You wake up one morning, but you don`t feel like getting out of bed. Your arms and legs ache. Your head hurts. You`ve got a temperature, and your throut is sore.
`I`m ill, you say..
“you must have got a bug,`says your mum..
You catch a bug when germs get inside your body. It`s the germs that make you ill.
Germs are tiny, tiny, tiny living things. They are far too small to see with your eyes alone. In fact, a line of one thousand germs could fit across the point of a pencil!
There are lots of different kinds of germs. But the two that usually make you ill are bacteria and viruses. Bacteria are vey, very small plants. But they don`t look like any plants you know. Under a microscope, some bacteria look like little round balls. Some look straight, like rods. Some are twisted in spiral
Viruses are even smaller than bacteria. If you could see them, some would look like spiky balls, others would look like pastilles, and others like tadpoles. Therea re even some llike metal screws with spider`s legs!
Germs, such as bacteria and viruses, are everywhere. They are in the air your breathe, the food you eat and the water you drink. They are on everyhing you touch. Although germs are around, they don`t always make you ill. Many germs are harmless, and anyway, most of the time your body keeps germs out. Germs are kept out by your skin. As long as there are no cuts or scratches on your skin, germs can`t get in.
Your nose helps, too. It`s lines with tiny hairs, which catch many of the germs you breathe in. The hairs oush the germs back out. The inside of your mounth and throat is always wet. Germs often get stuck there and don`t go any further. But every now and then some germs do slip in.
Your friend has a cold. He sneezes, and germs may get into your lungs. You have a taste of your cousin`s drink. Her germs are on the straw. A few of the germs may get into your stomatch. You`re riding bike, you fall off and graze your knee. Germs from the ground may get under your skin. But even when harmful bacteria and viruses get into your body, you don`t always fall ill. That`s because your body has ways of fighting germs. The white cells in your blood go after any germs that sneak in. Usually, these cells kill the germs before they can do any harm.
Your blood also has special chemical that attack germs. The chemicals are called antibodies. But the white blood cells and antibodies don`t always get rid of the germs. Some germs stay in your body and make you ill. What happens when bacteria get into your body? They quickly start to multiply. Each one splits inti two new bacteria. Then the two new bacteria become four, and so on. In a few hours, there may be millions of bacteria in your body. As they multiply, the bacteria produce certain chemicals. Some of these chemicals are poisons. The poisons can damage or kill your body cells, and when enough cells are harmed, you fell ill.
You may have aches and pains, or break out in a rash. You may have a temperature. You may cough or sneeze, or even be sick. These signs tell you that cells are being killed in your body. Some bateria give off poisons that stay in one place. Bacteria in your mouth are like that. Their poisons attack only your teeth-and rot them. The poisons don`t go to othe places in your body. Ear-aches and skin are also cause by poisons that stay close to their bacteria. Other bacteria give off poisons that move around your body. One kind of bacterium lives in the lungs. But it gives off poisons taht are carried around in the blood. This bacterium may give you a headache or a tummy-ache. Another kind of bacterium has poisons in it`s outer coating. When the poisons touch your body cells, they damage or destroy the cells. As the cells die, you fill ill.
What if viruses get into your body??viruses are different from bacteria. They don`t give off poisons. Each virus forces its way into a body cell. It disappears inside, and for a while nothing seems to be happening. Then suddenly, the cell explodes. Hundreds of new viruses tumble out. Each virus finds another cell and digs its way in. Then these cells pop open, and more viruses pour out. Soon there are millions of viruses in your body.
The viruses spread out. As they do, you feel worse and worse. Viruses bring you colds and flu, measles, mumps and chicken pox, and lots of other illness. Though bacteria and viruse can make you ill, you usually begin to feel better after a day or two. Your body has beaten back the germs..
If you`re ill with virus, the doctor may still give you medicine. It won`t cure you, but it will help you to feel better. And it will protect you aginst bacteria that might make you even more ill. When germs make you ill, your doctor will tell you to stay in bed. Resting in ibed makes it easier for your body to fight the germs. When you get better, you want to stay better. There are lots of things you can do to keep health. Germs do make you ill- sometimes. But you can help your self be as fit as fiddle the rest of the time.