Preventing the Spread of Infection

May 31, 2014
The House of Healing



Preventing the Spread of Infection

We can all be involved in preventing the spread of infection in the workplace, at home, around the community and in Clinic.  Standard precautions are the safety measures we all need to be aware of to help stop the spread of germs from one person to another.
‘Germs’ refers to bacteria and viruses which can be spread and enter the body in a number of ways.  Most germs are spread by direct contact which is generally a result of poor hygiene and often by unwashed hands.  Some germs are in the air that we breathe and other germs are found in food or water. 
Common standard precautions used to prevent the spread of germs and infection are hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene and wearing protective clothes. 

Hand Hygiene
Using the correct hand hygiene is one of the simplest and most effective ways to stop the spread of colds, flu and other infections.  Cleaning your hands as often as possible and in the right way applies to everyone, not just the person carrying the infection.  Visitors, family members and caregivers should all be aware of hand hygiene.

Correct Hand Washing Procedures
It sounds silly, but some people simply don’t wash their hands with the correct procedure to eliminate the risk of spreading germs.  This is what needs to be done:
– Thoroughly wet hands with water, then put soap on hands.  Soap dispensers are the best method.
  Rub your hands together for at least 15 seconds, ensuring you clean all parts, fingers, thumbs,nails, backs of hands and wrists
  Rinse hands well to remove soap
  Use paper towel or dryer to thoroughly dry hands
  Keep in mind soap dispensers and tap handles can be objects that spread germs too


When to Wash Your Hands
  When you are aware they are dirty
  Before preparing or eating food
  After using the restroom
  After handling waste or rubbish bins
  After touching or handling pets
  Before and after treating a cut or wound
  After contact with bodily fluids such as blood, urine, stool or vomit

Keep in mind that object such as doorknobs, keyboards, and phones may also carry germs.  While you cannot avoid touching these objects you should be mindful of washing your hands often and also regularly cleaning these objects to further prevent the spread of germs. 


Respiratory Hygiene
Many disease are spread in the air through respiratory droplets created by coughing or sneezing.  Germs can travel three feet or more when you cough or sneeze.  It is important to always cover your mouth or nose when coughing or sneezing to prevent the spread of colds, flu and other infections.  If you do have an infection it is your duty to be aware that you are not spreading this to others.  Remember these points:
  Use a clean tissue to cover your mouth or nose when coughing or sneezing. 
  Dispose of used tissues in the rubbish bin
  Wash your hands once you dispose of the  used tissue.
  If you don’t have a tissue use the inside of you elbow or upper arm to cover your mouth and/or nose.  Avoid using your hands as this is how germs spread. 
  Try not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth
  Be aware of the objects you are handling that may spread germs to others

Avoid Close Contact
If you do have an infection remember to keep your distance from others especially those who are more susceptible to contracting illness.  This includes those with weaker or underdeveloped immune systems such as the elderly, asthmatics, pregnant women or babies.  If you are around others inform them that you are sick so that they are aware to take the proper hygiene precautions.


If you are a caregiver make sure you are up to date with Standard Hygiene Precautions and Infection Control Procedures.  Make sure protective clothing such as masks and gloves are available to you and make it your duty to remind others of hand washing procedures. 

Personal hygiene helps keep your immune system from being overwhelmed by germs.  Your skin acts as an important barrier between germs and your body.  While our skin has a natural microflora to help protect us from nasty germs they can still enter our bodies through susceptible areas such as our nose, mouth, eyes or broken skin such as cuts.  Follow good personal hygiene and common sense to help limit the possibility of these germs finding their way into your body. 

We wish you a healthy, happy, germ free winter! 


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