How do you impact bacteria?

Commercial advertising has led people to believe that all bacteria are harmful and should be killed.  As a result, many people now use antimicrobial or antibacterial soap and other products in their homes.  However, you have seen that the majority of bacteria are harmless or even beneficial to our health.  Because viruses also cause many diseases, using these soaps will not prevent you from getting sick.

Research has shown that there is no difference in the amount of bacteria on hands when people washed with antimicrobial and regular soap.  Additionally, antimicrobial products are thought to be risky because their active ingredients can linger in the environment.  There is growing concern that antimicrobial chemicals could result in antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  Through random mutation some bacteria can develop resistance to antibiotics, while their peers are killed.  This selection results in a population of drug-resistant bacteria, causing infections that are very difficult to treat.  Therefore, it is important to limit use of antimicrobial products, especially within your home!

Read about drug-resistant bacteria affecting troops in the Middle East

If you want to help people learn more about microbes, you can of course become a biologist. But you could also become a chemist, a doctor or nurse, an engineer to design instruments used by scientists, or an health and safety officer working in laboratories or the food industry. There are many different types of microbes and there are many ways to study them.