How to break the chain of infection

This time of year is well- known for its illnesses. From coughs and colds, through to flu and norovirus, sometimes it can feel like you’re surrounded by bugs waiting to take you down when it’s most inconvenient. Fortunately, there are steps we can all take to help break the chain of infection.

Breaking the chain of infection


Thoroughly washing your hands is one of the easiest ways you can break the chain. If you’re already unwell, it can help you stop spreading infection to others through the items you come into contact with. If you’re currently in good health, washing your hands can help remove bacteria before they have a chance to cause infection. It’s always a good idea to try and keep your hands away from your nose and mouth to prevent making yourself ill if there are bacteria present.

Here’s some useful handwashing guidance from the NHS so you can feel sure you’re doing it properly. Did you know, the length of time you spend washing your hands should be sufficient to sing happy birthday twice?

Infectious? Stay at home and rest

There can be the temptation to soldier on as normal before you’ve fully recovered from illness. Many people feel guilty about taking sick days and cancelling prior commitments. However, chances are, whoever you had plans with will be feeling more disappointed if you make them poorly. Do those around you a favour and stay at home until your symptoms have passed.

Catch it, bin it, kill it

Always sneeze into a tissue when you’re poorly, then throw it in the bin and wash your hands immediately to break the chain of infection.

Alcohol hand gels

Alcohol hand gels are useful when out and about, but they should never be treated as a substitute for washing your hands with soap and water. Alcohol hand gels don’t kill all bacteria, such as the type which causes norovirus.

Flu jab

‘Prevention is better than cure’ is a common saying, and for good reason! The flu jab is available every Autumn and protects against multiple strains of the flu. It offers protection for one year, so you’ll need to go back for an annual vaccine. Just because you’ve had the flu vaccine, this doesn’t mean there’s zero chance of you catching flu. However, if you do and you’ve had the vaccine, the symptoms can be less severe. The flu jab is highly recommended for certain groups of people, such as the elderly and those with respiratory conditions which can be exacerbated by flu.

Speak to your pharmacist

If you’d like further advice on how you can stay healthy throughout the winter months, please have a chat with your pharmacist. They’re very knowledgeable and will be more than happy to help.