Contagious disease

A contagious disease emergency could affect many people. It could cause mild illness, hospitalization, or death in rare cases. In the event of an infectious disease emergency, local authorities will provide up-to-date information and instructions to the public through media and other alert systems.

In any situation where the spread of a contagious disease is a threat, basic practices should be followed. They are similar to the practices to be followed for the prevention of the spread of the flu during flu season.

If there is a vaccine for the contagious disease that is threatening the area, you should take the time to get the vaccine.

Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs:
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way
  • Clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people
  • If you believe you may be sick, do not go to work or school. Stay at home and call your doctor or the hospital. Do not go to your doctor or hospital without first contacting them as this may further spread the contagious disease. Your doctor or hospital will give you direction when you call them, which you should follow
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them. Those living in the same residence should take extra precautions such as more frequent hand washing, disinfecting of common surfaces such as kitchen counters, bathroom surfaces and door knobs and avoiding sharing items such as hand towels

If the contagious disease continues to spread the order from local authorities may be to stay home even if you are not ill and to avoid contact with the general public. To make this easier, be sure to have a disaster supply kit in your home.

In the most severe events, the order may come to shelter-in-place.

If you are exposed, or were potentially exposed, to the contagious disease you should be aware of possibility of quarantine or isolation. In addition to early detection, rapid diagnosis, and treatment with antibiotics or antivirals, the tactics of isolation and quarantine may be used to help contain the spread of illness by limit people’s exposure to it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describe the difference as follows:
  • Isolation applies to persons who are known to be ill with a contagious disease
  • Quarantine applies to those who have been exposed to a contagious disease but who may or may not become ill
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