Person washing hands with water and soap in bathroom sink

How to Prevent the Spread of Viruses and Infections

To prevent the spread of viruses and infections, it’s important to know how they work. Most viruses are caused by microscopic organisms which enter the body and start multiplying. Infected individuals can then pass these organisms to other people in several ways, including person-to-person contact and through the dispersion of contaminated respiratory droplets.

As in the case of COVID-19, highly contagious viruses can spiral out of control quickly, so it’s crucial to take preventative measures seriously. This article covers the basics on how to prevent the spread of infection, so you and your workforce can protect yourselves and the public.

Social Distancing

A simple yet highly effective tactic, keeping a distance of at least 1.5 metres from others, aids in greatly reducing the risk of infection transfer and spread.

Although social distancing doesn’t guarantee the complete suppression of a virus, it can limit infection rates to the point where healthcare systems will be at less risk of being overwhelmed.

Practise Good Personal Hygiene

Simple practices can make a world of difference to prevent the spread of infection:

  • Covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing (use your elbow or a tissue to avoid contaminating your hands)
  • Washing your hands with soap regularly, especially after coughing, sneezing, using the toilet, or being near an unwell person
  • Avoiding sharing personal items (such as toothbrushes and eating utensils).

Why is it important to wash your hands?

The handwashing process eradicates potentially harmful microorganisms from your hands, which serve as the main pathway for germ transmission. Proper hand hygiene (washing with soap and clean, running water) can prevent the spread of viruses and infections throughout the community, from your home and workplace to childcare centres and hospitals.

How long should you wash your hands for?

You should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. This diagram provides a step-by-step guide to help you learn the recommended handwashing process to stay healthy.

To wash your hands with soap and water it should take you 15 to 20 seconds
Hand washing process step 1 - wet hands with water and apply soap

Wet hands with water and apply soap.

Hand washing process step 2 - rub hands palm to palm in rotational motion

Rub hands palm to palm in rotational motion.

Hand washing process step 3 - interlace fingers, rub right palm to back of left hand and vice versa

Interlace fingers, rub right palm to back of left hand and vice versa.​

Hand washing process step 4 - lock left and right fingers together and rub side to side

Lock left and right fingers together and rub side to side.​

Hand washing process step 5 - clasp right thumb with left hand and rub in a rotational motion and vice versa

Clasp right thumb with left hand and rub in a rotational motion and vice versa.​

Hand washing process step 6 - rotational rubbing, in backwards and forwards motion with fingertips to both right and left palms

Rotational rubbing, in backwards and forwards motion with fingertips to both right and left palms.​

Hand washing process step 7 - rinse both hands with running water

Rinse both hands with running water.​

Hand washing process step 8 - dry both hands thoroughly using paper towel

Dry both hands thoroughly using paper towel.​

Hand washing process step 9 - use paper towel to turn off tap

Use paper towel to turn off tap. As an extra measure hand sanitiser may be used.​


When to Wash Your Hands

Washing your hands at these key times will help you (and those around you) from getting sick:

  • Before and after preparing food
  • Before and after eating
  • Before and after coming into contact with someone who is sick
  • Before and after providing medical care, whether at home or in a healthcare setting
  • After using the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After handling any kind of waste.

What kind of soap works best?

Both liquid soaps and bar soaps are effective at washing germs from your hands. Virus particles are often surrounded by a layer of fat, which helps them stick to surfaces like your hands. Soap is an effective defence against viruses because it breaks down this layer of fat, allowing the germs to be washed away. If you don’t have access to soap, a hand sanitiser consisting of at least 60% alcohol is also an effective option.

What can your workplace do to prevent the spread of viruses?

Stopping the spread of a virus or infection in the workplace is possible with some simple precautions. Workplaces can prepare for viruses and minimise the risk of disruptions to productivity by creating an infection control contingency plan, which should include:

  • Working from home capabilities in the event a quarantine is put in place
  • Handwashing facilities
  • Providing hand sanitiser, disinfectant wipes and tissues for employees to place on their desks
  • Encouraging employees to call in sick or work from home if they feel unwell
  • Cleaning frequently touched surfaces, such as desk phones, door handles, stair railings and kitchen benches
  • Hiring professional cleaners to regularly clean the business premises.

The Med-X suite of healthcare solutions will keep your team healthy and your workplace hygienic . Browse our washroom products and services to find essential items for stopping the spread of viruses and infections. We also offer clinical waste and sharps disposal services for medical businesses. Please contact us online or on 1300 116 339 for more information today.

Med-X Healthcare Solutions:

Disposable Sharps Containers

Med-X can provide you with the most suitable sharps disposal system for your property. This includes “closed loop” systems that can safely and securely dispose of all sharps waste.

Clinical & Related Waste Services

We offer a wide range of clinical waste disposal containers to suit every size & requirement. These include all internal & external offerings to keep your property as safe & hygienic as possible.

Feminine Hygiene & Sanitary Services

Hygiene disposal options are essential in businesses. Without sanitary bins, common waste can often be flushed down toilets – potentially causing blockages.

Washroom Products & Services

To cover your every washroom and hygiene need, Med-X offers a wide range of washroom accessories and products.

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