How to protect yourself from the coronavirus
Know How it Spreads
- There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
- The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
- The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Take steps to protect yourself
Clean your hands often
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
Take steps to protect others
Keeping the home safe
Encourage your family members to…
➲ Clean hands at the door and at regular intervals
➲ Create habits and reminders to avoid touching their face and cover coughs and sneezes
➲ Disinfect surfaces like doorknobs, tables, and handrails regularly
➲ Increase ventilation by opening windows or adjusting air conditioning
Cover coughs and sneezes
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Throw used tissues in the trash.
- Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Wear a facemask if you are sick
If you are sick:
You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room. Learn what to do if you are sick.
If you are NOT sick:
You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.
Clean and disinfect
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
- If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Use disinfectants appropriate for the surface.
- 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water
- 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
Alcohol sanitizer solutions:
What you’ll need:
- 3/4 cup of isopropyl or rubbing alcohol (99 percent)
- 1/4 cup of aloe vera gel (to help keep your hands smooth and to counteract the harshness of alcohol)
- 10 drops of essential oil, such as lavender oil, or you can use lemon juice instead
- Pour all ingredients into a bowl, ideally one with a pouring spout like a glass measuring container.
- Mix with a spoon and then beat with a whisk to turn the sanitizer into a gel.
- Pour the ingredients into an empty bottle for easy use, and label it “hand sanitizer.”
The bottom line
Hand sanitizer is a handy on-the-go way to help prevent the spread of germs when soap and water isn’t available. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can help keep you safe and reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.
If you are having a hard time finding hand sanitizer at your local stores and handwashing isn’t available, you can take steps to make your own. You only need a few ingredients, such as rubbing alcohol, aloe vera gel, and an essential oil or lemon juice.
Although hand sanitizers can be an effective way of getting rid of germs, health authorities still recommend hand washing whenever possible to keep your hands free of disease-causing viruses and other germs.