As COVID-19 continues to dominate the headlines, it is important to take steps to protect yourself and your family. The following tips, compiled from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will help you safely participate in daily activities like going to the grocery store, visiting restaurants, traveling and returning to school.
The best way to protect yourself and your family from the COVID-19 virus is by learning about the virus and by adhering to the following safety precautions, recommended by the CDC.
- Know how the virus spreads. According to the CDC, the virus is spread between people who are in close contact with one another (within six feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. Studies show that COVID-19 can be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
- Avoid exposure. Maintain a distance of six feet between yourself and people who do not live in your household. Wear a cloth face covering. Avoid large events and mass gatherings. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Practice good hygiene. Regularly wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Hand washing is especially important after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze and then wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.
- Wear a face covering. Cloth face coverings are meant to protect other people in case you are infected (studies show that you can spread COVID-19 without showing symptoms). Everyone should wear a face covering in public settings, especially when social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on anyone younger than 2 years old, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.(Do NOT use a face mask meant for a healthcare worker, as those types of masks are in short supply.)
- Clean and disinfect. Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected daily. Common surfaces include tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks. Here is a list of household disinfectants registered with the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Watch for symptoms. Be alert for symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, cough and shortness of breath. Take your temperature if symptoms develop. Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop. If you feel sick do not visit public areas unless you are getting medical care.
Curious about traveling?
Traveling increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. The CDC urges anyone thinking about traveling to consider the following.
- Is COVID-19 spreading where you’re going? Visiting a hotspot could increase your chances of getting the virus.
- Is COVID-19 spreading in your community? Even if you don’t have symptoms, you could spread COVID-19 to others while traveling. Traveling to visit family may be especially dangerous if you or your loved ones are more likely to get very ill from COVID-19.
- Will you be able to maintain a distance of six feet from others while traveling?
- Does the state or local government where you live or at your destination require you to stay home for 14 days after traveling? For up-to-date information and travel guidance, check the state or local health department where you are, along your route, and at your planned destination.
- Do not travel if you are sick, or if you have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
What are the experts doing?
The Washington Post recently asked six public health/infectious diseases specialists about their own behavior choices. Click here to learn what the experts are doing in regards to wearing masks, social distancing and other safety precautions.
While the COVID-19 virus can seem scary, there are simple things you and your family can do to help reduce the spread: wear a mask in public, stay at least 6 feet away from others and wash your hands often.