Category: Unit 1
Written by Cilie Yack
Do you Know How Dangerous Kitchen Germs Are?
A dirty kitchen can make you sick. Germs live in warm moist places and feed off of living things. This is why it is unsafe to leave food out of the refrigerator and dirty cooking utensils and cutting boards on your counter. In this unit we will teach you all about those little microscopic organisms that are commonly called germs. There are four kinds of them: bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoa. If you've ever been sick before you know exactly how tough these germs can make your life. In this unit we will also show you exactly how they survive. We'll show you what makes them thrive through a fun experiment. And we will teachyou ways to keep your kitchen clean and safe from germs.
A little more about me....
Psst!I have a puzzle page of this Co. Clare, Ireland Map, so if you finish your germ growth activities early, check it out! Well, if you haven't heard already, my name is Cilie and I am our club's mascot! I am about 9 years old and I was diagnosed with celiac disease and a gluten allergy by my family doctor in County Clare, Ireland. You can see it there on the map. My town has a little black star by it.
Do you know who Niall Lynch is, though? If you read my story you'd remember that he is the big hotel owner from Limerick who gave me my first...
Oh, wait one second! I better not say it in case you haven't gotten that far in the story yet! But he was also very good at teaching kids about kitchen germs.
Well anyway, before you get started learning the business of how to cook for yourself, you really need to understand a thing or two about germs.
If you are not careful with your food germs can make you really sick, especially if you're the kind of kid who's always catching something.
Do you like the drawing I made of our back kitchen? This here is a picture of my baby brother Ronan. He is the sloppiest lad in our house. And he definitely does not like being called a baby, so I better make a few things clear about that. He's no baby. Actually, he's about 6 years old now.
So I want you to look at my kitchen and guess where all the germs are likely to live.
Can you Find six Places in the Kitchen Picture Where Germs are Living?
Look at the picture at the top of the page. Which places do you see the germs?
Yes! You guessed it! Germs can be found on the floor, the chair cushion, the tabletop, the counter, in the sink, and even on your hands! Mum just reminded me that there are also germs in your mouth too!
Well, I did a little research on germs because besides being a kid chef, I am also a bit of a scientist, too. I found out some interesting facts. Did you know that they live in your body, inside plants, in animals, in the air we breath, and in water? There are four different kinds of germs. Some are harmful and some are helpful. We need to keep our kitchens clean because if we don't harmful ones will grow on the food we leave out and on the surfaces we don't wash properly.
Here are the 4 kinds of germs:
- Sponge Bacteria....Did you know that nearly all of the bacteria on a kitchen sponge can be killed after 2 minutes in the microwave? Read our club's lesson 5 Reading to learn more things about microwave cooking! Bacteria (say: back-teer-ee-uh) These guys are small, one-cell creatures that get food by taking it from their surroundings. In some cases those surroundings are inside your own body! Bacteria like to grow and make their families bigger. This is called reproduction (say: ree-pruh-duhk-shuhn). When bad bacteria do that inside your body they make you sick with a sore throat, cavities in your teeth, infections in your ears, and sometimes infections in your nose so bad that you can't breath through it. Bacteria isn't all bad, though. There are also good bacteria that live in your body and work hard to help you digest your food. Basically, they help you in the poop department if you know what I mean!
- Fungi (say: fun-guy) These guys are made like plants but they have one problem. They can't get food from the soil, water, or the air. So they move into a plant, or in a person's body and live off of them for their food. There is a word for this. It is called parasite. These guys like living in wet, warm places. They are stronger than bacteria and are used in medicines called antibiotics to kill bad bacteria. They also kill the good bacteria, too, though.
- Viruses (say: vy-rus-iz) These guys are also parasites too. They need to be inside the cells of a person, animal, or plant. in order to survive. But they can live on surfaces for a while before they die. That's why we need to keep our kitchen's clean. Thankfully, most viruses can't live for long outside of a host. You know what a host is, right? In the world of parasites, the host is the person, animal, or plant that the virus, bacteria, protozoa, or fungi need to live inside in order to stay alive. Viruses will make you sick if they enter your body and your immune system isn't strong enough to fight it off. Diseases like chickenpox, measles, and the flu are all viruses.
- Protozoa (say: pro-toh-zoh-uh) These guys are small like bacteria. They are one-cell creatures that love wet places. They usually spread diseases through unclean water. Some protozoa cause infections in your intestines. (That's the place where your poop is made.) So if you have ever had diarrhea, which is a watery poop, a really bad tummy ache, or felt sort of sickish and weak, it is possible you had a protozoa infecting you.
How Do you Keep your Kitchen Germ Free?
This is simple. Here are 10 things you need to do to keep your kitchen clean:
- Don't make food for anyone else if you know you are feeling sick. When you cough and sneeze it lands on the food!
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 30 seconds before working with food.
- Don't touch someone else's food with your bare hands. You or they may have a germ and you don't want to share that!
- Keep your fingernails clean. If they are long and have black dirt under them they will grow germs!
- Don't use a dirty rag or sponge to wipe things. All you do is spread the germs around when you do that.
- Use Clorox wipes when you don't have a proper sink available. They will kill dangerous germs.
- Always wipe off the counter or table before you start working with your food. You don't know who's coughed or sneezed on it!
- Do not leave food out of the fridge for more than 2 hours. The longer it is out the faster it spoils.
- Wash your cooking tools with hot soapy water afterward and dry them with a clean dry towel.
- Clean the tables, chair cushions, and floor after you are done working with food. Do it in that order, too, or you make more work for yourself!
Download these free Activity and Experiment Sheets about Germ Growth
Also visit our Germ Growing Experiment webpage: Germs Grow Best in Which Environment?