Infectious Disease Prevention: Daily Habits a Strong Defense

Infectious Disease Prevention: Daily Habits a Strong Defense

Information Resources

By Evelyn Cunico, MA, MS/LIS
Posted May 30, 2018


In the United States, where vaccination rates are high, and many contagious diseases have been declared eliminated, you may believe that you or your children do not need to be vaccinated.

However, there is no reliable way to know whether you or your children may come into contact with someone who has not been vaccinated, particularly now that many people travel globally.

Vaccines work by protecting the body before disease strikes. So, the best time to immunize yourself and your children is when you are healthy. Consider talking with your doctor about how to schedule vaccinations as part of your healthy lifestyle habits.

Daily Habits

Your daily habits provide some of the strongest defenses against infectious diseases, according to the National Academy of Sciences. Following are some of the actions you can take to protect yourself.

  • Keep immunizations up to date. See the Immunization Schedules on the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Wash your hands often. Wash with regular soap and water for at least 20 seconds, then rinse with running water, then dry thoroughly. This daily habit is the most important way to prevent spreading disease.
  • Prepare and handle food carefully. See, Check Your Steps, on the Food Safety dot Gov website. Follow the four steps, Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill, to keep your family safe from food poisoning.
  • Use antibiotics only for infections that are caused by bacteria. Viral infections cannot be treated with antibiotics.
  • Outdoors, avoid insect bites by using insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and a hat.
  • Every day, eat well, get six to eight hours of sleep, exercise for 30 minutes, and avoid tobacco and illegal drug use.

For more information, see the Selected Information Resources that follow this blog post.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog should not replace the medical advice of your doctor. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease, illness, or other health condition without first consulting with your medical doctor or other healthcare provider.

Selected Information Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About.
Summary Note: Describes CDC roles, such as finding out what makes people sick and spotlighting the most effective ways to prevent chronic and infectious diseases.
(Accessed 28 May 2018)

Centers for Control and Prevention. Children, Ages 4 to 11, Diseases and Conditions.
Summary Note: Learn about diseases and conditions that could affect your child.
(Accessed 30 May 2018)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Immunization Schedules.
Summary Note: Website serves two audiences, For Health Care Professionals and For Parents and Adults. The 2018 Recommended Immunization Schedules are categorized by, For Children Birth to 6 Years, For Persons 7 Years to 18 years, and For Adults 19 Years and Older.
(Accessed 29 May 2018)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ten Reasons to Get Vaccinated.
Summary Note: CDC has selected ten reasons, among many, to get vaccinated. Website includes a Vaccination Quiz, to find which vaccinations are best for you.
(Accessed 30 May 2018)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccine-Preventable Adult Diseases.
Summary Note: Learn about Serious Diseases that Can Be Prevented by Vaccines.
(Accessed 30 May 2018)

National Academy of Sciences and National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). What You Need to Know About Infectious Disease. Prevention and Treatment.
Summary Note: Discusses Vaccines and Medicines, such as Antibiotics and Antivirals. Under the section titled, Microbe Awareness, provides a list of Daily Habits that you can practice as strong defenses against infectious diseases.
(Accessed 29 May 2018)

National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Immunization. Also called, Vaccination.
Summary Note: MedlinePlus topic page defines immunity and why vaccines are important for children and adults. Includes links to more than 40 Federal websites under topics, such as, Ten Reasons to Get Vaccinated, Videos and Tutorials, Find an Expert, and Patient Handouts.
(Accessed 29 May 2018)

National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Infection Control
Summary Note: Links to resources for healthcare workers and for patients and visitors in hospital and dental settings. Resource link topics are general, such as, Patient Safety, and specific, such as, Top 9 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Pneumonia If You or a Loved One is Hospitalized. Some links are in Spanish.
(Accessed 29 May 2018)

National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Infectious Diseases. Also called, Communicable Diseases.
Summary Note: Lists ways that you can get an infectious disease. Describes Four Main Types of Germs. Suggests Steps You Can Take to Prevent Infectious Diseases. Under category titled, Children, includes PDF linked resource titled, Talking with Children: Tips for Caregivers, Parents, and Teachers during Infectious Disease Outbreaks.
(Accessed 29 May 2018)

Nemours Foundation. KidsHealth. Frequently Asked Questions about Immunizations.
Summary Note: Easy-to-Read list of more than 15 questions and answers, such as, What do vaccines do? Will the vaccine give someone the disease it is supposed to prevent? Why should I have my child immunized if all the other kids in school are immunized? Answers have been reviewed by a medical doctor.
(Accessed 29 May 2018)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Food Safety dot Gov. Check Your Steps.
Summary Note: Describes Four Steps to Food Safety: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.
(Accessed 30 May 2018)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Healthy People 2020 Immunization and Infectious Diseases.
Summary Note: National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and other Federal departments fund the HealthyPeople 2020 initiative, which gathers statistics and projects trends. The U.S. Health System disease management trend is shifting from a focus on disease treatment to disease prevention.
(Accessed 29 May 2018)




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