Germs are everywhere and there is nowhere you can go to avoid them completely. There is however many ways to protect yourself from those germs that pose a danger to your health and well-being, especially in the workplace where so many other people spend time.

There are various categories in which germs are listed. These categories include bacteria, fungi, protozoa, helminthes, and viruses. Here is a brief overview of how each can affect your health:

Bacteria – you can only see these organisms under a microscope and only about one percent will cause you harm. Much of the bacteria in your body do positive work. There are some bacteria that can cause illness including tuberculosis, urinary tract infections, and strep throat.

Fungi – mushrooms and various other fungi are actually good for eating but some cause illness as well. Yeast is classified as a fungi and can cause several different types of infections including thrush, ringworm, athlete’s foot, and vaginal yeast infections.

Protozoa – these organism are commonly found in the intestinal tract of the body but some of these organisms can cause sickness and disease including malaria, giardia, and toxoplasmosis.  Many diseases related to protozoa are ingested in food or water or through infection from insect bites.

Helminths – this category refers to larger parasites that get into the body and may live in various parts including the skin, liver, intestines, or brain including roundworms and tapeworms.

Viruses – viruses reproduce in the body and invade cells. Viruses can cause various diseases including common colds, genital herpes, flu, measles, smallpox, and AIDS.

Hand washing is a key method for preventing the spread of germs that cause common illnesses in the workplace. It is also effective to stay home from work to recover when battling colds, flu, and other contagious illness. In the case of viruses, which are not treatable using antibiotics, medical intervention and treatment will be necessary to prevent common viruses like the flu.