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Protecting yourself against infections


NHS England commissions and coordinates the national immunisation programmes set out by the Health and Social Care Act 2012. A vaccination schedule of individuals with uncertain or incomplete immunisation status is available from PHE Immunisation schedule.

Infections are caused by germs entering the body. Germs can be passed from person to person or indirectly by touching unclean equipment or surfaces. Infections are often easily dealt with, but sometimes they can cause serious problems.

Home hygiene

It's not possible, or even desirable, to rid your home of all germs, but there are some that we need to protect ourselves against. To protect you and your family from germs, focus your cleaning efforts on germ hotspots in the home, such as cleaning cloths, sponges, and chopping boards.


Flu is a common infectious viral illness spread by coughs and sneezes. It can be very unpleasant, but you'll usually begin to feel better within about a week. You can help stop yourself catching flu or spreading it to others with good hygiene. Always wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water, as well as regularly cleaning surfaces such as keyboards and door handles, using tissues when you cough or sneeze, and putting used tissues in a bin. 

In some people at risk of more serious flu, an annual flu vaccine or antiviral medication may be recommended to help reduce the risk of becoming infected.


Norovirus, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting, is one of the most common stomach bugs in the UK. Norovirus can be very unpleasant but it usually clears up by itself in a few days. It's not always possible to avoid getting norovirus, but there are steps you can take to help stop the virus spreading, such as washing your hands frequently and thoroughly, disinfecting surfaces, and staying off work until at least 48 hours after the symptoms have passed.

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