A microbe, or microscopic organism, is a living thing that is too small to be seen with the naked eye. This general term is used to describe bacteria, fungi, yeast, and viruses, to name a few. A microbiome is the collection of the microbes living in a given community, like the intestines in the human body. We also sometimes refer to these communities as “flora” or “microbiota”.
As humans, we begin to build our microbiome the moment we are born. How and where we’re born play a big role in the types of microbes we acquire. Babies pick up microbes from every person or thing they touch, and continue to pick up microbes throughout their lives. The microbiome isn’t fixed; it develops over time and changes in response to its environment.