It can be scary if a close friend or family member gets sick. Life-changing diseases like HIV, TB, cancer, diabetes or heart disease can strike anyone. It can feel hard to know what to do. How do you help them? How do you take care of yourself?
When someone you live with is sick, it is important that you protect yourself from their germs. And protect them from other germs and infections.
There are some simple rules to follow:
- Wash your hands before preparing food. Clean all kitchen surfaces and utensils in warm, soapy water. Throw out dirty water rather than reusing it. Wash bedding as often as you can.
- Don’t share razors or toothbrushes. Towels and washcloths can transmit bacterial infections (like pink eye) because they stay damp and let bacteria grow. But they can’t transmit viruses like HIV (only coming into contact with bodily fluids like blood or semen carries this risk).
- Wear rubber gloves when cleaning the toilet. Mop the floor with bleach at least once a week.
- Clean up any body fluids immediately. While wearing rubber gloves, clean with 1-part bleach mixed in 9 parts water.
- Wet rubbish - nappies, bandages, menstrual pads - should be put in two plastic bags to prevent leakage.
- Wash your hands often. Do this after you sneeze, cough, use the toilet, touch your nose, mouth or genitals, and after you handle rubbish or any blood, semen, urine, vaginal fluids or faeces. Wash your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 15 seconds, cleaning under nails and between fingers.
Preventing the spread of illnesses is all about cleanliness. When you or someone you live with is sick, make sure no one else gets sick by keeping your home clean.