Exercising good hygiene is an important way to help prevent the spread of infection and antibiotic resistance. Building regular hand washing (using soap and running water) into your routine can help you stay healthy.

Viruses and bacteria can spread if you touch surfaces such as gym equipment after going to the toilet and not washing your hands, or if you sneeze or cough into your hands and then touch a surface.

Prevent the spread of infection 

If you do get sick, here are some simple things you can do to avoid passing your infection on to others:

  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw it away
  • Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough
  • Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Stay home until you are fully recovered
  • Avoid sharing cups, glasses and cutlery with others

Keep surfaces clean

When we cough, sneeze, laugh, or talk, drops of fluid from the throat and nose can become airborne and land on surfaces around us.

If you do need to sneeze or cough, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or cough into your elbow. If you sneeze or cough into your hands, wash them immediately afterwards with soap and running water before touching other surfaces or other people.

A good hygiene routine also means using available cleaning products to clean the surfaces that are touched or used by others, and that could be a potential source of infection.

Find out more about hand sanitisers

Fight antibiotic resistance

People who don’t exercise good hand hygiene could be passing on antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest global health issues of our time. It happens when bacteria change to protect themselves from antibiotics. When this happens, antibiotics that previously would have killed the bacteria, or stopped them from multiplying, no longer work. 

Find out more about antibiotics

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria can develop after antibiotic use. These bacteria can be passed on to the people around you. Washing away any virus or bacteria that may be present on your hands can help reduce the chances of catching or passing on an infection.

Learn more about what you can do to prevent antibiotic resistance.