THINGS TO know
On sheer count of cells, there is more bacterial life inside you than human. Many of the bacteria that call you home are friendly in the sense that they don’t do any harm and some are beneficial. In the 1920s, an American engineer investigated whether animals could live without bacteria, hoping that a bacteria-free world would be a healthier one. James “Art” Reyniers made it his life’s work to produce environments where animals could be raised bacteria-free. The result was clear. It was possible, but many of Reyniers’s animals died and those that survived had to be fed on special food. This is because bacteria in the gut help with digestion. You could exist with no bacteria, but without the help of the enzymes in your gut that bacteria produce, you would need to eat food that is more loaded with nutrients than a typical diet.
Different viruses cause the common cold and flu, but both are spread through the air in tiny droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or breathes. When you sneeze, your body is getting rid of infected cells and an average sneeze will spread more than 100,000 virus cells up to 10 metres.