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How do I protect myself from catching germs?

“Respiratory etiquette” is the newest phrase in healthcare circles, and refers to taking common-sense steps to prevent the spread of germs from person to person.

Washing your hands thoroughly and often is the most important way you can prevent catching germs and spreading germs to others and prevent many communicable diseases. Use warm water and soap and scrub your hands for about 20 seconds. Dry your hands with a clean, disposable towel.

Use an alcohol-based hand cleaner when soap and water are not available.

To prevent catching germs from others you should:

  • Wash your hands before eating, or touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Wash your hands after touching anyone who is sneezing, coughing, or blowing nose, or has a runny nose. This is true especially if you are taking care of someone ill.
  • Wash your hands after using the restroom.
  • Not share towels, lipstick, toys, food, eating utensils, drinking glasses, or anything else that might be contaminated with respiratory germs.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Avoid when possible closed, crowded spaces.