Cough hygiene

Personal measures

Many viruses and bacteria are transmitted by air, for example through sneezing and coughing. Good cough and sneeze hygiene consists of:

  • Coughing with an averted face.
  • Coughing while holding a hand before your mouth, using a paper handkerchief.
  • Use the paper handkerchief once and then dispose of it in the waste bin. 
  • After coughing, wash hands with plenty of water and soap or rub in with hand alcohol.

Read more about the guidelines for Personal hygiene for hospital staff drawn up by the Infection Prevention Working Group.

Organisational and technical measures

Apart from individual measures, you can also take organisational and technical measures. This may be helpful in the case of highly contagious and serious diseases, such as swine flu, epidemics such as seasonal flu or whooping cough, and in situations where many people are close together.

Organisational measures

  • Maintain distance (e.g. by staggering breaks, separating tables and reducing the frequency of meetings).
  • Bar clients who are known to have a contagious disease.
  • Offer medically vulnerable workers (e.g. pregnant women) non-client-related work.
  • Check antibodies in the blood preventively to determine whether workers are susceptible to a particular disease, such as chicken pox, fifth disease and CMV.

Technical measures

  • Ventilate the rooms well.
  • Adjust the air conditioning system such as to keep recirculation to a minimum, suck in fresh air and keep humidity at such a level as to allow diseases to spread less easily (50% for flu%).
  • Disinfect rooms and materials, for example by making proper arrangements with a cleaning company.

More information on: Influenza and Colds Toolkit of the RIVM (Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment)