How To Avoid Spreading an Infectious Disease

With both flu season and the threat of swine flu hanging over our heads, it is time to consider how to stop the spread of infectious disease.  Even the spread of a common infection like the rhinovirus can be slowed or eliminated with careful consideration.

The best weapon in the spread of illness is frequent and thorough handwashing.  The use of anti-bacterial gels can be used when soap and running water are not available.  However, it is important to note that the use of such products can actually be detrimental in the long run. Overuse of anti-bacterial products can contribute to resistant strains of bacteria, also known as "superbugs."

If you do have an infectious disease, you may want to limit the amount and type of physical contact that you have with other people. Obviously, sexually transmitted diseases require abstinence to prevent transmission to another person.  Use of condoms can protect the uninfected, but no protection is 100% effective.  Communicate with potential partners to gain understanding of the risks associated with intimacy.  Take every precaution possible to avoid spreading an infectious disease to your sexual partners.  It is just as important to prevent them from spreading disease to you. There is no such thing as too much caution.

If you are afflicted with tuberculosis, pneumonia or  malaria, you need to seek a doctor's advice and care right away. He, or she, will prescribe medicine which can help you recover.  Your doctor can also advise you on the best way to avoid spreading an infectious disease.

If you are coughing, sneezing, or have any type of nasal discharge, you should avoid other people whenever possible.  Do not shake hands or otherwise have physical contact.  If you must cough or sneeze, use disposable tissues and immediately wash your hands.  If tissues are not available, always be sure to cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing.  Use the inside of your elbow instead of your hands so that you do not spread the infectious disease to every object that you touch.

Because even a common infection can cause discomfort and sick days off of work, you should also endeavor to protect yourself from others who have pneumonia disease, malaria disease, or any other type of infectious disease.  Carry tissues and anti-bacterial wipes in your purse or briefcase.  Refuse to shake hands during flu season or with anyone who is exhibiting signs of infectious disease.  Protect yourself.  Remember that no one will protect your health and best interests with more care than you will.

If you have children, teach them proper hygiene habits at home so that they can avoid catching infectious diseases from schoolmates or playmates.  If your older children and teenagers have a basic understanding of infectious disease and pathology, they will be more attentive to hand washing and otherwise protecting themselves.


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