Articles, Blog

Bacteria and Viruses Are Raining Down on Us All the Time

November 20, 2019

Thanks to Brilliant for supporting this episode
of SciShow. Go to to learn more. [♩INTRO] Growing up, you may have heard that you can
catch a cold in the rain. And it turns out there’s some truth to that
idea. See, pathogenic organisms stuff like viruses and bacteria that can give
plants and animals diseases do rain down on us all the time, with or without
the help of water. But the situation isn’t so dire that you’re
likely to get sick from going outside… yet? According to a 2015 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences, we may inhale thousands of microbes per hour
when we’re breathing in “fresh air”. These organisms come from almost anything
you can think of: the soil, bodies of water, even the surfaces
of plants and buildings. And they’re not necessarily from the immediate
vicinity. Winds, splashing water, rising smoke, and
many human activities can dislodge microorganisms from their dwelling places
and launch them into the air. Once afloat, they can snag onto small particles
like dust and travel way up into the atmosphere, into a region known as the planetary boundary
layer. And there, they can move thousands of kilometers with the air masses they’re suspended in,
across whole continents and oceans. Eventually, though, they fall back down, either in rain or when the particles they’re
associated with finally settle. And scientists estimate that hundreds of millions
of viruses and tens of millions of bacteria rain down
in this manner on every square meter of this planet every
day. That’s… not the worst part. You see, scientists say these globe-trotting
microbes can spread diseases around the globe. For example, in 2004, a pathogen that infects
plants traveled from Asia to the United States thanks
to a hurricane. And a 2003 paper published in BioScience suggested
that the global transport of dust could be sprinkling
pathogens onto coral reefs. Poor coral reefs just can’t catch a break,
can they? Luckily, if you’re a human, you probably
don’t have too much to worry about. Most of the microorganisms moving around this
way are considered harmless. …Though, not all of them. Scientists have found potential pathogens
like Staph in the dust that settles after storms and
during dust events. And in some cases, they think wind patterns
can explain disease outbreaks. For example, in 2011, researchers found that
epidemics of Kawasaki disease correlated with wind currents that swept from
Asia to the north Pacific. Kawasaki disease is an illness that causes
inflammation in blood vessels, particularly in kids. And the weird thing is, we don’t actually
know which pathogen is responsible. So the wind pattern connection, while not
definitive, could be an important clue for medical researchers trying to better understand
the disease. Also… even if there’s no immediate link
between human disease-causing pathogens and the billions
upon billions of microbes falling from the sky every day, there could
be soon. See, this whole situation is probably getting
worse with climate change. Scientists think it’s likely that even more
dust and microbes will float into our atmosphere in the coming decades thanks to things like increased desertification
and more intense weather events. So, while you might not catch a cold or any
other disease from the rain in the near future, the possibility is only
increasing. Researchers have to use a lot of really complex
math to figure out how pathogens move around in the clouds and how
that might change in the future. And that math is something everyone can learn
with You see, Brilliant offers dozens of courses
that cover topics in science, engineering, computer science, and math. And their Differential Equations 2 course
dives into the hardcore math needed to predict weather patterns, as well
as other kinds of scientific modeling. With a premium subscription, you’ll get
access to it and all their other courses, as well as engaging Daily Challenges which help you practice the skills you’re
learning. And right now, the first two hundred people
to sign up at will get 20% off an annual premium subscription. So check it out! And let us know if you learn anything really
cool in the comments. [♩OUTRO]

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  • Reply nonam namrson November 20, 2019 at 1:54 am

    Climate change must be really versatile. It will cause heating, cooling, desertification, greening, its racist, and can build a rocket ship out of hippy semen and cow farts.

  • Reply Slotmech November 20, 2019 at 1:55 am

    See, farts do travel.. 👃👃😝

  • Reply Jer The Rook November 20, 2019 at 1:56 am

    I'm very interested in the content this channel provides bit I really hate the way she talks.

  • Reply Teacup Toe November 20, 2019 at 1:59 am

    No one helped fix her hair in the beginning? Thanks useless co workers.

  • Reply Joe Potts November 20, 2019 at 2:07 am

    TL:DR trillions of (possibly) disease-carrying microbes from all around the world can float anywhere by pretty much any method AND humans are making the issue WORSE

  • Reply Christophe Breland November 20, 2019 at 2:08 am

    Didn't you just say in your last microcosmo we don't know how micro-organisms get to remote areas? I was thinking this but thought maybe some reason to heavy or something

  • Reply Mike James November 20, 2019 at 2:08 am

    Can we please throw in a few opinions with our "Science?" "Scientists think" , "probably getting worse", "There could be soon"…..ahhh that fits my agenda, thank you. What happened to this channel, we used to get SCIENCE.

  • Reply Andy Fromm November 20, 2019 at 2:09 am

    You lost me at "climate change"

  • Reply Le Quasar November 20, 2019 at 2:13 am

    God…. Did a man put a baby in that stuff…?

  • Reply Anux November 20, 2019 at 2:18 am

    0:50 Oil companies cause autism.

  • Reply Noah November 20, 2019 at 2:23 am

    Stop reading my thoughts please

  • Reply BoringNEET November 20, 2019 at 2:27 am

    Well in the future maybe facemasks will become like shoes, something everyone wears outside.

  • Reply ReginaFera November 20, 2019 at 2:33 am

    So just how much does this freak John out?

  • Reply dumkof nici November 20, 2019 at 2:34 am

    Coral reeves

  • Reply Korstmahler November 20, 2019 at 2:36 am

    (I lean away from the microbes to inhale)

  • Reply Maphisto86 November 20, 2019 at 2:37 am

    "Armageddon is not going to happen anytime soon . . . yet."

  • Reply XSportSeeker November 20, 2019 at 2:37 am

    Yeah… I love the smell of burning plastics and Australian brush fires in the morning -not.

  • Reply T J November 20, 2019 at 2:38 am

    There's only two genders.

  • Reply DragonSheep November 20, 2019 at 2:40 am

    We're surrounded by microbes all the time. And that's OK.

  • Reply The Rogue Wolf November 20, 2019 at 2:41 am

    Me: "I'm sick of this rain."

  • Reply LAMOND HAUGHTON November 20, 2019 at 2:44 am

    Death stranding type rain .. there is death standing in the rain

  • Reply grodenbarg November 20, 2019 at 2:46 am

    "Birds of a feather, flock in the pack. You can't fight the government, and paint a cloud black.

    So it is written, so it is done, the writings on the wall, the hand's got a gun.

    So it is destined, so it is sealed, the tree falls in the woods, we're all left in the field."
     –Kiss The Dream–by QED.

    Obvious what this song lyric excerpt are are hinting about here….
    (cough,chem-trails, cough,cough)

  • Reply Generic Username November 20, 2019 at 2:49 am

    Come on really?
    Apocalyptic situation: It'll be made worse by climate change
    You dont honestly expect me to believe the current climate is the ideal climate and any deviation from that only creates negatives.
    The earth has been a lot colder and a lot hotter throughout history. There's going to be pros/cons with any change, not just cons. Im guessing "climate change will fix this problem" does not mesh well with the narrative.

  • Reply [email protected] November 20, 2019 at 2:51 am

    Yes, let the microbes rain!! If spiders and frogs can fall from the sky, it's totally believable for microbes to be the same.

  • Reply Warmage Two Crows November 20, 2019 at 2:57 am

    This is a favored subject for me.

  • Reply Jack Messina November 20, 2019 at 3:02 am

    Lol this video came out right after Dream posted “Minecraft but it’s raining monsters”

  • Reply DoubleIrish DutchSandwich November 20, 2019 at 3:03 am

    Fun Fact: Fred Hoyle thought humans evolved there noses with holes on the bottom to prevent consuming viruses from space

  • Reply Alex Hern November 20, 2019 at 3:07 am

    What about the manganese rain that's been sprayed over black neighborhoods?

  • Reply Craig Corson November 20, 2019 at 3:08 am

    That's an incorrect pronunciation of the plural for "reef", Olivia. It should be "reefs", with the F pronounced like an F. A reeve is something else.
    a local official, in particular the chief magistrate of a town or district in Anglo-Saxon England.
    the president of a village or town council.

  • Reply SoberRS November 20, 2019 at 3:10 am

    If you dont go outside the rain cant touch you..

  • Reply Atchy November 20, 2019 at 3:18 am

    Why does the video kep calling me a micro brain? >.>

  • Reply Adam Triplett November 20, 2019 at 3:20 am

    Are Christopher and Coral Reeves related?

  • Reply Technicolor Dojo November 20, 2019 at 3:22 am

    Thanks for reinforcing my phobias.

  • Reply Katie Twyman November 20, 2019 at 3:25 am

    Sometimes I think y'all title these videos just to freak John out.

  • Reply J D November 20, 2019 at 3:28 am

    Just here to comment that the thumbnail is prime 👌

  • Reply Cthulhu Has Risen November 20, 2019 at 3:29 am

    This is why I like scishow space better, not so much doom n gloom.

  • Reply Charles Talhelm November 20, 2019 at 3:38 am

    Micro Brain?

  • Reply Megan McCarthy King November 20, 2019 at 3:39 am

    I want to put a leash on her nose slave ring.

  • Reply Huda Omran November 20, 2019 at 3:44 am

    Can you do an episode about micro plastics please.

  • Reply horrorkesh November 20, 2019 at 3:52 am

    If desertification is involved in serving me desert I'm in

  • Reply Nicholas Feeley November 20, 2019 at 3:54 am

    The Expanse series, book 4.
    It's a big thing for a good chunk of said book.
    (A really good series as well. Highly recommended.)

  • Reply Tim Sullivan November 20, 2019 at 3:56 am

    (03:55) "…and let us know if you learn anything REALLY cool in the comments." Not likely – unless you MEANT to say, "And let us know, in the comments, if you learn anything REALLY cool." So maybe, after all, there IS something to learn in the comments: "HOW we said it = WHAT we said". Syntax matters.

  • Reply Monty Cantsin November 20, 2019 at 4:09 am

    Ok, you can panic now.

  • Reply keiichiiownsu12 November 20, 2019 at 4:17 am

    Are there biological organisms that can, like, live in the air?

  • Reply cRAVEtrance November 20, 2019 at 4:20 am

    I was literally wondering this just yesterday! Thank you SciShow!!!

  • Reply Ben Petranek November 20, 2019 at 4:23 am

    how would the effects of nuclear bombs affect this cloud of bacteria in the atmosphere?

  • Reply Nal November 20, 2019 at 4:28 am

    Microbe Rain
    Some Stay Dry

  • Reply Tigerous November 20, 2019 at 4:31 am

    Get pregnant by the rain

  • Reply ccinndierella9 November 20, 2019 at 4:33 am

    Ragweed I understand you can't get away from even far into ocean and high up.
    Possibilities of things that cause us harm… hmm geoengineering…aluminum, strauntun and barium. Forget the natural stuff. Let's deal with the purposed. What are they doing in process of what they "say" they are doing. "Really?"

    What does a body good…NOT! Those 3 ingredients.

  • Reply Aramis419 November 20, 2019 at 4:43 am

    Coral "reeves"? There's an opportunity for a meme here!

  • Reply Samuel Orth November 20, 2019 at 4:59 am

    This feels like something the History channel would produce

  • Reply Gene Hawkridge November 20, 2019 at 5:01 am

    Fungus spores, too!

  • Reply jamesw242 November 20, 2019 at 5:08 am

    I lick it

  • Reply Jay Xan November 20, 2019 at 5:09 am

    Death stranding got rain right with time fall it seems

  • Reply ChesuMori November 20, 2019 at 5:25 am

    This reminds me of that old manga, Dominion…

  • Reply Alex Mercer November 20, 2019 at 5:28 am

    Bacteria? Pfft! They don't scare me! I eat bacteria like that for breakfast.

  • Reply toyherb November 20, 2019 at 5:37 am

    Breathing "fresh air" makes us strong imo. Our body protects against most pathogens in the air (or they are mostly harmless). We have bacteria all around us after all. On our skin, in our bodies, we have entire ecosystems.

  • Reply Cristian Verdugo Galaz November 20, 2019 at 5:38 am

    [misophobia intensifies]

  • Reply roxstix November 20, 2019 at 5:39 am

    "Purple rain, purple rain…" *achoo!

  • Reply Not J November 20, 2019 at 5:51 am

    Ironic she's talking about colds. EVERY time I see her, the first impression is that she has snot dripping out of her nose and it is glinting in the lights.
    Wonder if she knows this is the impression she gives every time someone sees her throughout her day?

  • Reply JLocke573 November 20, 2019 at 5:57 am

    Ah yes, I was just thinking that I didn't have enough things to be paranoid about

  • Reply David Thomas November 20, 2019 at 5:58 am

    You cant hide that baby bump girl!

  • Reply franksthoughts November 20, 2019 at 6:05 am

    That brings a whole new meaning to "Chocolate Rain"

  • Reply Jennifer Baker November 20, 2019 at 6:06 am

    This means that people medieval people saying bad humors passed diseases along weren’t so stupid after all. The wind can carry disease. People must have instinctual knowledge of how illness spreads we just didn’t at the time have the microscopic technology now to detect this stuff. Makes you think 🤔

  • Reply filonin2 November 20, 2019 at 6:09 am

    Where do you get 1920's schoolmarm cosplay outfits like hers?

  • Reply Woody November 20, 2019 at 6:12 am

    I'm not going out without my space suit, anymore.

  • Reply Martin Olminkhof November 20, 2019 at 6:15 am

    Don't tell my mother that

  • Reply David Jameson November 20, 2019 at 6:32 am

    Anyone familiar with airborne pathogens should not be surprised by this source of fear among germophobes.

  • Reply TehMuNjA November 20, 2019 at 6:44 am

    This feels very biased against microbes. I think if they’ve always been there who are we to be mad at them when we find out they’re everywhere. Thats just how it is.

  • Reply TheTreeWalker November 20, 2019 at 6:52 am

    So disease IS caused by miasma!

  • Reply Eljan Rimsa November 20, 2019 at 7:10 am

    if you like pina colada

  • Reply SayBinidus November 20, 2019 at 7:10 am

    Is it weird that I saw the title for this video and immediately thought of Tay Zonday?

  • Reply Hảo Lưu Tuệ November 20, 2019 at 7:12 am

    Air I > Air II
    Water I > Water II
    Extreme Bioaerosol

  • Reply Pauline November 20, 2019 at 7:18 am

    John does not like this episode

  • Reply zymethpwn November 20, 2019 at 7:19 am

    Some stay dry and others feel the pain.

  • Reply Rick Rubenstein November 20, 2019 at 7:20 am

    Coral Reeves = Keanu's talented but less-well-known sister.

  • Reply LongandWeirdName November 20, 2019 at 7:26 am

    Nice joke with the micro brain.

  • Reply Joku Toinen November 20, 2019 at 7:40 am

    So… I've been rained on by trillions of bacteria during my life, according to my best guesstimate. So, there is no reason to worry about it.

  • Reply Joku Toinen November 20, 2019 at 7:40 am

    So… I've been rained on by trillions of bacteria during my life, according to my best guesstimate. So, there is no reason to worry about it.

  • Reply Joku Toinen November 20, 2019 at 7:40 am

    So… I've been rained on by trillions of bacteria during my life, according to my best guesstimate. So, there is no reason to worry about it.

  • Reply nutzeeer November 20, 2019 at 7:43 am

    Plague Inc. Evolved just got a lot easier

  • Reply Killayogi November 20, 2019 at 7:53 am

    Is it me or is Olivia looking? …Spicy 🔥🔥🔥🔥 looking hot Olivia 😁

  • Reply SwordQuake2 November 20, 2019 at 8:01 am

    News flash: staves are pathogens.

  • Reply ɮօʊռċɛ օʄʄ November 20, 2019 at 8:31 am

    & this is why the flu is an upper respiratory infection

  • Reply Sining Tadhana November 20, 2019 at 8:45 am

    * Germophobes left the chat * (and will get full body covered as well as will not leave their houses for the rest of their lives) after seeing this video and knowing that germs and pathogens such as bateria and viruses are somehow literally raining constantly ovee us all whethee they're harmless or not.

  • Reply Sining Tadhana November 20, 2019 at 8:47 am

    This is the worst science news fact our germophobe fellows will ever knew and recieve. Fortunately I am not a germophobe, or else I don't know how to handle this fact.

  • Reply Sining Tadhana November 20, 2019 at 8:48 am

    DON'T SHOW THIS VIDEO TO ANY GERMOPHOBE! I am worried on how they'll handle this science fact.

  • Reply Sining Tadhana November 20, 2019 at 8:49 am

    Soon, face masks and full body suits is a must, and germophobes wont leave their houses forever.

  • Reply Duwalage Pasindu Chamodya Gunaratna November 20, 2019 at 8:58 am

    kawasaki disease is not a fun trip i can tell you that much

  • Reply Brownskikuca Garlic Bread November 20, 2019 at 9:08 am

    I like spiders

  • Reply scarletspidernz November 20, 2019 at 9:17 am

    i learnt that i'm sleepy right now. Good Night Everyone!

  • Reply Chris G November 20, 2019 at 9:24 am

    Bacteria don't just ride in on the rain, they make it rain

  • Reply A Gut Feelin November 20, 2019 at 9:54 am

    Wow SciShow, fear mongering much?! "STAPH" is just the abbreviated name of the bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus and is a healthy part of the human microbiota. It grows naturally on the skin and upper respiratory tract – SciShow even did a freaking video talking about how it's a part of the microbiota. Germ theory and the mass antibacterial movement that accompanied it has resulted in a dangerous alteration of the bacteria and fungi that are symbiotic and crucial to a healthy life. No living thing, not humans or even trees, can live without these microorganisms. As the microbes die, so do we.

    Also, dessertification sounds delicious. You just need to extra 's', lol. 😋

  • Reply Star Kicker November 20, 2019 at 9:59 am

    i havent been sick in 6-7 years and im not the most cleanly person, nor do i eat very healthily. it's a mentality and simply not caring whether you get sick and just thinking 'screw you sickness', i believe, has prevented me from being sick.

  • Reply Lawless Gaming November 20, 2019 at 10:42 am

    Why didn't the natives of America come into contact with European microbes before the Europeans showed up?

  • Reply El Diablo November 20, 2019 at 10:47 am

    This helps me understand some research on nicotine that I've read. Nicotine kills parasites. Before big companies destroyed how Tobacco grows, the longest living people in history smoked it. It helped keep them clean of all kinds of parasites that they breathed thru the air. Our brains knew this and rewarded us each time we used it.

  • Reply Faustin Gashakamba November 20, 2019 at 10:49 am

    Does rain carry spermatozoa too?
    My GF got pregnant just by being out in the rain…so she insists saying!

  • Reply Subparanon November 20, 2019 at 10:53 am

    The Earth is not a sterile place lol. We're surrounded by pathogens all of the time, it's why we have an immune system. Dig down miles below the surface, go to the highest mountain, the hottest volcanic vent, and you find life.

  • Reply A friendly spazmoid November 20, 2019 at 11:16 am

    And I always thought rain water was pure? Gawd dayum

  • Reply everton zp November 20, 2019 at 11:28 am

    Let's burn the atmosphere right now!

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