Infection Prevention

Avoiding contagious diseases like the common cold and the flu is important to everyone. Here are five easy things you can do to fight the spread of infection.

1. Clean your hands.

  • Use soap and warm water. Rub your hands really well for at least 15 seconds. Rub your palms, fingernails, in between your fingers, and the backs of your hands.
  • Or, if your hands do not look dirty, clean them with alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Rub the sanitizer all over your hands, especially under your nails and between your fingers, until your hands are dry.
  • Clean your hands before touching or eating food. Clean them after you use the bathroom, take out the trash, change a diaper, visit someone who is ill, or play with a pet.

2. Make sure health care providers clean their hands and wear gloves.

  • Doctors, nurses, dentists and other health care providers come into contact with lots of bacteria and viruses. So before they treat you, ask them if they’ve cleaned their hands.
  • Health care providers should wear clean gloves when they perform tasks such as taking throat cultures,pulling teeth, taking blood, touching wounds or body fluids, and examining your mouth or private parts. Don’t be afraid to ask them if they should wear gloves.

3. Cover your mouth and nose. 

Many diseases are spread through sneezes and coughs. When you sneeze or cough, the germs can travel 3 feet or more!

  • Use a tissue! Keep tissues handy at home, at work and in your pocket. Be sure to throw away used tissues and clean your hands after coughing or sneezing.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cover your mouth and nose with the bend of your elbow or hands. If you use your hands, clean them right away. 

4. If you are sick, avoid close contact with others.

  • If you are sick, stay away from other people or stay home. Don’t shake hands or touch others.
  • When you go for medical treatment, call ahead and ask if there’s anything you can do to avoid infecting people in the waiting room.

5. Get shots to avoid disease and fight the spread of infection. 

Make sure that your vaccinations are current—even for adults. Check with your doctor about shots you may need. Vaccinations are available to prevent these diseases:

  • Chicken pox
  • Mumps
  • Measels
  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Hepatitis
  • Shingles
  • Meningitis
  • Flu (also known as influenza)
  • Whooping cough (also known as Pertussis)
  • German measles (also known as Rubella)
  • Pneumonia (Streptococcus pneumoniae)
  • Human papillomavirus