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Seven things Public Health Organizations are recommending to slow the spread of COVID-19

As the virus that causes COVID-19 spreads across the globe, anxiety and concern are also spreading with it.  While the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus, there are simple steps we can all take that can have a significant impact on slowing the spread of a disease.  Here are seven of the most common recommendations global health organizations are recommending to minimize the risk of spreading the infection to others in your home and community:

1. Cover your coughs and sneezes
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw used tissues in a lined trash can.  

2. Clean your hands often – and correctly

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, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) handwashing website has detailed instructions and a video about effective handwashing techniques.

Family washing hands
Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is the recommended duration from the CDC.
3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
It is estimated that people touch their faces about 23 times per hour. Touching door handles, keyboards and numerous other common surfaces could be places where you could pick up the virus. Rubbing tired eyes or touching your nose or mouth could transfer the virus from your hands into your body.

4. Clean and disinfect your environment
We don't yet know how long the COVID-19 can survive on surfaces such as plastic, porcelain, granite, steel, or copper. In the meantime, the CDC recommends cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects every day. These include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.
Coronavirus prevention tips from CDC and WHO

Follow these W.H.O. & CDC Tips to Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

5. Practice social distancing
Social distancing is minimizing the risk of exposure by avoiding crowds, staying home, and keeping three to six feet (1-2 meters) between yourself and other people when you do go out in public.  The World Health Organization has a video explaining why its important to stay away from people who are or may be sick.

6. Stay home when you are sick
An important way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is to keep sick people away from those who are healthy.  You should not come to work if you have been exposed to COVID-19 or if you have respiratory symptoms (e.g., coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath) and/or a temperature above 100.4 F (38 C). If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call your healthcare professional and seek medical attention immediately.

7. Wear a mask
The CDC recommends people wear cloth face coverings in public settings and when around people who aren’t in your household. This is especially recommended when you can’t maintain social distancing. WHO advises governments to encourage the general public to use non-medical fabric masks.

Working from home sick
When you are sick, to prevent getting others sick, stay home.

Learn more on how to prevent the spread:


Updated in July 2020 to reflect the latest guidance from public health authorities.