Germs, our best enemies?

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Germs, our best enemies?

They make us all sick

False. Some are true shields against infections, such as bacteria and fungi on the skin, up to a million per square centimeter. These "good" microbes consume the nutrients essential for the growth of potentially pathogenic germs (staphylococci, streptococci, yeasts of the genus Candida albicans). Other allies of our health: Lactobacilli, which constitute the vaginal flora, produce lactic acid to make the environment more hostile to virulent microorganisms.

Antibiotics kill only a part

True. These drugs do not work against viruses. They specifically target bacteria by blocking their growth, reproduction or preventing the formation of their protective envelope. However, a bad use or an overconsumption of antibiotics favor the phenomenon of resistance: the bacteria develop strategies of defense against these molecules to which they succumbed before. It is therefore advisable not to stop treatment prematurely, to respect the doses prescribed by your doctor and not to reuse a remainder of tablets without medical advice.

They serve our immune system

True. Contact with micro-organisms stimulates natural defenses. In addition, an imbalance of the flora reduces the number of good bacteria and exposes to infections. It's best to avoid anything that disturbs it: antiseptics that kill protective bacteria, aggressive pH-modifying soaps. Welcoming an animal at home is also a great way to live in harmony with microbes.

They help to make medicines

True. This is the case of insulin, prescribed to people with diabetes. This hormone for regulating blood sugar is produced by bacteria in which the gene encoding human insulin has been introduced. Antitumor drugs or immunosuppressants are also manufactured by microorganisms without the need to modify their genetic heritage. Microbes produce complex molecules that are not known to be chemically produced. They also have the advantage of multiplying rapidly and thus giving, in a short time, large amounts of active molecules for the manufacture of drugs.

They resist everything

False. When temperatures drop between -18 ° C and + 3 ° C, microbes enter hibernation: the cold numbs and slows their proliferation. But what they hate above all else is the heat. Temperatures above 50 ° C kill them. Besides, they also have their enemies, the bacteriophages. These viruses infect bacteria and destroy their wall.

Read also :

⋙ Airports: discover the place most contaminated by microbes (these are not the toilets)

⋙ NASH: a link between intestinal microbes and "foie gras" syndrome discovered

⋙ These microbes that want us well

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