How to Protect Yourself

Older adults and people who have
severe underlying medical conditions

like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing
more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. More information on
Are you at higher risk for serious illness?

Know How it Spreads

  • There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus
    disease 2019 (COVID-19).
  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being
    exposed to this virus.
  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from

    • Between people who are in close contact with one
      another (within about 6 feet).
    • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected
      person coughs or sneezes.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of
    people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Take steps to protect yourself

Clean your hands often

  • Wash your hands
    often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you
    have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a
    hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
    . Cover all surfaces
    of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching
    your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact

Take steps to protect others

Stay home if you’re sick

Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the
    inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues
    in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water
    for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available,
    clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Wear a facemask if you are sick

  • If you are sick:
    You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing
    a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If
    you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes
    trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and
    sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they
    enter your room.
    Learn what to do if you are sick.
  • If you are NOT sick: You
    do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is
    sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short
    supply and they should be saved for caregivers.

Clean and disinfect

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
    This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles,
    desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

To disinfect:
Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Use disinfectants
appropriate for the surface.

Options include:

  • Diluting your household bleach.
    To make a bleach solution, mix:

    • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water
    • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to
ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach
with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective
against coronaviruses when properly diluted.

  • Alcohol solutions.
    Ensure solution has at least
    70% alcohol.
  • Other common EPA-registered household disinfectants.
    Products with
    emerging viral pathogens pdf icon[7 pages]external icon
     claims are expected to be effective against
    COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the
    manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products
    (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).