How to Protect Yourself and Family from Coronavirus

UVA Health employee cleaning chairs during coronavirus outbreak
During the SARS epidemic, hand-washing and disinfecting shown to reduce the risk of transmission by 30-50%.

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the U.S. and around the world, many Americans are concerned about what they can do. These tips can help protect yourself and your family from getting sick from the coronavirus.

Avoid Contracting Coronavirus

Wash your hands

Frequent hand washing is one of the most effective ways to avoid getting coronavirus, or illnesses such as colds and flu.

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 your hands away from your face

Your hands touch many surfaces all day long.  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.

Do You or a Loved One Have Symptoms?

Having symptoms? Call your primary care provider. If you don’t have one, find one near you.

If your symptoms are severe, call this number before coming to the emergency department: 434.98.COVID (982-6843).

Think you have COVID-19? Check your symptoms.

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 and protect yourself from the coronavirus 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.

Stock up on water, nonperishable food, household and pet supplies, as well as medications. But don’t stockpile more than you need – remember that everyone needs to wash their hands to avoid spreading the illness, not just you.

Make plans for how you’ll care for children home from school or older parents that are most at risk.

UVA Health’s Response

See how UVA is addressing coronavirus.

Don’t get caught up in the hype

It’s important to stay vigilant and pay attention to trusted information about coronavirus, but it’s not time to panic.

Also, keep in mind that most people who get coronavirus do not die. And it’s much more likely that you’ll get the flu than coronavirus – millions of people get the flu each year.

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