Preventing Infections

Handwashing is the best way to stop the spread of germs.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water. Rub your palms and fingernails between your fingers and the backs of your hands for at least 30 seconds.
  • You may use alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean your hands. Rub it all over your hands until they are dry.
  • Clean your hands before eating or touching food, after you use the restroom, after you cough or sneeze and after touching someone else.
  • Everyone caring for you should clean their hands. If you do not see your doctor, nurse or other healthcare provider clean their hands when entering your room to provide care, remember - It's OK to ask!
  • Healthcare workers should wear clean gloves when they provide care to you. It's OK to ask!

Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough

  • Use tissues.
  • Throw away used tissues after coughing or sneezing and clean your hands.

Sometimes preventing infections requires the use of contact precautions. Ask caregivers to explain what these are and how they work.

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