Several measures help protect people against infection.
Handwashing is an effective way of preventing the spread of infectious microorganisms from one person to another. Handwashing is particularly important for people who handle food or who have frequent physical contact with other people. People visiting hospital patients who are seriously ill should wash their hands and may be asked to put on a gown, mask, and gloves before entering the patient’s room. Many hospitals also provide sanitizing gels or foams that contain alcohol. Using these agents on the hands before and after touching patients can help prevent the spread of infection.
Sometimes antibiotics Overview of Antibiotics Antibiotics are drugs used to treat bacterial infections. They are ineffective against viral infections and most other infections. Antibiotics either kill microorganisms or stop them from reproducing... read more are given to people who do not yet have an infection to prevent them from getting an infection. This preventive measure is called prophylaxis. Many healthy people who undergo certain types of surgery—particularly abdominal surgery and organ transplantation—require prophylactic antibiotics.
Vaccination Overview of Immunization Immunization enables the body to better defend itself against diseases caused by certain bacteria or viruses. Immunity (the ability of the body to defend itself against diseases caused by certain... read more is one of the most effective ways to prevent infections. People who are at increased risk of developing infections (especially infants, children, older people, and people with AIDS) should receive all the vaccinations necessary to reduce this risk.
(See also Overview of Infectious Disease Overview of Infectious Disease Microorganisms are tiny living creatures, such as bacteria and viruses. Microorganisms are present everywhere. Despite their overwhelming abundance, relatively few of the thousands of species... read more .)