In view of the current situation, we would like to tell you about infectious diseases and preventive measures. In China, at the end of 2019, illnesses from a new type of coronavirus appeared for the first time.
To better protect yourself and others from infection, it is good to know how pathogens are transmitted. As well as how they can enter our bodies.
In droplet infection, pathogens that settle in the throat or respiratory tract are released into the air through tiny droplets of saliva when sneezing, coughing, or talking. There they are subsequently inhaled by another person or. Absorbed directly through the mucous membranes of the upper airways, for example through a kiss.
Viruses are often transmitted this way. Over droplets particularly flu infections in addition, the genuine flu are transferred. Examples of infections that are airborne over a long distance include, in particular, diseases such as chickenpox or measles. You can protect yourself against these by vaccination.
Of the bacterial diseases, scarlet fever and meningococcal infections that cause meningitis, for example, are transmitted by droplet infection.
In contact infection (sometimes called smear infection), pathogens are passed on through a chain of touches. These touches include shaking hands as well as grabbing a door handle or, in public transportation, holding onto a bar/opening the door by button or hand.
Thorough hand washing is an effective and simple protection you can use to prevent contact infection!
Some pathogens, including both bacteria and viruses, can stick to food. Bacteria such as salmonella can also multiply rapidly in foods such as raw eggs, raw sausages or undercooked meat. You can’t always tell that the affected food is contaminated with pathogens: you can neither taste nor smell the germs.
First and foremost, vomiting diarrhea is transmitted by contaminated food. In addition to salmonella, the most important bacteria that cause food infections include E.coli, Campylobacter or Listeria. However, viruses such as the noro or rotavirus or parasites such as the toxoplasmosis pathogen can also reach humans via contaminated food.
Infections via water
On the one hand, pathogens can enter the human body with drinking water. Pathogens can also be transmitted when bathing in contaminated water or drinking untreated water from wells. In swimming pools, there is also a risk of infectious disease from pathogens in the fine spray from water slides and waterfalls that is inhaled. In general, spraying water sources are a possible site of transmission of certain pathogens, so are showers and car washes.
In addition to Salmonella, other diarrheal bacteria such as Campylobacter or EHEC are among the pathogens that can get into the water via feces. The Infection Protection Act and the Drinking Water Ordinance ensure that strict controls are in place to safeguard the quality of the water during water treatment. Legionella or pseudomonads are also occasionally found in household plumbing or swimming pools. They cause flu-like symptoms and even severe pneumonia. The droplets containing the pathogens are spread and inhaled primarily through atomized water. Temperatures above 55° Celsius in hot water systems, on the other hand, inhibit legionella growth.
How to protect yourself from infection?
As with influenza and other respiratory diseases, adherence to coughing and sneezing etiquette, good hand hygiene, and keeping a distance of about 1 to 2 meters from sick people also protect against transmission of the novel coronavirus.
Cough and sneeze etiquette
Simple hygiene rules when coughing and sneezing protect you and others from infection with infectious diseases.
When coughing or sneezing, avoid spraying saliva or nasal secretions into the environment if possible. Putting your hand over your mouth when coughing or sneezing is often considered polite. From a health point of view, however, this is not a sensible measure: pathogens get on the hands and can then be passed on to others via shared objects or when shaking hands.
In order not to spread pathogens and to protect others from infection, sick people should follow the rules of the so-called cough etiquette, which also applies when sneezing:
- When coughing or sneezing, keep at least one meter away from other people and turn away.
- It is best to sneeze or cough into a disposable handkerchief. Use this only once and dispose of it afterwards in a trash can with a lid. If a cloth handkerchief is used, this should be washed at 60°C afterwards.
- And always: Wash your hands thoroughly after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing!
- If you do not have a handkerchief handy, you should hold the crook of your arm in front of your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and also turn away from other people while doing so.
Good hand hygiene
Hands are the most common carriers of pathogens/infectious diseases. washing hands protects!
Whether blowing your nose, going to the toilet, petting an animal, or preparing raw meat, your hands often come into contact with germs and can spread them to anything you touch. When shaking hands or using shared objects, pathogens can easily pass from hand to hand.
If you then touch your face with your hands, the pathogens can enter your body or the body of another person via the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose or eyes and cause an infection.
Hand washing interrupts this transmission path. If no washing facilities are available on the way, you should at least avoid touching your mouth, eyes or nose with your hands or eating food with your hands.
Wash hands regularly:
Always wash after..
- Coming home,
- visiting the toilet,
- Changing diapers or when you have helped your child clean up after going to the bathroom,
- Blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing,
- Contact with waste or
- Contact with animals, animal food or animal waste.
- meals or
- Handling medicines or cosmetics.
Always before and after..
- When preparing food, as well as more often in between, especially if you have processed raw meat,
- contact with sick people or
- the treatment of wounds.
Thorough hand washing can be achieved in 5 steps:
- Hold hands under running water first. Choose the temperature so that it is comfortable for you.
- Then soap your hands thoroughly – palms, backs of hands, fingertips, interdigital spaces and thumbs. Think of fingernails as well. Liquid soaps are more hygienic than bars of soap, especially in public washrooms.
- Gently rub the soap into all areas. Thorough hand washing takes 20 to 30 seconds.
- Then rinse the hands under running water. In public restrooms, use a disposable towel or your elbow to close the faucet.
- Dry your hands carefully afterwards, also in the finger interspaces. In public restrooms, disposable towels are best for this purpose. At home, everyone should use their personal towel.
Check out our "Hand Hygiene" video on YouTube, or you can also find more educational videos in the #ManacareApp .
Keep your distance from sick people
People with contagious infectious diseases should keep as much distance as possible from others to avoid direct transmission of pathogens. Acutely ill people should stay away from particularly vulnerable people such as pregnant women, infants, the elderly or immunocompromised people.
- Many pathogens are transmitted directly from person to person via saliva, for example. Therefore, avoid close physical contact such as kissing and hugging when ill.
- Wash hands thoroughly after contact with infected persons. In particular, avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands, as these are often the entry points for pathogens.
- Refrain from shaking hands in case of illness. Explain to your counterpart that this will prevent infection.
- In case of highly contagious infections such as measles, chicken pox or gastrointestinal infections, you should inform the doctor’s office by phone before visiting the doctor so that appropriate protective measures can be taken.
The following also applies to infectious diseases
- Cure yourself rather at home, so you prevent a further spread of the disease.
- If the living situation permits, patients with contagious gastrointestinal infections should use a separate toilet.
- In addition, depending on the illness, it may make sense to stay and sleep in separate rooms to reduce the risk of germ transmission through droplet infection via the air or through contact infection via shared objects.
- All rooms should be ventilated regularly. Ventilation reduces the number of pathogen-containing droplets in the air and thus lowers the risk of infection in rooms where people with the disease are present. Proper ventilation should also be ensured during the heating period. For this purpose, regular ventilation is recommended: open the windows wide for a few minutes several times a day to ensure good ventilation.
- Personal utensils such as towels, cosmetics, make-up utensils, razor blades or washcloths as well as eating utensils or cutlery should not be shared with others.
- Protective gloves are recommended if you come into contact with pathogen-containing bodily excretions when caring for someone who is ill, for example, when cleaning up vomit or stool residue. Use disposable gloves for this purpose and dispose of them afterwards.
Notice: However, gloves do not provide one hundred percent protection. Therefore, you should always wash your hands after undressing and, if necessary, disinfect them. disinfect.
Even for people with a weakened immune system, it can make sense to wear protective gloves when cleaning, when coming into contact with raw meat in the kitchen, when changing diapers or when gardening.