Stop the spread of cold and flu

16 July 2019

Respiratory infections are especially common in winter and are easily spread, but there are things you can do to prevent it.

Mother checking young daughter's temperature

Cold and flu are respiratory infections caused by germs that are spread through the air and on surfaces.

These infections affect the nose, ears and throat, so sneezing, coughing and even touching people or surfaces can spread these germs.

Fortunately there are simple steps you can take to help stop the spread:

  • Wash your hands – make sure you wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand rub to keep your hands clean throughout the day.
  • Cover you face when you sneeze or cough – preferably with a tissue. If you don’t have a tissue, turn away from people and cough into your shoulder or the crook of your elbow.
  • Keep surfaces clean – clean your home and work surfaces regularly to help get rid of germs. Use warm water and detergent but avoid using antibacterial cleansers (disinfectants) as these can make germs resistant to them.
  • Stand or sit away from people who are sick – try to keep a distance of 1 metre when people are cough or sneeze around you.
  • Know what to do if you’re sick – flu and other respiratory infections can be very serious. Try to stay away from vulnerable people such as older people, young children, pregnant women and people with a chronic medical condition.

If you’re caring for someone who is sick, make sure you take care of yourself too. Wash your hands thoroughly and often, especially before, during and after preparing food and before and after being in contact with a sick person.

You don’t have to get sick this winter, learn more about how to prevent respiratory infections.