Preventing and controlling infection

Preventing the spread of infection reduces the need for antibiotics. Washing your hands is one important thing you can do to avoid getting sick and spreading germs. Use clean kitchen utensils and keep up to date with vaccinations to stop the spread of infection.

Preventing infections and stopping them from spreading reduces the need for antibiotics and so helps fight antibiotic resistance.

Clean hands

  • Good hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. 
  • Many diseases and infections are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water.
  • Clean hands are especially important when handling and preparing food. 
  • Preventing infections through good hand hygiene reduces the need for antibiotics and reduces resistance.

Preparing food

Practicing good food safety can reduce the risk of foodborne illness and help limit the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Microorganisms, both good and bad, are everywhere. This means that the bacteria out there that are antibiotic resistant can spread through the interaction and movement of:

  • humans
  • animals
  • food
  • the environment.

Everyone can play a role to slow them down.

The Australian food supply is one of the safest in the world, but people can still get foodborne illnesses by eating contaminated foods. Bacteria can cause foodborne illness and in some cases they may also be antibiotic resistant. The same steps we take to reduce the chances of foodborne illness and keep food safe can also help to reduce the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Food safety for consumers

What you can do:

Check out the FSANZ Food Safety Basics page to find out how you can:

  • reduce your chances of foodborne illness
  • help to reduce the spread of drug resistant microbes.

Food safety for food businesses

What you can do:


  • We can prevent many infections by keeping up to date with vaccinations. 
  • Vaccines prevent infections and have assisted in completely eliminating some diseases, such as smallpox.
  • The flu is a viral and not a bacterial infection – antibiotics will not help. 
  • Avoid the flu by getting vaccinated. 
  • More information about vaccinations is available from the National Immunisation Program.

Overseas travel

  • Travellers can become sick by eating food, drinking water, or touching surfaces that have bacteria. 
  • Good hand hygiene, having the recommended vaccinations and drinking clean bottled water can help prevent infections while travelling.
  • Bear in mind that standards of food handling and preparation may be different in some countries from those in Australia. Illness caused by poor food handling is common in some locations. Antibiotic resistance is more common in some countries, and different countries can have different types of resistant bacteria.
  • In some countries, antibiotics are readily available for purchase without prescription. Avoid the temptation to purchase antibiotics when travelling overseas for use when you are back in Australia.
  • Information about taking care of your health while travelling overseas is available on the SmartTraveller website.
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