Preventing infectious diseases

How to protect your family from infectious diseases with hand washing, and get free routine vaccinations from the NHS such as flu and MMR.

What infectious diseases are

Infectious diseases are those that can be transferred person to person. HIV, measles,  chickenpoxmpox and COVID-19 are all infectious diseases.

Handwashing can prevent you from getting ill

Where diseases are transmitted by coughs and sneezes, washing your hands regularly can help prevent you from getting ill.

We recommend you wash your hands:

  • before preparing food
  • before eating
  • after going to the toilet
  • before leaving the house
  • after travelling, and when you get home from being out
  • after putting shopping away
  • if you're caring for someone, then before and after you help them
  • and as many times as possible in between

Video showing you how to wash your hands

This NHS video shows you how to wash your hands well enough to protect yourself from diseases. It takes more care and time than you might think and is worth a watch.

Routine vaccinations for adults and children

A number of vaccinations are routinely offered to children and adults in the UK on the NHS. Vaccinations are important to ensure that you and those around you are protected against certain diseases.

Who can get the flu vaccine

The flu vaccination is available every year on the NHS to help protect adults and children at risk of flu and its complications. We recommend that you get vaccinated against flu if you're eligible. Find out who is eligible for a free flu vaccine.

If you aren’t eligible for a free vaccination you can pay to get a flu vaccine at a local pharmacy.

MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine

Every couple of years there is a rise in the number of measles cases in London. Parents, carers and young adults should remain alert to measles and consider getting the MMR vaccine. Anyone who hasn't received two doses of MMR in the past (or who are unsure) should speak to their GP.

It’s never too late to have the MMR vaccine

Find out about MMR from the NHS.

Other vaccines available on the NHS

Find out about other vaccinations available on the NHS and when to get them.

Page last updated: 27 June 2023


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