Unbelievable Germs, Bacteria, And Virus Facts For Kids

Unbelievable Germs, Bacteria, And Virus Facts For Kids

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Microorganisms are microscopic beings with single or multiple cells. The family of microorganisms include bacterial, archaean and a few species of fungi and algae. Some researchers include virus in the list, while some see them as non-living beings.

To know more about germs, bacteria, virus, et al, read MomJunction’s compilation of some important facts, which is followed by a quiz! Don’t you want to know how much you’ve learnt?

Fun Facts About Germs, Bacteria, Microorganisms, Virus, Fungi, Organisms And Yeast:

10 Fun Facts About Germs For Kids:

Teaching kids about germs will help them be more aware and make them hygiene conscious. Here are some facts:

  1. Each time you flush the toilet, you release an invisible cloud of air filled with germs and which goes up almost six feet in the air.
  2. The clean bed that you sleep in is home to almost six billion dust mites.
  3. Door handles are some of the most dangerous spots that can spread germs. In fact, a cold virus that is left over on a door handle by one contaminated person can further contaminate at least 14 more people.
  4. You will find more fecal bacteria in a shopping trolley at a supermarket store than you will find in a supermarket toilet. In a similar way, shopping bags that are reusable also have a very high amount of fecal bacteria present in them, unless they are regularly washed.
  5. All the cloth seats that you see on a public transport are home to an unimaginable number of bacteria as well as mold. The cloth seats are difficult to clean, and even if someone wipes them with alcohol swipes, it will only kill a nominal portion of the bacteria.
  6. When you use too many antibacterial products and cleaners, it only makes the germs more resistant. As a result, it gives rise to super bugs, viruses that are stronger and more resistant to products that could originally kill them.
  7. An ATM machine has more germs than a public toilet!
  8. Unlike what you may think, your kitchen sink has more germs than your toilet bowl. In fact, some of the highest numbers of germs, after the kitchen sink, are found in the dishcloth, garbage can, refrigerator, toilet bowl, and bathroom door knob.
  9. Some areas in the playground that have the highest amount of germs are the various equipment on which kids play, as well as the escalator handrails. Of course the sand pits are host to some of the highest number of germs too.
  10. Your kitchen sponges are some of the most contaminated spots in the house.

[ Read: Chocolate Facts For Kids ]

41 Fun Facts About Bacteria For Kids:

  1. If your kids love listening to music on their headphones, here’s something they may want to rethink about. Just using the headphones for about one hour can increase the number of bacteria inside the ears by up to 700 times!
  2. While you may worry that eating chocolates will be harmful for the teeth and lead to decay, there are certain dry fruits that can be more dangerous. Raisins and dry fruits can cause more damage to the teeth and lead to tooth decay, as compared to chocolates. The reason is that these food products stick to the teeth for a longer period of time, and as a result lead to a growth of bacteria.
  3. Unlike what most people believe, the bacteria that are present only in the mouth are not what lead to bad breath. The bacteria present in the nose are also responsible for causing bad breath.
  4. Bacteria are responsible for the presence of soil on earth, which further helps the plants to grow and humans to survive.
  5. Bacteria double at an astounding pace of every 20 minutes, which means that after every 20 minute gap, the number of bacteria present will double than the previous number.
  6. With the vast amount of bacteria present on earth and the rate at which they increase, bacteria outnumber almost all other forms of life on earth.
  7. Pseudomonas natriegens, a type of bacteria found in the ocean, can reach its life stage from birth to the reproductive stage in just ten minutes!
  8. Bacteria have been present on earth for almost 3.5 billion years. It means that they are one of the oldest forms of living being on this planet.
  9. While bacteria are made up of only one cell, they are certainly alive and growing. You can find bacteria almost everywhere, from your morning slice of bread to inside your cup of yogurt, to the dust and dirt you wish to avoid, to even inside you.
  10. Some of the most common shapes that bacteria are known to be found in include a ball sort of shape, known as spheres, in a rod sort of shape, as well as in a spiral sort of shape.
  11. In many instances, bad bacteria, which are not supposed to be inside human beings, can enter the human body and attack the various human cells. As a result, they start to use up the nutrients from the body, and give out poisonous substances. Once this happens, the affected human will experience various infections and illnesses, which can often be very serious in nature.
  12. Bacteria are often found inside food that you would otherwise deem healthy to eat. A good way to make sure you do not eat food that is infested with bacteria is to wash and cook it properly. When you eat raw foods, you are more prone to be affected by bacteria than otherwise.
  13. Do you know how doctors find out which type of bacteria is making you sick? Some of the most tried and tested ways by which your doctor will be able to distinguish the type of bacteria that is causing you discomfort is by asking for a sample of your kid’s blood, urine or other fluid. Once your kid gives the sample, the doctor will allow the bacteria to multiply and then study it under a microscope. In some cases, the doctor can also use different types of antibiotics against it to see which one will work best to kill the specific type of bacteria.
  14. In some cases, the bacteria can hide away from the immune system or even survive a strong immune system, while trying to attack and destroy the immune system. If that is the case, the bacteria can only be killed with the help of specific medication. If the condition is severe, it may also require surgery.
  15. Different types of bacteria can survive in different temperature conditions. For instance, there are certain types of bacteria that thrive well in very cold and icy conditions, while others will thrive best in very hot and humid conditions. Then again, there are certain types of bacteria that will grow best amidst radioactive waste.
  16. Even though bacteria have been around for almost 3.5 billion years, they were not spotted before the year 1674. It was when the Dutch scientist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was fiddling with his newly invented microscope that he came across these tiny animacules swimming around.
  17. Till date, there are numerous bacteria that are still to be identified. In the year 2003, geneticist J. Craig Venter started studying the contents of sea water. In his first trip itself, he collected water in which he found more than a million types of bacterial genes which were never seen till then.
  18. The E.coli bacteria whip their tails and travel as much as 25 times their own length within a short span of one second. It is as fast as a horse which runs at a speed of 135 miles in an hour.
  19. When you take medicines to remove bad bacteria, they end up removing some of your good bacteria too. Clostridium difficile is a type of bacteria that can get removed with the use of antibiotics. As a result, it can lead to diarrhea as well as pain and inflammation.
  20. Some types of bacteria are actually harmless. In fact, some bacteria can even help to improve and aid in your digestion.
  21. Bacteria that can float are very effective in spurring condensation that can lead to rain and snow. Some scientists feel that spraying bacteria in the clouds can actually lead to more rain and stop the problem of draught.
  22. In the year 2006, bacteria were found living in a gold mine in South Africa almost two miles under the ground. The bacteria lived only by using up the energy that was given off by the radioactive rocks.
  23. Deinococcus radiodurans, a type of bacteria, can live through almost 10,000 times the dose of radiation that is otherwise lethal for human beings.
  24. Even when you clean your mouth, you have anywhere between 1000 and 100,000 bacteria on each tooth.
  25. At the time of birth, you do not have any bacteria in your body, but acquire them as you live.
  26. When you shake hands with someone, you pick up and share more amount of bacteria than you do when you kiss someone.
  27. If you inspect a desk at an office, you will find almost 400 times more bacteria than what you will find in a toilet seat. The office desk will have about 20,000 germs on each square inch of the desk.
  28. If a single bacteria cell gets all the food it requires, it can divide and then subdivide into a ball full of cells that can grow up to the size of the earth in barely 24 hours!
  29. There are almost 1,000 different types of species of bacteria living inside you. Almost ten percent of the dry weight of a human being is made up of the amount of bacteria that live inside the human!
  30. If you inspect one gram of soil under the microscope, you will find at least ten million bacteria living in it.
  31. E.coli, the bacteria that is most often responsible for causing diarrhea, is found in almost ten percent of all coffee cups.
  32. Did you know that the liquid laundry wash that you use to clean your clothes actually contains a vast amount of bacteria? The bacteria in the liquid actually help to break the stains on the clothes and make them appear cleaner.
  33. Bacteria are used in the process of making vinegar as well as for making wine. In fact, vinegar is the type of wine that is left to ferment longer than it is done to make wine.
  34. If you love the smell of rain, you will love this particular trivia. The distinct smell that you get when there is rainfall is because of some types of Actinobacteria known as the Actinomycetes, which are present in the soil. These types of bacteria are mostly found in places that have a warmer climate.
  35. Conan the Bacterium is the name given to the type of bacteria that can live through the highest amount of radiation possible. It can actually survive a radiation count of 1.5 million rads, and the double of that when frozen. A human being will die at an exposure of 1,000 rads.
  36. Did you know that your belly button is home to a host of bacteria too? In fact, there are about 1,458 different types of bacteria living in your belly button right now.
  37. There are some types of bacteria that actually live inside various animals, such as the cow. These types of bacteria help the cow, as well as the other grass-eating animals inside which they live, to be able to properly digest the grass. Grass contain something known as the cellulose, and it is because of this type of bacteria that the cows and other grass-eating animals are able to digest it. As human beings do not have these bacteria living inside them, we are not able to eat and digest grass.
  38. One of the best ways in which you can protect yourself against an invasion from bacteria is by washing your hands each time you enter and use the washroom. You do not have to use a hand sanitizer. In fact, the best way to make sure your hands are really clean is by cleaning them with water and soap.
  39. Bacteria are also very important for our healthy living. In fact, bacteria produce as much as almost half of the total amount of oxygen that is present in the atmosphere.
  40. In many cases, doctors make vaccines by using bacteria that are dead or even alive.
  41. In sewage plants, bacteria are used to clean and treat the water and make it more useful.

[ Read: Bacterial Infections In Kids ]

10 Fun Facts About Microorganisms For Kids:

  1. Did you know that there are at least a hundred different types of microorganisms in a handful of soil, if not a thousand?
  2. Imagine that earth is a single day. If you go by a clock, microbes arrived in the day at around 5 am, dinosaurs arrived at around 10 pm and humans arrived just when it was about to be midnight.
  3. There are more microbes in your hand than the number of people on the planet.
  4. Less than five percent of microorganisms will cause any disease.
  5. At least fifty percent of the oxygen that we use up is released by microorganisms.
  6. In most offices, the handle on the toilet has about 400 times more microorganisms than the toilet seat.
  7. A deadly bacterial toxin is used to make Botox and used in very small doses to help remove wrinkles.
  8. Microorganisms include bacteria, fungi and viruses.
  9. The microorganisms that do cause any disease are known as germs.
  10. They are found almost everywhere on the planet, including glaciers, volcanoes and hot springs.

[ Read: Teeth Facts And Information For Kids ]

23 Fun Facts About Virus For Kids:

      1. If you take into account each milliliter of seawater, you will find at least a million different virus particles. It means that if you line up the total number of virus, the resulting line would stretch for about 200 million light years into space.
      2. The word virus comes from the Latin language, where it means something that is like a slimy liquid or is poisonous.
      3. In the year 1901, a man named Walter Reed discovered the first human virus, which was the yellow fever virus.
      4. A virus does not have any form of energy or any carbon metabolism. It is not a living entity, and cannot replicate or grow. In fact, a virus is an inanimate and complex form of organic matter, which can only be evolved within a cell.
      5. Almost half of the total DNA of all humans has originally come from viruses. These viruses infected the human eggs and sperm cells and then embedded themselves inside them.
      6. Not all viruses are harmful. For instance, there are certain viral proteins that help to prevent the immune system in a pregnant woman from attacking the fetus.
      7. While most viral infections do not cancer, there are some types of viruses that do lead to cancer. Some types of cancers, such as cervical cancer, liver cancer, Burkitt’s lymphoma, Kaposi sarcoma and T-cell leukemia originate from various viral infections.
      8. A virus can attack almost any living thing that it comes in contact with. As a virus can have rapid genetic diversion, it is easier for it to infect any type of living organism. A virus can infect human beings, animals, birds, plants, insects, bacteria, amoeba, fungi, protozoa and even other types of viruses.
      9. One of the first available proof of a viral infection dates back as far as 3700 B.C. The documentation shows a patient who seems to be infected with a classic case of poliomyelitis. It is a type of infantile paralysis, also known as polio, which is caused by an infectious disease by the poliovirus.
      10. Based on their genetic makeup, viruses are classified as DNA (Double Strand Nucleic Acid) or RNA (Single Strand Nucleic Acid) virus. Out of the two types of viruses, the DNA virus is more stable. At the time of replicating, it can replicate better as per its genetic material. As a result, it is easier for doctors to create vaccines that will be effective against the DNA virus. The RNA virus is less stable and when it replicates, its genetic material changes very fast. As a result, doctors find it hard to come up vaccines that will be effective against the RNA virus.
      11. While most viruses are harmful, they do also have some use in the medicinal world. Doctors are using viruses for gene therapy to help with gene delivery system. It can help to treat various acquired as well as inherited diseases.
      12. A virus does not have any legs and is not even able to move on its own. In fact, to go from one host to another, it first has to attach itself to a droplet of water in the air, or get attached in the blood stream, in water, or in food, and move ahead.
      13. An insect, such as a mosquito, can help in the spread of virus from one person to another, as well as from one animal to another.
      14.  When a virus will first attack your body, your body will remember the same and be ready to defend itself against attack each time. So the next time the virus tries to attack your body, your body will fight it out. However, there are some viruses, such as the flu virus, that keep changing their form. As a result, your body does not recognize it immediately and is not able to fight it off. It leads to recurring bouts of infection from the same virus.
      15. If you count each organism on this planet, there are at least ten or more viruses for each one. Till date, scientists have found at least 4000 different types of viruses on this planet.
      16. Did you know that on an average, the life span of a virus depends on the type of temperature it is placed in? For instance, a virus can live for a few seconds in a temperature of 370 degree C, for a few minutes in a temperature of 200 degree C, for about an hour in a temperature of 100 degree C, for a few days in a temperature of zero degree C, and for a number of years when the temperature is below minus degree.
      17. In most cases of viral infections, antibiotics do not help to treat the same. In fact, most viral infections, such as cold, flu or even some types of chest infections will get better on their own without the need of any medication. In fact, the immune system of the host body will help attack and remove the virus on its own.
      18. If a person gets infected with the EBV (Epstein Barr Virus) once, he or she will become a carrier for life. However, it does not mean that the person will always show symptoms of the same. According to some estimates, almost 50 percent children in the USA have been affected with the EBV and that almost 90 to 95 percent adults are carriers.
      19. One of the biggest known viruses till date is the mimivirus, which is about 400 nanometers (approx. 0.0004 millimeters) in diameter. The smallest known virus is the circovirus, which measures about 20 nanometers (0.00002 millimeters) in diameter.
      20. When you are affected with cold or cough, the virus particles present inside can travel a distance of up to 320 km an hour and up to a distance of 900 meters. It is in fact faster than the speed at which a passenger jet travels at the time of takeoff.
      21. Till date, scientists have found about 300 different types of viruses that can cause a host of fatal diseases in insects. Surprisingly, these viruses are completely different from the viruses that cause illness in human beings. While they may be fatal to the insects, these viruses are not at all harmful to humans.
      22. A virus can only reproduce and evolve when it is in a cell inside an animal or in a plant.
      23. While viruses can certainly cause various health scares, there are some that are very useful for human beings. A certain type of virus, known as the bacteriophages, which also translates to ‘bacteria eater,’ helps to kill the bacteria. This type of virus is used to keep human beings protected against any harmful effects from the bacteria that are present in food.

5 Fun Facts About Fungi For Kids:

      1. Did you know that while there are some types of fungi that you can eat, such as mushrooms, there are others that can kill you if you consume them?
      2. Fungi are the main components that help to decompose dead animals, plants and even debris from wood. Fungi can remain active in very low temperatures when other decomposing agents, such as bacteria, may not be able to work anymore. They can function easily in temperatures as low as seven degrees below minus.
      3. Fungi are one of the oldest species in the world, and also one of the largest. The world record for the earth’s largest organism goes to Armillary ostoyae which occupies an area of ten square km (which is the size of 1665 football fields) and weighs as much as 605 metric tons.
      4. While mushrooms are fungi, they are absolutely different from the plant family and are categorized separately.
      5. Sometimes, fungi are used to kill bacteria that could otherwise lead to various diseases and infections in human beings. Antibiotics such as penicillin and cephalosporin are made using fungi.

[ Read: Fungal Infections In Children ]

10 Fun Facts About Organisms:

      1. All living organisms have some basic functional and structural unit inside them. This unit helps them to perform various activities inside the organism and is known as the cell.
      2. It was the division of cells that led to the creation of multicellular organisms such as human beings and other animals.
      3. The tissues present in organisms first form organs and then form into a proper system in the body.
      4. Every organism has to carry out some basic and yet very important functions that will help it live. A combination of those important functions is known as life.
      5. For an organism to exist, it is important that it is able to reproduce and grow.
      6. Almost all organisms have an excretory system that helps them throw out the dirty and toxic substances from their system.
      7. Organisms are also known as the living part of the environment.
      8. Human beings are made up with the help of millions of organisms, which are also known as tissue.
      9. If an organism is big in size and has a higher and complex system, it will need to have more food intake.
      10. Various plant systems came into origin when a couple of tissues were combined.

[ Read: Personal Hygiene Tips For Kids ]

10 Fun Facts About Yeast:

      1. There are about 500 different species of yeast that are known to exist today. Each species further has thousands of different strains, which means that every specie and strain is somehow unique.
      2. Yeasts are different from each other in terms of what they can do. For instance, those who want to bake will use a specific baker’s yeast, while those who want to brew any alcoholic beverage will use that specific type of yeast.
      3. Yeast live best in liquid and moist environments and not in dry environments.
      4. While using a recipe that involves yeast, you have to let the mix rest for about a few hours or even a day. This is because the time allows the yeast to eat. As the yeast eats, it uses up different elements in the ingredient mix to give you the specific type of result you want from the recipe.
      5. Yeasts do not require sunlight as a source of energy but use the various organic compounds to give them energy.
      6. When the temperature in a fermentation process rises up, it leads to the growth of more yeast.
      7. It is very difficult to kill yeast. You can try to dry it, freeze it and even starve it, but the moment it comes in contact with the tiniest amount of water or moisture, or any smallest amount of sugar, it will grow back again.
      8. Sometimes, yeast can simply give up in the middle of something it is doing. For instance, if you are using yeast for fermentation, it may suddenly decide to not help with the process and quit. This is also referred to as a stuck fermentation.
      9. You can actually find yeast everywhere around you. From being present in the air, to being present on your keyboard, to your hair and skin, it is almost everywhere and almost completely surrounds you.
      10. Yeast are microbes that divide at a very fast rate. As a result, they take a very small amount of time to create material for biochemical, molecular as well as physiological analysis.

[ Read: How To Boost Kids Immune System ]

With so many interesting facts about bacteria, viruses, and germs, your kid will realize the importance of hygiene, so that they stay protected against any health scare. Know of some more facts?

That was a lot of information! Wasn’t it? But let’s see how much of that you remember. Answer the questions below and see where you stand.

1. Mark off an incorrect microbe fact!

2. Mark off the incorrect bacteria facts!

3. Mark off the incorrect fungi facts!

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