Figure 1-1: Ways to prevent infections
Pathogens cause infections, microscopic organisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites that enter the body, multiply, and disrupt normal functions. Infectious diseases are a significant cause of illness and death in the United States and worldwide.
Certain people, especially those with underlying conditions such as heart disease or cancer, serious injuries, or taking medications that weaken the immune system, have difficulty avoiding infection.
Staying healthy entails a variety of daily habits. Avoiding infections is necessary to prevent both the short-term inconvenience of illness and long-term complications and reduce the risk of disease transmission to others. No matter the type, there are several easy and practical ways to lower your risk of transmittable infections.
Here are the top 10 ways to add to your preventive practices.
1. Wash your hands:
Figure 1-2: Hand Wash
Washing your hands before and after touching sick people, handling raw meat, treating cuts and wounds, and cooking or eating is the most effective way to prevent infections.
Wash your hands immediately when handling pets, taking out the trash, doing laundry, using the restroom, changing diapers, blowing your nose, sneezing, or coughing. The CDC suggest thoroughly and vigorously washing hands with water and simple soap for at least 20 seconds.
An alcohol-based hand gel or wipe will work without running water, though soap and water still work best. This takes roughly the same time as singing “Happy Birthday” twice, followed by hand drying with a clean towel or air drying.
2. Practice safe sex:
Figure 2-1: Practice safe sex.
The most easily preventable infectious diseases are probably sexually transmitted. The transmission of contagious bacteria or viruses from one person to another can be avoided by practicing safe sex and using condoms.
One of the best ways to prevent infections is through vaccination. People more likely to contract diseases (particularly infants, children, the elderly, and those with AIDS) should get all the vaccinations required to lower their risk.’
Getting the necessary immunisations will keep you and those around you healthy and prevent infection and illness. This is a recommended schedule for kids and a list of adult vaccines and booster shots.
4. Don’t share personal items:
Figure 2-2: Personal Items
Infectious agents (bacteria, viruses, and fungi) can be found on various items, including toothbrushes, towels, razors, handkerchiefs, and nail clippers. Try to keep in mind to also keep personal items to yourself! Remind kids frequently about the things they shouldn’t share with others.
Cleanliness and the age-old practice of covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing are examples of good personal hygiene. It has the potential to help reduce the spread of respiratory infections.
Droplets in the air produced when infected people cough, sneeze, breathe, or talk are the primary means of transmission of many respiratory infections. The size of these droplets varies depending on the type of bacteria or virus they are.
Infected individuals should wear masks to prevent the spread of the infection to others. Another option for reducing the risk of disease is the wearing of masks.
6. Prepare food safely:
Most food-borne illnesses are caused by improper food preparation and eating habits. Almost every food item contains microbes, but those thrive more on foods left out at room temperature.
The majority of microbes’ growth is slowed or stopped by refrigeration. Refrigerate foods within two hours of preparation. Maintain a clean workspace, use different cutting boards for raw meat and raw vegetables, and thoroughly wash all produce before eating.
7. Travel wisely:
Consult your doctor about any particular immunisations or medications you might require if you go abroad. Travelling is a great way to contract infectious diseases, especially in developing nations.
Use safe water for drinking and tooth brushing, such as bottled water, if your travel destination has questionable water quality. Avoid raw vegetables and fruit and consume cooked foods instead.
8. Clean and disinfect commonly used objects and surfaces:
Germs can live on the surfaces we frequently touch and use. Typically, soap is sufficient for cleaning. However, keep your kitchen and bathroom clean regularly.
Daily cleaning surfaces and often used items, such as light switches, doorknobs, cabinet handles, tables, countertops, computers, phones, tablets, and computers, should be done. If there is a sick person in your house, you should clean and sanitise frequently throughout the day to prevent the spread of infection.
9. Stay home when ill:
Figure 3-2: Sickness
When sick, stay at home. This prevents infectious diseases by avoiding how they are transmitted. You will recover faster and will not spread germs. Infectious diseases can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites.
They can be transmitted from person to person, by insects or animals, by eating contaminated food or water, or by environmental exposure, depending on the disease. Symptoms can range from the mild annoyance of a common cold to a potentially fatal infection that necessitates hospitalisation.
10. Avoid animal-borne diseases:
Infections that can spread from animals to humans, known as zoonotic diseases, are more common than many realise. If you have pets, ensure they receive regular checkups and up-to-date vaccinations.
Keep children away from animal waste and clean litter boxes regularly. If you are pregnant or immunocompromised, have someone else clean the litter box for you, cat faeces is a common source of toxoplasmosis and cytomegalovirus (CMV).
Wild animals can also transmit rabies, bird flu, and flea or tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease. Create a hostile environment for rodents in your home by removing places where they could hide or make nests to prevent these better.
To prevent attracting wildlife, use animal-proof trash cans, and instruct young children that wild animals should never be approached or touched.
There isn’t a single way to stop the spread of infectious diseases, but we can try to break the chain at any point. Break the cycle by washing your hands frequently, receiving routine vaccinations (including the flu shot), covering coughs and sneezes, remaining home when ill, using personal protective equipment properly, maintaining a clean and hygienic environment, and using antibiotics sparingly to prevent antibiotic resistance.
We can help reduce illness and make our lives germ-free with a few precautions and a little effort. Stay healthy and learn more about health-related continuing education, go to eetsonline.com.