The American Red Cross is closely monitoring the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and following the latest guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
According to the CDC, COVID-19 symptoms include fever, coughing and shortness of breath, plus others. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Call your doctor for medical advice if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 or develop symptoms.
How Does COVID-19 Spread?
- According to the CDC, the virus is thought to be spread mainly from person-to-person. This means it may spread between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), or through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
- The CDC also reports that it may be possible for someone to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object with the virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
- The best way to prevent illness from COVID-19 is to avoid being exposed to the virus.
Use Healthy Practices to Protect Yourself
The best way to stay healthy is to follow these steps from the CDC:
- Wash your hands often 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 with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and practice social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet away from others if you must go out in public.
- Wear a cloth face covering to cover your mouth and nose when around others and when you must go out in public. The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected. Don’t place one on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. Learn more.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and throw the tissue away after use. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow or sleeve, not your hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, computers, phones, keyboards, sinks, toilets, faucets and countertops. Read full CDC information.
Follow these five easy steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19
- Sneeze or cough? Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or use your elbow.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces around your home and work frequently.
- Keep at least 6 feet between yourself and others if you must be in public.
- Wear a cloth face covering over your mouth and nose when around others.