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Salt Lake County Health Department
General Information  
Salt Lake County, UT
(385) 468-4100  

Disease Prevention

Start Here

You can help prevent the spread of illness and disease by consistently practicing a few key behaviors:

  • Isolating: Staying home and away from others when you’re ill
  • Disinfecting: Sanitizing potentially contaminated surfaces
  • Immunizing: Ensuring you and your family are appropriately vaccinated 
  • Hand Washing: Practicing good hygiene and washing hands frequently

Isolation

When you're not feeling well, stay home from work or school, and maintain boundaries from those in your household. Alternately, keep your distance from others when they're sick, and encourage them to stay home when they're not well.

If possible and you feel well enough, consider modern technological methods for staying connected while you're ill:

  • Telecommuting
  • Conference calls
  • Video conferencing
  • Web meetings
  • VPN/remote computer login

Disinfection

If someone in your family or household is sick, the surfaces and objects they use, touch, or cough or sneeze on can become contaminated with the microorganisms that caused their illness.

Some of these microorganisms can live outside of the body for hours or even days! Because of this, it’s important to clean the surfaces and objects in your home frequently, especially if there’s been illness there recently. 

One of the illness-causing bugs that is most difficult to kill is norovirus; following the disinfection and sanitization protocols for norovirus will help ensure it and other microorganisms are less likely to infect anyone else.

Immunization

Vaccination is one of the greatest public health achievements in modern history; it has resulted in the eradication of smallpox, the elimination of polio in the Americas, and improved control of measles, rubella, tetanus, diphtheria, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), hepatitis, and other infectious diseases in the United States and other parts of the world.

Protect yourself and your family by staying current on all recommended vaccines through our Immunization Program.

Hand Washing

Good basic personal hygiene and handwashing are critical to helping prevent the spread of illness and disease.

Download our hand washing reminder sign.

How to Wash Your Hands

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water, turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

When to Wash Your Hands

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

Hand Sanitizers

Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs on them. If soap and water are not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is a backup option, but know that hand sanitizers are not a substitute for hand washing. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs and they must be used correctly.

Correct use of hand sanitizers:

  • Apply the product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.

Hand sanitizers are not as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.

Visit the CDC for more information about good personal hygiene and hand washing.