The best way to prevent infection is to avoid exposure to the virus.
The most important way to prevent COVID-19 is to WASH YOUR HANDS.
Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water (lather for 20 seconds) OR use an alcohol based (at least 60%) hand sanitizer.
Other actions that help to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- avoid contact with others who are sick
- avoid touching your mouth, nose, eyes or face
- cover coughs and sneezes (into a tissue or into your elbow)
- clean and disinfect surfaces (alcohol or bleach basedcleaning solutions work best for coronaviruses)
- facemasks will not protect you from COVID-19, but will help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
- social distancing
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include dry cough, fever, and shortness of breath. It is thought that symptoms can appear between 2-14 days after exposure although there have been isolated cases which suggest this may be longer. If you develop symptoms, you should stay at home to prevent the spread of the disease into the community. Wearing a facemask will help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
Update: March 10, 2020 — According to the latest research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (March 10, 2020), the median incubation period is estimated to be 5 days, and almost all (~98%) patients who have been infected will develop symptoms within 12 days.
What to do if you are sick
- Prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are Sick (CDC)
- Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations (CDC)
What to do if you come into contact with someone who is sick
If you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, or someone who is showing symptoms of COVID-19, it may take up to two weeks for your symptoms to present. To keep yourself and others safe, you should isolate yourself from other people for 14 days.
What does self-isolation mean?
Self-isolation means staying away from situations where you could infect other people. This means any situation where you may come in close contact with others (face to face contact closer than 3 feet for more than 15 minutes), such as social gatherings, work, school, child care/pre-school centres, university and other education providers, faith-based gatherings, aged care and health care facilities, prisons, sports gatherings, restaurants and all public gatherings.
You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, pillows or other items with other people in your home. After using these items, you should wash them thoroughly with soap and water, place them in the dishwasher for cleaning or wash them in your washing machine.