The Secret Life of Germs

The Secret Life of Germs

What They Are, Why We Need Them, and How We Can Protect Ourselves Against Them

They're on everything we touch, eat, and breathe in -- on every inch of skin. And despite the advances of science, germs are challenging medicine in ways that were unimaginable ten years ago. No wonder the world is up in arms -- and using antibacterial soaps.
From the common cold, E. coli, and Lyme disease to encephalitis, mad cow disease, and flesh-eating bacteria, Tierno takes readers on a historical survey of the microscopic world. Rebuffing scare tactics behind recent "germ events" Tierno explains how the recycling of matter is the key to life. Yes, he'll tell you why it's a good idea to clean children's toys, why those fluffy towels may not be so clean, and why you never want to buy a second-hand mattress, but he also reveals that there is a lot we can do to prevent germ-induced suffering. You'll never look at anything the same way again.
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  • Atria Books | 
  • 320 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743421881 | 
  • January 2004
List Price $19.99
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: Seeds of Disease, Seeds of Life

Our Greatest Fear

Think of Howard Hughes, and what comes to mind? Is it a picture of a handsome, vital man, heir to a great fortune, whose exploits as an aviator, a movie producer, a husband of starlets, a wily businessman, and a Nixon campaign contributor have filled scores of articles, books, and movies about him? Or does another image predominate, the lonely figure of an aging, unkempt, drug-addicted recluse, ensconced at vast expense in a Las Vegas hotel suite that he obsessively tries to keep operating-room clean, fretting endlessly that some germ will infect his system and... see more

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