Protecting yourself and your family

If we all use antibiotics responsibly, we can help to prevent antibiotic resistance. Working together, Canadians and health care providers can reduce impacts on our health and health care system.

Good hygiene, like washing your hands properly, helps keep you from getting sick. That reduces the need for antibiotics. You are also helping when you and your family use antibiotics properly.

Reduce your risk of getting sick

By avoiding illness, you can help reduce the impact of antibiotic resistance for:

  • yourself
  • your family
  • your community

Good hygiene will help stop the spread of bacteria that make you sick. Keep your hands clean

  • Wash them often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially when they are visibly dirty. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available
  • As much as possible, keep your hands away from your:
    • eyes
    • nose
    • mouth
  • Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue instead of your hand. Then you won’t transfer bacteria to someone else when you touch them or touch shared objects such as:
    • books
    • utensils
    • doorknobs
  • If you vomit or have diarrhea, wash your hands and clean your washroom thoroughly

Recognize the signs of illness

  • If you are sick, stay home until you are feeling better. This helps stop the spread of bacteria and other germs.
  • Avoid handling food when you are ill.

Practice safer sex

Practice safer sex to avoid sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Some STIs, especially certain strains of gonorrhea, are resistant to some antibiotics

Other tips that help stop the spread of antibiotic resistance are to:

  • Make sure your vaccinations are up to date.
  • Make sure that all shared surfaces in your home are visibly clean. In most cases, plain soap and water is all you need.
  • Store, handle and prepare food safely. Clean anything that comes into contact with food to reduce the risk of food-related illness. It is especially important to wash your hands before and after handling:
    • fish
    • seafood
    • raw meat
  • Thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables that will be eaten raw.
  • If you use well water, have it tested regularly.

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