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CORONAVIRUS: How to Protect Yourself from Coronavirus

As coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S. and around the world, many of us are concerned about how to protect ourselves and our families from getting sick.

Here are some tips to help avoid contracting coronavirus:

  • Wash your hands. Frequent handwashing is one of the most effective ways to avoid getting coronavirus, or illnesses such as colds and flu. During the SARS epidemic, handwashing was shown to reduce the risk of transmission by 30-50%. Using soap and water is the best way to keep hands germ-free. Lather up and wash hands for at least 20 seconds, or about the time it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song twice. Then rinse hands well with clean running water and dry. If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, although this is not as effective as hand-washing. 
  • Keep hands away from your face. Your hands touch many surfaces all day long and even if you wash them often, you can still wind up with viruses and bacteria on your hands. When you touch your mouth, nose or eyes, it makes it easier for the germs on your hands to enter your body and make you sick.
  • Avoid sick people. COVID-19 spreads by coming in contact with respiratory droplets of an infected person. Droplets from a cough or sneeze can travel up to six feet away. If you see anyone coughing or with other visible signs of illness (whether you suspect coronavirus or not), stay as far away as you can.
  • Stay home if you're sick. If you are ill, whether you suspect coronavirus or not is to blame, stay home. The best way to avoid spreading illness is to stay away from others if you are sick.
  • Have a plan. To help ease your anxiety, be prepared for quarantines or other disruptions. Make sure that you have water, nonperishable food, household and pet supplies, as well as medications. Make plans for how you'll care for children home from school or older parents that are most at risk.
  • Don't panic. It's important to stay vigilant and pay attention to trusted information about coronavirus, but do not panic. Learn more from Maury Regional Health about COVID-19 here.


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Date Last Reviewed: March 16, 2020
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD
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