Maintain good hygiene

Maintaining good hygiene helps prevent the spread of COVID-19. This includes washing your hands often, coughing and sneezing into your elbow, and cleaning surfaces.

Wash your hands

Washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to keep yourself safe. Wash often with soap for 20 seconds. Then dry your hands completely. This kills the virus by bursting its protective bubble.

You should wash your hands if you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

Avoid touching your face, including your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.

When to wash and dry your hands

It is important to wash your hands:

  • after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • after visiting a public space or touching surfaces outside of your home
  • after handling your face covering
  • before and after eating or preparing food
  • after using the toilet, changing babies' nappies or helping children use the toilet
  • after handling rubbish
  • after touching animals and pets
  • when your hands are visibly dirty or feel dirty.

Hand sanitiser

Using hand sanitiser is effective at killing germs and viruses when done correctly. It destroys the protective bubble of the virus, but only if the sanitiser has at least 60% alcohol. Sanitiser is also effective in reducing the number and type of germs.

Hand sanitiser is often more convenient when you are outside of your home but can be expensive or difficult to find in an emergency. Make sure you use a sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol and rub it into your hands for at least 20 seconds.

Cough or sneeze into your elbow

Cough or sneeze into your elbow or cover your mouth and nose with tissues. Put tissues in a bin immediately, then wash your hands thoroughly. This will catch the droplets and keep the virus off your hands, so you will not spread it to other people and make them sick too.

A face covering also helps stop droplets spreading when someone speaks, laughs, coughs or sneezes. This includes someone who has COVID-19 but feels well or has no obvious symptoms.

Clean surfaces regularly

Clean surfaces regularly. This includes items frequently touched like door handles, light switches and phones.

Cleaning surfaces is important because, like the flu, COVID-19 is usually spread from person to person. When an infected person breathes, speaks, coughs, sneezes or sings, they may spread particles containing the virus.

These particles range in size. The larger and heavier particles or droplets can settle on surrounding surfaces.

If surfaces look visibly dirty, clean them first. It is best to use a disinfectant.

Use an antiviral disinfectant and follow instructions. Remember to store cleaners and disinfectants safely.

Improve ventilation

The risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 increases the closer you are to a person and the longer you are close to that person.

The risk is highest in crowded and poorly ventilated indoor spaces. The risk is lower outside when there are fewer people, and when you are further away from others. 

Being in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation is when fine particles containing virus can build-up.

We recommend opening windows to increase fresh air flow inside. If air conditioning is used, make sure the system is regularly maintained.

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