Prevention of Catching or Passing on Germs
Handwashing is one of the simplest,easiest,and most effective ways to prevent getting or passing on many germs. Amazingly,it is also one of the most overlooked. Health care experts recommend scrubbing your hands vigorously for at least 15 seconds with soap and water, about as long as it takes to recite the English alphabet. This will wash away cold viruses and staph and strep bacteria as well as many other disease-causing microbes.
It is especially important to wash your hands
- Before preparing or eating food
- After coughing or sneezing
- After using the bathroom
- After changing a diaper
Health care providers should be especially conscientious about washing their hands before and after examining any patient. Workers in child care and elder care settings,
too,should be vigilant about handwashing around those in their care.
There are medicines on the market that help prevent people from getting infected by germs. For example,you can prevent getting the flu (influenza)by taking an antiviral
medicine.Vaccines,however,are the best defense against influenza viruses.
Under specific circumstances,health care providers may prescribe antibiotics to protect people from getting certain bacteria such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis ,which causes
TB.Health care experts usually advise people traveling to areas where malaria is present to take antiparasitic medicines to prevent possible infection.
In 1796,Edward Jenner laid the foundation for modern vaccines by discovering one of the basic principles of immunization. He had used a relatively harmless microbe, cowpox virus, to bring about an immune response that would help protect people from getting
infected by the related but deadly smallpox virus.
Dr.Jenner ís discovery helped researchers find ways to ease human disease suffering worldwide.By the beginning of the 20th century,doctors were immunizing patients with vaccines for diphtheria, typhoid fever, and smallpox.
Today,safe and effective vaccines prevent childhood diseases,including measles,whooping cough,chickenpox, and the form of meningitis caused by Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib)virus.
Vaccines,however,are not only useful for young children. Adolescents and adults should get vaccinated regularly for tetanus and diphtheria.A vaccine to prevent meningococcal meningitis is now available and recommended for all adolescents.In addition,adults who never had diseases such as measles or chickenpox during childhood or who never received vaccines to prevent them should consider being immunized. Childhood diseases can be far more serious in adults.
More people travel all over the world today.So,finding out which immunizations are recommended for travel to your destination(s)is even more important than ever. Vaccines also can prevent yellow fever,polio,typhoid fever, hepatitis A,cholera,rabies,and other bacterial and viral diseases that are more prevalent.
Your health care provider also may recommend immunizations for pneumococcal pneumonia and hepatitis B if you are at risk of getting these diseases.
SOME VACCINE-PREVENTABLE INFECTIOUS DISEASES
Haemophilus influenzae type B
Pertussis (Whooping cough)
Tetanus (Lock jaw)