Most communicable diseases can be passed from person to person, so they are often described as contagious or infectious. Some spread though the air, while others require direct contact with a contaminated surface, food or beverage, blood or or other bodily fluid. In some cases, a bite from an infected animal or insect also spreads disease. Some diseases can be transmitted in more than one way.
Practicing the following healthy habits will help you avoid germs and keep communicable diseases from spreading:
- Handle and prepare food safely. Wash hands, utensils, and surfaces often when preparing any food, especially raw meat. Always wash fruits and vegetables. Cook and keep foods at proper temperatures. Don’t leave food out; refrigerate promptly. Go to our Food & Consumer Safety page for more information.
- Wash your hands frequently. Use soap and warm water whenever possible; if not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean hands. Check out the CDC’s handwashing page for more information.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces to kill germs. Cleaning with soap and water is usually enough. However, you can use an EPA certified disinfectant (look for the EPA registration number on the label), bleach solution or rubbing alcohol.
- Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands. Check out the CDC’s Cover Your Cough page for more information.
- Avoid sharing personal items that can’t be disinfected like toothbrushes and razors or sharing towels between washes. Needles should never be shared, should only be used once and then thrown away properly.
- Get vaccinated. There are vaccines for children and adults designed to provide protection against many communicable diseases. There are also vaccines recommended or required for travel to certain parts of the world.
- Avoid touching wild animals as they can spread infectious diseases to you and your pets. Coming into contact with the saliva, blood, urine, or feces of an infected animal could put you at risk.Go to our Insect and Animal-Borne Disease page for more information.
- Stay home when you’re sick. Don’t go to work, school or other public places when you are ill to avoid spreading germs.
The Department of Health is required by state law to collect and investigate reports of communicable diseases by physicians, hospitals, laboratories, and other healthcare providers in Allen County. Find out more on our Disease Reporting page.