Avoiding germs is essential when living with an asbestos related disease. Germs typically enter your body through mucous membranes such as your eyes, nose and mouth. For example, if you go grocery shopping and touch the shopping cart that a sick person just used and then you rub your eyes, there is a good chance you just spread germs to yourself. Therefore, it is important to keep things clean and disinfected, especially your hands. Avoiding germs will minimize the risk of infection for you and family members!
How Germs Are Spread
- Contact Transmission
The most common way germs are spread is through direct contact which is when there is actual body contact and transfer of germs from one person to another. A handshake or a hug is a good example. Indirect contact transmission occurs when a person touches something with germs on it such as the shopping cart example above.
- Droplet Transmission
Droplet transmission occurs when germs are spread in a tiny drop of liquid. Invisible droplets carrying germs can be spread as far as three feet when you sneeze or cough. Germs attach to a droplet and land in another person’s eyes, mouth or nose. This is how the flu and whooping cough are spread.
- Airborne Transmission
Some germs can spread over long distances or exist for a long period of time in the air. Dust particles or other tiny particles are the transportation vehicles for airborne transmission. People then breathe in the germs that are floating in the air. This is how chickenpox, measles, and TB are spread.
Practice Good Hand Washing Techniques
Basic Washing of Hands: Use this method when you can see dirt
- Soap and water is the best to use.
- Rub your hands together excessively for at least 15 seconds.
- Get under fingernails.
- Use a clean paper towel to dry your hands.
- Use paper towel to turn off faucet.
Alcohol Based Hand Gel
- Often called antiseptic hand sanitizer.
- It can work better than soap and water to kill germs.
- Use a dime-size amount.
- Rub hands together for 15 seconds or until hands are dry.
- Use this method if you do not see dirt.
It is a good idea to carry hand gel to use after being in public places where you touch item that many other people have also touched (grocery stores, gas stations, etc.). It is also good to use after coughing, sneezing or shaking hands.
Minimizing Spread of Germs
- People with a chronic respiratory illness should never share their respiratory equipment, airway clearance devices, toothbrushes, eating utensils or drinking cups because this puts them at risk of catching contagious germs.
- Performing airway clearance away from others can help decrease the spread of germs. When coughing, germs can spread up to three feet.
- When people have a contagious respiratory illness they should avoid activities that spread germs, such as hand shaking, hugging, and kissing.
- Everyone should get the vaccinations or shots recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.
- People with a chronic respiratory illness like an asbestos related disease have the same risk of a viral infection (such as influenza) as people without.
- However people with a chronic respiratory illness have a higher risk for complications like pneumonia.