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Prevent and Control Infections

Many germs that cause viruses and infections, such as flu and colds, are spread by the hands. To prevent viruses from spreading, LIFE AT HOME HEALTH CARE AGENCY in Massachusetts recommends that you wash your hands regularly.

When Should You Wash Your Hands?

  • After Using the Toilet
  • Before and After Handling/Eating Food
  • Before and After Cleaning Wounds
  • When Changing Bandages or Diapers
  • Doing Personal Care and Mouth Care

  • Handling and Caring for Catheters
  • After Touching Your Eyes, Nose, and Mouth
  • After Touching Pets and Money
  • After Coughing, Sneezing, or Blowing Your Nose
  • Any Time Your Hands Are Soiled

Signs of an Infection 

  • Frequent Coughing
  • Sudden Weight Loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Sore Throat

  • Elevated Temperature
  • Inflamed Skin (Skin That Is Red, Hot, Swollen, Painful, or Has a Rash)
  • Pus From a Wound
  • Painful or Frequent Urination (Sometimes Accompanied by Bad or Strong Odor)
  • Any Other Unusual Symptom

If you have any signs of infection, inform your nurse immediately. Please call your doctor if nurse is not available.

Controlling Infections in the Home

  • Clean and disinfect bathrooms.
  • Clean your room daily.
    • Clean toys, books, and games with soap and water or wipe with alcohol.
    • Wash trash containers with soap and water, and then spray with commercial disinfectant.
    • Follow manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning medical equipment.
    • Whenever possible, open the windows and air out your room.
  • Store and prepare food carefully and keep utensils clean at all times.
  • Handle soiled laundry carefully and wash contaminated laundry separately in hot, soapy water.
  • Flush blood, urine, vomit, and feces in toilet. Clean the toilet afterwards.
  • Do not share personal items such as razors, toothbrushes, towels, washcloths, drinking glasses, and combs.

Disposal of Hazardous Materials

  • Never put the cap back on any needles.
  • Place needles and syringes in a puncture-proof container such as an empty laundry detergent bottle.
  • Store needles and syringes should be out of reach of children and out of sight of visitors.
  • Place all used dressings into a plastic bag before placing them inside your household trash bag for disposal.
  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after contact with waste.
  • Disinfect soiled clothing by washing them separately in hot water with a solution made up of one part bleach to 10 parts water.
  • Place contaminated waste (dressings, sanitary pads, diapers, and underpants) in a plastic bag. Pour a small amount of one part bleach to 10 parts water solution into bag and secure tightly. Then, place in another plastic bag for disposal.