Infectious diseases kill more people worldwide than any other single cause. Infectious diseases are caused by germs or viruses that are transmitted by touching, eating, drinking or breathing something that contains an infectious virus. Viruses can also spread through animal and insect bites, kissing and sexual contact. Some of the most commonly known infectious diseases include:
- Influenza (flu)
Avoid Activities That Increase Possibility of Transmission:
- Direct contact (through broken skin or unprotected mucous membranes) with an infected person's blood or body fluids, such as through a sharps injury (with a contaminated needle or other sharp).
- Indirect contact with an infected individual's blood or body fluids.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too. The flu is the most common and most easily spread infectious disease, in part because it is an airborne virus. Keep a distance of 6 feet from others to prevent the spread of the flu/cold.
- Stay at home from work, school and errands when you are sick. You will lessen the likelihood of others catching your illness.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It will lessen the likelihood of those around you getting sick.
- Wash your hands often to help protect you from germs. Wash for a full 20 seconds with warm to hot water using soap.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Viruses are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.
- Don't share food/drinks, eating utensils, toothbrushes, razors, needles, cigarettes etc. Anything that may have blood, saliva, or other body fluids on it is potentially infectious.
- Practice safe sex. Use condoms.
- Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
- Obtain information from your healthcare provider about appropriate vaccines to help prevent various infectious diseases.
- Various infectious disease symptoms often resemble the flu. Do not assume achy muscles, vomiting, diarrhea, fever or trouble breathing are caused by a cold or the flu. Seek medical attention from your healthcare provider to determine the type of infection and rule out flu "copy cats", such as Ebola, meningitis, hepatitis or other infectious diseases.
A pandemic occurs when the same infectious disease involves a significant number of people on differing continents. You should be aware of what can happen during a pandemic outbreak and what actions you can take to help lessen the impact of a pandemic outbreak on you and your family. Please review CTC Safety Policy #165 for more information. The following checklist will help you gather the information and resources you may need in case of an emergency including a pandemic.
Planning for a Pandemic and Other Emergencies:
- Store a two week supply of water and non-perishable food. During a pandemic, if you cannot get to a store, or if stores are out of supplies, it will be important for you to have extra supplies on hand. This can be useful in other types of emergencies, such as power outages and disasters.
- Periodically check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home.
- Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes and vitamins.
- Get copies and maintain electronic versions of health records from doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and other sources. Store them for personal reference. The US Department of Health & Human Services provides an online tool intended to help people locate and access their electronic health records from a variety of sources.
- Keep first aid supplies,blankets and pillows, flashlights, medication and copies of important documents, such as SS card, bank information and other emergency essentials in a "grab & go" bag. Remember to rotate the food, water and medications to ensure freshness and effectiveness.
- Talk with family members and loved ones about how they will be cared for if they get sick, or what will be needed to care for them in your home.
- Volunteer with local groups to prepare and assist with an emergency response.