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Preventing Infections

Preventing the spread of infections

Germs that cause infections can be found on surfaces, in food, water and even in our own bodily substances. However, there are ways to reduce these germs from getting into our bodies and making us, and those around us, sick.

To visualize how an infection spreads from person to person, think of a circular chain. Each link in the chain represents a different factor that can influence the spread of the illness. In order for this illness to spread from one person to another, all of the links need to connect. We call this the ‘chain of transmission.’

There are six links in the chain of transmission. If we break the chain or remove a link at any one point, the infection cannot spread.

This is our aim in infection prevention and control: to break the chain and stop the spread of infections.

To help visualize the chain of infection, please refer to these resources:

Here are some of the ways you can break the chain of infection.

Proper handwashing and hand hygiene

Hand hygiene is one of the most important ways to stop the spread of germs. About 80% of communicable diseases are transferred by touch alone. Therefore, practising proper and timely hand hygiene, either by washing hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand rub, is essential to helping break the chain of infection.

You can also reduce the spread of illnesses by using proper respiratory etiquette. This means that instead of covering your mouth with your hands when coughing or sneezing, use your sleeve or a tissue. This reduces the number of germs on your hands, though it is still important to wash your hands after coughing and sneezing.

Other things you can do to prevent illness are:

Related Resources


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