Preventing Infectious Diseases

Infectious diseases are caused by a variety of organisms that can be passed from person to person, through insect or animal bites, or by indirect contact. By learning how these germs are spread, and how to minimize it, you can reduce the number of sick days for you and your co-workers.

Most illnesses and infectious diseases are caused by four main organisms:

  • Bacteria – responsible for illnesses such as strep throat, urinary tract infections, and tuberculosis
  • Viruses – the cause of a variety of illnesses ranging from the common cold to AIDS
  • Fungi – responsible for many skin diseases, such as ringworm and athlete’s foot
  • Parasites – the cause of diseases, including malaria, which is transmitted by a mosquito bite. Other parasites may be transmitted to people from animal waste.

The most common way for infectious diseases to spread is through person-to-person contact. Germs can be easily spread when the person with the bacterium or virus touches, coughs on, or kisses someone. Even if the person who passes the germs has no symptoms, he or she may be a carrier.

Pets can carry a whole host of germs. Being bitten or scratched by an infected animal can make a person sick. In extreme circumstances, the contact may be fatal. Handling animal waste can pose hazards, as well.

Disease-causing germs can also be spread through indirect contact. Organisms can live on tabletops, desktops, doorknobs, or faucet handles. If you touch an object that someone ill has handled, you can pick up the germs he or she left behind. If you touch your eyes, mouth, or nose before washing your hands, you may become infected.

Each illness has its own symptoms, however, some of the most common symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, fatigue, and muscle aches. Mild symptoms may respond to home remedies and over the counter medication, but some life-threatening infections may require hospitalization.

It’s best to seek medical attention if you’ve been bitten by an animal, are having trouble breathing, have been coughing for more than a week, have severe headache with fever or seizures with fever, experience a rash or swelling, or have unexplained fever. These may indicate a more serious illness.

As you go about your day, you accumulate germs on your hands. Frequent hand washing is the best way to avoid getting sick and spreading illnesses. Soap and water is the most effective way to clean your hands, but if they’re not available, a waterless hand sanitizer with an alcohol content of at least 60% is a good alternative. Antimicrobial wipes or towelettes are also effective if you don’t have access to soap and water.

As we get closer to cold and flu season, it’s good to remember how germs and bacteria spread, and how to avoid becoming their victim. If you have questions about how any of our products can help you minimize the spread of infectious diseases, please give our Technical Support Reps a call at 800-922-8553, or email They’re here to help!

Northern Safety Co., Inc.
PO Box 4250. Utica, NY 13504-4250
Phone: 1-800-571-4646
Fax: 1-800-635-1591

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