Updated: Jan 24, 2021
Even if you do live under a rock, you've heard of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a new coronavirus that had not been identified until recently when it appeared in Wuhan China in 2019. This new virus has taken the entire world by storm, infecting millions and taking hundreds of thousands of lives. Entire countries have locked down, travel to high risk areas are banned, and the worldwide recommendation is to stay home. You may be wondering how you can protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19 and other diseases like it. There is a lot of information floating around on the internet and in the news, but the answers are simple.
1. Know how the virus spreads
COVID-19 is thought to spread from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or talks. This is why the CDC recommends people keep a 6 foot distance between each other.
2. Limit contact with others
Because the virus is thought to spread person to person, it is best to keep a safe distance of 6 feet or more from others, especially people who are known to have tested positive for the virus. Also keep a distance from individuals who have had contact with people that have confirmed cases of COVID-19.
3. Stay home (if possible)
If you do not have to leave home for something essential, just stay home. It's hard to get COVID-19 if you are not in contact with the source of the virus (i.e. people). Many states and entire countries have issued orders for people to stay at home, unless they have an essential job or need an essential item. If you can, work from home.
If you are one of the many workers who are essential, such as medical personnel or grocery workers, be sure to disinfect any commonly touched surfaces in your workspace and at home. Counters, desks, keyboards, cash registers, all of it. If it is touched by hands, wipe it down. If you are not an essential worker, still disinfect the commonly touched surfaces in your home.
5. Wash hands often
This is basically common sense and hopefully common practice. Regardless, make sure you wash your hands as often as possible, especially after coming in contact with public surfaces or other people. Be sure to wash for at least 20 seconds. You can also use hand sanitizer, but washing your hands with soap is the best course of action.
6. Cover your mouth
It is important to remember that when infected individuals cough, sneeze, or talk, their respiratory droplets carry the virus to whatever they land on. As gross as this sounds, it does include your mouth and nose. The CDC recommends wearing a cloth around your mouth and nose when out in public for essentials, like prescriptions or groceries. Even if you are wearing a cloth mask, still maintain a safe distance from others. It is not recommended to wear the same type of masks worn by medical professionals.
Remember that even if you do not feel sick, you can still carry and spread the virus to others. Always follow these guidelines regardless of how you feel to protect your family, friends, and neighbors. For any specific questions on COVID-19, more details on specific diseases, or information about COVID-19 cases, check the CDC website.
By: Better Me by Dr. B
Editor: Ariel Thompson
Medical Reviewer: Dr. Tiffany Bell D.O.