Eight tips to prevent infection

There are some proven ways to keep yourself healthy. You know the basics: steer clear of runny noses and hacking coughs, you may be wondering about some other practical ways of staying infection free. Your skin acts as a natural barrier against harmful microbes that cause infections, but smart “bugs” have found alternative routes to get into your body and cause infection. By making a few simple behavioral changes (which intimately reduce their access into your body), you can easily prevent the spread of many infectious diseases.

1) Wash your hand frequently.

  • Did you know that  microbes can live on inert surfaces anywhere from a few minutes to several months? It depends on the microbe and the environment. Some can live for short periods only; others can live for longer periods. These disease-causing microbes living on your computer keyboard, your light-switch, or even on the pedestrian-crossing button next to the crosswalk! Surprisingly , most people don’t know the best way to effectively wash hands. The CDC recommends washing thoroughly and vigorously with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, followed by hand-drying with a paper towel.

2) Don’t share personal items. 

  • Tiothbrushes, towel, razor, handkerchiefs, and nail clippers can all be sources of infectious agents (bacteria, viruses and fungi). In kindergarten, you were taught to share your toys, buy keep your hands to yourself. Now try to remember to keep personal items to yourself as well!

3) Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.

  • In a similar vein, good personal hygiene includes not only personal cleanliness, but also the age old practice of covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Why is this important if you aren’t sick? For most infections, the disease-causing microbe had already started growing and dividing long before any symptoms begin to show up. Coughing or sneezing can spread these germs through microscopic droplets in the air.

    4) Get vaccinated.

    • Your immune system is designed to have a “memory” of previous  infections. When your body encounters microe that has previously caused an infection, it enhances its production of white blood cells and antibodies to prevent infection a second time. However, by getting vaccinated, you “trick” your body into thinking that it has been infected by a particular microbe, hence enhancing its own defenses against subsequent infection. It will protect you and those around you.

    5) Use safe cooking practices.

    • Food-borne illnesses frequently arise from poor food preparation and dining habits. Microbes thrive on virtually all food items, and more so on foods left at room temperature. Refrigeration slows or stops the growth of most microbes. Promptly refrigerate food within 2 hours of preparation. Use separate cutting boards for raw meats and vegetables, keep clean counter tops, and wash all fruits and vegetables well prior to eating. Source: See fightbac.org for more information..

    6) Practice safe sex.

    • Sexually-transmitted diseases are probably the most easily preventable infectious diseases. By being smart about safe sex (using condoms), transfer of infectious bacteria or viruses from one person to another can be prevented.

    7) Don’t pick your nose (or your mouth or eyes either).

    • Not only is it a taboo, but it also leads to the spread of a number of infections. Look around, and you’ll notice how many people have their hands next to their faces. Many microbes prefer the warm, moist environment inside your nose, as well as other mucous-covered surfaces such as your eyes and mouth. Infection can be easily prevented by avoiding touching of these areas.

      8) Exercise caution with animals.

      • Infections that can spread from animals to people are called “zoonotic diseases” and are more common than most people realize. If you have pets, make sure they get regular check-ups and that their vaccinations are up-to-date. Clean litter boxes frequently (unless you’re pregnant-stay away!), and keep small children away from animal faeces. Different types of wild animals can carry diseases such as rabies or bird flu or fleas and ticks that spread plague and Lyme disease. Make the area around your home unfriendly to rodents and other mammals by eliminating areas where they could hide or build nests, using rodent-proof trash cans that contain food waste, and sealing up holes that offer easy and attractive access to animals. And teach small children in your household to be cautious when encountering wild animals.


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