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Published on October 17, 2017

5 Ways to Protect Yourself From Germs

5 Ways to Protect Yourself From Germs

Bacteria and viruses can be very contagious and make us ill. No one like to be sick, so here are 5 things that will help you in your battle against germs!

  1. Wash Your Hands. Can’t say it enough! Hand Hygiene is the #1 way to prevent the spread of infection.
  2. Respiratory Hygiene/Cough etiquette. You should cover mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze with a tissue or in your elbow. If you did cover with your hand be sure to immediately wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or with an alcohol-based hand rub.
  3. Injection Safety. These are steps to ensure that one needle, one syringe are used only one time. Outbreaks of Hepatitis B and C have been associated with breaks in injection safety. Don’t hesitate to ask your provider if they understand injection safety and if the needle and syringe are only being used once!
  4. Sanitize Your Surroundings. Always be sure to follow manufacturer instructions regarding cleaning products. Every product has a time frame that determines how long the “surface” must be wet in order to properly clean the surface. Some home products such as Clorox wipes require 4 minutes or longer. Don’t forget to protect your hands from these products as well!
  5. ABC’s of Antibiotic. We should all ask the following questions of our healthcare provider when prescribed an antibiotic—Do I really need an antibiotic? Can I get better without this antibiotic? What side effects or drug interactions can I expect? What side effects should I report to you? How do you know what kind of infection I have as I understand antibiotics won’t work for viral infections?

With a few precautions and a little bit of effort, we can help reduce illness and make our lives much more germ free!

About the Author

5 Ways to Protect Yourself From GermsMelissa Morgan, MSN, RN, CIC, CSPDT, is Cone Health's system-wide director for infection prevention.