The macroscopic world in which we live seems to be increasingly threatened by a microscopic world in which we do not see and in which there are viruses, bacteria, particles invisible to the naked eye but very dangerous to our health. The Visual Capitalist platform has created a chart that looks in perspective at the dimensions of these invisible enemies, which it compares to the famous “hair” standard.
How small are the particles we struggle to live a normal life with? How are they compared to each other?
For example, the SARS-CoV-2 virus, although small (invisible to the naked eye), is not the smallest virus.
Zika virus and the T4 bacteriophage virus (responsible for E. coli) are only a small part of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Coronaviruses, on the other hand, are smaller than white or red blood cells (and are not visible to the naked eye).
To view the chart in full resolution, click here
Particles visible to the naked eye
At the other end of the scale we find pollen, salt, sand, which are significantly larger than viruses and bacteria, and even enter the world of visible objects with the naked eye.
Due to their size, the human body is able to block them – the particle must be less than 10 microns (1 micron = one thousandth of a millimeter) for it to be inhaled by the respiratory system.
Usually pollen and sand remain trapped in the nose and throat, they do not reach the lungs. But smaller particles manage to overcome these barriers.
Air pollution is one of the leading causes of death in the world. In fact, pollution is more deadly than smoking, malaria or AIDS.
The main source of pollution is small particles (about 2.5 microns) (dust, dirt, soot) that enter our lungs.
Fire smoke particles with a size of 0.4 – 0.7 microns are even more dangerous, causing not only lung problems, but also cardiovascular and neurological diseases.
Editor: Bogdans Pacurars