Every day, a record number of people in the United States are being diagnosed with the coronavirus—and the death toll is increasing, too. As those numbers rise, so do your chances of contracting the infectious and deadly virus. Now, more than ever, it is crucial to protect your health in order to avoid becoming a statistic. Eat This, Not That! Health has compiled a list of ways you can avoid getting sick from other people—and none of them include complete isolation! Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Avoid Communal Food, Like Buffets
It's not that you can catch COVID-19 from food necessarily—it's that buffets encourage communal serving, dining and socializing, something that the CDC warns will increase your risk of infection.
Avoid Casual Kissing
Obviously, your significant other might not be cool with a no kissing rule, but definitely use discretion when you decide who you choose to swap saliva with. Even officials in France, where kissing cheeks is the norm, are advising people to keep their lips to themselves. "Reduction of physical social contact is recommended. This includes la bise," aka a kiss, French health minister Olivier Véran told reporters earlier this year.
Wave, Never Shake
While fist pumping may seem too casual of a way to greet your boss, experts are encouraging people to be very careful when it comes to their meet-and-greet customs.
Practice Social Distancing
As the novel coronavirus is spreading quickly in community settings, health experts are encouraging "social distancing" practices. "As more areas see community spread, local communities may start employing tools that encourage social distancing," Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said. "The goal of social distancing is to limit exposure by reducing face-to-face contact and preventing spread among people in community settings."
Avoid Crowded Places
Again, in large groups of people, any disease or virus has a tendency to spread more quickly. This is why many gathering places— including museums, amusement parks, and conventions—are being closed and canceled in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Avoid Public Transportation
Buses, trains, and even Ubers are some of the germiest places around. First of all, people are usually jam-packed into small spaces, making it easy for droplets to spread. Also, multiple people ride them every day, and there is no way to really disinfect every surface in-between riders. If you can't avoid taking the train or a bus, be incredibly cautious about touching surfaces which could be contaminated, and make sure to wash your hands immediately after.
Avoid Close Contact with People Who are Sick
Whether someone is your coworker or your significant other, if they are showing sickness symptoms, stay far away! Per the CDC, the main way novel coronavirus spreads is person-to-person—between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) and via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. "These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs," they explain.
Avoid Touching Your Eyes, Nose, and Mouth
Another key way novel coronavirus—and other illnesses including the common cold and flu spread—is by touching someone or something that is contaminated and then touching your face. The CDC strongly suggests resisting the urge to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth prior to washing your hands.
Try and Stay Out of Healthcare Environments
As can be demonstrated by Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington, currently the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak in the United States, healthcare environments are one of the worst places for disease. If you can, try and stay out of doctor's offices, hospitals, and nursing homes, where you are likely to encounter people who are sick and contaminated surfaces.
Work From Home if You Can
If one person in your office gets sick—with the flu, common cold, or novel coronavirus —there is a good chance you could get sick too. This is why more and more companies—including Twitter —are encouraging their staff to work remotely during the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Avoid Sharing Drinks with Others
Because novel coronavirus is viral, you should refrain from sharing drinks with anyone—especially if they are sick!
Don't Share Your Toothbrush
While it's unlikely you are sharing your toothbrush with even your closest family members, during this scary outbreak you might want to remind everyone to get their own teeth cleaning device—and separate cups!!
Clean and Disinfect Frequently Touched Objects and Surfaces
Because anything from objects to surfaces can be contaminated with COVID-19, you should take extra cleaning precautions to avoid getting sick, suggests the CDC. Keep regular household cleaning sprays or wipe handy, as they can help disinfect anything that has been contaminated, before it infects you!
Avoid Places Where the Illness Has Been Reported
There are curfews for a reason. If you go somewhere people are sick, you are more likely to get sick yourself. In particular, avoid bars and restaurants.
Politely Remind Others to Cover Their Mouth When They Sneeze or Cough
One of the main ways to prevent an illness from spreading is by covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough. If you notice anyone—whether it is your own child or your boss—failing to follow this safety procedure, you should politely remind them to do so.
Be Smart About Communal Areas
There are certain places that are breeding grounds for germs—including the gym, children's play areas, the mall, and even the grocery store. Obviously, you can't avoid some of them completely, but you should exert extra caution when you are there. For example, make sure to wipe down gym equipment, shopping cart handles, or any other surfaces that could potentially be contaminated. Also, wash your hands or sanitize them as quickly as possible after touching them.
Wash Your Hands Often
If your mother didn't teach you how to wash your hands properly, there is no time quite like the present to learn. The CDC suggests washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds—especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Also, make sure to dry them, as the virus is more likely to cling to wet hands than dry.
Invest in Hand Sanitizer
While washing with soap and water is the prefered method of hand sanitizing, if they are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. However, "always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty," points out the health organization.
Stay Up to Date on Vaccinations
The CDC always suggests staying up to date on all of your vaccines. Staying healthy is the key to a strong immune system, which will make you less vulnerable to contracting illnesses from others.
You Do Not Want COVID-19, Trust This Doctor
"I know the data indicates that 40 to 45% of us won't experience any symptoms from coronavirus, but believe me, you do not want to catch COVID-19," says Dr. Leo Nissola. "When infected, patients see a wide variety of symptoms (none pleasant, some fatal), and in some cases, there are multiple reports that they can linger for months, possibly a lifetime—this is called Post-COVID Syndrome. So, it is different from the flu and the common cold. The fall and winter season has also brought seasonal influenza—and a major COVID-19 surge. I repeat: You don't want to be sharing your air with anyone else but those in your household." So "don't share your air," and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.