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Disease Prevention & Control
Preventing Chronic Disease
Reduce your risk of developing a chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer by taking the following steps:
- Eat Healthy
- Stay Active
- Quit tobacco use and eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke
- Avoid excessive alcohol use
Preventing Infections From Viruses and Bacteria
Many infectious diseases can be prevented through simple and inexpensive methods. Use these tips to prevent the spread of infectious disease.
- Wash your hands often
Always wash your hands before, during and after preparing food, before eating, after using the bathroom or changing diapers, and after handling animals or animal waste.
- Cover your cough
Stop the spread of germs that make you and others sick by covering your cough. If you don't have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve. After coughing or sneezing, always clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner. Do not share eating utensils, drinking glasses, towels or other personal items. Download a free poster for your home or business.
- Stay home if you are sick
When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick. Stay home from work, school, and social gatherings.
- Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces
Cleaning with soap and water removes dirt and most germs. Using a disinfectant kills additional germs. It is important to thoroughly clean areas where germs are likely to be transmitted, such as the kitchen and bathroom.
- Get immunized
Children, adolescents and adults need immunizations. Make sure the members of your family get the right vaccines at the right time. Keep immunization records for the whole family.
- Use antibiotics properly
Unnecessary antibiotics can be harmful and, if misused, can cause bacteria to become resistant to treatment. Antibiotics don't work against viruses like colds and flu. Use antibiotics exactly as prescribed by your provider.
- Prevent STDs
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are the most frequently reported infectious disease in Dakota County and Minnesota. Get the facts and take action to prevent STDs, including getting tested to know if you are infected.
Preventing Infections From Insects & Animals
- Prevent mosquito bites
Mosquitoes can transmit diseases like West Nile virus and LaCrosse encephalitis. Wear mosquito repellent containing up to 30% DEET (10% for children). Wear long sleeve shirts and pants. Avoid outdoor activity at peak mosquito feeding times (dawn and dusk). Remove any water-holding containers (buckets, tires, etc.) from your property.
- Prevent tick bites
Walk in the center of the trail to avoid picking up ticks from grass and brush. Use a good tick repellent. Wear clothes that will help shield you from ticks. Check frequently for ticks and remove them promptly.
- Practice pet safety
Keep pets healthy by following your veterinarian's recommendations. Clean litter boxes daily and don't let children play where animals urinate or defecate. Cover sandboxes.
Preventing Infections From Food & Water
- Handle and prepare food safely
Refrigerate perishable foods quickly. Don't allow juices from meat, seafood, and poultry or eggs to drip on other foods. Wash hands and kitchen surfaces and utensils while preparing food. Wash raw fruits and vegetables. Don't eat raw eggs. Cook poultry and meat until the juices run clear. Use different dishes for raw foods and cooked foods. Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Don't leave leftovers out longer than two hours. Read more information from the Minnesota Department of Health.
- Report suspected foodborne illness
Follow basic steps to avoid illness from food and water. Contact the Minnesota Department of Health by email or call 877-FOOD-ILL (877-366-3455) if you suspect a foodborne illness.