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NC Department of Health and Human Services
NC Division of Public Health
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Diseases & Topics

Keep Illness from Spreading

Cover Your Cough!

Tiny droplets that exit the nose or mouth when a person coughs, sneezes or talks spread some diseases. Without meaning to, we can infect others when these droplets come into contact with another person's nose, mouth or eyes. Keep illness from spreading! If you have a fever with cough or rash, let your health provider know — they'll get you a mask.

Some diseases that are spread by droplets in the air include:

Symptoms of these diseases often include fever with a cough or rash. Good health manners can help prevent the spread of these diseases. If you are sneezing, coughing or have a fever, ask for a mask when you visit your doctor, hospital or other healthcare provider. Do not worry when you see healthcare staff and other people wearing masks. They are preventing the spread of germs.

Wash Your Hands!

Good hand hygiene can stop the spread of a number of illnesses and infections, including nasty stomach illnesses caused by E.coli, norovirus, and shigella. Some bacteria, like norovirus, can't be killed by alcohol hand sanitizers, so washing your hands well with soap and water is important.

Good Health Manners

  • Cover your mouth and nose with tissues every time you sneeze or cough.
  • Put used tissues into the trash.
  • Wash your hands well and often with soap and water or use an alcohol hand sanitizer.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Do not share eating utensils, drinking glasses, towels or other personal items.

How to Stay Healthy

  • Clean your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • When possible, avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Get vaccinated! External link Influenza (flu) and pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccines can prevent some serious respiratory illnesses.

For Additional Information