Infections are common but preventable. Learn how to protect yourself and others.
Infectious diseases are illnesses caused by organisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. All humans carry different organisms on their skin and inside their body. Normally, these organisms are harmless or even helpful to our health. However, sometimes they can cause disease.
Infectious diseases can be spread a number of ways:
- from person to person
- through bites from insects or animals
- by eating/drinking contaminated food or water
- by being exposed to organisms in the environment
There are many things you can do to help protect yourself and others:
- Wash your hands with soap and water throughout the day
- Get recommended vaccinations to prevent infectious diseases such as measles and chickenpox
- Practice safer sex to protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Stay home when ill. Don't go to work if you are vomiting, have diarrhea or a fever. Don't send your child to school if they have these symptoms either.
- Prepare food safely. Keep counters and other kitchen surfaces clean when preparing meals. Cook foods to the proper temperature using a food thermometer to check for doneness. Promptly refrigerate leftovers- don't let cooked foods remain at room temperature for extended periods of time.
- Don't share personal items. Use your own toothbrush, comb and razor. Avoid sharing drinking glasses or eating utensils.
- Travel wisely. If you're traveling out of the country, talk to your doctor about any special vaccinations or medications you may need.
Please note: The health information provided here is general and appropriate for most people, most of the time. Wherever possible, resources are also provided to address the health needs of specific populations, including people living with a chronic health condition, indigenous people and LGBTQ individuals. Check with your health care provider to determine the health recommendations and resources that are right for you.