After all the fear inducing stories of bacteria’s breeding last time it’s time to look at the effects of these bacteria’s on day to day life. We’ve established that not all bacteria are bad, in fact the bacteria in our stomach is extremely useful. The science on gut bacteria is still young, and there’s a lot we don’t know, however the more it’s been studied the more it seems to be essential to healthy living.

If you’re having trouble losing weight the problem could very well be your gut bacteria. It’s role on overall health seems to be gaining traction, and it seems to have affects on things that would seem unconnected, like depression and anxiety. Not all gut bacteria is good, there are some that can increase inflammation and stomach problems. These are mostly caused by heavy alcohol use, and ironically use of anti inflammatory drugs. A number of the harmful bacteria we’ll be talking about next can also thrive in your gut harmlessly. This is dependent on the type, and your immune system.

When it comes to your home E.coli is among the most dangerous and deadly bacteria around. The bacteria is transmitted through fecal matter, and is responsible for 90 deaths a year in the United States. The problem is even bigger in countries that have low sanitary standards. In fact sanitary standards in the western world can largely be credited to this bacteria, the problem was once so major that hundreds would die daily in London. This lead to sanitation standards to be raised, and thus elimination the problem. The symptoms include fever, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, along with nausea, and a loss of appetite. Treatment usually involves resting and consumption of water to avoid dehydration, in sever cases blood transfusion or dialysis might be required.

Salmonella is another one to watch out for, and is also caused by the contamination of food, or surfaces used to prepare food. This is why it is especially important you make sure your kitchen counter is clean. Beef, poultry, eggs, and milk are the most common food items contaminated with salmonella. Salmonella’s symptoms are similar to that of E. coli. Eating of undercooked or raw eggs is the most commonly cited reason for salmonella poisoning. This is especially troublesome in countries like Indonesia where the sanitation standards at farms are difficult to gauge. Knowing the environment your produce comes from is a huge plus.

MRSA or staph is a bacterium that causes infection through contact in either skin to skin or through objects. They most commonly cause sores and boils. C. diff which exist in the gut of 5% of people is usually harmless, but if your balance of good bacteria is off it can cause ulceration, and bleeding from the colon. Norovirus is the last one, and is more of a problem for colder country, it is commonly referred to as the winter vomiting bug.

According to the World Health Organazation bacteria contaminating food is responsible for illness in about 1 in 10 people annually. 420k people die from food contamination yearly, and around 125k children under 5 are the victims. South East Asia and Africa are among the worst sufferers of food related illness, which is why we need to be especially careful in Indonesia. In our next piece we will be looking at prevention, and the simple ways you can do it.


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