How to Protect Yourself and Your Family from Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

What can I do to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

There is no vaccine for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) yet. The best prevention is to have no contact with the virus. The CDC advises that people should not travel to areas with COVID-19 outbreaks right now for any reason that is not urgent. Visit the CDC website for the most current travel advisories.

Prepare and protect yourself from COVID-19

  • Wash your hands often with soap and clean, running water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If you don’t have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer often. Make sure it has at least 60% alcohol.
  • Don't touch your eyes, nose, or mouth unless you have clean hands.
  • As much as possible, don't touch "high-touch" public surfaces such as doorknobs and handles, cabinet handles, and light switches. Don't shake hands.
  • Clean home and work surfaces often with disinfectant. This includes desk surfaces, printers, phones, kitchen counters, tables, fridge door handle, bathroom surfaces, and any soiled surface. Closely follow disinfectant label instructions. See the CDC’s cleaning website for detailed instructions.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue into the trash. If you don't have tissues, cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow.
  • The CDC advises wearing a cloth face mask in public. During a public health emergency, medical face masks may be reserved for healthcare workers. You may need to make a cloth face mask of your own. You can do this using a bandana, T-shirt, or other fabric. The CDC has instructions on how to make a mask. Wear the mask so that it covers both your nose and mouth.
  • Stay away from people who are sick.
  • Stay informed about COVID-19 in your area. Follow local instructions about being in public. Be aware of events in your community that may be postponed or canceled, such as school and sporting events. You may be advised not to attend public gatherings and to stay about 6 feet from others as much as possible. This is called "social distancing."
  • Check your home supplies. Consider keeping a 2-week supply of medicines, food, and other needed household items.
  • Make a plan for childcare, work, and ways to stay in touch with others. Know who will help you if you get sick.
  • Experts don't know if animals spread SARS-CoV-2. But it's always a good idea to wash your hands after touching any animals. Don't touch animals that may be sick.
  • Don’t share eating or drinking utensils with sick people.
  • Don’t kiss someone who is sick.

What to do if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19

  • Call your healthcare provider. He or she can talk with you about what to do next. Your activities and where you go may be restricted for up to 2 weeks.
  • Follow all instructions from your provider.
  • Take your temperature every morning and evening for at least 14 days. This is to check for fever. Keep a record of the readings.
  • Contact your work supervisor if you are well but live in the same home with someone who has COVID-19.
  • Keep watch for symptoms of the virus. Tell your provider right away if you have symptoms.
  • Stay home if you are sick for any reason.

What to do if you are sick with COVID-19 symptoms

  • Stay home. Call your healthcare provider and tell them you have symptoms of COVID-19. Do this before going to any hospital or clinic. Follow your provider's instructions. You may be advised to isolate yourself at home. This is called self-isolation or self-quarantine.
  • Don’t panic. Keep in mind that other illnesses can cause similar symptoms.
  • Stay away from work, school, and public places. Limit physical contact with family members and pets. Don't kiss anyone or share eating or drinking utensils. Clean surfaces you touch with disinfectant. This is to help prevent the virus from spreading.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue into the trash. If you don't have tissues, cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow.
  • Wear a face mask. This is to protect other people from your germs. If you are not able to wear a mask, your caregivers should when you are in the same room with them. Wear the mask so that it covers both the nose and mouth.
  • If you need to go in to a hospital or clinic, expect that the healthcare staff will wear protective equipment such as masks, gowns, gloves, and eye protection. You may be put in a separate room. This is to prevent the possible virus from spreading.
  • Tell the healthcare staff about recent travel. This includes local travel on public transport. Staff may need to find other people you have been in contact with.
  • Follow all instructions the healthcare staff give you.


Next Steps

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