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

Please refer to this helpful information about COVID-19 symptoms, what to do if your child is exposed to COVID-19 and the difference between COVID-19 and the flu.

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

The best strategy to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 is to continue to follow the CDC’s recommended public health guidelines to help prevent transmission of COVID-19, including getting vaccinated if you are eligible (see the latest vaccine guidelines from the CDC), wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing, washing your hands frequently and avoiding crowds. Read more tips below.

As a COVID-19 vaccination provider, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) provides vaccinations according to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local departments of health. Read more about CHOP's COVID-19 Vaccine Program.

Guidance for vaccinated individuals

With the emergence of new variants as well as differences in local transmission rates, please refer to the CDC for the most up-to-date guidance for fully vaccinated individuals.

Prepare and protect yourself from COVID-19

Here are some more steps everyone can take to help stop the spread of COVID-19:

  • Take safety precautions according to the level of COVID-19 in your community. Find out your county’s COVID-19 level here
  • 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.
  • If someone in your home has tested positive for COVID-19, follow the CDC’s instructions for cleaning and disinfection.  
  • 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.
  • Where community COVID-19 level is high, the CDC advises wearing a face mask in public, regardless of vaccination status. Your mask should have at least two layers, should fit snugly against your face and should cover both your mouth and nose.
  • Stay away from people who are sick.
  • 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 or hug someone who is sick.

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

Regardless of vaccination status:

  • Wear a well-fitted mask for 10 days
  • Keep watch for symptoms of the virus. If symptoms develop, get tested and tell your provider right away.
  • Stay home if you are sick for any reason.

Follow CDC guidelines for more details about what to do if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19.

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. Follow your provider's instructions. You may be advised to isolate yourself at home. This is called self-isolation.
  • 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.
  • Follow all instructions the healthcare staff give you.

Next Steps
Contact Us
Coronavirus Helpline
Father and daughter sharing tablet screen

COVID-19 Resources for Parents

Get details about COVID-19 and resources to help with everything from care at home to testing, vaccines, mental health resources, and more.

Division of Infectious Diseases

The Division of Infectious Diseases offers consultation and diagnosis in the management of children with any type of infectious disease.

You Might Also Like
Father and daughter wearing masks

More Questions than Answers?

CHOP child life specialists offer helpful tips on talking with your child about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Young boy hugging parent's leg in exam room

What to Expect in our Network

If you receive care at a CHOP Primary Care, Specialty Care or Urgent Care location, please review this information for what to expect when you come for an appointment.

What Parents Need to Know about MIS-C

Learn about the newly discovered multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), including symptoms, causes, treatment and research at CHOP.