What Are 4 Examples of Infection Control?

Medically Reviewed on 1/11/2023
When standard infection control alone is not sufficient to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases, transmission-based precautions are used.
 When standard infection control alone is not sufficient to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases, transmission-based precautions are used.

The concept of infection control refers to various measures one can take to prevent and contain the spread of infectious diseases in health care and public health settings.

Infection control procedures and daily practices that help keep staff and residents safe from infection are necessary. These are practical practices for everyday life. Infection control is about diligence and practice.

4 Examples of infection control

1. Hand hygiene

Keeping your hands clean is one of the most basic healthy habits to prevent the spread of germs. Washing your hands frequently is important even if they do not appear dirty.

  • Clean your hands before and after
    • Walking to the bathroom or changing diapers
    • Consuming food
    • Preparing or serving food
    • Cleaning and treating cuts and wounds
    • Contact with sick people
    • Wearing and removing protective clothing, such as face masks
  • Wash your hands after
    • Sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose
    • Touching another person's hands or pets
    • Handling waste
    • Touching frequently touched areas (doorknobs) or contaminated items (dirty laundry or dishes)
  • Wash your hands properly with soap and water
    • Wet your hands and apply soap
    • Rub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Scrub all surfaces.
    • To dry your hands, use a paper towel or a clean cloth. Use a paper towel to turn off the faucet in a public place. Throw it away after that.
    • When helping a child, wash their hands first, and then yours.
  • When to use a hand sanitizer
    • If soap and water are not available and your hands do not look dirty, use hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer must contain at least 60 percent alcohol to be effective.
    • Hand sanitizer should be applied to both hands.
    • Cover all surfaces with your hands and rub until they are dry. If your hands dry within 10 seconds, you did not use enough. Continue applying and repeat.

Hand sanitizers or premoistened cleaning towelettes are not as effective as washing hands with soap and water or using hand sanitizer. Premoistened cleansing towelettes with at least 60 percent alcohol content could be an alternative.

2. Personal protective equipment (PPE)

A healthcare worker wearing PPE will not be exposed to blood or bodily fluids or substances. Access to PPE that complies with relevant standards should be readily available in all healthcare facilities.

  • Gloves
    • You should not use gloves as an alternative to hand hygiene. Hand hygiene is required before and after putting on gloves.
    • Hands should be protected with gloves (single-use, non-sterile) when handling blood, bodily fluids, mucus membranes, or wounded skin.
    • Surgical gloves should only be used for certain invasive procedures. If the procedure is performed aseptically without touching the person, nonsterile gloves are acceptable.
    • Gloves should be changed between tasks and procedures on the same person.
      • Remove gloves immediately after performing a procedure.
      • Practice hand hygiene to prevent contamination of the environment, other people, and other items.
    • All gloves intended for healthcare activities must be single-use. If gloves are to be decontaminated, an alcohol-based hand rub should not be used. Gloves should not be washed with soap and water and used again.
  • Gowns and aprons
    • Wear an apron or gown during procedures and patient care activities, which are likely to generate splashes or sprays of blood, body fluids, secretions or excretions, and soil clothing.
    • Choose an appropriate gown or apron (long or short sleeves) based on the activity and the amount of fluid likely to be encountered. When wearing an apron, staff should ensure they are bare below the elbows.
    • Remove the used gown as soon as possible; roll it up carefully and discard it appropriately.
    • After removal, perform hand hygiene immediately.
  • Eye protection, face shields, and masks
    • Wear a mask and eye protection or a face shield. This will protect the mucus membranes of the eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • By holding the ties, remove the mask and place it in a waste bin.
    • As soon as you remove your gloves, you should perform hand hygiene.

3. Cough etiquette or respiratory hygiene

  • Use a tissue or your elbow crook to cover your nose or mouth when coughing or sneezing to contain respiratory droplets.
  • Use tissues to contain respiratory secretions and discard them in the nearest waste container.
  • Practice hand hygiene immediately after contact with respiratory secretions and contaminated objects or materials.
  • If a person shows signs and symptoms of respiratory illness, ask them to wear a surgical mask while waiting in common areas. You can place them in the testing room or away from others. Make sure there are tissue dispensers and no-touch removal containers to dispose of used tissues.
  • Seating in waiting areas should be spaced at least three feet apart to minimize close contact between people.
  • Tissues, waste baskets, alcohol gel, and surgical masks should be available in public health agencies' waiting areas. Display signs about cough etiquette where the public can see them.

4. Transmission-based precautions (TBPs)

When standard precautions alone are not sufficient to prevent transmission of infection, these precautions are used. TBPs are used for individuals with suspected or known infections that may be transmitted through airborne or droplet transmission or direct or indirect contact.

A TBP practice must be tailored to the infectious agent and the mode of transmission involved. A resident with gastroenteritis, for example, would require contact precautions, such as isolating them in a single room with an ensuite and wearing masks, dresses, and impermeable gowns.


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Environmental cleaning

The environment and surroundings require frequent and thorough cleaning. Keeping surfaces clean is vital to infection prevention and control because dust, soil, and microbes can transmit infections.

Written cleaning protocols must specify the method and frequency of cleaning, as well as the products to use for different surfaces and areas. Moreover, there should be a written procedure for cleaning areas with a suspected or known infection.

Safe injection practice

It has become necessary to emphasize safe injection practices again following outbreaks of hepatitis B and hepatitis C in ambulatory care facilities in the United States. Healthcare personnel should strictly follow the guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention while administering medicines via injections.

Use new needles and syringes to access medication vials or intravenous bags

Use a new needle and syringe for each injection

Use medication vials for only one person whenever possible

Refer to the safe injection practices packet

Needlestick and sharp injury prevention

The safe handling of needles and other sharp devices is part of the standard precautions to prevent the spread of blood-borne pathogens to healthcare workers. Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act requires the use of sharps with engineered safety devices.

Needles should be discarded immediately after use and not recapped, bent, cut, removed from syringe holders, or otherwise modified.

Needles or lancets or other contaminated sharps should be stored in a leak-proof, puncture-resistant sharps container that is either red or labeled with a biohazard symbol.

Never overfill sharps containers. After 2/3rd full or when the container is filled to the “full” line, discard the rest of the contents.

Sharps containers could be taken to a collection facility, such as a pharmacy, hospital, or clinic in the area.

Get vaccinated

Many infectious diseases can be prevented with vaccines. You should get some vaccinations as a child, an adult, and for special situations, such as pregnancy and travel. Keep your vaccinations up to date for you and your family. Visit the Adult Immunization and Travel Clinic if your regular doctor does not offer the vaccine you need.

Medically Reviewed on 1/11/2023
Infection Control and Prevention: Standard Precautions. https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/ic/precautions.htm

Protect Yourself with Healthy Habits. https://www.sfcdcp.org/communicable-disease/healthy-habits/#1511206407750-0a8fa78d-2769

Infection Control. https://medlineplus.gov/infectioncontrol.html

Infection Control. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519017/

Infection prevention and control systems. https://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/standards/nsqhs-standards/preventing-and-controlling-infections-standard/infection-prevention-and-control-systems