Prevention Tips

Page Last Reviewed June 9th, 2020

نصائح الوقاية | 예방 수칙 | 预防提示 | Consejos de prevención | Konsèy pou Prevansyon

Do Your Part to Help Stop the Spread of COVID-19 by Staying at Home As Much As Possible.

  • We are all safer at home, especially those who are at higher risk of severe illness. This means that you should stay at home as much as possible to protect yourself, your family, and your community.
  • It is important to keep at least 6 feet apart between yourself and others. Wear a cloth face covering when keeping 6 feet apart is difficult, such as in stores or other public places. Wash your hands often, stay home if you are sick, and disinfect high-touch surfaces. These all are very important ways to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • If you are sick, even just a little bit sick, stay home and separate yourself to prevent spreading illness to others.

For additional information see Isolation, Quarantine, Movement Restrictions and Public Health Monitoring 

Practice Social Distancing.

  • If you have to go out, stay at least 6 feet away from others.
  • Do not gather in groups. Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.
  • Limit close contact with others outside your household in indoor and outdoor spaces.

For additional information see Practicing Social Distancing During COVID-19

Wash Your Hands Frequently to Limit the Spread of Germs. 

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, rubbing your hands together for at least 30 seconds until they are dry. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Clean your hands often, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

For additional information see: How Can I Avoid Getting COVID-19?

Wear Cloth Face Coverings in the Community. 

  • The most important way to protect others and yourself from getting COVID-19 is by staying home as much as possible and staying at least 6 feet apart from others when you go out in public places.
  • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. Wear a cloth face covering when you are in public places, such as the grocery store, where it may be difficult to keep at least 6 feet apart  from others.
  • Face coverings are not needed for going outside by yourself to take a walk or work in your garden, etc.
  • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unable to remove the mask without help.

Learn more about Cloth Masks and Cloth Face Covers.

Know the Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19.

  • The virus is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Therefore, it spreads between people who are in close contact with one another (about 6 feet) or by touching a surface or object where these droplets have landed. Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing any signs or symptoms.
  • People with COVID-19 usually have mild to severe respiratory illness. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:
    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Chills
    • Muscle pain
    • Sore throat
    • New loss of taste or smell
  • Not everyone with COVID-19 will have all symptoms and fever might not be present.
  • If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs may include: trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, bluish lips or face.
  • If you have a medical emergency, call 911. Notify the operator that you have or might have, COVID-19. If possible, put on a face covering before medical help arrives.

For additional information see What to Do if You Are Sick

Avoid Contact With People Who Are Sick.

  • If you are caring for someone at home who is sick, have the person stay in one room, away from other people and pets, as much as possible.

For additional information see Exposure to COVID-19

Prepare Your Home and Family for COVID-19.

  • Create a household plan of action with your household members, relatives, and friends. Make plans to telework, what to do about childcare needs, plans for pet care should you get sick, and how to adapt to cancellation of events.
  • Create an emergency contact list and identify aid organizations in your community.
  • Plan ways to care for people in your life that are at a higher risk of getting very sick from this illness such as older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions.
  • Get extra supplies such as soap, tissues, cleaning supplies, non-perishable (shelf stable) food items, and pet food. If you or a household member has a chronic condition and regularly take prescription drugs, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, and insurance provider about keeping an emergency supply of medications at home. Look to helpful resources, such as this VDH Pandemic Preparedness Checklist.
  • Choose a room in your home that can be used to separate sick household members from those who are healthy. Identify a separate bathroom for the sick person to use, if possible.
  • Talk with your family about COVID-19. Fear and anxiety about a disease are overwhelming and cause strong emotions in both children and adults. Learn more about things you can do to support yourself and your family here.

For additional information see Daily Life and Coping

Clean and Disinfect Frequently Touched Surfaces.

  • Frequently touched surfaces include phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, cabinet handles, etc.
  • Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Use disinfectants appropriate for the surface.
  • Other options are to use diluted household bleach solutions if appropriate for the surface by mixing 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water, or simply use soap and water or an alcohol solution with at least 60% alcohol. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.

Using Cleaning Products Safely.

  • Many people are protecting themselves and their families by doing extra cleaning and disinfecting but it’s important to do so safely. Calls to Poison Control Centers have gone up since the start of COVID-19.
  • Do not use household cleaners or disinfectants on bare skin. Do not drink or inhale (breathe in) these cleaners or spray them on your skin. The chemicals can cause injuries or poison you.  They will NOT work inside your body to kill the COVID-19 virus.  Soap and water are all you need to safely clean your skin.
  • Use your household cleaners on surfaces that are frequently touched, such as countertops, doorknobs, phones, faucets, light switches, etc.
  • Do not wash food with bleach. COVID-19 is not passed on by eating food.  The bleach could burn your mouth, throat or stomach.
  • Read the product labels and follow the instructions. Do not mix different kinds of cleaners together. Follow any instructions for wearing gloves and eye protection such as goggles.
  • Click here for a list of Virginia Poison Control Centers.

For additional information see  Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Home

For More Information: