Coronavirus (COVID-19) Prevention Tips
Protect yourself, protect your community
At International Medical Corps, we’re always preparing for the unexpected — whether it’s an earthquake, a hurricane or an outbreak of infectious disease. As the COVID-19 outbreak grows, it’s important to know that there are many actions we can take to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities.
Here’s what you can do to protect yourself:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Wash your hands before eating or preparing food, and before touching your face. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Especially if you’re in a high-risk group, consider limiting your exposure to others, using social distancing — for example, avoid large gatherings, crowds of people and frequent trips to the store.
- Visit your state and local public-health websites for additional guidance specific to your area.
- Those at higher risk for serious illness should take additional precautions.
Here’s what you can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others:
- Practice social distancing — for example, avoid public places and gatherings — as recommended by the CDC and your state and local public health departments.
- Everyone should wear a mask in public settings and when around people who outside n your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
- In general, avoid going to crowded places. You are more likely to come into close contact with COVID-19 and have difficulty maintaining safe social distance
Note: Masks should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The mask is not a substitute for social distancing.
- Stay home if you feel sick, except to get medical care.
- Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit.
- Wash your hands often, and especially after coughing and sneezing.
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
- The CDC website provides ample guidance for steps toward preventing COVID-19.
Monitoring your health daily:
- Be alert for symptoms. The symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath, and range from moderate to severe.
- Take your temperature if symptoms develop. Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.
- Keep up to date on the latest information from trusted sources, such as the CDC, WHO, or your local and national health authorities.
If you feel sick, here is what you can do:
- Stay home except to get medical care. Take care of yourself by getting rest, staying hydrated, and taking over-the-counter medicine to feel better.
- Call ahead before visiting your doctor. Be sure to get care if you have trouble breathing, or have any other emergency warning signs, or if you think it is an emergency.
- Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home.
- As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, use a separate bathroom, if available.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes in the crook of your elbow or with a tissue.
- Clean your hands often.
- Avoid sharing personal household items.
- Frequently clean all high-touch surfaces. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. (CDC guidance here.)
- Monitor your symptoms and seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (for example, if you have difficulty breathing).
- Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: Notify the dispatch personnel that you may have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19. If possible, put on a face mask before emergency medical services arrive.
The threat posed by COVID-19 is especially worrisome in communities we serve where health systems are already challenged. Thanks to our supporters we’re already helping to make sure those communities are more prepared to take infection prevention and control measures, should they be affected by the outbreak.
We’re also taking appropriate measures to protect our 7,000+ staff members around the world as they ramp up their local responses. We’re in this together, and now, more than ever, it’s evident that global health is our health.
The information in this article is sourced from official CDC guidelines and WHO advice for the public. Visit the CDC, WHO, and state and local health departments for up-to-date information and guidance on COVID 19.