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”.
When our bodies become sick with a virus, bacteria, fungi, parasite, etc., our adaptive immune system, the one that “remembers” microbes, not only fights off the microbe but creates protective immunity against it.
Protective immunity is the body’s ability to resist a certain disease. The body’s source of protective immunity against microbes comes from the antibodies created by B cells, as well as the memories stored in the body’s specialized lymphocytes (B and T cells). By “specialized”, I mean they hold a special memory of the particular microbe the protective immunity is against. Continue reading →
I once heard someone say that when you sneeze, droplets of saliva fly through the air and can land five feet away.Five feet!? Yuck! I’m not sure EXACTLY how far those droplets are carried through the air, but what I am sure of is that within those droplets are potentially millions of viral particles and thousands of bacterial cells.
One nasty bacteria in particular, called Haemophilus influenza (H. influenza), may be living in your nose and throat at all times and you do not even know it. In fact, you may not have ever come down with the illness and still have it in your body. And unfortunately, should someone who has it cough or sneeze and your child inhales the particles, it has the potential to make your child life-threateningly ill.