February 14, 2000
Tips to Avoid Infections
In memorium October 7, 1959 - May 3, 2003
Beverley Margaret Matthews Laypa, M.HSc.N
1. Suggestions for Minimizing Your Risk of Exposure
2. Suggestions for Preventing the Spread of Germs
3. Personal Hygiene and Tips for Preventing Infection
4. Other tips for Preventing Infection in and Around the Home
- 1. Suggestions for Minimizing Your Risk of Exposure
- - avoid people with contagious diseases if you can't avoid them keep a box of face masks at home to be worn by family members or visitors who are sick with a cold or flu
- avoid crowds, like at the mall!
- avoid contact with small children...their bugs are particularly virulent
- 2. Suggestions for Preventing the Spread of Germs
- - wash your hands, especially before eating and after using the bathroom, and insist that those around you do the same!
- use paper towels rather than cloth towels for drying your hands/face because germs can liveon a soggy towel
- use liquid (antibacterial) soap rather than bar soap because germs can live on a bar of soap
- don't share utensils, cups or dishes with someone else
- don't share pillows with someone who has a cold/flu
- when out in public places try not to touch counter tops, railings, doors, etc... because you could pick up someone else's germs
- 3. Personal Hygiene and Tips for Preventing Infection
- - don't cut or trim your cuticles because this can create a pathway for infection
- use a soft toothbrush and a gentle toothpaste to prevent irritating the mouth (mouth sores can become a pathway for infection)
- avoid using dental floss
- to avoid nicking your skin use an electric razor when shaving rather than a blade
- don't squeeze or scratch pimples
- after urinating or defecating wipe from the front to the back to prevent urinary tract or vaginal infections
- avoid using suppositories and enemas as these can cause irritation that can serve as a pathway for infection
- use baby wipes and/or apply ointment to help prevent anal irritation
- 4. Other tips for Preventing Infection in and Around the Home
- - be cautious when using household appliances to prevent cuts (i.e. from knives and cheese graters) and burns (i.e. from the iron and stove) because these injuries to the skin can create a pathway for infection
- be sure to disinfect your kitchen counter tops, before and after food preparation, especially if preparing raw meats, poultry and eggs
- wipe the tops of cans before opening them with a can opener, otherwise any germs on the can lid can enter the can as it is opened
- use plastic bags in your trash receptacles ....don't empty the trash by scooping the garbage out with your hands, but rather, tie up the bags and discard
- keep the bathroom and kitchen clean these are usually high traffic areas!
- wash fresh fruit and vegetables very well
- be aware that fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, freshcut flowers and pepper can all carry bacteria; you may even be advised to avoid these things when your counts are very low
Please know that these are only tips. You might not need to adhere to all of them! Discuss these tips with your doctor to determine which ones are appropriate for you to adhere to.
Thank you Jan Black, RN, OCN for your input.