Viruses and diseases are easily spread by body fluids (e.g., blood or saliva) or in droplets from coughs or sneezes. So when you’re giving first aid it’s important to protect yourself, the person who is sick or injured, and anyone else nearby, from infection. If the person is conscious, you should also first check that they are happy for you to touch them before providing first aid.

Quick help 

  • Wash your hands. 

  • Wear PPE (disposable gloves and face mask) as needed. 

  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow. 

  • Ask anyone not helping to stay at least 1 metre away.


General rules for preventing infection

  • Wear gloves: Before you touch a wound or other body fluids (e.g., vomit or saliva) wash your hands, or use hand sanitiser, and put on disposable gloves.
  • Avoid direct contact with body fluids: If you don’t have gloves, put a plastic bag over your hands, or use the person’s hands when you need to apply pressure to the bleeding area. 
  • Cover any cuts on your hands: If you have any cuts or wounds on your hands, make sure they are covered by a waterproof plaster or dressing.
  • Wear a mask: Cover your nose and mouth to help prevent breathing in or out infectious droplets. Use a disposable face mask if you are concerned. We encourage you to wear a face mask in closed, crowded and confined spaces. 
  • Wash any splashes: If you are splashed by body fluids, wash the area with soap and water, and then contact your doctor for advice. If any splashes onto your clothes, remove it and soak in household bleach diluted with water. 
  • Throw away used dressings: Put any dropped or used dressings, bandages and gloves into a plastic or paper bag and seal it. Throw the bag away.
  • Clean equipment: Clean any equipment (e.g., scissors) thoroughly under running water. Use a nailbrush to scrub serrated edges. Then disinfect the equipment by soaking in household bleach (follow the instructions on the bottle).
  • Wash your hands: After removing your gloves always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds. Dry your hands well after washing.

Rules for wounds

  • Wear gloves: Wash your hands and put on disposable gloves.  
  • Wash the wound: Wash any dirt or grime away with running water or an antiseptic solution (e.g., Betadine), then dry it thoroughly. Check the expiry date of any antiseptic and DO NOT use if past the expiry date.
  • Don’t touch the wound: Avoid direct finger or hand contact on the wound, or on the middle part of the dressing.
  • Apply a dressing: Apply a light sterile dressing and secure it with a bandage or tape. If the dressing accidently drops off, remove it and put a fresh one on straight away.
  • If the wound has discharge: If the wound is ‘weeping’ or there’s any obvious discharge, use an absorbent dressing on top of the first sterile dressing and bandage it firmly in place.
  • Safely dispose of used gloves and dressings: After securing the wound dressing, remove your gloves, and put them (and any used dressings) in a plastic or paper bag. Place the bag in a covered disposal bin or a Hazardous Waste container.
If you have a person in urgent need of medical attention, call 111 now.  
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