- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze, alternatively into the elbow
- Put used tissues in the bin immediately, where possible a bin with a lid
- Wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
Simply put, hand washing is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of infections. You can spread certain “germs” (a general term for microbes like viruses and bacteria) casually by touching another person. You can also catch germs when you touch contaminated objects or surfaces and then you touch your face (mouth, eyes, and nose).
“Good” hand washing techniques include using an adequate amount of soap, rubbing the hands together to create friction, and rinsing under running water. Wearing gloves is not a substitute for hand washing.
How do I properly wash my hands?
For effective hand washing, follow these steps:
- Remove any rings or other jewellery.
- Use water and wet your hands thoroughly.
- Use soap (1-3 mL) and lather very well.
- Lather with soap for at least 15 seconds – make sure you wash between your fingers, under your fingernails, front and backs of your hands, wrists, and forearms.
- Rinse thoroughly under clean, running water. Use a rubbing motion.
- Dry your hands with a paper towel or clean towel or use an air dryer.
- Turn off the taps/faucets with a paper towel (so you do not re-contaminate your hands).
- Protect your hands from touching dirty surfaces as you leave the bathroom. For example, use the same paper towel to open the door.
Other tips include:
- Cover cuts with bandages and wear gloves for added protection (cuts are very vulnerable to infections).
- Artificial nails and chipped nail polish have been associated with an increase in the number of bacteria on the fingernails. Be sure to clean the nails properly/ long nails are not suitable for support workers.
- Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Assume that contact with any human body fluids is infectious.
For any further information or advise you may wish to refer to: