Coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19, is a respiratory illness that spreads from person to person. It’s caused by a new virus that was first detected in China and has now been detected around the world, including the United States.
The World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other public health authorities are still learning about this virus and are working hard to control its spread and make sure our communities are prepared.
You can help protect yourself and those around you from getting and spreading respiratory illnesses like COVID-19 by taking some simple precautions. The video below and the steps listed under it highlight some of these measures.
Here are seven precautions to help protect yourself against the coronavirus:
1. One of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs is to wash your hands often. Make sure to scrub with soap for at least 20 seconds.
If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Handwashing isn’t the only preventive measure you should take to reduce the spread of germs. It’s also important to:
2. Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and keep at least 6 feet between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
4. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into a bent elbow instead. Never cough or sneeze into your hands or into the air.
5. Clean frequently touched objects and surfaces daily, such as tables, countertops, doorknobs, light switches, and cabinet handles, with household cleaners and disinfectants.
6. Stay home if you’re sick. If you have a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care but be sure to call in advance. Your medical provider will be able to direct you to the appropriate facility in your area.
7. Lastly, follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a face mask. Face masks are not recommended for use by the general public. Rather, face masks should be worn by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent spreading the disease to others. Face masks should also be worn by people taking care of someone with COVID-19, such as loved ones or healthcare workers.
While there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, staying up to date on your other vaccinations can help you stay healthy and protected against other respiratory infections, such as seasonal flu or pneumonia. If you haven’t already, ask your healthcare provider about which vaccinations are recommended for you.
If you have any questions about how to best protect yourself against respiratory illnesses like COVID-19, talk to your healthcare provider.
MedBridge has worked with Shelley Bhola, RN-BC, BSN, MSN, PHN, Infection Prevention Specialist, to put together resources for facilities and providers to use for education and preparation during the coronavirus outbreak:
- Community Preparedness Guidelines for COVID-19 – Article
- Checklist for Inpatient Communities During the COVID-19 Outbreak – Article & Downloadable Flyer
- COVID-19 Facility Policy – Downloadable Flyer
- A Healthcare Provider’s Guide to Staying Healthy Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic – Article
- Free Patient Education Videos: How to Protect Yourself Against the Coronavirus [currently viewing], and 5 Handwashing Steps You Should Follow