• Susie Wilson

Hygiene Etiquette & Practice

Hygiene is typically thought of in terms of proper handwashing, body washing, and facial cleanliness. Although these practices are essential to the overall cleanliness and interrupting the spread of disease, another component of good hygiene consists of practising good hygiene etiquette.

Coughing & Sneezing

 This vintage British poster from World War II shows that coughing and sneezing have long been a public health concern. Today, we know that handkerchiefs aren’t always the best way to handle coughing and sneezing! For modern methods, read the text at left. Hygiene etiquette involves practises that prevent the spread of illness and disease. A critical time to practise good hygiene etiquette is when you are sick, especially when coughing or sneezing. Serious respiratory illnesses like influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), whooping cough, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) are spread by: 

  • Coughing or sneezing

  • Unclean hands

  • Touching your face after touching contaminated objects

  • Touching objects after contaminating your hands

To help stop the spread of germs: 

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

  • Put your used tissue in a wastebasket.

  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.

Remember to wash your hands after coughing or sneezing: 

  • Wash with soap and water.

  • Keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. If clean, running water is not accessible, as is common in many parts of the world, use soap and available water. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to clean hands.

Cough etiquette is especially important for infection control measures in healthcare settings, such as emergency departments, doctor’s offices, and clinics. One final practice that helps prevent the spread of respiratory disease is avoiding close contact with people who are sick. If you are ill, you should try to distance yourself from others so you do not spread your germs. Distancing includes staying home from work or school when possible.

Don't fake it

With anxiety rising, more and more memes and messages about the Coronavirus are being forwarded, many of them unverified. Always verify the news you receive - check and double-check before you share. Spreading fake news is irresponsible and dangerous and against the law.

Buy what you need

Why buy one when you can buy 100? No!

Panic buying leads to less supply for those who need it, especially the elderly and disabled who might not be able to get too much-needed items fast enough.

Think of others; don't hoard

First, it was toilet paper, then instant noodles and early this week, shops were out of bread because people are still hoarding groceries. And sanitisers too. Buy what you need, make do with what you have and remember, when at home, wash your hands with soap and water.

Stay put, call home

You may want to spend time with your loved ones back in the kampung or your hometown but we have to stay put. Call your family. Skype. Facetime with them.

Make sure you exercise, at home

Recreational forests and public parks may be closed but stubborn joggers and walkers are still sneaking outdoor for walks at neighbourhood parks or residential areas.

Exercise at home. Many YouTube videos offer fun exercise routines that one can do at home.

Be clean

Use a face mask only if you are a more frontline or if you have symptoms of COVID-19. Or, if you are caring for someone who is ill. If you use a face mask, dispose of it after each use - in the rubbish bin, not on the road.

Susie Wilson's Working from homes tips.

I have many friends and associates that been freelancing from home for six years now and has some tips for those who, with the movement control order, now have to work from home. Below are some references for you.

Be disciplined

Working at home requires discipline and good time management.

The line between work and personal life can get more fluid when working from home: you might be distracted by the television, the refrigerator, the bed and so, it requires discipline to focus on the work at hand.

Set deadlines for yourself
Setting reasonable deadlines makes it easier to complete your tasks. Distraction can be a devil and more than once I've found myself falling down the rabbit hole for hours on Netflix and YouTube, and one needs to beware of that.
Dress the part 
It helps if you shower, shave and get dressed and set aside a particular spot to work from at home.
Connect digitally
Even though you don't have your colleagues next to you, it's the digital age so it's easy to just chat with friends through Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger. You can even video call relatives.
Part of a virtual community

Alexandra Wong, 45, an author and writer, says that working at home can be a "double-edged sword": while there are unlimited flexibility and comfort, there are also distractions. On the positive end, it has enabled her to have a healthier lifestyle.

"I can schedule in some time for a morning jog in the neighbourhood park without worrying about beating the traffic blues, and I also cook my lunch when I'm not out on an appointment," she said.

"But distraction can be a devil and more than once I've found myself falling down the rabbit hole for hours on Netflix and YouTube, and one needs to beware of that," she added.

Have a calendar

Wong uses modern technology but old-fashioned methods: she relies on her Google calendar in which she lists even the most mundane task that is related to her work. This, she says, helps her make sure everything gets done each day.

(She also mirrors the information in a traditional 'pen and paper' notebook, "just in case the hard disk crashes or something")

Say hello, virtually 

Wong says that working from home mus not and should not mean total isolation. Make an effort to socialise virtually in this time of social distancing.

"There are many online communities on Facebook and LinkedIn groups that are helpful and educational, which you can join to interact and learn new things or even get ideas. It doesn't always have to be a work-related group," she says.

One of the things someone working from home must be able to do is multi-task.

Be prepared for the unexpected.

Amy Lim, 49, was a freelance graphic designer for 20 years.

Lim, who is a mother of three teenagers, first started freelancing so that she could spend more time with her children.

Time management was a challenge. "Working from home as a mother of three kids with flexi-hours seems ideal. But I ended up spending my days meeting clients, being chauffeur and tuition teacher to my kids, and the only time available to finally do the work was late at night after the kids were in bed," she explained. Learn to work independently One of the things someone working from home must be able to do is multi-task. I need to do everything by myself because I don't have staff. Be organised Distractions are a problem with most people who work from home so you need to be organised. Keep track of deadlines.

Set aside a room or workspace where you can focus on your work. Work ahead of the time Always be prepared for the unexpected and work ahead of time because if something crops up - if your computer breaks down, for example, you will not have back up. Leverage on technology With access to the Internet, you won't run out of ideas or resources. Surf the Internet to do your research and be on social media, even special interest groups on WhatsApp can sometimes be a source of motivation or inspiration and spark ideas.

Have a beautiful day.


Founder of The Susie Wilson Finishing School, Melbourne, Australia