As the coronavirus spreads through the United States and globally, people have more and more questions about how they can protect themselves and their families. While older adults and people with underlying health conditions are most at risk for complications from COVID-19, this is no small number.
Roughly 15 percent of America’s population is over 65, putting them in a high risk category. Additionally, an estimated 60 percent of all Americans have at least one chronic health condition, such as heart disease, cancer or diabetes. Chances are, you know someone who is at a higher risk for complications, whether it’s a friend, family member or yourself.
Below we share some of the best ways to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Information changes minute to minute, so for updated information, visit the World Health Organization or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Understand How it Spreads
Coronavirus is thought to mainly spread from person-to-person. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the droplets go into the air and can be inhaled by someone close by. This is why it’s recommended to stay 6 feet away from others to avoid close contact, such as when going to the grocery store or talking to a neighbor.
Take Steps to Prevent COVID-19
COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, and the best way to protect yourself is by not getting sick. Here are the most effective ways to prevent coronavirus:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Use hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available (must contain 60-95 percent alcohol)
- Avoid handshakes, high-fives and fist bumps
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Stay away from people who are sick
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
This webpage on the CDC site has great information on proper handwashing techniques and options for cleaning and disinfecting household surfaces.
Flattening the Curve: Why it Matters
You may have heard the term “flatten the curve” in the media. This is a very important strategy to follow.
In simple terms, flattening the curve means slowing down the spread of COVID-19. A flatter curve doesn’t necessarily mean that fewer people get sick. Instead, it means that not everyone is sick at the same time. This ensures there are more doctors, hospital beds and medical equipment for individuals when they are sick.
By taking proactive steps like avoiding social gatherings and limiting contact with other people, you are doing your part to flatten the curve. If you’re unsure of what social distancing entails, here is a great article that breaks down what you can and can’t do.
This is a scary time for our world. We encourage you to limit exposure to the media and focus on trustworthy, unbiased news sources like the CDC and WHO. If you feel sick and experience symptoms like cough, fever, sore throat or shortness of breath, contact your doctor right away and they will guide you on what to do next.
Date Reference: March 23, 2020