International Infection Preventinon Week

International Infection Prevention Week Oct. 13-19

The month of October is the host of many health-related observances, and October 13-19 is dedicated to International Infection Prevention Week (IIPW). IIPW was established in 1986 under the Reagan Administration and has expanded to become a global cause over the years. The goal of IIPW is to focus on preventing infection, limit spending on healthcare, and save lives. This year, IIPW is about educating the public about vaccines and how they impact everyone. The theme for the week of October 13th is ‘Vaccines are everybody’s business.’ The controversy of whether to get vaccinated or not is still ongoing, and that is why infections continue to spread each year.

The Rising Threat of Measles

Measles cases are skyrocketing, therefore IIPW intends to zero in on raising awareness about this particular infection. So far this year, the country has seen more reported cases of the measles than any other year since before they were declared ‘eliminated’ in 2000. The measles is a highly contagious virus. It is so infectious that one person with measles can infect 90% of people around them who aren’t immune. 25% of those that come down with measles will have to make a hospital visit. Globally, reported cases of the measles have increased dramatically. From January through March alone, cases have jumped up to 300% compared to the same time frame in 2018. The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed more than 112,000 measles cases globally in the first quarter of 2019 alone. When measles outbreaks occur in popular tourist destinations, it is easier for the virus to find its way to American soil. The risk of infection is significantly higher at places like airports.

Symptoms of Measles

The measles virus is the most contagious vaccine-preventable illness in the world, and it can live airborne or on surfaces for 2 hours. Symptoms can develop up to two weeks after exposure to the virus. These symptoms include high fever, runny nose, red, and watery eyes. Days after symptoms occur, a noticeable rash appears on the skin. An infected person can infect others days before signs even develop, which is why it is so insidious. Even worse, for some people, measles can be worse than a fever and rash. The virus can cause other health complications, and there is no treatment once someone becomes infected. The measles can be especially dangerous for children because it often also causes an ear infection. Ear infections are excruciating and can result in deafness Children with measles also have a higher mortality rate than adults.

Fight Germs to Ward Off Infection

Infections are often contagious, and they can spread rapidly in ways that some people may not consider. Even the smallest amount of contact with a virus or bacterium can trigger an infection. Germs are everywhere, literally. It is nearly impossible to avoid them, so it is essential to take every measure possible to keep them from causing an infection. One effective way to keep germs from causing infection is cleanliness. Always use antibacterial soaps when washing hands or cleaning surfaces around the house. Keep items such as toothbrushes in a sealed container when not being used. After use, always wring sponges out thoroughly. A wet sponge is a hotbed for bacteria to grow and thrive. Using a germ-infested sponge does much more harm than good when wiping surfaces. It is best to carry hand sanitizer at all times as hand sanitizer.

Keep Vaccinations Up to Date

The best way to prevent the spread of infections is by getting vaccinated. Vaccines are weakened or dead strains of a particular virus that are injected. They provide an opportunity for the person’s immune system to develop antibodies which are necessary to combat a future infection. While some vaccines last for many years, doctors recommend people get vaccines flu vaccines once, and sometimes twice, a year. The best way to recognize Infection Prevention Week would to get vaccinated for the measles. Vaccines are by far the best way to keep this particular disease from spreading. The return of the virus reflects the decline in vaccinations, as many parents won't vaccinate their children fearing unsubstantiated claims that the vaccine can cause other, more severe health complications. Vaccines are the only way to prevent a measles outbreak. Now more than ever, vaccines are everybody’s business.

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