The world is facing unprecedented events as we deal with COVID-19. The Center for Disease Control advises the best way to prevent contracting the illness is to avoid exposure to the virus. Since this virus is thought to spread primarily through contact from person-to-person, below we summarize how you can minimize your family’s risk during this pandemic.
Wash your hands often and correctly.
Any time you visit a public place, cough, sneeze, or blow your nose, you should be washing your hands. Wash your hands using soap and water and scrub thoroughly, including palms, in-between fingers, the tops of your hands, and underneath your nails for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol. If your hands are dirty, do not touch your eyes, mouth, or nose.
Practice social distancing.
Especially if someone is sick or has any symptoms, no matter how mild, avoid close contact. If you are aware that COVID-19 is spreading within your community, place ample distance between yourself and others. This action is of vital importance for people who are in a high-risk category, including older adults and anyone who has any serious underlying medical conditions.
If you’re ill, stay home.
People who have mild symptoms with COVID-19 can recover at home – you should not leave home except to get medical care. Do not visit any areas open to the public. If symptoms worsen or you feel there is an emergency, seek care. Be sure to stay in communication with your doctor and call ahead before heading out for medical care. Avoid using public transportation, including ride-sharing alternatives.
Cover your mouth and nose if you cough or sneeze.
If you are coughing or sneezing, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or cough/sneeze into your elbow. Be sure to discard any used tissues directly into a trash bin. Then, immediately wash your hands. Remember, wash thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer that contains 60% alcohol at minimum.
If you’re sick, wear a facemask.
If you are sick, be sure to wear a facemask when you are around anyone else – this includes anyone you may be sharing a room or vehicle with. If a facemask makes breathing difficult and you are unable to wear one, then refer to the previous tip and cover your nose and mouth if you cough or sneeze. If someone is caring for you, they should also wear a facemask. However, if you are not sick and not caring for someone who is, you do not need a facemask. Since these are in short supply, they should be reserved for caregivers.
Clean and disinfect regularly.
Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected daily. Address surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, tables, toilets, faucets, and phones. You can disinfect with any EPA-registered household disinfectants; however, if you have run out, you can dilute household bleach with water or use alcohol solutions that contain 70% or more alcohol.
By following these simple guidelines to protect yourself and your family, you can also have a broader impact by protecting members of your community. This is especially important as we all work to be mindful and protect those members of our communities who are in the high-risk category. Share this information with friends and family to keep everyone you love in the know.
Disclaimer: At the time this article was written, all information listed is true and correct. However, the tips listed above are not medical advice.
To obtain the latest information on protecting yourself and your loved ones, refer to the CDC prevention guidelines here.