COVID-19 is highly contagious and is spreading rapidly around the globe. Because it is a new disease in humans, our immune systems have not yet developed any defenses against it. The risk for contracting an infection increases with the level of exposure to the virus. For that reason, people who may have come in close contact with someone infected with COVID-19, including healthcare workers, are at highest risk of contracting the disease.
Though understanding of COVID-19 is still developing, currently individuals of all ages are believed to have the same risk of contracting a coronavirus infection. Infants and children who get infected appear to be asymptomatic or have mild symptoms.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Prevention is focused on good health practices and social distancing as well as encouraging people to stay isolated.
Steps to protect yourself from possible infection include:
- Stay home. The best way to prevent COVID-19 is to avoid being exposed to the virus.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you are unable to wash your hands, using hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is a good alternative.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth—as it allows the germs on your hands to reach moist, porous surface tissue where the germs can enter your body and cause infection.
- Cough in your elbow and cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze. Then immediately dispose of the tissue and wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
- Maintain social distance, at least six feet, from other people in the community if you must be outside of your home.
- Avoid any unnecessary exposure to people who are sick with COVID-19. Stay home if you feel unwell and call your healthcare provider if you experience symptoms that could be COVID-19.
Page last updated: April 29, 2020