Bacteria are small living organisms which are made up of just one cell. They are not visible to the naked eye. However, when viewed under a microscope, it is clear that they come in a variety of shapes and sizes: spheres, rods and branches. Bacteria multiply independently, in a process known as binary fission. A slightly moist setting, a pH-neutral environment and temperatures of 37 degrees provide the ideal conditions for particularly frequent cell divisions. All this is offered by one body part above all: The palm of your hand. We all carry bacteria in our bodies and on our skin. But not all bacteria make us sick! Some are very useful, for example the intestinal bacteria which break down the food we eat. Just one percent of bacteria cause illnesses. For example, salmonellae, which lead to gastroenteritis, and staphylococci, which are the cause of toxaemia. Bacterial diseases can be cured with antibiotics. Yet the best protection against bacteria remains cleanliness! This is why it is so important to wash your hands thoroughly and to rinse fruit and vegetables prior to consumption.