Following these basic rules of good hygiene will help to protect you and others from COVID-19 as well as many other common infections:
- cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze
- wash your hands
- clean your surroundings
GermDefence is a useful website that can help you identify ways to protect yourself and others in your household from COVID-19. It provides scientifically proven advice on reducing the risks from COVID-19 and other viruses in your home.
Cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze
Coughing and sneezing increase the number of particles released by a person, the distance the particles travel and the time they stay in the air. If an infected person coughs or sneezes without covering their nose and mouth, it will significantly increase the risk of infecting others around them. By covering your nose and mouth, you will reduce the spread of particles carrying the virus.
Cover your mouth and nose with disposable tissues when you cough or sneeze. Put used tissues in a bin and immediately wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow’s crook, not your hand.
Wash or sanitize your hands
Hands touch many surfaces and can become contaminated with viruses and other germs. Once contaminated, hands can transfer these to your eyes, nose, or mouth. From there, the germs can enter your body and infect you.
Washing or sanitizing your hands removes viruses and other germs, so you are less likely to become infected if you touch your face. Using soap and water is the most effective way to clean your hands, especially if they are visibly dirty. Hand sanitizer can be used when soap and water are not available. You should do this regularly throughout the day.
In addition, wash your hands:
- after coughing, sneezing, and blowing your nose
- before you eat or handle food
- after coming into contact with surfaces touched by many others, such as handrails, and shared areas such as kitchens and bathrooms
- when returning home
Clean your surroundings
Surfaces and belongings can be contaminated with COVID-19 and other germs when people who are infected touch them or cough, talk or breathe over them. Cleaning surfaces will reduce the risk of you catching or spreading infections.
Clean surfaces in your home often. Pay particular attention to surfaces that are touched frequently, such as handles, light switches, work surfaces, and electronic devices such as remote controls.