As more cases of coronavirus, or COVID-19, surface in the United States, health experts recommend focusing on prevention and planning to minimize its impact. Follow these tips to help stop the spread of germs.
Wash your hands. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. When and How to Wash Your Hands (CDC)
Cover your mouth. Use your inner elbow to cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing.
Keep your distance. Maintain at least three feet distance between you and anyone who is coughing or sneezing to avoid breathing in droplets that may contain coronavirus or other illnesses.
Avoid touching your face. Your hands touch many surfaces throughout the day. They can pick up viruses that then enter your body through your eyes, nose, or mouth.
If you need to travel, avoid close contact with people who have a fever or cough and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Frequently wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.
Clean and disinfect. At work and home, clean surfaces that are touched often, such as door handles, light switches, chair rails, desks, phones, and keyboards. Use a disinfectant to kill germs. Consider keeping disposable wipes in your vehicle and at work so you can easily wipe down commonly used surfaces.
Stay home. If you aren’t feeling well, stay home from work, school, and running errands. Get plenty of rest and fluids. Don’t go back to work until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours. This will help you get better more quickly—and prevent spreading your illness to others.
Consider your personal health profile. If you have a fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing, consult a doctor or seek medical care as soon as possible. Call in advance so your health care provider can direct you to the right health facility.
If you become sick while traveling, inform the flight crew if you’re flying and seek medical care early. Share your travel history with the health care provider.
Separate sick family members. Choose a room in your home where sick family members can stay separated from those who are healthy. Avoid sharing personal items and designate a separate bathroom, if possible. Plan to thoroughly clean and disinfect these rooms once your family member is healthy.
You probably don’t need a facemask. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who are well don’t need to wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including coronavirus. Facemasks should be worn by health workers, caregivers, and people who show symptoms of coronavirus to prevent spreading the disease to others.
Beware of Scams
Cybercriminals are attempting to take advantage of fears over the coronavirus by sending phishing emails using the World Health Organization’s (WHO) name and image. The WHO reported this week that emails appearing to be from the organization ask the recipient to provide confidential information, such as usernames or passwords, click a malicious link, or open an attachment.
These emails are not from the WHO, which will never ask you to login to view safety information, ask for money, or email attachments you didn’t request.
To verify the legitimacy of communications from the WHO, contact the organization directly.
Misinformation can spread quickly, so be sure to get updates from reliable health experts, such as the CDC and WHO.