How Infections Spread, Prevention and Infection Control
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How Infections Spread, Prevention and Infection Control

Meaning of Infections

Infection is a condition that occurs when a foreign organism enters the body and causes harm. The foreign organism, in this case, is a microscopic pathogen. These pathogens include bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. Pathogens can multiply rapidly and adapt to the environment quickly.
Infections may be acute or chronic, depending on its severity. Few are very mild and hardly noticeable. Some of them can be life-threatening and may require immediate treatment.

How Infection Spreads?

Infections can be transmitted in various ways.

1. Direct Contact

The easiest way to catch most infectious diseases is by coming in contact with an infected person or an animal. Infectious diseases can be transmitted through direct contacts, such as:

  • Person to person- Infectious diseases usually spread through the direct transfer of bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens from one person to another. This can happen when an individual with the infection touches or coughs or sneezes on someone isn’t infected.

  • Animal to person- Being bitten or scratched by an infected animal can make someone sick, and, in extreme conditions, it can be fatal.

  • Mother to an unborn child- Pathogens can be passed from a pregnant woman that can cause infectious diseases to her unborn baby. Some microorganisms can pass through the placenta or breastfeeding.

2. Indirect Contact

Infection causing organisms also can be passed by indirect contact. Many microbes can stay on various inanimate objects, such as a table-top, doorknob, window, or faucet handle. When an individual touch such inanimate handled by someone infected with the flu or a cold, they may pick up the germs left behind and may get infected.

3. Food Contamination

Disease causing microbes can also infect a person through contaminated food and water. This mode of transmission allows the pathogens to be spread to many people through a single source. For example, Escherichia coli (E. coli), is a bacterium present in certain foods — such as under-cooked hamburger or unpasteurized fruit juice may cause infection.

How to Prevent or Control Infections?

1. Good Hygiene

The first line of defense is to keep pathogens away by practicing good personal hygiene habits. Prevent infection prior to its beginning and avoid spreading it to others with some easy steps.

  • Wash your hands well- People probably wash their hands after using the bathroom, before preparing or eating food, and after gardening or other dirty tasks. People should also wash up after blowing the nose, coughing, or sneezing, feeding pets, or visiting or caring for a sick person. Wash the hands thoroughly with soap and running water or use sanitizer if soap or water is not available.

  • Cover while coughing- Cover the mouth and nose with a tissue during a sneeze or cough, then dispose of that tissue. If no tissue is available, cough or sneeze into the elbow rather than into the hands.

  • Wash and bandage all cuts- Any serious cut or injury or animal bite should be examined by a doctor. Cover the injury or cuts to avoid further exposure to germs.

  • Don’t share dishes, glasses, or eating utensils.
  • Avoid direct contact with tissues, handkerchiefs, or similar items used by others.

2. Practice Good Food-Safety Techniques to Avoid Getting Sick

Although most cases of food-borne infection are not very severe, some can lead to serious medical conditions and may require treatment. People can prevent infections by foodborne pathogens in their household by preparing and storing foods safely.

The following preventive measures might help kill microbes that are present in the food and help to avoid introducing new microbes into the food at home:

  • Rinse thoroughly all meat, poultry, fish, fruits, and vegetables under running water before cooking.

  • Wash hands properly with soap and water before and after eating.

  • Cook foods thoroughly.
  • For defrosting foods, use the refrigerator or in the microwave only.

3.Get Vaccinated

The immune system is designed to have a “memory” of previous infections. When the body come in contact with a microbe that has previously caused an infection, it enhances the production of white blood cells and antibodies to prevent infection for the second time. However, getting the immunization will protect people against various infections. Being vaccinated against hepatitis B, for example, is a way to protect even when avoiding using the personal items of others is not enough.

For vaccination, consult your health care provider regarding your immunization status.

In General:
  • Children should get all the recommended childhood vaccinations.
  • Elderly people should ensure their vaccinations are up to date.
  • Also, make sure the pet’s vaccinations are up to date, too.

4. Avoid Bug-Borne Pathogens

Both mosquitoes and ticks are known to be carriers of viruses and bacteria.
The following steps might be helpful in preventing infections from bug bites:

  • Use insect repellents.
  • Limit outdoor activity during peak mosquito hours.
  • Do not let contamination of water near home to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

  • Keep your environment clean.

5. Use of Animal Control to Prevent Infection

Limiting or controlling mice or rodents population in and near your home can help avoid pathogens spread by rodents and also help control the population of ticks. Rodents can harbor many pathogens.

The below mentioned measures can help people to avoid getting sick from diseases transmitted by animals:

  • Keep food and garbage covered in rodent-proof containers.
  • Seal holes and cracks in the home.
  • Clear all the junk away from the home.
  • When outdoors, do not disturb rodent burrows.
  • Consult a pest control expert if the rodent problem is severe.


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Data Sources:


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How Infections Spread, Prevention and Infection Control
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How Infections Spread, Prevention and Infection Control
Read how Infections spread from one body to another, prevention and ways to control infections (infection control), This will protect you & help prevent spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and other infections.
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