According to a 2006 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the air that we breathe contains over 1800 types of bacteria. The study was published to give scientists an idea of bacterial diversity in the air so that they can monitor the effects of pollution and climate change on the air that we breathe.
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Another major advantage of this study is that bacterial population and diversity can be followed closely to uncover suspicious activities, including bioterrorism.
Prior to this, no one had an accurate idea of bacterial diversity in the air.
How Much Bacteria Do We Encounter Daily?
With so many bacterial species, it is not hard to imagine that we are breathing in tens of thousands of bacteria on a daily basis. On average, there can be around 50,000 bacteria per cubic meter of indoor air and a similar number of viruses.
90% of the cells in our body are microbes. But just 1 percent of bacteria in the air is harmful to people with good immunity.
Besides the air, you also have to be wary of certain surfaces that harbor more bacteria than others, such as cutting boards, bathroom sinks, doorknobs, phones, remote controls, wallets, purses, money, keys, keyboards and ATMs.
Some of the microbes to be found in the air as well as dirty surfaces include protozoans, helminths, fungi, salmonella, E. Coli, staphylococcus, norovirus, flu and cold viruses.
How Fast Bacteria Grows
But even more surprising is the rate at which bacteria multiplies. When you enter a room, then you increase the bacteria in it at a rate of 37 million per hour. These were the results of a study conducted by Yale University engineers.
Another finding of a study was that dust from the floor is a major source of bacteria that we encounter daily.
This study was unique because while prior studies estimated bacteria levels in indoor and outdoor spaces, none of them estimated how much a person contributes per hour.
During the experiment, researchers found out that humans are responsible for more bacterial emissions than plants and other sources. Carpeted rooms were found to have particularly high bacterial levels.
Researchers said that given the rate at which bacteria multiplies indoors and the amount of time we spend indoors, the overwhelming majority of infections occur inside rather than outdoors.
In view of these findings, it is smarter to invest in air purifiers to bring down bacterial and viral levels to be found in indoor air.
Germicidal air purifiers are available for reducing all kinds of harmful pathogens in the air, including fungi, viruses and bacteria. They use an array of technologies, such as sterilizing heat, natural silver and ultraviolet light, to combat germs in the air.
Perhaps, the most common are ultraviolet air purifiers, which work by damaging microbe DNA in order to eliminate it.
While air purifiers are not on their own a complete solution for killing harmful germs in the air, they are nevertheless a useful adjunct for official safety guidelines like hand washing and social distancing.