You might think that you don’t need infection control in the home and workplace – that’s for work! But plenty of us have been working in the home and will soon be returning to the workplace. If that’s not you, chances are you have family or friends whose schedules have been interrupted. While some of us are happy to go back to the ‘normal’ normal, lots of us are still looking for ways we can stay safer in shared spaces.

While we can’t promise you a no-risk house or office, we can give you some easy to implement tips to bring a little bit of infection control into your home and workplace.

1.      Wash and sanitise your hands more

Think about all of the times you touch your face in a day, and then all of the times you touch everything else. Covid taught us all that we touch our faces a lot and we can’t stop it. What this means is that we should regularly sanitise our hands, and you almost can’t do it too much. No one wants to spend all day washing or sanitising our hands, there are plenty of times when we should. Some good rules of thumb are to make sure that you wash your hands well after using the bathroom, and before sitting down to eat. A quick sanitise after touching door handles in the workplace, or any other frequently touched surfaces (like the kettle!) doesn’t go astray either.

2.      Replace bar soap with a pump bottle

Do you still have a bar of soap next to your sink? ANYWHERE in your house? You might want to rethink it. While soap is by far the most effective way of getting rid of germs on your hands, bar soap just poses too many risks. Not only does it often sit in a pool of water for hours at a time, but there are also lots of hands touching it. If you’re sure you’re washing your hands perfectly every time, it might not matter, but as most of us aren’t, pump soap is probably easier.

Do you need hand sanitiser and soap in the bathroom? Nope! They do the same job as each other. If you’re washing your hands with soap, you don’t need to sanitise afterwards as well, but you do need to make sure that you’re drying your hands properly. Speaking of which…

3.      Replace hand towels with paper towels

Washed and dried hands might feel clean, but if you’re using a shared towel (or just wiping them on your pants), then think again. Using paper towel is better: not only do you use it to dry your hands, but you use it when you’re turning the tap off after washing your hands. Adding paper towel to your bathrooms, whether at home or the workplace, will help reduce the spread of infection and help you keep your hands cleaner.

Just remember that the order is tap on > wash hands > dry hands > use the paper towel to turn the tap off > put the towel in the bin, without touching it. This leads us to the next point…

4.      Get a lid on that bin

If you’re using paper towel to dry your hands, you’re going to find pretty quickly that you’re generating more rubbish. You’ve also seen it happen when you have a cold and you’re burning through a box of tissues, it’s easy enough for a few to fall on the floor. These are a potential infection risk, not only if you pick them up and don’t wash your hands properly afterwards, but also if they’re disturbed within the bin itself. While it’s a small risk, it’s better to play it safe and replace open bins with lidded ones. If nothing else, they look a lot neater!

We all know that preventing infection requires constant vigilance. While this is crucial for aged care, you can make a big difference with infection control in the home and workplace, and other shared spaces as well. Hopefully these few tips can help you reduce the spread of illness and help keep you, your family and your workmates safe.

Looking to improve infection control in your aged care facility as well? Why not check out our IPC audit checklist blog? Not only is there a free download, but there are also some neat tips and tricks for how to get the most out of it as well.