Dr. Flemings
There are many simple things you can do to lower your risk for developing a lower respiratory tract infection. Dr. Patel, can you give us some prevention tips?

Dr. Patel
Sure, Dr. Flemings. The best ways to prevent the spread of infection are cleanliness, a strong immune system, and vaccinations.

Simple things you can do to keep yourself and your environment clean from harmful viruses and bacteria include:

  • Always washing your hands with soap and water, especially after wiping or blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing, changing a diaper, using the restroom, and before preparing and eating food
  • Using instant hand sanitizers when soap and water are not readily available
  • Disinfecting or wiping down commonly touched surfaces, such as sink handles, doorknobs, railings, refrigerator and microwave doors, toys, remote controls, and electronic devices
  • Using paper towels instead of sharing cloth towels, and
  • Reducing contact with people who may have a respiratory infection

Ways you can boost your immune system to help it fight off infection when you are exposed include:

  • Quitting smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke
  • NOT using antibiotics if they aren't needed, as overuse can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria
  • Drinking plenty of fluids
  • Getting sufficient quality and quantity of sleep
  • Reducing stress
  • Eating a balanced and healthy diet
  • Exercising regularly, and
  • For mothers, breastfeeding, as breast milk has proven to protect children against infection, even years later

Finally, vaccinations are available for several infection-causing viruses and bacteria. These vaccinations include:

  • Pneumococcal vaccinations, which help protect against infection caused by Streptococcus pneumonia bacteria, the most common cause of community-acquired bacterial pneumonia. Ask your provider if you are eligible to receive this vaccine.
  • Seasonal influenza, or flu, vaccination, which can and should be received every year by everyone six months of age and older. (and)
  • DTaP and Tdap vaccines, which protect against diphtheria and pertussis. Babies and children younger than seven years old receive DTaP, while older children and adults receive Tdap.