How to Protect Yourself from COVID-19
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it’s more important than ever that you take critical steps to protect yourself and those you love against infection. While it is not possible to eliminate the risk of contracting COVID-19 altogether, taking basic precautionary safety measures can dramatically reduce the chances of becoming infected and slow or stop the spread of the virus.
The nation’s leading health and infectious disease experts agree that the three most important things you can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are:
- Wear a mask/face covering
- Wash your hands
- Keep a distance of at least 6 feet from others
When it comes to protecting yourself from COVID-19, nothing is as effective as preventing exposure. Limiting your risk of being exposed to the virus will also limit your risk of becoming infected.
Continue reading to learn more about how you can take a few simple steps to protect yourself, your family, your friends, your coworkers, and your community from the spread of COVID-19. If you are looking for COVID-19 testing in Lewisville or any of the surrounding areas, including all of Denton, Collin, and Tarrant Counties, contact ER of Texas. We offer all forms of COVID-19 testing in our safe, clean, and sanitized facilities. Our team is available to assist you 24/7; reach out today to schedule an appointment.
Get Informed & Stay Up to Date
First and foremost, it’s important to understand what COVID-19 is and how it spreads. There is a lot of misinformation about the disease out there, but having the facts provides you with the power to take action to keep yourself and other safe.
COVID-19 is a type of novel (new) coronavirus that was first identified in Wuhan, China and has since spread around the globe. While coronaviruses have affected the human population before, this is a new strain that has not been previously identified. Additionally, experts stress that the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is not like other coronaviruses that cause illnesses like the common cold.
Because COVID-19 is new, information about the disease is both limited and being uncovered by scientists and health experts every day. It’s important that you stay informed on the latest, most up-to-date information from reputable sources, as knowing about the disease grants you the power to take necessary precautions against it.
Know How It’s Spread
Preventing infection involves first knowing how the virus is spread. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 is spread through close contact (6 feet or less) between two or more people or direct contact with an infected individual. This is because the virus itself is spread through respiratory droplets emitted by an infected person when they talk, sing, sneeze, cough, etc.
Respiratory droplets transmit the virus when they:
- Are inhaled into the mouth, nose, lungs, and airways
- Land on various surfaces (including clothing or hair) and are transferred via touch to the eyes, nose, mouth, etc.
- Become airborne particles that remain suspended in the air and/or travel beyond 6 feet
The CDC reports that new evidence is revealing that airborne respiratory droplets form particles that can remain in the air and potentially infect others who are not within 6 feet of the infected individual. The organization notes that indoor spaces with poor ventilation are correlated with a higher risk of infection.
Prevent the Spread of Infection
The CDC, along with numerous other reputable national and international health organizations and experts, recommends a few steps you can take to help prevent getting sick.
Some things you can do to protect yourself from COVID-19 include:
- Wear a Mask or Face Covering: The purpose of a mask or face covering is to protect others. You could be infected and not show symptoms, as symptoms may take several days to appear and some individuals may be asymptomatic. To protect yourself and others, you should always wear a face mask or appropriate face covering in public. Make sure your nose and mouth are both fully covered and remember: a mask is not a substitute for keeping a safe distance between yourself and others. Continue practicing social distancing (keeping a distance of at least 6 feet) when in public or around others who do not live in your home.
- Keep Your Distance: The CDC and other health organizations and experts recommend that you stay a minimum of 6 feet apart from strangers, coworkers, friends, relatives, and anyone who does not live in your household. A good way to visualize 6 feet of distance is to imagine about 2 arms’ lengths. If someone in your household is sick, keep as much distance between yourself and them as possible.
- Wash Your Hands Often: It is also important to wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially after being in public or after sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose. Always wash your hands before eating or drinking, after handling your mask, after using the bathroom, before touching your face, after changing a diaper, or after petting or playing with pets or animals. If you are not able to wash your hands right away, you can use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Make sure to cover every surface of your hands and fingers and wash hands as soon as possible.
- Always Cover Coughs and Sneezes: Whether you are sick or not, always cover all coughs and sneezes. The best way to do so is to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or cloth. If you do not have a tissue or cloth, use the inside of your elbow rather than your hand to cover your mouth and nose. After coughing or sneezing, always throw all tissues directly into the trash and wash your hands with soap and water immediately or as soon as possible.
- Clean and Disinfect Frequently: Make sure to keep a clean, disinfected living space. Regularly disinfect high-touch surfaces (such as countertops, kitchen tables, faucets, door handles, light switches, etc.) with a household disinfecting solution. Always clean surfaces prior to disinfecting if they are dirty.
Lastly, it’s important to always monitor your own health and the health of others who live in your home. Be aware of the symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Watch for these symptoms in yourself, your family members, and others when you are out in public. If you develop any symptoms of COVID-19, take your temperature and follow official guidelines on what to do if you are sick.
If you need COVID-19 testing or if you believe you have symptoms of the virus, you can also contact your primary care physician or a local urgent care center or ER. At ER of Texas, we are happy to speak to you on the phone and provide you with more information and resources. Contact us today to learn more.