The best way to protect yourself, your family, and your community is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Learn what does and not work as coronavirus prevention.
Basic Coronavirus Prevention: What Works
Soap and Water
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with soap and water for 20-40 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer kills viruses that may be on your hands. Additionally, it is one of the most important steps you can take for coronavirus prevention to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to those around you. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Clean and Disinfect
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily for coronavirus prevention. This includes doorknobs, light switches, counters, tables, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and others. Use soap and water or cleaners appropriate for use on these surfaces. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the cleaning product.
COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. For this reason, maintain at least 6 feet distance between yourself and others if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick. When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
Stay at home as much as possible. If you are sick, do not leave your home except to get medical care and call your doctor for medical advice prior to coming in. Do not visit public areas or use public transportation. Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and are able to recover at home without medical care. Be sure to get immediate medical care if you have trouble breathing, or have any other emergency warning signs, or if you think it is an emergency.
Coronavirus Prevention: What Doesn’t Work
The Hold Your Breath Test
Contrary to popular belief, being able to hold your breath for 10 seconds or more without coughing or feeling discomfort does not necessary indicate that you don’t have COVID-19. Or any other lung disease for that matter. The best way to confirm if you have the virus is with a coronavirus test. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are dry cough, tiredness and fever.
Exposing Yourself to Hot or Cold Temperature
Another popular myth is that exposing yourself to the sun or to high temperatures such as a hot bath or shower works as coronavirus prevention. This is not the case. You can catch COVID-19, no matter how sunny or hot the weather is. This is because evidence so far shows the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in all areas, including areas with hot and humid weather. In fact, countries with hot weather have reported cases of COVID-19. Similarly, there is no evidence that shows cold weather and snow can kill the virus. Therefore, it should not be seen as a method of coronavirus prevention.
Drinking alcohol does not protect you against COVID-19. In fact, frequent or excessive alcohol consumption can increase your risk of health problems.
There Are Currently No Vaccines For Coronavirus Prevention
Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not work as coronavirus protection. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. This is because COVID-19 is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Although these vaccines such as the flu shot are not effective against COVID-19, routine vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly recommended to protect your health.
Additional Strategies to Stay Healthy
Get Plenty of Sleep
A sufficient amount of good-quality sleep helps to keep your body and mind healthy. Sufficient sleep supports the immune system, which reduces the risk of infection and can improve outcomes for people fighting a virus. Sleep can also improve your mood and keep your mind sharp. On the other hand, sleep deprivation weakens the body’s defense system and makes people more vulnerable to contracting a virus. While you should always prioritize getting a good night’s sleep, it could be especially important to fight off the virus if you do get sick despite steps taken for coronavirus prevention.
The scientific evidence is clear—your body needs adequate vitamins and minerals to maintain your immune defenses against a wide variety of infections, including COVID-19. Eating a diet of fresh, whole foods in reasonable amounts is the best way to get your daily dose of vitamins, including the healthy antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables. Currently there is no evidence of food, food containers, or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19. Like other viruses, it is possible that the virus that causes COVID-19 can survive on surfaces or objects. For that reason, you can follow the 4 key steps of food safety—clean, separate, cook, and chill to help in coronavirus prevention. You should also wash your hands after handling food packaging, after removing food from the packaging, before you prepare food for eating and before you eat.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are staying home and restricted in our movements. This makes it even more important for people of all ages to stay active. WHO recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week for adults, or a combination of both. Older adults with poor mobility should do physical activity to enhance balance and prevent falls on 3 or more days per week. The guidance is intended for people in self-quarantine without any symptoms or diagnosis of acute respiratory illness. It should not replace medical guidance in case of any health condition.
It’s important to our health, well-being and stress levels that we don’t confuse the necessary social distancing with social isolation. Now, more than ever, people need to find smart ways to stay connected and engaged. There are many ways in which you can keep up connections with your friends and family without leaving your home. Continue to connect by text, email, or phone call. Find entertaining ways to stay in touch with group video calls or video games. Sign up for an online class or learn a new skill with a partner. You can even start an online book club. There are many creative ways to stay social.
The COVID-19 outbreak has the potential to increase stress and anxiety, both because of the fear of catching the virus and because of uncertainty about how the outbreak will affect us socially and economically. There are steps you can take to manage stress which can improve your health, quality of life, and well-being. While circumstances may be stressful and beyond your control, you can try to offset them with positive calming activities. Practice slow, steady breathing and muscle relaxation, as well as any other actions that are calming for you such as yoga, exercise, and music or dancing.
Coronavirus Prevention: Talk to Your Doctor for More Information
For more information on what works and what doesn’t for coronavirus prevention, call your doctor. In this 4 part guide of coronavirus tips, we compile the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and best practices to protect yourself from top health experts including physicians, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO).