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Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has quickly become a global health concern. As cases in the United States are increasingly being reported, we want to help you find the most accurate information to ease your concerns and feel confident in protecting yourself.
In approaching this evolving outbreak, one thing remains certain: It’s important to be informed and proactive, but not anxious or overly alarmed. While there is no vaccine to prevent coronavirus at this time, there are some easy things you can do to help protect yourself from many respiratory diseases, including coronavirus.
We’ve included the most important prevention strategies in these top ten things to know about COVID-19 to date.
Feel Empowered, Not Fearful
When you feel empowered, you channel your mind and energy into positive actions. So, while we understand that the news surrounding of coronavirus may seem overwhelming at times, take a deep breath and focus on what you can control, such as the everyday prevention strategies below.
Wash Your Hands
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends frequent hand-washing as the best thing you can do to help prevent coronavirus. Hand-washing not only protects you; it can help slow down transmission of COVID-19 and other illnesses to others.
The CDC recommends frequently washing your hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and water. Pay particular attention to washing your hands in these cases:
- After using the restroom
- If your hands are visibly dirty
- Before you eat
- After you blow your nose, sneeze or cough
If you need a quick refresher on how to wash your hands most effectively, the CDC has developed these useful hand-washing instructions and resources.
Use Hand Sanitizer
If you don’t have immediate access to soap and water, you should use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Keep hand sanitizer with you at work, in your car and in other convenient places where you can use it throughout your day.
Know the Symptoms of Coronavirus and What to Do If You Have Them
One of the challenging things about quickly identifying coronavirus is that its symptoms are similar to other common respiratory illnesses.
The main coronavirus symptoms are:
- Shortness of breath
The CDC recommends calling your doctor’s office immediately only if you have these symptoms and have been knowingly in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus, or if you’ve recently traveled to an area that’s had ongoing cases of the disease.
If you are concerned that you may have coronavirus, be sure to call your doctor’s office and report your symptoms, as well as any travel history or known exposures first. Then, follow your doctor’s office’s instructions on how to proceed from there. Your doctor’s office will advise you on your next steps to receive the most appropriate care.
Be Honest with Your Doctor
If you do seek medical care with concerns about coronavirus, it’s important to share every detail about your possible exposures and symptoms. This will help your medical team offer you the best, most effective care as well as protect others.
Rely on Accurate Sources of Information About COVID-19
Rely only on accurate sources of news and information about coronavirus. For your health and safety, avoid the rumor mill and follow recommendations that are distributed by local, state and federal governments and health agencies.
You can check the CDC’s website for coronavirus updates.
Avoid Touching Your Face, Nose and Mouth
Even if you've just washed your hands, avoid putting your hands near your face, nose and mouth. Since these are the common places that coronavirus and other harmful pathogens enter your body, you can help prevent them by getting into this healthy habit.
Cover Your Cough and Sneeze
If you have a cough or need to sneeze, be sure to cover your mouth and nose and then wash your hands. Carry around tissues if needed to cover your sneeze and cough and dispose of them in a garbage can immediately.
If you don’t have tissues available, you can cough or sneeze into the crease of your arm near your elbow. This will help prevent droplets from entering the air around you.
Gather Your Home Medical Supplies
Remember, it’s still cold and flu season, so if you do become ill with any respiratory virus or illness, stay home to recover and stock up on your over-the-counter remedies and supplies.
Wearing a Mask is Not Recommended for Prevention at This Time
The CDC doesn’t recommend that healthy individuals wear face masks for protection against coronavirus at this time. Masks are only recommended for those with symptoms of coronavirus and for healthcare workers or caregivers caring for those who have been diagnosed with the virus or have been exposed.
As your partner in whole health, we will continue to provide important information on coronavirus to help guide you through this time with assurance, support and compassion.