International Infection Prevention Week (Oct. 16-22): This week is International Infection Prevention Week, an annual event sponsored by the Association for Professional in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC). This year’s theme, “Break the Chain of Infection,” is raising awareness about the importance of infection prevention in healthcare settings.
Established by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, International Infection Prevention Week has since grown into an international effort, helping teach healthcare professionals best practices to fight the spread of infection.
It is up to medical professionals to prevent the spread of infection within medical communities. However, you too can do your part to prevent infection at home and in the workplace. Here are four tips to reduce the spread of infection:
International Infection Prevention Week Tip #1: Wash Your Hands
This is a simple yet effective way to prevent the spread of germs. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the most effective way to kill germs and fight infection is to wash your hands vigorously with soap and water for 20 seconds or more. Afterwards, dry your hands with a paper towel. This easy precautionary tip promotes good hygiene and could save you a trip to the doctor.
International Infection Prevention Week Tip #2: Cover Your Mouth
Although you may not be able to see the microscopic germs when you sneeze or cough, these small droplets latch onto surfaces with ease. You should always cover your mouth to avoid spreading germs, which can often lead to infection. Remember to cover your mouth with your arm or sleeve rather than your hands, as you can easily transfer germs to other surfaces.
International Infection Prevention Week Tip #3: Immunization
Many people believe vaccinations contain a sample of an infection. In reality, vaccinations imitate an infection; tricking your body into thinking it has in fact been infected. Later, when you are exposed to an actual infection, your body is able to produce white blood cells and antibodies at a quicker rate, which helps to fight the infection more effectively. Visit your local pharmacy or primary care physician to learn what vaccinations are available to you.
International Infection Prevention Week Tip #4: Safe Sex
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are easily preventable. Using condoms and practicing safe sex can help prevent the spread of bacteria and infection. If you are sexually active, especially with multiple partners, it is recommended you get tested often. If you are uncomfortable asking for a test at a doctor’s office, there are over the counter testing kits that can be done in the comfort of your own home.