, Dr. Bharat Agarwal added,

Human body deals with millions of germs on a daily basis. Germs are almost everywhere, and they can survive in any condition. Hands are the main pathways of germ transmission; therefore, hand hygiene is the most important measure to avoid the transmission of harmful germs and prevent infections. The common sources of germ spread are – contaminated food and water, regularly touched surfaces like doorknobs, taps, TV remotes and telephones, cleaning and waste areas like bins, sinks and toilets, cleaning items like cleaning cloths, sponges and dirty toothbrushes, pets and other animals like rodents and flies and people.

Also Read: Wash On Wheels: With Indigenous Handwashing Unit WaterAid India Is Promoting Hand Hygiene In Uttar Pradesh

How Can You Protect Yourself From Germs?

Hand Washing – The Best Way To Fight Germs: UNICEF says ‘washing hands’ regularly is the best way to stop germs from entering one’s body. It recommends, washing of hands after using the bathroom, when hands get dirty, with soap and water while slowly counting to 20.

Highlighting the importance of washing hands with soap, Palli Thordarson, a professor at the School of Chemistry at the University of New South Wales, Australia, said,

When we wash hands with soap, it dissolves the fat membrane and the germs falls apart like a house of cards and dies – or rather, we should say it becomes inactive. The reason why germs feed on human skin, especially the hands is because it gets proteins and fatty acids from the surface. From hands, the germs can reach your face if you touch it and from the face it can enter in your eyes, nose and mouth. As a result, it enters your body and you get infected. That is why killing the germs from your hands become an utmost important step.

Also Read: How Has Hand Hygiene Evolved Through The Years

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that teaching people about handwashing helps them and their communities stay healthy. Highlighting the importance of handwashing, it further states that handwashing can:

– Reduce the number of people who get sick with diarrhoea by 23-40% in the world
– Reduce diarrhoeal illness in people around the world with weakened immune systems by 58%
– Reduce respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population around the world by 16-21%
– Reduce absenteeism due to gastrointestinal illness in school children around the world by 29-57%

Maintaining Good Personal Hygiene: Both UNICEF and WHO suggest maintaining good physical hygiene like coughing and sneezing into your elbow to keep germs away from your hands and other people.

According to American Lung Association, a cough can travel as fast as 50 mph and expel almost 3,000 droplets in just one go. Whereas sneeze can travel up to 100 mph and create upwards of 100,000 droplets. Why is it is a problem?

Dr. Bharat Agarwal says,

Sneeze or cough is body’s natural way of injecting germs outside from human body. So, when a person does this, the goal of the body is to get rid of whatever is bugging the body internally. That’s why, we say, maintaining good personal hygiene is essential part of living a healthy life.

Disinfect Regularly Touched Surfaces: UNICEF states that germs like to hide on surfaces like countertops, door handles and phones, therefore, in order to keep germs from spreading, one should make it a point to clean the commonly used surfaces on a regular basis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlights that one should clean with a household cleaner that contains soap or detergent as that reduces the number of germs on surfaces and decreases risk of infection from surfaces.

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene


Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 22,95,44,435 and 47,08,190 have died; 19,20,52,504 are active cases and 3,27,83,741 have recovered as on September 22, 2021 at 3:49 am.


3,35,31,498 26,964Cases
3,27,83,741 34,167Recovered
4,45,768 383Deaths
In India, there are 3,35,31,498 confirmed cases including 4,45,768 deaths. The number of active cases is 3,01,989 and 3,27,83,741 have recovered as on September 22, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths

65,27,629 3,131

44,269 960

63,44,744 4,021

1,38,616 70


45,39,926 15,768

1,61,765 5,813

43,54,264 21,367

23,897 214


29,69,361 818

13,769 617

29,17,944 1,414

37,648 21

Tamil Nadu

26,48,688 1,647

16,993 9

25,96,316 1,619

35,379 19

Andhra Pradesh

20,40,708 1,179

13,905 483

20,12,714 1,651

14,089 11

Uttar Pradesh

17,09,693 13

194 0

16,86,612 13


West Bengal

15,62,710 537

7,741 69

15,36,291 592

18,678 14


14,38,556 39

400 21

14,13,071 18



10,21,216 462

4,844 103

10,08,226 560

8,146 5


10,05,120 26

297 0

9,91,260 26



9,54,275 12

99 8

9,45,222 4



8,25,751 14

133 0

8,15,536 14


Madhya Pradesh

7,92,410 8

90 6

7,81,803 14



7,70,754 8

328 12

7,60,618 20



7,25,907 6

60 9

7,16,188 15



6,63,906 244

4,938 53

6,55,061 296

3,907 1


6,01,359 36

304 3

5,84,554 37

16,501 2


5,98,864 441

5,081 97

5,87,970 338

5,813 6


3,48,139 14

65 10

3,42,941 4



3,43,405 12

249 18

3,35,765 29

7,391 1

Jammu And Kashmir

3,28,214 145

1,450 11

3,22,345 154

4,419 2

Himachal Pradesh

2,17,403 263

1,715 99

2,12,033 162

3,655 2


1,75,690 107

886 76

1,71,507 29

3,297 2


1,25,618 101

922 55

1,22,864 46



1,18,870 197

2,174 9

1,14,861 203

1,835 3


83,956 51

353 7

82,794 44



82,815 1,355

15,363 223

67,184 1,127

268 5


79,817 150

1,878 18

76,558 167

1,381 1


65,195 7

44 3

64,333 4


Arunachal Pradesh

54,190 64

413 3

53,504 60

273 1


31,014 43

627 27

30,007 70



30,959 52

470 3

29,832 46

657 3


20,743 6

144 6



Dadra And Nagar Haveli


0 0




10,360 1

9 1



Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,607 7

17 4

7,461 3


Coronavirus Outbreak: Full CoverageTesting CentresFAQs

Leaving No One Behind

Mental Health


Join Us