Diseases can spread quickly if proper preventative steps are ignored. In the times of when plagues were common and dangerous, measures like quarantines and isolation were used on a daily basis. Quarantines were originally used to protect cities from incoming plague epidemics. City officials (particularly in Venice) would force ships to remain anchored at sea for 40 days before they were considered safe for landing. Those who have already caught the disease were removed from the public in order to avoid spreading it to others. These tactics, while effective, are no longer the most ideal practices used currently.
Surveillance and prevention are the two most common used preventative techniques out into practice. Surveillance involves detecting disease changes that might provide evidence for a new host and also indicate a change in treatment. Prevention informs the public about the best defenses against spreading infection, including constant hand washing. These measures are most effective against notifiable diseases, in which constant information regarding cases are needed to inform individuals about the best way to control and prevent an infection.
In most cases, washing hands on a frequent basis is the most effective way to prevent the spread of germs. The best hand washing technique involves washing hands with soap for up to 20 seconds, making to sure to reach all areas including underneath the nails. Rinse hands for 10 seconds and avoid touching faucets and door knobs which are areas full of germs. Another tip to remember is to use moisturizer after washing hands to prevent germs from entering through cracks created in the skin after washing. When it comes to preventing the spread of diseases, proper hygiene and washing hands are the best techniques to staying healthy.