The American Red Cross is closely monitoring the evolving outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), as well as following the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
We know this is a stressful time and people want to know what they can do right now to protect themselves and their families. That’s why the Red Cross is highlighting some everyday health safety and preparedness steps that people in the U.S. can take now in response to coronavirus concerns.
LIMIT THE SPREAD OF GERMS AND PREVENT INFECTION
There are common-sense steps we can all take to prevent the spread of any respiratory virus:
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and throw the tissue away after use. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
Disinfect doorknobs, switches, handles, computers, telephones, bedside tables, bathroom sinks, toilets, counters, toys and other surfaces that are commonly touched around the home or workplace.
Follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask. CDC does not recommend that people who are healthy wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
Facemasks should be used by people who are ill to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
According to the CDC, patients with COVID-19 have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Call your healthcare professional if you develop symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have the disease or if you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of the disease.
For the latest information, please visit the CDC website at cdc.gov/covid19.
If you live outside the United States, health and safety tips can be found through the World Health Organization and by following your local Red Cross or Red Crescent society’s social media channels.