Are you ready for a good F.I.G.H.T.?
Follow this simple acronym - F.I.G.H.T. - it can help you protect your family and prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
Having someone fall sick in the family, or being sick yourself is exhausting. Many times, when there is someone sick at home, at work, or at school – the chances of the illness spreading are quite high. Prevention is key to fighting infectious diseases.
It is therefore important to observe good hygiene practices to protect yourself and others from the spread of infectious diseases, such as Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease (HFMD), Influenza, Pneumococcal Disease and Tuberculosis. Each of these diseases is easily transmitted via coughing, sneezing or even talking.
Typically, these diseases spread when a person touches an infected surface and then touches his mouth or nose after that, or when he is in close contact with an infected person.
Following good hygiene practices at home and other public areas can help to prevent the spread of disease from one person to another and maintain your family’s overall health and well-being. To help you in following good hygiene, the Health Promotion Board has created easy-to-observe F.I.G.H.T. steps.
The good F.I.G.H.T.
1. Frequent hand washing with soap and water keeps germs away. Regular and thorough washing of hands can help you avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of diseases to others. If hand washing facilities are unavailable, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
How often should you wash your hands?
- Before and after meals
- Before handling food
- After using the toilet
- After blowing your nose
- After touching shared surfaces like tabletops, doorknobs, handrails, etc.
2. Immunisation against infectious diseases prevents complications in young children and expectant mothers. Immunisation is the process wherein a person is given a vaccine to stimulate the body’s immune system to protect against subsequent infection or disease. Immunisation is especially important for the following groups:
- Persons aged 65 years and above
- Babies and young children
- Persons who have chronic medical conditions with compromised immunity e.g. diabetes, HIV infection and heart disease
3. Go to the doctor early when you feel unwell. Many of us either avoid or delay going to the doctor, hoping that we will soon be better. However, the sooner you see the doctor, the earlier you can be alerted to symptoms of highly contagious diseases, especially common diseases like flu, and the earlier you can start treatment.
To prevent the spread of diseases, remember to also wear a mask until you have recovered.
4. Home rest when you’ve got the bug, is better than going to crowded places. When you are sick, avoid going to school, work, hospital visits and crowded places, including shopping malls. This will help prevent the spread of germs to others.
In addition, the rest will also help your body fight the disease and recover sooner.
5. Tissues and masks stop the spread of germs to those around you. Always use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when you feel the urge to sneeze or cough. This helps prevent the release of infectious respiratory droplets into the air, protecting those around you.
Also remember to dispose of the used tissues into a covered dustbin and wash your hands thoroughly after doing so.
Click on the next page to see which F.I.G.H.T. steps can help you fight off some of the common infectious diseases.
F.I.G.H.T. Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease
Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease (HFMD) is a highly contagious viral infection. In recent years it has become common in children below the age of five, with seasonal outbreaks taking place in childcare centres, kindergartens, and schools. While most cases of HFMD are mild, the virus EV71, can give rise to serious complications.
These complications, usually involving the heart and nervous system (e.g. encephalitis), have been known to cause fatality. HFMD spreads from person to person by direct contact with the nasal discharge, saliva, faeces or fluid from the rash of an infected person.
How can you prevent the spread of HFMD?
If your child is sick:
1. Home rest: Keep your child at home till all the blisters have dried up and he or she has fully recovered.
2. Go to the doctor: Keep an eye out for symptoms among your family members and if anyone starts to feel unwell, see a doctor immediately.
3. Other measures:
- Keep your child’s toys, utensils, towels, clothes separate from others.
- Inform your child’s school, kindergarten, childcare centre or enrichment classes as soon as possible so that precautions can be taken to minimise the spread of HFMD to other children.
To protect your child: You can minimise the risk of your child getting HFMD by practicing the following F.I.G.H.T. steps:
1. Frequent hand washing with soap and water.
2. Using tissues and masks when they cough or sneeze.
To know more about symptoms and treatment for HFMD click here.
Influenza, commonly called “flu”, is a highly contagious respiratory disease that can lead to severe complications like pneumonia, bronchitis, sinusitis, ear infection, meningitis (inflammation of the lining that covers the brain) or even death. Flu can be spread directly from person to person or indirectly through contact with infected surfaces. The people most at risk from flu related complications are:
- Very young children (i.e. aged 6 months – less than 5 years)
- Women in any stage of pregnancy
- Persons aged 65 years and above
- Persons who have chronic medical conditions like diabetics, heart disease, HIV infection
How can you prevent the spread of flu?
If you are sick:
1. Frequent hand washing with soap and water to avoid the spread of germs.
2. Home rest to minimise contact with people.
3. Use tissues and masks to prevent spread of germs through sneezing and coughing.
To protect yourself against it:
1. Immunisation: Influenza viruses evolve constantly and quickly and therefore the immunity your body has developed is ineffective against new strains. The most effective way to protect yourself against influenza is to immunise yourself once every year.
2. Frequent hand washing: Frequent hand washing with soap and water will help wash away the germs that you may have come into contact with by touching contaminated surfaces.
To know more about the symptoms of treatment for influenza, click here.
Remember, observing good hygiene practices is essential to protect others and yourself against infectious diseases. Also, your children are watching and learning their hygiene habits from you.
Are you a good role model, who is well prepared to F.I.G.H.T the spread? Take the fun quiz below and check out your level of preparedness!