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Center for Professional Practice of Nursing

Center for Professional Practice of Nursing

Ten general tips for preventing the spread of infection

(From APIC Handbook of Infection Control, Farrin Manian, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P., Editor. Permission to use this material granted to Marsha Koopman, Infection Control Nurse, from Farrin Manian and the APIC)

Some diseases have become immune to the antibiotics we use. As a result, controlling diseases and preventing infections from spreading are more crucial than ever, and doing so begins with measures every individual can take. Here are 10 tips to remember:
  1. Wash your hands frequently - especially before preparing food, before eating, and after using the restroom. Insist that your health-care providers wash their hands and use gloves, especially before any invasive treatment or procedure.

  2. Don't insist that your physician give you antibiotics if you don't need them. Antibiotics have no effect on illnesses caused by viruses.

  3. Take prescribed antibiotics exactly as instructed; do not stop taking them without checking with your physician, even if the medicine makes you feel better - or worse.

  4. Keep your immunizations - and those of your children - up to date.

  5. Don't send your child to a day-care enter or to school with symptoms of an infection - such as vomiting, diarrhea and/or fever.

  6. Follow safe sexual practices.

  7. Do not use IV drugs; if you do, do not share needles.

  8. Don't share personal items - such as razor blades, toothbrushes, combs, and hairbrushes - and don't eat or drink from others' plates, glasses, or silverware.

  9. Keep kitchen surfaces clean, especially when preparing meat, chicken, and fish; disinfect kitchen surfaces.

  10. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold, especially when the will be left out for a long time.