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Preventing Infection

Germs and bacteria exist in every home, work place and hospital. When you are ill or have had surgery, you are more susceptible to infection.

How can you help minimize your risk for infection?

  • Remind nurses, therapists, or doctors to wash their hands or wear gloves before examining you.
  • Ask family members or friends who have colds or other respiratory symptoms not to visit you in the hospital.
  • Check with your doctor to see if you should have a flu or pneumonia vaccine to minimize your risk.
  • Some patients may be on "isolation" precautions to either protect them from getting infections or from spreading infection. If you are on these precautions, ask your doctor what you can do to help.


Handwashing is one of the best ways to prevent spreading illness.

When to clean your hands

  • Before and after using the toilet
  • Before and after you prepare food
  • Before and after you eat
  • After touching animals or animal waste
  • After you cough or sneeze
  • When your hands are dirty

How to clean your hands

  • Wet hands with warm water
  • Apply soap and rub hands for 15 seconds
  • Rinse
  • Dry with a paper towel
  • Use towel to turn off faucet


  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer