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Preventing Infections

Bacteria Culture

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What is an infection?

An infection is when living things called germs enter your body and cause an illness or disease.

You can prevent infections by keeping your body healthy and clean.

  • Prevention is when you do things to stop something from happening.

How do germs get inside your body?

Sometimes germs are passed from one person to another person.

For example, germs could pass from your friend to you if your friend sneezes on you.

How do germs get inside your body?

Germs can also get inside your body if you touch something that a person who is sick has touched or sneezed on.

For example, you can catch germs:

  • When you handle money
  • When you use the toilet
  • When you touch door handles
  • When you touch your pet

Who is at risk of infections?

Everyone is at risk of being infected by germs.

If you know how to protect yourself, you can prevent many infections.

Keeping your body clean can prevent infections.

Keeping our bodies clean is what we do to stay healthy and prevent illness.

This includes:

  • Cleaning your body, hair, hands, and nails
  • Brushing and flossing your teeth

Keeping your body clean can prevent infections.

The easiest part of keeping your body clean is knowing how to properly wash your hands.

Germs are on almost every surface that you touch with your hands.

  • If you know how to properly wash your hands, you can prevent a lot of infections!

You should wash your hands:

  • Before eating or preparing food
  • After using the bathroom
  • After coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose
  • After touching animals
  • After cleaning and handling dirt or garbage
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • Before and after helping someone who is sick

Easy Steps for Hand Washing:

  • Wet your hands with warm, running water
  • Apply liquid or clean bar soap
  • Rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds
  • Scrub all parts of your hands, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails
  • Rinse the soap off of your hands
  • Dry your hands with a clean or disposable towel
  • Use a towel to turn off the faucet
  • Source: Mayo Clinic, Dec. 2005,

Here are more tips to prevent germs from getting in:

  • Take showers or baths every day
  • Wash your hair and keep it trimmed
  • Brush and floss your teeth
  • Keep your clothes clean
  • Visit your doctor often and your dentist twice a year
  • Keep your house clean

When handling uncooked meats, like chicken, be safe.

Some infections come from germs that are in uncooked meats.

This kind of infection can be prevented.

  • Clean all of your counters immediately after moving the uncooked meat.
  • Wash your hands!

You can also prevent infections that come from food by:

  • Never cutting vegetables or fruits on the same surface as uncooked meats
  • Not re-freezing food that has been defrosted
  • Throwing away any food that has expired or spoiled

You can also help prevent infections in other people.

If you sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your hand.

  • Wash your hands immediately afterwards.

Don't share:

  • Spoons, forks, cups or other eating utensils
  • Hand towels, tooth brushes, razors, or make-up

Wash kitchen towels at least weekly.

When you are sick, don’t infect other people.

When you are sick with a cold, flu, or any other contagious (spread through close contact or the air) illness, try to stay away from other people and get plenty of rest.

Check out these websites for more ways to prevent infections:

PDF icon SPPreventingInfections.pdf548.19 KB
Last updated on Mon, 06/21/2010 - 14:27