Distance Yourself from Others
"Social distancing" is one of the most effective strategies you can use to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Social distancing means avoiding crowded places and keeping a distance of at least 6 feet between yourself and others.
Other examples of social distancing are:
- Working from home instead of at the office
- Closing schools or switching to online classes
- Visiting loved ones by electronic devices instead of in person
- Cancelling or postponing conferences and large meetings
With COVID-19, the goal of social distancing is to slow down the spread of the disease in order to reduce the chance of infection among high-risk populations and to reduce the burden on health-care systems and workers. Now is not the time for hugs and handshakes.
History indicates that these measures work. A 2007 study found that, during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, cities that used several interventions at an early phase of the pandemic—like closing schools and banning public gatherings—had significantly lower death rates.
Practice Good Personal Hygiene
Everyday precautions that can help prevent the spread of flu and other germs are also effective against the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing;
- If soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol;
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth;
- Stay home when you’re sick;
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and then throw the tissue in the trash; and
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated. EPA-Approved Disinfectants
Use Appropriate Face Coverings
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that the general public wear cloth face coverings – not surgical masks or N-95 respirators – in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (like grocery stores and pharmacies).
But the CDC warns that face coverings should not give anyone a false sense of security! Social distancing and hand washing are still very important protective measures and should be continued.
You can use bandanas or scarves to cover your face. If you want to make a homemade face mask, there are lots of patterns and instructions out there. Here are 2 that are recommended by reliable sources:
Surgical masks and N-95 respirators should be reserved for people who show symptoms of COVID-19 and for health workers and others who are taking care of patients at home. People who are in direct contact with people who are infected must change their masks repeatedly.
Here's where to get face coverings