With coronavirus cases surging across America, it feels like nowhere is safe. But the virus only seems "out of control" because not enough of us are trying to control it. There are simple things you can do to reduce your risk of exposure, and few know better what they are than the Mayo Clinic, the nonprofit American academic medical center focused on integrated health care, education, and research. They've been chronicling COVID-19 since it hit these shores and say "You can take additional steps to reduce your risk of infection." Read on to find out what they are—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
The Best Thing You Can Do is to Take the COVID-19 Vaccine When You Can
The best way to avoid getting COVID-19 is to get the vaccine. "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given emergency use authorization for two COVID-19 vaccines, the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine," says the Clinic. "A vaccine might prevent you from getting COVID-19 or prevent you from becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 if you get the COVID-19 virus."
Avoid Close Contact
The Mayo Clinic recommends you keep about 6 feet, or 2 meters, distance away "from anyone who is sick or has symptoms" and to "keep distance between yourself and others"—meaning everyone. "This is especially important if you have a higher risk of serious illness. Keep in mind some people may have COVID-19 and spread it to others, even if they don't have symptoms or don't know they have COVID-19."
Wash Your Hands Often
"…with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol," says the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, calls this one of the easy and effective public measures we should all take.
Cover Your Face
"…with a cloth face mask in public spaces, such as the grocery store, where it's difficult to avoid close contact with others. Surgical masks may be used if available. N95 respirators should be reserved for health care providers," says the Mayo Clinic.
When You Cough or Sneeze, Do This
"Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze," advises the Mayo Clinic. "Throw away the used tissue. Wash your hands right away."
Don't Touch This
"Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth," says the Clinic. You are otherwise rubbing germs into your bloodstream and nasal cavities.
Avoid Sharing These Things
"Avoid sharing dishes, glasses, towels, bedding and other household items if you're sick," says the Mayo Clinic.
Clean and Disinfect These Things
"Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces, such as doorknobs, light switches, electronics and counters, daily," advises the Clinic.
Stay Home if This Happens
"Stay home from work, school and public areas if you're sick, unless you're going to get medical care," advises the Mayo Clinic. "Avoid public transportation, taxis and ride-sharing if you're sick.
If you have a chronic medical condition and may have a higher risk of serious illness, check with your doctor about other ways to protect yourself."
How to Survive This Pandemic
As for yourself, follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.