5 Small Steps You Can Take to Protect Yourself from Coronavirus

2. To fend off coronavirus, follow flu prevention tips

The top tip: Wash your hands. Why? Viruses can spread from person to person via respiratory droplets. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, close contacts can be infected. In addition, the virus can end up on doorknobs, elevator buttons and other surfaces. If you touch those surfaces and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth, you can become infected.

This is why it’s important to wash rigorously. Here’s the CDC’s guidance.

“Wash your hands often 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.”

(And here’s a quick handwashing tutorial from Maddie Sofia, host of NPR’s Short Wave podcast!)

“Americans are friendly. We not only shake hands, we also hug. These are ways we can transmit the virus,” says Rebecca Katz, who directs the Center for Global Health Science and Security. She recommends an elbow bump. Or, you can try these no-touch salutations that NPR’s Bob Boilen, host of All Songs Considered, and I demonstrate.

Here are five more things to remember, per the CDC:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

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