Information on specific illnesses or diseases and ways you can protect you and your family from getting sick.
Preventing tick bites
Avoid Direct Contact with Ticks
- Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
- Walk in the center of trails.
Repel Ticks with DEET or Permethrin
- Use repellents that contain 20 to 30% DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) on exposed skin and clothing for protection that lasts up to several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth.
- Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents with products containing 0.5% permethrin. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and may be protective longer.
- Other repellents registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Find and Remove Ticks from Your Body
- Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you.
- Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body upon return from tick-infested areas. Parents should check their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair.
- Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and day packs.
- Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors.
- If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed.
- If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended. Cold and medium temperature water will not kill ticks effectively. If the clothes cannot be washed in hot water, tumble dry on low heat for 90 minutes or high heat for 60 minutes. The clothes should be warm and completely dry.
Here are five easy steps you can take to help protect yourself and your loved ones from getting sick:
1. Wash your hands!
Wash your hands after you go to the bathroom, wash your hands before you cook, wash your hands before you eat, wash your hands before you hold a baby, wash your hands after changing a diaper, wash your hands after handling money, wash your hands after touching animals, wash your hands, wash your hands, and wash your hands.
2. Cook food thoroughly, especially poultry.
Food can carry lots of harmful bacteria that can make you very sick, but being sure to cook it thoroughly will kill the bacteria and keep you healthy.
3. Wash fruits and vegetables.
Just like meat, fruits and vegetables can carry harmful bacteria as well. Be sure to was them thoroughly, especially those that you plan to eat raw or uncooked.
Use anti-bacterial sprays or wipes, such as Lysol or Clorox, and clean common surfaces around your home such as countertops, door knobs, toilets, and faucets. Bacteria and viruses can live on surfaces anywhere from a couple of minutes to days on end. A little clean up can go a long way in preventing illness.
5. Stay home if you are sick!
If you’re feeling ill, stay home from work and other activities because you may cause others to get sick as well. A common cold that is just an inconvenience for you could be a life-threatening illness for an infant, an elderly person, or anyone with an underlying health condition. Do yourself, and everyone else, a favor and stay home until you feel better!
Vaccinations exist for all kinds of different illnesses and will not only help protect yourself from getting ill, but it will help protect those around you as well.
Vaccines are quick, easy, and very safe. Many vaccines are given in a single dose, while others may require additional doses or a booster later on in life.
Some vaccines can provide lifelong protection against a disease, such as the hepatitis B vaccine, however others may only provide temporary protection such as the influenza vaccine, aka the flu shot.
KCHD offers dozens of vaccines for children and adults at a low cost. For more information about the vaccines we provide, visit our Clinical Services webpage, or call (304) 348-8080.
What are infectious diseases?
An infectious disease is any illness that can be spread from one person to another. Many people may think that such diseases no longer exist in this country but that is not true. Infectious diseases include everything from the very uncommon, such as ebola virus, to the every day common cold.
Other examples of infectious diseases that we investigate include:
- Influenza, aka “the flu”
- Hepatitis A, B, and C
- Foodborne diseases
- E. coli
- Pertussis, aka “whooping cough”
- Streptococcus pneumoniae
- Meningococcal disease
- Lyme Disease
- and many more