The best way for all of us to reduce the risk of getting sick with COVID-19 and many other respiratory illnesses is by follow the guidelines from practicing these simple common sense preventative actions listed below. For the most up-to-date practices in the Commonwealth of Virginia go to http://www.vdh.virginia.gov.

  • Maintain social distancing. Stay at least six feet away from people.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, especially if you are at higher risk for serious illness.
  • Practice enhanced hygiene:
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, countertops and phones.
    • Try alternatives to shaking hands, like an elbow bump or wave.
  • Take special precautions when attending large gatherings where several people are within arms-length of you and practice enhanced hygiene. People at higher risk should avoid large gatherings.
  • Talk to your employer about telecommuting options, telephone conferences and staggering work start and end times.
  • Practice enhanced hygiene if you use public transportation. For those at higher risk, if you use public transportation and the train or bus is too full, wait for the next one. If possible, walk or bike.
  • Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, eat healthy foods, and manage your stress to keep your immunity strong.
  • If you have recently returned from a country, state or region with ongoing spread of COVID-19, monitor your health and follow the instructions of public health officials.

The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

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