Coronavirus is at the top of all of our minds right now, and for good reason. With over a million confirmed cases worldwide and a quarter of a million confirmed cases in the United States, the COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything most of us have experienced in our lifetimes. But what’s the best way to protect yourself from coronavirus infection? In this article, we run down five tips for staying safe during this pandemic.
The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus infection is staying at home. By staying home – away from other people – you reduce your risk of exposure to COVID-19, which can live on some surfaces for up to three days and in the air for up to three hours.
The latest research demonstrates that coronavirus can be transmitted from person to person through the air – not just through a cough or sneeze. It’s important to limit your contact with other people by staying home as much as possible.
Keep a 6-foot distance
When you do go out on essential errands, keep at least six feet away from other people. Social distancing reduces the risk of picking up coronavirus from someone else – or passing it on to someone else if you’re infected but asymptomatic.
You should also keep a six-foot distance from anyone who comes to your door, such as a delivery person. If possible, have deliveries left on your doorstep and pay and tip online whenever possible.
Social distancing applies within your family, too. Maintain a six-foot distance from other people in your household, and adhere to shelter-in-place advisories and orders (that means no family gatherings).
Wash your hands
Frequent, thorough hand washing is imperative to preventing coronavirus infection, even if you haven’t left the house in days or weeks. Because some people infected with coronavirus experience extremely mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, it’s important for all members of your household to behave as if they have coronavirus.
Here’s a refresher on proper handwashing technique:
Scrub your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Make sure you scrub the front and back of your hands, between your fingers, and underneath rings and fingernails. Then rinse with clean, running water. Use a paper towel to turn off the top before drying your hands with a clean towel.
Disinfect everything you touch
Disinfect everything you touch – including door handles, light switches, phones, keys, keyboards, remotes, countertops, etc. Use EPA-approved disinfectants such as Clorox disinfecting wipes and certain Lysol sprays, leaving surfaces wet for 3-5 minutes before wiping dry.
Anything that comes in from outside your home should be disinfected in a designated sanitizing station. This includes packaged food, takeout boxes, and produce. Though it’s difficult to disinfect mail, you can handle it carefully, washing your hands after touching it and leaving it in a designated area.
If someone in your household gets sick…
If someone in your home has COVID-19, isolate them in a room and designate a separate bathroom for them to use if possible. Ask them to wear a face mask if they have one, and avoid sharing items with them. It’s also a good idea to consult your doctor about further steps you may need to take.
For mild cases, a trip to the doctor’s office or hospital is unnecessary and could be dangerous. If you’re concerned about symptoms of coronavirus, call your doctor.