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Name: Sierra
Status: Student
Grade:  6-8
Location: N/A
Country: United States
Date: Fall 2009


Question:
How can bacteria be prevented from growing on living tissues?



Replies:
Sierra,

Bacteria live on and in your body now -- most are beneficial, and a few are harmful. All of the bacteria together are called the "normal flora". Bacteria serve important functions in digestion and also in helping your immune system.

Some people think bacteria are "bad" -- but most bacteria are helpful or benign. Despite that most bacteria are not "bad", some people buy anti-bacterial products and take antibiotics every time they get sick. These products kill all kinds of bacteria, even the good ones. One problem with overuse or misuse of such products is that they can cause bacteria to become resistant to drugs and other treatments. A very serious problem is hospitals are so called "super-bugs" that are resistant to drugs and are very hard to treat. Another problem is that the "normal flora" help your body to defeat harmful infections -- the "good bacteria" compete with the "bad" ones, and help prevent the harmful ones from getting established. Over-using antibacterial products can actually help the harmful bacteria by eliminating their competition.

That said, there are many ways to kill bacteria on or in your body. On your skin, the easiest way is to wash with hot, soapy water. Peroxide, iodine, betadine, antibiotic ointment, and many other topical treatment can also help reduce/kill/remove bacteria. Inside your body it's a little harder. A healthy immune system is the best defense, but sometimes drugs (antibiotics) are necessary to stop dangerous infections. In rare cases, even surgery is used to remove infected tissue.

Hope this helps,
Burr


It can't! Nor do you necessarily want to! Only 1% of known bacteria are disease-causing (pathogenic). Most either do no harm, or provide benefits. The only way to prevent bacteria is to be born by C-section and placed immediately into a sterile room for the rest of your life. And come to think of it, I'm not sure even that would prevent it.

vanhoeck



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