The bacteria and viruses that cause harmful infections are lurking everywhere, from hospital rooms to mosquitoes to your neighbor's hand. In fact, it's almost impossible to completely avoid them, but you can arm yourself against infection by following the preventative tips outlined in this article.

From protecting yourself against HIV to ensuring that you and your family don't end up with E. Coli, we have plenty of helpful suggestions. In this article, you'll find information on:

  • Preventing AIDS AIDS, or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, attacks a person's immune system and has symptoms that run the gamut, from pneumonia to weight loss. The disease is actually caused by HIV, which is a viral infection that can be contained through medication to stave off full-blown AIDS. See this section for more information about HIV and AIDS, including what your best lines of defense are against it.
  • Preventing Colitis Antibiotic-associated colitis can occur after a person uses antibiotics to cure another infection. The bacterium Clostridium difficile grows rapidly and releases toxins in the intestines, which causes diarrhea and abdominal cramps, among other symptoms. On this page, you'll learn about what antibiotics to avoid, along with other preventative tips for colitis.
  • Preventing E. Coli E. Coli is another bacterial infection that affects the intestines. This one, however, is caused by contaminated water and food. Thankfully, diligent washing of fruits and vegetables, as well as thorough cooking of your meat, can help ensure you don't get this harmful infection. Read this section for more helpful tips.
  • Preventing Mad Cow Disease Most reported cases of mad cow disease have been in the United Kingdom, but it's still important for everyone to know what causes it and how to avoid it. The condition that shows up in humans who are exposed to mad cow -- Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or vCJD -- is fatal, so be sure to look at this page for prevention suggestions.
  • Preventing Flesh-Eating Disease Necrotizing fasciitis, better known as the "flesh-eating" disease, is typically caused by Group A Streptococcus, the same bacteria that cause strep throat. This condition attacks the skin and soft tissue with blisters filled with black fluid. If left untreated, it can cause the body to go into toxic shock. Learn more about this harmful infection on this page.
  • Preventing SARS While the "SARS scare" has died down a bit, especially considering there are currently no reported cases, it is helpful to understand how SARS is transmitted and what you can do to protect yourself against it. Healthcare workers and people over 40 years old should be especially mindful of the prevention tips outlined in this section.
  • Preventing West Nile Virus Mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus are not only pesky -- they can be downright dangerous! Learn more about how this harmful virus is transmitted and what measures you can take to protect yourself and your family against it. You'll even find tips on what to look for in a bug repellant.
  • Preventing Hospital Infections Catching an infection from a hospital seems quite counterproductive, but it's a lot more common than you might think. With all those germs around and your body's immunity system in a weakened state, hospital infections can strike, prolonging your stay and sometimes causing a problem that is more serious than the one for which you were admitted into the hospital. Find out what you can do to prevent hospital infections by reading this page.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.