Minimizing the Risk of Contracting Viral and Bacterial Illnesses and Infections Through Prevention

jerder Feb 23, 2008 Health
For over twenty years scientists specializing in bacterial and viral contagions, infections, and illnesses warned doctors and the public of the dangers of overprescribing antibiotics. These scientists feared that the bacteria and viruses would mutate and eventually become immune to antibiotics. Antibiotic cocktails given to cattle over the years added to the concern. And, in recent years (MRSA), a drug resistant form of staphylococuss, and other diseases like Tuberculosis have become an increasing threat to public health.

For years, (MRSA) staphylococcus infections were diagnosed primarily among persons who spent a large amount of time in gyms and health clubs. Body to body contact, contact with equipment, and sweat were a perfect way for infections to spread. Steaming showers and sweat rooms were a perfect environment for the bacteria to thrive in, as well. Later, hospitals began reporting more cases of staph infection developing in patients during, or following their hospital stays.

Shigella is another of several bacterial illnesses and infections that have become more common in the past fifteen years. The contaminate is infected feces (human ecrement) and is passed on because of dirty hands.  The increase in the number of people  contracting these illnesses and infections makes taking preventive steps the best option.  There are several steps and precautions that can be taken to minimize the risk to your family and your community.

 1.  Many stores, both grocery and discount have bacterial wipes available by the shopping carts so that you can wipe down the cart handles and seats.

 2.  Keep bacterial wipes, which can be purchased at most stores, in your car, purse, or even your infant's diaper bag to use when you need them.  You can also purchase and carry plastic or latex gloves.

 3.  When eating out, buffets have serving spoons and forks that are touched by a plethora of individuals.  You can take plastic gloves to use when putting food items or you or your children's plates to minimize the risk of contracting viruses that are passed by touch, infections, and bacterial illnesses.

 4.  Wipe down ketchup and mustard bottles, napking containers, and other other items in restaraunts, because there are occasions when a waiter, waitress, or other customer who may have an infectous illness or recently come into contact with someone else who has.

 5.  When in the hospital, or when you have family and friends in the hospital notify nursing or housekeeping staff if you see dirty tissues, medical supplies, gloves, etc.  Anything with blood on it should be disposed of by staff in the proper blood borne pathogens containers.  The same applies to needles, etc.  If you are in the room when housekeeping or nursing staff are there make sure they wash their hands appropriately and that the put on fresh gloves when entering.  Also make sure sinks, the toilet, and showers are cleaned.

 6.  If you are a nursing mother and have any kind of infection, do not breast feed until  a physician says your infection is cleared up as staphylococcus infections can be passed onto you infant.

 7.  Make sure your children's school or daycare center has a written policy for sending home information to notify you of any children who have been sent home with infectuous childhood illness like measles or whooping cough, an abscess, pink eye, lice, or other contagious infection or disease.  If they do not have a policy insist on the school or center developing one and ask that it be posted in plain sight for you and other parents to refer to.

 8.  If an outbreak of shigella or other bacterial or parisitic illness occurs in your community or school, make sure you and your children wash your hands after every trip to the restroom, etc. as shigella is passed by touching hands with another person who did not wash after having a bowel movement or items they may have touched.

 9.  Listen, watch, or go on-line to keep up with the local news so that you know if there any kind of outbreaks in you area and find out what you can do to help.

10.  Report dirty scum covered ponds and swimming areas, any odors or discolorations in the water, or any symptoms such as sudden and lingering diarrhea, vomiting, or severe stomach cramps and high fever. 

In the end the best prevention is cleanliness.  There are a variety of  anti bacterial soaps and sprays on the market, and there are also rinseless soaps as well.   Make sure you and your children also have clean fingernails and keep your children's nails trimmed.  Take two or three minutes to make sure you are washing your hands thoroughly.  With these precautions you can minimize the risk of you or your family becoming ill from an infection, virus, or bacteria.  Of course this is not a cure and will not provide a 100% guarantee of escaping an infection or virus,  but every little bit helps.

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  • Last Updated : Apr 14, 2008