How to Prevent Bacterial Infections

Every day people are exposed to different types of bacteria, of which some are harmless some not. While some people become infected and others may not, over 160,000 people die due to infectious diseases according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is important to focus on prevention, especially since some people may not show symptoms at all. With many contrasting theories for why people may be more susceptible to bacterial infections than others, one thing scientists do agree on is key ways to be preventative.

How to Prevent Bacterial Infections

1.    Wash Hands

Washing your hands multiple times per day is imperative especially if you are exposed to bodily fluids, animals, injuries, or soil and dirt. Bacteria thrive on currency, humans and animals. Make sure that you are using antibacterial soap and warm water when washing your hands. An alcohol hand gel is also highly recommended when exposed to sick individuals at home or work.

2.    Handle Food Safely

When working with food, particularly raw meats, egg, or seafood, be sure to wash your hands before and after contact. It is highly recommended that you do not reuse a plate after it has been exposed to raw meat. Kitchen surfaces should be disinfected regularly. Storage of food in the refrigerator should be at 40 degrees Fahrenheit and in the freezer at 0 degrees or below. Discard any expired items and do not consume food that has been left out for more than 2 hours.

All fruits and vegetables should be washed thoroughly before use or consumption. Avoid eating uncooked or undercooked poultry, meat, or eggs. Cleanliness of the sink and preparation areas is key as they are feeding grounds for cross contamination.

3.    Restrict Animal Contact

In terms of how to prevent bacterial infections, it is best to monitor contact with animals and avoid exposure to wild animals. While household pets may appear clean, they still harbor bacteria. Children, in particular, are highly susceptible to catching bacterial infections from animals. Disinfect toys and feeding areas if they are located in the home. Children should also avoid mouth contact to household pets.

4.    Avoid Botulism

Be aware of cans of food which appear bloated and food with a foul spelling odor. Botulism is extremely hazardous and fatal upon consumption. Home canned foods highly associated with botulism are green beans, corn, beats, and asparagus, for example. One must follow strict procedures when canning foods at home.

Infant botulism is a strand linked with honey, so it is recommended not to give babies under the age of 12 months honey or products containing honey.

5.    Educate Yourself on Bacteria Infections

For the benefit of your health and wellness, learn what causes bacterial infections to spread. Specific nutrients actually aid in the survival and multiplication of bacteria. Food is an ideal place for the hibernation of bacteria because they cling to sugars and starches. While some bacteria can be good for bodily functions, it is critical that you are educated in how to prevent bacterial infections. Growth of bacteria is also supported by biofilms located on toilets, sinks, and other similar surfaces.

6.    Clean Home and Office

It is fundamental to try and reduce the number of bacteria through cleanliness. This can be easily done by concentrating on high-traffic areas and objects as they are exposed to human contact the most. Common areas to keep disinfected and clean on a regular basis are toilet handles, bathroom sinks, door knobs, and telephones. Use extra care and optimal cleaning with regular, once a week maintenance and antibacterial products.

7.    Avoid Sick Individuals

It may seem obvious but in many cases it is difficult to know how sick another person is, whether just common cold or something more fatal. The best way for how to prevent bacterial infections is to simply avoid others who are even slightly sick. If you encounter someone who has an infectious disease, make sure you do not touch or exchange bodily fluids. People who appear infected with the flu, a common cold, or any other kind of contagious sickness should be avoided.

8.    Contact the Physician

With the potential for bacterial infections to become life threatening, you should understand the threshold upon which to call a doctor. Symptoms which linger after 2-3 days can turn dangerous, and if you are experiencing pain and discomfort to the point that you require medication, seek medical assistance. Call your doctor if you have a fever over 101 degrees Fahrenheit lasting more than three days. Additional symptoms which may require further medical attention are a raptured eardrum with pus, coughing lasting a week or more while producing sputum, or vomiting and not being able to retain fluids.


The use of antibiotics without the supervision of a physician is highly discouraged. Antibiotics must be administered and monitored by a medical specialist. If not taken properly, these drugs can have a negative affect by actually helping bacteria to develop a resistance to the medication. Antibiotics should be the last line of defense when dealing with a bacterial infection.

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