What are germs?

  • There are several types of germs, including viruses and bacteria. Germs are majorly responsible for making people sick.

  • One can get germs on hands by touching things used by sick people or by directly coming in contact with them.

  • Once you get germs on your hands, they can enter inside your body through a wound or when you touch your eyes, nose or mouth.

  • You can also spread germs on your hands to things or people that you touch. Germs can spread diseases like colds or gastroenteritis (gastro) as you touch an ill person.

  • Germs can also spread through the air when a sick person coughs and sneezes.

How to prevent or control the spread of germs?

Good hygiene habits help in preventing the spread of germs. Many germs such as bacterias and virus are spread from person to person through touch.

It is important to regularly wash hands thoroughly,

Washing hands

You must wash your hands and teach your children to wash hands to stop the spread of germs.

Before: After:

Preparing or eating food

Touching, cuddling or holding a sick child

Use the toilet

Wiping nose

Touching, cuddling or holding a sick child

Touching cutlery, drinking cups and other objects a sick person has touched

Touching a wound

Touching pets or other animals

Your hands have become dirty



How to wash your hands:

  • Wet your hands.

  • Use soap or hand wash and rub your hands for 20 seconds.

  • Do wash the back of the hands, wrists, between the fingers and under fingernails.

  • Rinse and then dry thoroughly with a clean towel. 

Other good hygiene habits

Good hygiene lowers the chance of catching germs or passing them onto others.

Good hygiene includes:

  • Not sharing cups, cutlery or personal items like toothbrushes

  • Encouraging children to cough or sneeze into their elbow or tissue

  • Using tissues instead of hankies and then throwing tissues into the bin immediately after use and washing hands afterwards.

If your child is unwell with a virus or bacterial illness, keep them home from child care, kindergarten or school until they are well again. Use hot, soapy water to wash items (e.g. toys, teething rings) that a sick child has been in contact with during their illness.


  1. Stopping the spread of germs[Internet]. Available at: https://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Stopping_the_spread_of_germs/. Accessed on Mar 2, 2020.