Infection Prevention for Everyone
In a community, infection control includes maintaining healthy habits that keep disease from spreading between family and community members.
Staying Healthy and Preventing the Spread of Disease
One of the most important ways to prevent an infection is to wash your hands after touching another person, or an item or surface that may have been contamined or soiled.
When to Wash Your Hands
• After using the bathroom or changing diapers.
• Before and after eating.
• After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
• Before and after preparing food (especially raw meat).
• Before and after caring for someone who is sick.
• After touching another person’s hands or touching an animal or pet.
• After handling garbage.
How to Wash Hands with Soap and Water
• Always use warm water and soap. Premoistened cleansing towelettes do not effectively clean hands.
• Wet hands and apply soap.
• Rub hands until a soapy lather appears for at least 15-20 seconds. Be sure scrub between fingers, under fingernails, around joints, and the tops and palms of hands.
• Rinse hands.
• Dry hands with a clean or paper towel. If in a public place use another paper towel to turn off the faucet and throw away in the trash.
• When helping a child, rub their hands first and then wash your own.
How to Wash Hands with Hand Sanitizer
• Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Use alcohol-based gel that has at least 60% alcohol content to be effective.
• Use hand sanitizer when hands are not visibly dirty (if hands are dirty wipe off dirt first).
• Apply enough hand sanitizer for both hands to the palm.
• Rub hands covering between fingers, under fingernails, around joints, and the tops and palms of hands until dry. If your hands dry before 10 seconds you did not use enough.
Cover Your Cough
To help stop spread of germs cover your mouth and nose with a tissue with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then put your used tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue cough or sneeze into your upper arm. Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.
Make sure your vaccines are up to date and ensure that if you have children, their vaccines are up to date. These include vaccines such as Hepatitis A and B, annual flu shots, and childhood immunizations.
Prepare food in a safe manner and cook and store it at proper temperatures. Never eat food that has been left out for an extended period (over four hours) or is spoiled.
Try to eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep and regular exercise. Leading a healthy lifestyle helps boost your immune system so that it can prevent infections.
For more information on staying safe and healthy ask your healthcare provider or visit your local public library.