Female using hand press bottle and pouring alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

How to reduce your risk of infection

05 Jun 2023


Here are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of infections spreading, including washing your hands and cutting your nails.

Wash your hands 

We use our hands for almost everything. So it’s no wonder why it’s one of the most common areas to pick up bacteria or viruses.

From touching your pet to simply using a stapler in the office, most items or things anyone can touch will contain bacteria.

Naturally, the best solution is to wash your hands at any given chance with hot water and hand wash or soap. The NHS recommends washing your hands for the amount of time it takes to sing Happy Birthday, twice1. Shop Hand Wash

Carry hand sanitizer

If you're out and about and can't get to a sink to wash your hands, carry a hand sanitizer in your pocket or handbag. To be effective, hand sanitizers must contain at least 60 per cent alcohol.

You could place hand sanitizer in different rooms at home or areas that you spend the most time in, like your desk at work and car.

Bin used tissues

If you have a cold, how often do you use a tissue and place it back into your pocket again?

After blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing into a tissue, bacteria can live for up to a few hours on the tissue, meaning you will not only be exposing your body to it again, but also to others around you too.

Your hands will then pick up the bacteria and can be spread by touching anything around you.

The solution is simple: use it, bin it, replace it.

If you need to cough or sneeze and a tissue isn't to hand, cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow.

Stay off work

The word ‘presenteeism’ is a term used to describe an employee who goes into work despite being unwell2.

It’s also a huge reason why infections spread and employers suffer from poor productivity. If you’re ill, stay at home. One employee working three days with maximum productivity is better than one employee working five days at 60-75% health and spreading it to multiple others around the office.

Cut your nails

Your fingernails are a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses, with many harbouring in the nail beds. By simply rubbing your eyes, nose or mouth, you could transfer all of those bad things to other areas of the body. This can, therefore, lead to infections and illness.

Try to always keep your nails clean from dirt and nicely cut. The shorter they are, the less chance you have of picking up excessive amounts of harmful bacteria underneath them.

Read more: How to boost your immunity naturally Shop Hand Wash Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies.

Last updated: 5 March 2020