Respiratory and cough hygiene is designed to minimise the risk of cross-transmission of respiratory illness (pathogens).
- Cover the nose and mouth with a disposable tissue when sneezing, coughing, wiping and blowing the nose. If a disposable tissue is not available use elbow to cover the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
- Patients showing symptoms of respiratory illness should be encouraged to wear a surgical (TYPE II R FRSM) face mask where it is clinically safe and tolerated by the wearer.
- Dispose of used tissues and face masks promptly into a waste bin.
- In the absence of disposable tissues and hand hygiene facilities only, individuals should cough or sneeze into their elbow/sleeve.
- Wash hands with non-antimicrobial liquid soap and warm water after coughing, sneezing, using tissues, or after contact with respiratory secretions or objects contaminated by these secretions.
- Where there is no running water available or hand hygiene facilities are lacking, staff may use hand wipes followed by ABHR and should wash their hands at the first available opportunity.
- Keep contaminated hands away from the eyes nose and mouth.
Staff should promote respiratory and cough hygiene helping those who need assistance with this, for example elderly and children, providing patients with tissues, plastic bags for used tissues and hand hygiene facilities as necessary.
Further information can be found in the cough etiquette/respiratory hygiene literature review.