Five Things You Can Do To Prevent Infection

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1. Wash your hands often

  • Use soap and warm water. Rub your hands really well for at least 15 seconds. Rub your palms, fingernail, 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 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.
  • Healthcare providers should wear clean gloves when they perform tasks such as 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! 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 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, 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. Maintain vaccinations 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
  • Measles
  • Tetanus
  • Meningitis
  • Shingles
  • Mumps
  • Hepatitis
  • Flu – Influenza
  • Whooping cough (Pertussis)
  • Pneumonia (Streptococcus pneumonia)
  • German measles (Rubella)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)

Personal Hygiene

Skin is an important part of the immune system for it acts as a barrier between germs and your body. Skin is tough and generally impermeable to bacteria and viruses, but germs can enter our bodies through other areas that are susceptible to bacteria such as our nose, mouth, eyes, or a break in the skin. Common sense and following good personal hygiene will limit the possibility of these germs finding a way into your body.

Here are some common sense personal hygiene tips:

  • Wash Your Hands -The single most important way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases is to wash your hands. Most infections, particularly the common cold and gastroenteritis, are contracted when our germ infested hands come in contact with our mouths. In addition, infections are also contracted through contact with other individuals whose hands may come in contact with us.
  • Take a Daily Shower or Bath - A daily shower or bath aids in the cleansing of our bodies as well as eliminating any bodily odor or bacteria ridden skin. Personal bath towels are recommended. Cross infection is a risk that is unnecessary if possible.
  • Brush teeth at least twice a day. Mouth care is very important. Clean intact oral mucous membranes assist in preventing infections. Mouth care includes brushing the teeth, flossing between them, and checking the inside of the mouth and gums, as well as cleaning dentures.

Nutrition and Diet

Eating healthy balanced meals is especially important to a person who is recovering from an illness. It is also important for someone who must be in bed or in a wheelchair for long periods of time.

A healthy diet focuses on:

  • Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products.
  • Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
  • Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.

Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals. Protein is necessary for wound healing. Foods high in fiber such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may make it easier to have a bowel movement. Certain vitamins may help prevent damage to the body's cells. They also may help repair damage to your body tissue caused by a chronic disease. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish and may help decrease constipation and inflammation.

Depending on a person's medical condition, a special diet and supplements may be ordered. The recommended diet may change over time as health conditions change. Your healthcare provider will instruct you on your special diet and supplement needs.