Public Areas and Exposure to Infections

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Public Areas and Exposure to Infections

Topic Overview

Disease-causing germs spread any time large numbers of people are together or when they share items. Germs spread more easily during the colder months, because people spend a lot of time indoors around one another. Close and frequent contact with others makes it easier for germs to spread.

Practice the following basic hygiene and preventive measures to help prevent illness.

Basic hygiene practices in public areas

When in a public area, such as an airport or restaurant, be aware of the risk of exposure to germs that can make you and your child ill.

  • Avoid people with an obvious illness (such as a person who is coughing or sneezing).
  • Don't be afraid to tell others, especially those you don't know, not to touch your young child or infant.
  • Do not let your child eat, or touch his or her mouth, eyes, or nose, until his or her hands are thoroughly washed with soap and water.
  • Make sure your utensils, table, and general eating area are clean.
  • If your child is in daycare, make sure good hygiene practices are followed, including regular sanitation of facilities and toys, sanitary food preparation, proper bathroom procedures and cleaning, and procedures for when children become ill.

Prevent exposure

Try to avoid public areas in certain situations. For example, your doctor may recommend keeping your newborn or child with health problems away from large crowds during outbreaks of disease.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
Last Revised March 9, 2011

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