Protecting yourself from COVID-19
The most important strategies you can employ to protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19 is to prepare and not panic. While staying up to date on global and national cases is useful, knowing how your local community and hospitals are planning for travel-related cases and sustained transmissions will be more relevant to your immediate situation. You should also listen to updates and advice from local health authorities and federal agencies such as the CDC.
The same rules of hygiene that you are recommended to follow to prevent influenza are also effective in resisting COVID-19. Specifically:
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. You should make a point to wash your hands after using the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing or sneezing. The rule of thumb is that you should be able to sing “Happy Birthday to You” twice while washing your hands. (Still not sure you are doing it right? Check out this video on CNN.)
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Follow the one-meter rule; if a person shows symptoms of respiratory illness, try to keep at least one meter away.
- Additional guidelines can be found on CDC’s website.
In places where COVID-19 has spread, individuals should consider limiting non-essential social interactions. Since the virus seems to have higher mortality in the senior population, planning for how to take care of them if they get sick, and practicing social distancing behaviors, such as telecommuting and avoiding close contact, are good strategies.
Be careful to avoid acting on rumors or spreading them. Misinformation and disinformation campaigns about COVID-19 are prevalent on social media right now. To avoid spreading misinformation and panic, you should identify and follow trusted non-partisan sources (including public health department websites) where you can get information on the current situation and preparedness efforts.