What is this girl doing to prevent the spread of the flu?
Notice how this girl is covering her nose and mouth with a tissue as she sneezes. This is a good habit that helps prevent her from passing on the flu virus to other people. Notice she is also staying home and resting instead of going out and possibly infecting others with her illness.
Preventing Infectious Diseases
Infectious diseases are diseases that spread from person to person. What can you do to avoid infectious diseases? Eating right and getting plenty of sleep are a good start. These habits will help keep your immune system healthy. With a healthy immune system, you will be able to fight off many pathogens.
You can also take steps to avoid pathogens in the first place. The best way to avoid pathogens is to wash your hands often. You should wash your hands after using the bathroom or handling raw meat or fish. You should also wash your hands before eating or preparing food. In addition, you should wash your hands after being around sick people. The correct way to wash your hands is demonstrated in Figure below. If soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer. A hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol will kill most germs on your hands.
This picture shows the proper way to wash your hands. Frequent hand washing helps prevent the spread of pathogens.
The best way to prevent diseases spread by vectors is to avoid contact with the vectors. For example, you can wear long sleeves and long pants to avoid tick and mosquito bites. Using insect repellent can also reduce your risk of insect bites.
Many infectious diseases can be prevented with vaccinations. You will read more about vaccinations in another lesson. Vaccinations can help prevent measles, mumps, chicken pox, and several other diseases.
If you do develop an infectious disease, try to avoid infecting others. Stay home from school until you are well. Also, take steps to keep your germs to yourself. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough, and wash your hands often to avoid spreading pathogens to other people.
infectious disease: A disease that spreads from person to person.
- A healthy lifestyle and frequent hand washing can help reduce your risk of infectious diseases.
- To avoid infecting others when you are sick, stay home from school, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough, and wash your hands often.
Use the resources below to answer the questions that follow.
- What is a communicable disease?
- What are some pathways by which germs can pass from one person to another person?
- Why is hand washing effective in preventing the spread of some diseases?
- How long should you wash your hands to help prevent the spread of disease?
- What is the single most important way to avoid pathogens?
- How can you avoid infecting others when you are sick?