Back-to-school infection prevention

On avoiding infections and contracting illnesses, Dr. Anthony Ognjan, an infectious diseases specialist with McLaren Macomb, urges vaccinations and hygienic best practices.

"This time of year, with back to school and the older kids heading up to college, we tend to see an increase in infectious illnesses," he said. "This is directly related to our kids living and studying in close proximity-prime conditions for the spread of germs and other disease-causing pathogens."

Dr. Ognjan recommends vaccinations as doing more than anything to prevent infections.

So can good hygienic practices, especially in close-quarter conditions such as college dorms and daycare centers.

Major points of entry for infection of the body include eyes, nose and mouth-both through inhalation and contaminated food.

"Wash everything and avoid sharing," Dr. Ognjan said. "Practice good personal hygiene-washing hands frequently, staying home if you have a respiratory infection and not sharing food if you have an infection of any kind."

Anything that has possibly been exposed to respiratory germs, avoid until it has been thoroughly cleaned. Don't share drinks or food, wash your hands and face diligently and frequently, especially right after coming into contact with something or someone that might have been exposed.