On this page:
Disease and safety fact sheets:
- If you are a medical professional and you need to report an animal bite or a case of a reportable illness, please use our confidential, secured fax line (816-325-7024) or call 816-325-7186 during normal business hours. Please remember, this is for medical professionals only.
- If you are a medical professional who needs to report a public health emergency, contact the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services 24/7 hotline at 1-800-392-0272. Remember, this is for medical professionals only. If you have a personal medical emergency, call 911.
For communicable disease information, please see the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Communicable Disease Manual.
Cover Your Cough!
Respiratory infections such as influenza and the common cold are most often spread when infected people cough and sneeze and others come into contact with those droplets - either in the air or on objects touched by both groups. The best way to prevent infection is to practice good health habits:
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Cover your cough and sneeze.
- Stay home when you are ill.
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes.
- When covering your cough or sneeze most people use their hands, thinking this will prevent others from becoming ill. Unfortunately, our hands spread the virus many more places after covering our cough or sneeze. Watch this video to learn more about properly covering your cough and sneeze.
Did You Know?
- One out of three Americans don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom.
- One out of four adults don’t wash their hands after changing a diaper.
- Two out of three people don’t wash their hands after sneezing or coughing.
What a difference those numbers can make! For example, children who wash their hands at least four times a day missed 51% fewer school days from an upset stomach and 24% fewer school days from colds and influenza.
How to wash your hands:
- Washing your hands with soap and water is best. If soap or water is not available, use alcohol-based hand gels or wipes.
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds. Twenty seconds is longer than you think - sing Happy Birthday, the ABC song, or Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star to get an idea.
- Don’t forget to wash your wrists, backs of hands, between fingers and fingernails.
- Rinse your hands well.
- Dry your hands with paper towels.
- Turn off the faucet with a paper towel.
- If possible, use a paper towel to open the door. Remember, 33% of Americans don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom!
When should you wash your hands?
- After you cough, sneeze or blow your nose.
- After using the bathroom or changing a diaper.
- Before eating, before preparing food and before setting the table.
- Before you touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
- After playing with or caring for pets. Pets can carry as many as 100 different germs that can make you sick!
- After playing outside.
- Whenever hands look or feel unclean.