The macroscopic world we live in seems increasingly threatened by the unseen microscopic world populated by viruses, bacteria, particles invisible to the naked eye, but very dangerous to our health. The Visual Capitalist platform has made a chart that puts the dimensions of these invisible enemies into perspective, which it compares to the famous “hair” standard.
How small are the particles we struggle with to live the life we used to? How are they compared?
The SARS-CoV-2 virus, for example, although small in size (invisible to the naked eye), is not the smallest virus.
Zika virus and bacteriophage T4 virus (responsible for E. coli) are only a small part compared to the virus that causes COVID-19.
In turn, coronaviruses are smaller than white or red blood cells (and are invisible to the naked eye).
To see the graph very clearly, click here
Particles visible to the naked eye
At the other end of the scale, we find pollen, salt, sand, significantly larger than viruses and bacteria and even enter the world of visible objects with the naked eye.
Because of their size, they can be blocked by the human body – a particle must be less than 10 microns (1 micron = one thousandth of a millimeter) in order for the respiratory system to breathe.
Pollen and sand generally remain trapped in the nose and throat, not reaching the lungs. But smaller particles manage to overcome these obstacles.
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 the small matter particles (dust, dirt, soot) (about 2.5 microns), which reach our lungs.
Smoke particles from fires, with dimensions of 0.4 – 0.7 microns, are even more dangerous, causing not only lung problems, but also cardiovascular and neurological diseases.
Editor: Bogdan Pacurar