Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.
Use warm water and soap and scrub your hands vigorously for at least one minute. Be sure to include your wrists and get under your nails. Dry hands completely and feel free to use hand lotion if you desire. You should wash your hands before and after caring for your loved one, after handling soiled laundry or bandages, before preparing and eating food, after coughing or sneezing, and after using the restroom.
For quick cleaning, you can use antibacterial hand gels. These gels kill most germs on your hands without using soap and water. Don't substitute good hand washing for multiple uses of hand gel, however. Wash your hands thoroughly and often with soap and water, even if you've used antibacterial gels.
Wear gloves when touching infectious items.
Any body fluid such as urine, feces, and blood can harbor infection. Soiled bandages and items used to clean wounds can also carry dangerous germs. Remove soiled gloves before you touch something clean; for example, if you use gloves to clean a wound or change a diaper, don't keep the same gloves on to give a bath or wipe a nose! Dispose of used gloves in the garbage and never reuse them.
Wash or properly dispose of infectious items.
Soiled items that can be disposed of should be double bagged, sealed tightly, and placed in the garbage. Non-disposable items such as clothing, sheets, and containers should be washed thoroughly with hot water, soap, and bleach if possible. Be sure to wash these separate from other non-infected items.
Clean up spills thoroughly.
If spills contain body fluids, use soap with a little bleach added or a common household disinfectant like Formula 409. If you can, use paper towels so you won’t have to go through the extra step of washing linens (above).
Dispose of needles and other sharp items properly.
If you are required to give medications with needles, be sure to dispose of them properly. You may be able to get a sharps container from your pharmacy, which keeps used needles safely inside. You can make your own sharps container by placing used needles in into a puncture-resistant container, such as a plastic food storage container or coffee can and sealing it with duct tape. Never replace a plastic cap on a used needle.
Following these simple steps can protect yourself, your family, and your patient from potentially dangerous infections. If you have any additional questions or have special circumstances, be sure to ask your health care provider for advice.