Colds and flu spread through the so-called droplet infection: Who is infected, sprayed when coughing or sneezing droplets that contain pathogens. Even when cleaning the nose, the germs reach the handkerchief and the hands. Objects that are affected by various people, such as doorknobs or handholds in the subway, efficiently transmit pathogens from person to person. Even direct contact by shaking hands or hugs favors the transfer. One of the most useful things one can do to protect oneself and others from infection is to prevent the spread of the pathogens. Specifically, this means:
Wash their hands often and their children. Since children are not so careful about their hygiene and their immune system is not yet mature, they get infected much faster – and spread pathogens easily. For washing ordinary soap is sufficient; that special soap would be better against bacteria or viruses has not been proven.
Keep your hands away from your face. The likelihood of becoming infected is excellent if you touch your mouth or nose after you have reached an object that contains pathogens.
Do not drink from cups or bottles from which others have already drunk.
If you’re sick yourself, you can do the following to protect others from getting infected:
Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing – preferably with a tissue.
Dispose used handkerchiefs immediately and do not leave lying around. Wash your hands after blowing. Paper handkerchiefs for single use prefer.
Do not shake hands with other people, hug or kiss them.