How do I prevent and prepare for COVID-19?
Public health is everyone’s responsibility. The best way to prevent disease and illness is to practice good public health mitigation measures, including:
Cover coughs and sneezes
COVID-19 spreads when an infected person breathes or coughs, expelling respiratory droplets that contain particles of the virus. Other people can breathe or come into contact with these droplets and become infected.
With this method of transmission, it is important to cover coughs and sneezes that can transmit the virus over long distances. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, throw used tissues in the trash, and use your sleeve or the inside of your elbow when a tissue is not available.
Good respiratory hygiene can protect those around you from airborne illnesses like COVID-19, influenza (flu), and the common cold.
COVID-19 is an airborne illness that spreads when a healthy person comes into contact with the respiratory droplets of an infected person. Improving ventilation (airflow) can slow the spread of COVID-19 by preventing virus particles from collecting in your home.
Use the following methods to improve ventilation and clear virus particles:
- Bring fresh air into your home by opening windows and doors – be mindful of risks such as the presence of young children, outdoor pollution, and allergens.
- Filter the air in your home.
- Set the HVAC fan to “on” rather than “auto.”
- Use properly fitting pleated filters rather than furnace filters.
- Change your filter every three months or according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Have your ventilation system professionally inspected each year.
- For extra protection, use a portable high-efficiency particulate air cleaner with a Clean Air Delivery Rate that meets or exceeds the square footage of the room where it will be used.
- Use standing and ceiling fans to improve airflow – when used in proximity of an open window, fans can help expel virus particles from your home.
Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds to help stop the spread of germs. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Make sure to wash your hands after coughing or sneezing, and before and after visiting sick people.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Studies have shown that, on average, people touch their face between 15-23 times an hour. Your hands may touch infected surfaces and become contaminated with disease-causing bacteria.
Maintain a hygienic environment by cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces, including tables, doorknobs, countertops, handles, and phones using a household cleaner that contains soap or detergent. To disinfect your home, use a disinfectant from EPA List N or a bleach solution.
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms.
People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
This list does not include all possible symptoms. Read about COVID-19 symptoms.