Getting the COVID-19 vaccine, along with frequent handwashing, avoiding direct personal contact with unvaccinated or sick people, and avoiding large crowds are at the center of how to protect yourself. Below, learn how to keep from spreading illness.
How can you limit the spread of COVID-19?
In addition to getting vaccinated, it is important to take preventive actions to help limit the spread of COVID-19:
- Wear a face mask in public places.
- Avoid close contact (keep a distance of at least 6 feet) with people who are sick and people outside of your household.
- Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. Being in crowded places like restaurants, bars, fitness centers, or movie theaters puts you at a higher risk for COVID-19.
- Get tested if you have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19. Learn more.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw it in the trash.
- 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 a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol alcohol.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects daily – including tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, cell phones, and cabinet handles. Using a regular household detergent and water.
- Take special precautions if you fall into high risk groups (older people and people with severe chronic conditions)
- Monitor your health daily. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
What happens when you get sick with COVID-19?
Many people who get the infection will get only a mild illness, like a cold, but the elderly and frail are at increased risk of severe infection, requiring hospitalization or even critical care. There are also long-term effects of COVID-19 that researchers are watching closely.
If you have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 or develop symptoms of COVID-19, get tested. If you are sick, find out what to do next
How does COVID-19 spread?
COVID-19 spreads when an infected person breathes out droplets and very small particles that contain the virus. These droplets and particles can be inhaled by other people or land on their eyes, noses, or mouth. In some cases, they may contaminate surfaces they touch. People who are closer than 6 feet from the infected person are most likely to get infected.
COVID-19 is spread in three main ways:
- Breathing in air when close to an infected person who is exhaling small droplets and particles that contain the virus.
- Having these small droplets and particles that contain the virus land on the eyes, nose, or mouth, especially through splashes and sprays like a cough or sneeze.
- Touching eyes, nose, or mouth with hands that have the virus on them.
Focus on controlling what you can: