Preventing Infections

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

Wash Your Hands

  • Use soap and warm water. Rub your hands really well for at least 15 seconds.
  • 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. 

Make Sure Healthcare Providers Have Clean Hands

  • Doctors, nurses, dentists and other healthcare providers come into contact with lots of bacteria and viruses. So before they treat you, ask them if they've cleaned their hands.
  • Healthcare 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 private parts. Don't be afraid to gently remind them to wear gloves.

Cover Yo​ur Mouth & Nose

  • Many diseases are spread through sneezes and coughs. When you sneeze or cough, the germs can travel three feet or more. Cove​r your mouth and nose to prevent the spread of infection to others. 
  • Use a tissue. Keep tissues handy at home, at work and in your pocket. Be sure to throw away used tissues and then clean your hands. 
  • 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, wash them right away.

Wh​en Sick, Avoid Close Contact

If you are sick, stay away from other people. Stay home if you have a fever. Call work or school and tell them y​ou are sick.

When you go for medical treatment, call ahead and ask if there's anything you can do to avoid infecting people in the w​aiting room.

These steps can help prevent the spread of colds, the flu*, and diseases like:

  • ​Pneumonia​*
  • Whooping cough*
  • SARS
  • Chicken pox*
  • Tuberculosis
  • Strep throat
  • Mumps*
  • Measles*
  • Rubella* (also known as German measles)

*Remember to get a shot to prevent this dise​ase or infection.