The prevention of infectious diseases is threefold: to avoid infection, strengthen the immune system and take preventive treatment (prophylaxis) when risk of exposure.

Avoid infection

The disease is caused by penetration into a bacterium or virus. The first precaution is to "close the gates of entry", namely:

* Respiratory tract: put your hand in front of his mouth when you sneeze or cough to avoid contaminating the environment, wear a face mask when you meet people at risk (eg in certain areas of the hospital) or carrier highly contagious virus (such as SARS), for artificial ventilation, use an antibacterial filter;
* The digestive track: wash hands before eating or preparing a meal, or after exposure to body fluids (eg leaving the bathroom), even when it comes to disinfecting liquid in another person (eg occurrence of exposure to blood) for wear gloves (latex, or for people allergic to PVC or nitrile) when such exposure is likely;
* Broken skin: any serious wounds should be shown to a doctor who will take the necessary measures; any simple wound must be cleaned, disinfected or better (see article bobologie), but the first caution of course, is to avoid being a wound, according to the safety of certain activities and wearing appropriate protection (gloves work ...);
* Eye: Avoid rubbing your eyes and wash hands before if it would happen in the event of exposure to body fluids, wear protective goggles;
* Sex use a condom to reduce the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.

If the gloves are recommended for cases of potential exposure to biological or chemical, it is not for common activities: the skin is in a hot and humid atmosphere conducive to the development of germs, and moreover, it is better to clean hands as gloves dirty. Note that after about twenty minutes, the gloves become porous.

It must also prevent the growth of germs on the body and housing, with adequate sanitation:

* Hygiene: bathing, brushing teeth
* Home health: creating a refrigerator cold enough, defrosted and cleaned regularly, washing cutlery, glasses and plates after use, store the waste in dedicated bins and collected regularly by municipal services, disposal of wastewater to a septic tank emptied regularly or sewers, storage and cleaning of the house, ventilation to prevent internal pollution (dust mites, volatile organic compounds) and therefore allergies and respiratory diseases.

The local authorities play an important role with regard to sanitation, with water management to provide safe drinking water, organizing the collection and processing of garbage, the rendering of animal carcasses and Police funeral and burial sites (condition of transportation and storage of bodies before burial or cremation, management of cemeteries and crematoria).


Strengthen the immune system

The first step is to have a healthy lifestyle: healthy eating, regular exercise, adequate sleep, avoiding risky behavior (smoking, excess alcohol), which allows for better overall health therefore more resistant to infection. Furthermore, it should comply with the preventive vaccination mandatory or recommended vaccinating the elderly against influenza.

We must also carefully take medicines prescribed by a physician, reading systematically accompanying references, rich in information (side effects, interactions with other medicines, recommendations ...) and do not hesitate to ask your doctor or pharmacist if in doubt. The effects may not be immediate, and we must continue the treatment until the end even if improvement and disappearance of symptoms, particularly in the case of antibiotics: the disappearance of symptoms means fewer germs, but their disappearance, if treatment is interrupted too early, they can redevelop and become resistant to the antibiotic.

It should not be surprised if the doctor does not prescribe antibiotics: they are not effective against viral diseases.

Preventive treatment

The simple hygiene measures are the best preventive treatment: washing hands to prevent the transmission of food-borne infections, hand to mouth when you sneeze ...

In some activities, it may be necessary to take preventive medicines such as medicines against malaria while traveling in a malaria-affected countries.

Early detection of a disease to start treatment earlier and thus reduce mortality and is recommended to at least one medical visit per year. If in doubt about an infection (eg dirty wounds, accident exposure to blood, unprotected sex), the doctor can develop a preventive treatment to reduce the risk of developing a disease.

In some diseases, we must isolate the patient to prevent the spread of germs: thus in a chicken pox, the child should not go to school for 15 days from the first eruption. It is the eviction school.

The prevention of hospital nosocomial infections is a complex subject. It is based mainly on the hygiene of patients and nurses (hand washing), the isolation of patients carrying antibiotic resistant germs, but also on a targeted and appropriate antibiotic therapy.


* Antoine van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723) is the first time bacterial agents microscopy.
* Louis Pasteur allows the connection between disease and infectious agents. First vaccination against rabies.
* Robert Koch is famous for his discovery of the tuberculosis bacillus which bears his name: the bacillus of Koch.
* Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin ensure the development of anti-polio vaccination.

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