Most people who become infected with Covid-19, caused by a new strain of coronavirus, experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others. Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following:
Wash your hands frequently
Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Why: Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
Maintain social distancing
Practise social distancing by keeping a distance of about six feet from others if you must go out in public.
Why: When someone coughs or sneezes, they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the Covid-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
Stay home if you can, and avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.
Practise respiratory hygiene
Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately. Wear a mask if you are sick. You should wear a mask when you are around other people – e.g. sharing a room or a vehicle – and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
Why: Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as common cold, flu and Covid-19.
Keep your surfaces clean
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces every day. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, computers, telephones, mobile phones, keyboards, sinks, toilets, water taps and countertops.
If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty in breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the US, Covid-19 symptoms include fever, shortness of breath and a cough. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Call your doctor for medical advice if you think you have been exposed to Covid-19 and develop symptoms.
Why: National and local authorities will have the most up-to-date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
Stay informed, follow advice given by your healthcare provider
Stay informed on the latest developments about Covid-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authorities or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from Covid-19.
Why: National and local authorities will have the latest information on whether Covid-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.
Sources: World Health Organization (WHO), International Red Cross