As a symptom of illness, sore throat rivals fatigue for being both commonplace and a potential sign of catastrophe. Usually, having a sore throat is nothing to worry about -- most are caused by cold and flu germs. In rare cases, however, a sore throat can signal something much more serious. One of the first symptoms of infection caused by the dreaded ebola virus, for example, is a sore throat.
And strep bacteria, a common cause of sore throat, especially in children, can spread like wildfire if...
Often, especially during cold and flu (influenza) season, can reduce your risk of catching or spreading a cold or the flu.
Before, during, and after preparing food reduces your risk of catching or spreading bacteria that cause food poisoning. Be especially careful to wash before and after preparing poultry, raw eggs, meat, or seafood.
After going to the bathroom or changing diapers reduces your risk of catching or spreading infectious diseases such as salmonella or hepatitis A.
Before and after you care for someone who is sick. It's also important to wash your hands before and after you treat a cut or wound.
Handling or preparing foods, especially after touching raw meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, or eggs.
Touching an animal, animal waste, pet food, or pet treats.
Changing diapers, handling garbage, using the phone, or shaking hands.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the following steps for hand-washing:
Wet your hands with running water and apply soap.
Rub your hands together to make a lather. Scrub well for at least 20 seconds.
Pay special attention to your wrists, the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your fingernails.
Rinse your hands well under running water.
Use a clean towel to dry your hands, or air-dry your hands.
You may want to leave the water running while you dry your hands on a paper towel. Then use the paper towel as a barrier between the faucet and your clean hands when you turn off the water.
If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer or alcohol-based hand wipe that contains at least 60% ethyl alcohol or isopropanol. Carry one or both with you when you travel, and keep them in your car or purse. These products can help reduce the number of germs on your hands, but they do not get rid of all types of germs.
If you use sanitizer, rub your hands and fingers until they are dry. You don't need to use water. The alcohol quickly kills many types of germs on your hands.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerW. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
Current as ofNovember 14, 2014
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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