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Five Things You Can Do To Prevent Infection

Avoiding contagious disease like the common cold, strep throat, 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.
— Clean your hands before touching or eating food. Clean them after you use the bathroom, take out the trash, visit someone who is ill, or play with a pet.

2. Make sure health care providers clean their hands or wear gloves.
— Doctors, nurses, dentist 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 never wear clean gloves when they perform tasks such as taking throat cultures, pulling teeth, taking blood. Touching wounds or bodily 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! Cover 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 clean your hands after coughing or sneezing.
  • If you don’t have tissues, 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
— Tetanus
— Flu (also known as influenza)
— Whooping cough (also known as Pertussis)
— German measles (also known as Rubella)
— Pneumonia (Steptocccus pneumonia)
— Human papillomavirus (HPV)
— Mumps
— Measles
— Diphtheria
— Hepatitis
— Shingles
— Meningitis

Five things you can do to prevent infection is supported by:
American Hospital Association — www.hospitalconnect.com

Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. Inc. — www.apic.org

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — www.cdc.gov

Infectious Disease Society of America — www.idsociety.org

The Joint Commission — www.jointcommission.org

Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America — www.shea-online.org