Hygiene in the event of a pandemic

The spread of viruses and respiratory infections is facilitated by large gatherings of people, stale air, travelling and commerce. Hygienic measures help reduce the risk. 

Flu viruses are transmitted via the following main routes:

  • Through the air:the virus spreads through the air in infectious droplets when people cough, sneeze or spit.
  • Through close contact (kissing or shaking hands) with a person with a respiratory virus.
  • Via the hands, which are contaminated with infectious droplets of saliva or fluid from the nose or mouth.
  • Through contact with objects which have been touched by sick people.

In the event of a pandemic the following measures should be taken to reduce the risk of infection:

Blowing your nose, sneezing, spitting and coughing

Blowing your nose, sneezing, spitting and coughing are all everyday things that can create a major risk in the event of illness. A few simple rules can help reduce the risk of transmission.

Rules for behaving in public

When a person first gets the flu they may be infectious without knowing it or having any symptoms. So it’s good to be careful when it comes to contact with other people.

Handwashing

Handwashing is of crucial importance when it comes to hygiene, as most infectious diseases are transmitted via the hands.

Cleaning objects and surfaces

Cleaning objects and surfaces is a good way of protecting yourself from infection.

Surgical masks

Sick people especially should wear a mask to reduce the risk of transmitting germs to those around them Surgical masks only make sense in conjunction with other hygiene measures and rules of behaviour.

Documents

Last modification 20.08.2018

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Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
Public Health Directorate
Communicable Diseases Division
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3003 Berne
Switzerland
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