Dos and Don’ts for Everyone
DO wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, several times a day. Use soap and water or a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol:
Before cooking or eating
After using the bathroom
After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezingDON’T wear a mask unless you’re sick. Masks help protect others from catching the virus, but wearing one when you’re healthy won’t do much. Demand has been so high worldwide that shortages have begun. Leave the masks for people who really need them, like the sick or health care professionals.
DO consider taking extra precautions and staying out of public places if you’re over 60 years old, or have a condition, as you have a higher risk of developing the disease. Note that as of now, the highest-risk groups appear to be seniors and people with preexisting conditions like heart disease, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes.
DON’T travel if you have a fever. If you get sick on flight, tell crew immediately. When you get home, contact a health professional.
DO reconsider travel to affected countries. Currently, the CDC advises against all nonessential travel to China and South Korea. For people in a higher-risk group — seniors and people with preexisting conditions — the agency suggests postponing nonessential travel to Italy, Japan, and Iran as well. Find the latest advisories here.
DON’T panic. At this point, public health officials still say the risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 is low. Taking proper precautions — wash your hands! — and making prepartions are the best things you can.
DO: Prepare by making sure you have supplies at home in case someone gets sick and needs to be quarantined. This would include prescription medications for anyone in the family, other health supplies such as over-the-counter pain relievers, and disinfectants to clean household surfaces. Studies suggest that coronaviruses can live on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. Clean them regularly with a disinfectant to kill the virus.
While COVID-19 has not yet been declared a pandemic, a government web site also suggests keeping a 2-week supply of food and water in the case of a pandemic and having copies of electronic health records.
Dos and Don’ts When You Don’t Feel Well
DO seek help early if you have a fever, cough, and a hard time breathing. But don’t just drop into the nearest urgent care clinic. Call your doctor to find out the protocol first, to make sure you won’t spread the disease to others.