Infection Control Measures

Protecting yourself and others

  • Treat all body fluids (such as diarrhea, vomit, or blood) like they are infectious.
  • Handwashing is the single most important infection control measure.
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after assisting sick travelers or touching potentially contaminated body fluids or surfaces. Also, wash hands when visibly soiled.
    • Use alcohol-based hand rub (containing at least 60% alcohol) if soap and water are not available.
    • Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose with unwashed or gloved hands.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

  • Protect yourself by using PPE, when tending to a sick individual. After use, PPE must be carefully removed to avoid contaminating your skin or clothing. Soiled items must be placed in a biohazard bag (or plastic bag labeled “biohazard” if biohazard bag not available).
  • Always wash hands or use an alcohol-based hand rub after removing PPE.

Disposable gloves (Gloves don’t replace proper handwashing.)

  • Wear disposable gloves when:
    • tending to a sick traveler
    • touching body fluids (such as blood, vomit, or diarrhea)
    • touching potentially contaminated surfaces, such as in bathrooms
  • Remove gloves carefully to avoid contaminating yourself or your clothing.
  • Properly dispose soiled gloves in a biohazard bag (or plastic bag labeled biohazard if none available); do not reuse gloves.
  • After removing gloves, wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub.

Facemasks

  • Facemasks should be considered:
    • when you are helping a sick individual with respiratory symptoms such as coughing or sneezing
    • for sick individuals to help reduce the spread of respiratory germs
    • for people sitting near sick travelers (with respiratory symptoms) when the sick traveler cannot tolerate wearing a mask
  • Facemasks are NOT needed:
    • for a sick individual complaining of nausea or vomiting. This could result in choking or a blocked airway.
    • for sick individual who can’t tolerate a facemask or refuse one. In this case, ask individual to cover their coughs or sneezes.