Infection Prevention

How Infectious Diseases Are Spread
  • Nose, mouth, and eye secretions are the most common sources or respiratory infections. These secretions are usually spread by contaminated hands or occasionally by kissing. Toddlers are especially prone to spreading these infections because of their habits of touching or mouthing everything.
  • Droplet spread from coughing or sneezing is a less common means of transmission of respiratory infections. -Droplets can travel up to 6 feet.
  • Fecal contamination of hands or other objects accounts for the spread of most diarrhea, as well as infectious hepatitis. Unlike urine, which is usually sterile, bowel movements are composed of up to 50% bacteria.
  • The discharge from sores such as chickenpox and fever blisters can be contagious. However, most red rashes without discharge are not contagious by skin contact.
  • Contaminated utensils such as bottles and dishes can occasionally be a source of respiratory or intestinal infections.
Prevention Of The Spread Of Infectious Diseases

The following preventive actions can help reduce the spread of disease within your household.

Encourage Hand Washing
Hand washing helps prevent the spread of gastrointestinal infections more than all other approaches combined. Rinsing your hands vigorously with plain water is probably as effective as using soap and water. Hand washing is most important after using toilet or changing diapers. Choose a day-care center where the staff practices good hand washing after changing diapers. Young children must be supervised in their use of toilets and sinks. Recent studies have found that hand washing is also the mainstay in preventing the spread of respiratory disease. (Wash hands after blowing or touching the nose.)

Discourage Habits of Touching the Mouth and Nose
Again, this advice is helpful in preventing the spread of respiratory infections to others, also, touching the eyes after touching the nose is a common cause of eye infection.

Don't smoke Around Your Children
Passive smoke increases the frequency and severity of colds, coughs, croup, ear infections, and asthma.

Discourage your Child From Kissing Pets
Pets (especially puppies) can transmit bloody diarrhea, worms, and other things. Pets are for petting.

Choose a Small Day-care Home Over a Day-care Center
Day care provided in private homes has a lower rate of infectious disease. Children who are cared for in their own homes by baby-sitters have the lowest rate of infection. Since colds have more complications during the first year of life, try to arrange for home-based day care if your child is in this age group.

Clean Contaminated Areas With Disinfectants
The products kill most bacteria, including Staphylococcus organisms. Disinfecting the diaper changing area, cribs, strollers, play equipment, and food service items limit intestinal diseases at home and in day-care centers.

Keep Your Child's Immunizations Up-to-date
Don't attempt to isolate your child. Isolation is mentioned last because its value within a family unit is questionable. By the time a child shows symptoms, he or she has already shared the germs with the family. Also, isolation at home is impossible to enforce.