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The War on Microbes: A Safety Guide for Infectious Diseases

Published: December 13, 2021

As the winter season sets in, it’s important to go over how to remain safe from the spread of disease at home and at work.

It’s impossible to remain completely untouched by disease; after all, they are everywhere! Some common seasonal diseases include colds, flus, and more recently Covid-19. Other infectious diseases range from bacterial infections, such as strep throat, to fungal infections like athlete’s foot.

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Regardless of the type of infectious disease, maintaining healthy habits like washing your hands regularly, covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough, and regular cleaning and disinfecting can limit the spread of disease.

The best practice for personal hygiene is to wash your hands regularly with soap and water. Following these steps will make washing your hands the most effective tool to limit the spread of germs:

  1. Wet your hands under clean running water
  2. Lather with soap
  3. Scrub for at least 20 seconds, making sure to get between fingers, under nails, and the fronts and backs of your hands
  4. Rinse your hands under clean running water
  5. Dry with a clean towel

Washing your hands should take place before eating, after using the restroom, after sneezing or coughing, and throughout the process of preparing food. If handwashing is not available, hand sanitizer is a good alternative.

Regularly cleaning and disinfecting workspaces is another way to limit the spread of disease, especially areas of common use. Some common areas include

  • Door handles
  • Light switches
  • Counters
  • Drawers
  • Kitchens
  • Bathrooms

Cleaning helps remove excess grime and dirt while disinfecting targets microbes that may exist on theses surfaces. In places such as labs, hospitals, and medical offices, sterilization ensures there is no form of microbial remaining on surfaces.

Masks and gloves can help protect you from getting diseases, but they can also limit disease exposure to others. Remember to stay up to date on your shots and vaccinations to stop the spread of preventable diseases. Most importantly, if you feel sick, stay home!

Our Hard Hat Training Series on Infectious Diseases has more information and useful tips about staying healthy. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is also a useful guide for health and safety standards at home and in the workplace. Good luck and stay safe!