Hygiene and Infection Control

Frequent and proper hand washing with soap and water is one of the best ways to protect your own health and the health of others. The University is reminding everyone to take personal responsibility to reduce the risks of getting or spreading the flu, and to ensure they have prepared in case they become ill.

Hand sanitizing stations are being installed at entrances and exits with high communal traffic, such as event reception areas, lounges and cafeterias. They are not intended to replace the preferred method of hand washing with soap and water. Because of high demand for these products, installation of these stations is proceeding as further supplies become available.

If you feel an important area has been missed, please have your area administrator contact Facilities Management. Individuals can also purchase their own hand sanitizers for personal use.

If you, or your faculty or department is thinking of purchasing your own hand sanitizing materials, please consider the following recommendations:

  • Paying for, refilling and servicing of faculty- or department-installed hand sanitizing stations will be the responsibility of those units.
  • Alcohol-based sanitizers, at concentrations of 60 to 90%, are most effective.
  • Scent-free products are preferred. For more information on scents in the workplace, visit the RMS Scent Free Education and Awareness page.
  • Foam products are generally less prone to dripping and so may cause less mess.
  • For wall-mounted or more permanent hand sanitizing stations, please contact Facilities Management to arrange installation(s).
  • Also, for wall-mounted or more permanent stations, consider ordering drip trays with the units to avoid mess on floors.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is not recommending that healthy people wear masks as they go about their daily lives in the community. There is no evidence to suggest that wearing masks will prevent the spread of infection in the general population. Masks do not act as an effective barrier against disease when they are worn for extended periods of time. In addition, removing your mask incorrectly can spread the virus to your hands and face.

Basic infection control practices, like washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes, avoiding close contact with people who are sick are the most important methods for preventing the transmission of influenza.

The situation is different for a person who is ill and who must go out into the community (for example, to seek medical care). In that case, it is recommended taking measures to avoid exposing others to the virus, such as coughing or sneezing into a disposable tissue or sleeve, and avoiding crowds (like mass transit). A face mask should be worn by the sick person, if one is available, to reduce the risk of spreading the virus within the community.