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Patient in bed, with doctor talking to her.

What I can do to prevent healthcare-associated illnesses in me and my family?

  • Clean your hands
  • Make sure healthcare providers clean their hands and wear gloves
  • Cover your mouth and nose
  • If you are sick, avoid close contact with others
  • Get shots to prevent the spread of infection

Five Things You Can Do to Prevent Infection

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Coloring Pages for Children

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For People with Cancer

An infection in a person with cancer is an emergency. There are things you can do to reduce your risk of getting an infection if you are being treated for cancer. Be prepared, and remember the following three things during chemotherapy:

  1. Treat a fever as an emergency, and call your doctor right away if you develop a fever.
  2. Find out from your doctor when your white blood cell count will be the lowest because this is when you are most at risk for infection.
  3. If you have to go to the emergency room, it's important that you tell the person checking you in that you have cancer and are receiving chemotherapy. If you have an infection you should not sit in the waiting room for a long time. Infections can get very serious in a short amount of time.

For More Information: Preventing Infections in Cancer Patients

For People who Need an Injection, Central Line or Peripheral Line

Most healthcare providers follow safe injection practices. Though not common, unsafe practices sometimes occur. Healthcare providers can spread diseases like hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or HIV if they reuse injection equipment like needles or syringes on more than one patient or to access vials that are shared between patients.


Top Three Questions to Ask Your Provider:

  1. What steps are you taking to keep me safe?
  2. Can you tell me how you prevent the spread of infections in your facility?
  3. Will there be a new needle, new syringe, and a new vial for this procedure or injection?

In 2014, ODH joined forces with the CDC's One and Only Campaign. By teaming up with the Safe Injection Practices Coalition, we're joining professional groups, healthcare systems, provider groups, private companies and others dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of injection safety. Click here to learn more and download materials.

For People who Take Medication

Ask about medication safety.  Avoid taking too much medicine by following package directions.  Also, to avoid harmful drug interactions, tell your doctor about all the medicines you are taking.

Be Antibiotics Aware.  Help prevent antibiotic resistance by taking all your antibiotics as prescribed, and not sharing your antibiotics with other people.  Remember that antibiotics don't work against viruses like the ones that cause the common cold.