COVID-19: Individuals and Families
There are some common-sense measures everyone can take to protect themselves and others from the spread of respiratory illnesses including coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.
It is also good practice to start being more aware of the number of times a day your hands touch an object or hard surface and then touch your face without being washed. Limiting the exposure of your nose, mouth, and eyes to unwashed hands can help to protect from the spread of all germs and illnesses.
It is not recommended that people wear masks if they are well or stockpile them. Masks should be worn by people who are sick to prevent the spread of infection.
DPH has also provided guidance on considerations of people with disabilities and other access and functional needs for COVID-19.
People at higher risk for severe illness
Older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease and those with weakened immune systems seem to be at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness. Early data suggest older people are twice as likely to have serious COVID-19 illness. Learn more.
Pregnant women and children
Some pregnant women may be more susceptible to viral respiratory infections, including COVID-19. There is no evidence that children are more susceptible to COVID-19. The CDC has information specifically for pregnant women and children.
People who have recently traveled outside the US
If you have recently traveled to any country with a Level 2 or Level 3 Travel Health Notice for COVID-19 and are experiencing fever and respiratory symptoms, you should call your doctor or health department and describe your symptoms and where you traveled.
People who think they've been exposed to COVID-19
The CDC recommends households have a plan of action to prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak. People should think about having daily necessities and medications to last about two weeks, in case they need to isolate. Massive stock piling of supplies is not necessary.
Individuals and families should have a plan in case they need to miss work due to illness or need to care for a sick family member. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has also released a list of cleaning products to prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19.
More information on household planning is available from the CDC.
Managing overall health
Make sure you are prioritizing your overall wellness and taking steps to reduce stress and anxiety. Tips to reduce anxiety and stress include trying to keep things in perspective, getting the facts from reliable sources, communicating with your children or family and loved ones and keeping connected with your support system.
Don’t hesitate to seek additional help. If you need support there are resources available:
- Optum has a toll-free 24-hour Emotional Support Help Line at 866-342-6892 for people who may be experiencing anxiety or stress around COVID-19.
- The National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-TALK) offers free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources and best practices for professionals.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has also provided tips for taking care of your behavioral health during social distancing, quarantine and isolation from an infectious disease outbreak like COVID-19. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has guidance for helping families cope with COVID-19, and the World Health Organization has published a resource for mental health considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak. The CDC has information on managing anxiety and stress during the COVID-19 outbreak.
It is important to make sure you are getting reliable information about COVID-19 from sources like DPH and the CDC.