Preventing respiratory infections

  • Date:

To prevent respiratory infections such as influenza or the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov), we encourage you to take the following measures.

1. Wash your hands after going out

In addition to directly inhaling droplets produced when people cough or sneeze, respiratory infections are also transmitted when you touch a surface contaminated with these droplets before touching your face or nose. For this reason, washing your hands is the most basic preventative measure you can take. It is important that you are mindful and get into the habit of "proper hand-washing" to prevent infections. Steps when washing your hands include:

  1. Wash your hands with running water.
  2. Lather your hands with soap.
  3. Rub your hands in the following order: palms → back of your hands → fingertips → thumbs → between your fingers → wrists. Rub your fingertips upright against the palm of the other hand. Wrap your thumbs when washing them. Twist your wrists to ensure that you wash the whole way around.
  4. Rinse with running water and remove the lather.
  5. Dry your hands completely (wipe your hands with a paper towel).

To ensure efficient hand-washing and that you don't forget to wash a part of your hand, it is recommended that you wash your hands in a standardized order such as the 6 stages outlined in step ③.

For more details on how to wash your hands, please refer to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare's page:
Proper hand washing(Japanese language only)

2. Get plenty of rest and eat a balanced diet

3. Avoid crowds and busy streets

Most respiratory infections are transmitted from person to person. For this reason, it is important that you reduce the chances of infection by avoiding crowds and meeting in large groups.

4. Gargling

According to a report by a research group from Kyoto University, if you gargle 3 times for 15 seconds each using 20 ml of water at least 3 times a day, the number of times of catching a cold is reduced.

5. Coughing etiquettes

Please keep coughing etiquettes in mind to prevent the spread of droplets from coughing. If you need to cough, wear a mask, cough into a tissue or handkerchief, or cover your mouth and nose with the inside of your coat or sleeve.

(Keio University Health Center, Yosuke Yasui)