Tips for Preventing the Spread of Infection at Home

We all get sick occasionally with a cold, the flu, gastroenteritis or other infectious illnesses. But taking some simple measures at home can help protect other family members from becoming infected too.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Sneeze or cough into your sleeve rather than into your hands. Remind family members to do the same.
  • Provide extra cleaning in frequently touched areas, for example:
    • toilet handles and seats tops
    • counter and table
    • doorknobs and light switches
    • handrails
    • keyboards
    • remote controls
    • telephones
    • work surfaces
  • Minimize the sick person’s contact with the rest of the family by having him/her use a separate bedroom and bathroom if possible. If the bathroom must be shared, make sure everyone has their own towel and facecloth.
  • Don’t share anything that goes in the mouth like utensils, drinking glasses or toothbrushes. Toys being used by children who are sick should be kept separate from other children until the toys have been cleaned and disinfected.
  • When possible, the sick person should try to keep a distance of at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from others. Avoid having visitors in the house.
  • Consider using gloves if you have to come into contact with the sick person’s body fluids (blood, vomit, stool, etc.).

How to prepare a homemade disinfectant

This homemade bleach-based solution is useful for disinfecting hard surfaces that have been contaminated with blood or other body fluids. The solution should be mixed fresh daily or more often to preserve its strength.

Mix:

  • 250 mL (1 cup) of household bleach + 2500 mL (10 cups) of water, OR
  • 125 mL (½ cup) of household bleach + 1250 mL (5 cups) of water, OR
  • 60 mL (¼ cup) of household bleach + 600 mL (2 ½ cups) of water

To protect yourself from splashes, always wear rubber gloves and protective eyewear when mixing the disinfectant solution. If the solution does get on your skin, flush immediately with water. Never mix the bleach solution with ammonia or other disinfectants (mixing different chemicals can cause toxic fumes).

To use:

Surfaces should always first be cleaned with soap and water before using a disinfectant. The disinfectant solution can be then be used in either of the following ways:

  • Dip the object into a container filled with the bleach and water solution then let the item air dry.
  • Use paper towels or a clean cloth soaked in the bleach and water solution to wash surfaces, then let the surfaces air dry.

Remember to store all cleaning chemicals safely away from children and pets.


Eastern Ontatio Health Unit / Bureau de santé de l'Ontario