Preventing SARS

Can SARS be Prevented?

People can help protect themselves from catching the virus that causes SARS mainly by keeping their hands clean:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water.
  • If hands are not visibly dirty, use alcohol-based hand rubs as an alternative.

If you have SARS or are in close contact with someone with SARS, you can prevent further spread of the virus:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing.
  • Be careful not to expose others. If you have been exposed to SARS and become ill with any symptoms, limit your activities outside the home. Avoid public transportation (e.g., bus, taxi). Do not go to work, school, out-of-home child care, church, or activities in other public areas until after you are told that you do not have SARS.
  • Follow any other instructions provided by local health authorities.
  • If you start feeling sick, especially if you develop a fever, respiratory symptoms, or other early symptoms of SARS, contact your healthcare provider immediately, and tell the healthcare provider that you have had close contact with a SARS patient.

There are many specific instructions for people who are caring for others diagnosed with SARS. Updated information is available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the World Health Organization.