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International Infection Prevention Week highlights importance of practicing good Infection Prevention and Control techniques year-round

This week (17-23 October) marks International Infection Prevention Week (IIPW) which aims to raise awareness about the importance of Infection Prevention and Control in our homes, communities, and healthcare settings.

The theme of this year’s IIPW is “Make Your Intention Infection Prevention” and the body behind the annual awareness week, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, has developed a range of resources including videos, infographic posters, and interactive quizzes to support both the public and healthcare professionals to understand the science behind Infection Prevention.

Infection Prevention and Control has always been an important part of public health and patient safety. But as we move into winter with the combined risks of both flu and COVID-19 outbreaks, NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG is reminding patients and staff about the importance of practicing good Infection Prevention and Control techniques in helping to reduce the risk of infectious disease outbreaks.

This winter, practice good Infection Prevention and Control techniques by:

  • Wearing a face mask correctly over your mouth and nose when you go out in public to protect yourself and others. If you are infected with a virus, wearing a facemask can stop you from transmitting it by catching or slowing down the droplets that contain viruses as they leave your mouth and nose.
  • Washing your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap. Washing your hands for 2 rounds of “happy birthday” gives you enough time to work up suitable lather and coverage around your hands to kill viruses you might have picked up outside. This is the single most effective way to reduce spread of Infections and the best way to decontaminate your hands.

This short video showcases the importance of washing your hands before touching your face mask to avoid transmitting the virus from your hands to your mask.

Where hand washing equipment is unavailable using hand sanitiser can help to kill the virus that may be present on your hands, like Covid-19 and flu. All shops and stores now provide free hand sanitiser on entry, which can help kill viruses and bacteria that cause infections.

Rowan Slowther, Infection Prevention and Control Nurse Manager with NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG said, “The impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on our society, economy, and our health has highlighted just how important Infection Prevention and Control is, and that we can all do our part to keep our communities safe and healthy.

Infection Prevention and Control is essential in protecting us from surges in healthcare-associated infections such as COVID 19, flu, measles, chickenpox, and so many other day-to-day infectious battles – even down to the common cold.

This Infection Prevention Awareness Week, we want to emphasise the role that individuals can play in reducing the spread of infection not just for themselves and their loved ones, but for our wider healthcare community. I urge everyone to exercise good Infection Prevention and Control practices this winter to help stop the spread of Infections.”

Find out more about International Infection Prevention Week by visiting the IIPW website, and access their free resources. In England, the Infection Prevention Society provides information, resources and training to support healthcare practitioners to become Infection Prevention and Control specialists.

By understanding the science behind Infection Prevention and Control, we can all play our part in reducing the spread of infectious diseases all year round.

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