Risk Reduction for Respiratory Diseases
Upper respiratory infections flourish in the winter months due to increased indoor close contact. People can significantly reduce their risk of infection, including the potentially deadly meningococcal disease, by following a few common sense precautions.
• Maintain personal space. As little as 36 inches will significantly reduce the potential
inhalation of virus or bacteria expelled (sneezed or coughed) by an infected person.
• Never share beverages. Teenagers are particularly guilty of sharing soft drinks, straws
and other beverage containers. Athletes are also tempted to share water bottles or water
ladles when working out. All sports participants should have their own bottles or cups for
• Don’t share food. Do not allow others to take a bite of your sandwich or piece of fruit, etc.
Do not offer a bite of food off of your fork to someone else and do not accept bites from
• Don’t share cigarettes. Smoking irritates the lungs and throat making them more
vulnerable to infection. Smokers who share the same cigarette may infect each other
with a communicable disease.
• Wash hands frequently. Frequent hand washing will remove germs which may have been
picked up from contaminated surfaces.
The Houston Department of Health and Human Services reminds people that good manners also means better health!