Tag Archives: bacteria

Hand washing: Just do it.

I’m the “wash your hands” mom, and that’s because it’s so engrained in me due to working a labs.

However, we also spray alcohol on EVERYTHING, including our hands in leu of hand sanitizer. The alcohol leaves our hands chapped, but the soap in the lab is expensive due to being highly-antimicrobial. It seems a better, more efficient, and cheaper  option to douse ourselves with isopropanol just as you would a hand sanitizer. But, is it really better? Is it worth spending the extra grant money on expensive soap? I reviewed this journal article (billed the most comprehensive study of it’s kind) and I have the answer. (Article information can be found at the bottom.)

Health care workers typically wash their hands with soap for around ten seconds before laying their hands on the next patient. And while you learned in grade school that you need a full thirty seconds of scrubbing with soap and hot water to be (mostly) germ-free, this ten second wash might just be as effective.

In the study the team used 62 volunteers with 14 different hygiene products and tested them with several different kinds of viruses and bacteria.

What did they find? Continue reading

Vaccines 101

When a germ such as a virus or bacteria enters your body, your immune system goes into battle. It makes antibodies that locate the germ and launches an attack to fight it off.

After the antibodies have attacked they stick around in the body to protect you if the same germ enters your body again.

Often the antibodies can stop an infection by the remembered germ should it enter your body again. The infection is stopped before you even show signs of being sick! Continue reading

A story about viral meningitis

Me and my mom (2008)

Meningitis is no joke.

There are all sorts of things that can cause this nasty inflammation (swelling) of the membranes covering the brain, such as a bacterial or vial infection, injury, cancer, certain drugs, among other types of infection.

We have the Meningitis B Vaccine to protect against meningococcal group B bacteria-causing meningitis–a very nasty and potentially deadly form of meningitis. (Bacterial meningitis requires immediate medical attention.)

We also have several vaccines that can help protect from viral meningitis–an often less severe form of meningitis, however still very serious.

This is the story of when my mother contracted viral meningitis… Continue reading

Antibiotic Resistance

 

Antibiotics have been around since the 1920’s and play a huge role in the treatment of bacterial infections. But when used incorrectly, antibiotics can do more harm than good.

Treating infections is becoming increasingly more difficult. The overuse and misuse of antibiotics can cause antibiotic resistance, which happens when the bacteria changes to survive antibiotics.

This can promote the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria–superbugs. Continue reading

What’s a Gram Stain?

One of the first things you learn about in biology classes is something called a Gram stain. You have probably heard of it, and most likely knew what it was at some point in your life, but have long since forgotten.

A gram stain is a test to determine whether a bacterium or particular fungi has a thick layer of something called peptidoglycan (a structural agent) in its cell wall. Those bacteria or fungi who have this thick layer of peptidoglycan in their cell walls hold on to a violet colored dye used in the Gram stain test and are therefore called “Gram positive”. Those that do not are called “Gram negative”.

Continue reading