I am a horrible friend. Jason Tetro and I have known each other for some time, in more recent years we have become chums through social media - the Germ Guy meets Clean Freak so to speak. In fact, Jason was one of our early Guest Blogger contributors with his blog, "Finding Clarity on Clean Information....". I've also referenced his blog "The Germ Guy - Confessions of Mercurial Microbiologist" as well as his featured blogs on Huffington Post in some of my #FF - Follow Friday blogs. Yet, when his book The Germ Code hit the stores in November of last year it did not occur to me until today to use it for one of my summer book reviews. Tisk. Tisk.
The Germ Code is Jason's first book publication (another reason for me to feel bad!) and is about our relationship with microbes and the need to find a way to love them. The book, in true "Germ Guy" fashion is easy to understand as it details why we need to learn to just blissfully live with germs. Of course learning to look at our surroundings in a new way and not panic over the fact that germs are everywhere, that they make up 90% of our body's cellular composition and that there are over 2 BILLION different kinds - that's 4 times MORE than the population of North America! - may be a bit hard to swallow for some.
There are far too many good tidbits throughout the 256 page book to touch upon them all. Jason touches upon the history of the earliest discoveries of pathogens and lessons in microbiomes to outbreaks and pandemics such as SARS and Influenza. The section later in the book on "Germs and Worms" that discusses a clinical trial where patients were fed, YES FED, hookworms!! It rapidly brought back flashbacks of my university days where after completing the section on parasites and worms in Zoology and being thoroughly grossed out, my roommates cut up sections of elastics and placed them in my bed. For those not in the know, small sections of elastics look EXACTLY like the segments of tapeworms. While funny now, I was seconds away from running to the ER to get a prescription to treat tapeworm infections....
The whole concept of microbiomes is fascinating. The fact that as we move from place to place, our natural flora (the bugs that live on or in us every day) change and pick up new bugs on our skin, in our mouth and intestinal track and even our belly button! To quote Jason, "The belly button is a microbial museum of lifetime experiences!" I wonder if mine's still filled with horsey-germs from my years of horseback riding!
In the end, The Germ Code is a book that teaches us that understanding germs doesn’t require a stethoscope, a microscope or coke-bottle glasses. We simply need equal parts knowledge, imagination and responsibility (to wash our hands of course!).
I hope you'll take the time to read The Germ Code! I'm sure this is the first of many books by The Germ Guy!