Infectious diseases are caused by microscopic organisms that live in other people, animals, or the environment and are too small to see. If you do not come into contact with them, you can prevent many infections and illnesses. While specific diseases are passed in specific ways, there are basic steps you can take to stay healthy and lower your risk of catching and spreading any infectious disease.
What You Should Do
Vaccinate & Use Medicines Properly
- Keep immunizations up to date. Follow recommended immunizations for children, adults, and pets. (more)
- Use antibiotics exactly as prescribed. Take them for the full course prescribed by your doctor, but not for colds or other nonbacterial illnesses. Never self-medicate with antibiotics or share them with family or friends.
- Report to your doctor any quickly worsening infection or any infection that does not get better after you take a prescribed antibiotic.
- If you travel internationally, get all recommended immunizations, and use protective medications for travel, especially to areas with malaria. (more)
- Wash your hands often, especially during cold and flu season. (more)
- Be aware of what you eat, and prepare foods carefully.
Protect Yourself From Disease Carriers
- Be cautious around all wild and domestic animals that are not familiar to you.
- After any animal bite, clean the skin with soap and water, and seek medical care immediately.
- Avoid areas where there are ticks.
- Protect yourself from mosquitos.
- Stay alert to disease threats when you travel or visit undeveloped areas.
- Dont drink untreated water while hiking or camping. If you become ill when you return home, tell your doctor where youve been.
Don't Spread Disease
- If you you are sick with a cold or flu, stay home and don't spread germs. (more)
- Practice safer sex. (more)
- Do not use intravenous drugs or share syringes.