Preventing Infection

7 tips from the CDC

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 spreads primarily person-to-person from respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks or breathes.  There currently is no vaccine and the best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued international guidelines for staying healthy during COVID.  Go to read their Prevention Tips and Info on Staying Healthy, which in include the following:

Know the enemy.

Understanding how COVID-19 spreads is the most important first step to defending against infection. It spreads through close contact (within 6 feet), via respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings or talks.  Not all infected people show symptoms, and can still spread the virus without them.  See our articles About the Virus for more details.

Wash your hands often.

Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds after being in public, blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.  If no soap, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.  Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, especially the eyes, nose and mouth.

It’s especially important to wash your hands…

  • Before eating or preparing food
  • Before touching your face
  • After using the restroom
  • After leaving a public place
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • After handling your mask
  • After changing a diaper
  • After caring for someone who is sick
  • After touching animals or pets

Tired of “happy birthday?” Make your own 20 second hand washing routine

Avoid close contact.

Maintain a distance of 6 feet (2 arm lengths) from other people outside the household, and especially avoid contact with those who are ill (even at home).  Remember that some people without symptoms may still be able to spread the virus.

Cover your mouth and nose.

A mask protects you and protects others from you.  Wear a cloth face covering that covers the mouth and nose whenever you go out in public and especially to stores or other indoor places.  But remember to still keep your distance.  The mask is not a substitute for social distancing.

Masks should not be placed on children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

Do not use masks meant for healthcare workers.  Currently, there remains a critical shortage of surgical masks and N95 respirators.  These supplies should be reserved for healthcare workers and first responders.

Check out this helpful article in the Wall Street Journal for guidelines on face coverings, and this one in the Seattle Times regarding masks while exercising.

Cover coughs and sneezes.

Help limit spread by covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, throwing tissues in the trash and immediately washing your hands.

Clean and disinfect regularly.

Use detergent or soap and water, followed by household disinfectant on dirty or frequently touched surfaces.  This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.  Here is a list of common EPA-registered household disinfectants.

Monitor your health.

Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath of other symptoms, especially after being in public settings or otherwise close proximity with others outside the home.  One notable and common symptom is the loss of taste and/or smell. Take your temperature if you suspect a fever or notice other symptoms.

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