INFECTION CONTROL 2019
How to prevent infections at work, at home and at play
Tips to stay healthy from an infection prevention and control expert By Robyn Cox ur world is full of bacteria and viruses and our best defense is learning how to coexist with them safely as we go about our daily routines. Ina Belu is an infection prevention and control practitioner at St. Joseph’s Health Centre who advises staff on best practices for preventing and reducing the spread of infections to support a safe and healthy environment. No matter where you are – at work, at home or at play – Belu’s top tip to prevent infection is hand hygiene. “It’s important to clean your hands often, especially before eating or handling food, after using the bathroom or taking out the trash. Even if your hands don’t look or feel dirty, bacteria and viruses may still be present.”
When washing, Belu suggests using regular soap and warm water and lathering your hands for at least 15 seconds. If you’re hands aren’t visibly dirty, you can use a hand sanitizer instead. Belu recommends using a hand sanitizer with an alcohol content of least 70 per cent and rubbing your hands together until they are dry. At work, maintain a clean workspace. “Use disinfectant wipes to kill germs on surfaces, especially the keyboard, mouse, telephone and armrests,” says Belu. “Another key way to prevent the spread of infection at work is to keep up to date on vaccinations and stay home if you are feeling unwell,” says Belu. “Coming to work sick can put
Now Available! Canada’s #1 hand sanitizer brand1 offers unique hand sanitizer packets in a single, efficacious application when and where you need it most. PURELL SINGLES™ are perfect for people on the move, and simple to use to help stop the spread of germs. PURELL SINGLES™ are part of The PURELL SOLUTION™, which provides a holistic approach to preventing the spread of germs. The brand you trust now offers a complete set of products that includes hand soaps, hand sanitizers and surface disinfectants to deliver no-trade-off protection from germs.
Learn More at www.PURELLSOLUTION.ca/SINGLES 1. Nielsen Sales 52wk ending 1/5/19
24 HOSPITAL NEWS OCTOBER 2019
Ina Belu is an infection prevention and control practitioner at St. Joseph’s Health Centre your colleagues – and patients if you work in a health care setting – at risk.” At home, Belu says to keep a general disinfectant on hand for cleaning bathrooms and kitchens. Also, ensure you’re using a different cloth or sponge in each area of the home so you aren’t transferring germs from one space to another. Antibacterial soaps are not recommended for hand and personal hygiene. Belu also shared great tips for party hosts: “If you’re serving food, consider putting a hand sanitizer at the starting
point of the food table and be sure to use dedicated serving utensils for each dish. Refrain from double dipping or sharing drinks. Likewise, don’t feel bad about cancelling if you’re sick; nothing tastes worse than a side of germs.” “Bacteria and viruses can be our friends or our foes,” says Belu. “For example, a normal bacterial flora helps with digestion and metabolism. But we need to know how to protect ourselves, our coworkers and our loved ones from bacteria and viruses that H can make us sick.” ■
Robyn Cox works in communications at Unity Health. www.hospitalnews.com
Focus: Infection Control, Patient Safety, Mental Health + Addiction and Research.