What can I do to protect myself?

Social Distancing

Health officials have reccomended that people to practice the act of social distancing - staying in their homes, avoiding crowds and refraining from touching other people. 

This is, of course, inconvenient and scary, but right now it is the best way we have of slowing the spread of COVID-19. 

Reccomendations from the Centers for Disease Control include

Avoid close contact

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick (including older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions).

Know How it Spreads

  • There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
    • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
    • Through 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.

Social distancing helps like this: 

Animation of how social distancing prevents spread

Clean your hands often

  • Wash your hands often 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 readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Stay home if you’re sick

  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.

Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Wear a facemask if you are sick

  • If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room. Learn what to do if you are sick.

Clean and disinfect

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

Wear a mask

  •  Cloth face coverings are an additional step to help slow the spread of COVID-19 when combined with every day preventive actions and social distancing in public settings.
    • Who should NOT use cloth face coverings: children under age 2, or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance
    • Cloth face coverings are NOT surgical masks or N-95 respirators.  Surgical masks and N-95 respirators must be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended in CDC guidance.

    Wear your Face Covering Correctly

    • Wash your hands before putting on your face covering
    • Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
    • Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face
    • Make sure you can breathe easily

    Use the Face Covering to Protect Others

    • Wear a face covering to help protect others in case you’re infected but don’t have symptoms
    • Keep the covering on your face the entire time you’re in public
    • Don’t put the covering around your neck or up on your forehead
    • Don’t touch the face covering, and, if you do, wash your hands

    Follow Everyday Health Habits

    • Stay at least 6 feet away from others
    • Avoid contact with people who are sick
    • Wash your hands often, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds each time
    • Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available

    Take Off Your Cloth Face Covering Carefully, When You’re Home

    • Untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops
    • Handle only by the ear loops or ties
    • Fold outside corners together
    • Place covering in the washing machine (learn more about how to wash cloth face coverings)
    • Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing and wash hands immediately after removing.

Can I still eat out?

Our colleagues at N.C. Cooperative Extension have put together this graphic about concerns about eating out during the Coronavirus outbreak: 

FAQs for food safety

Are grocery stores safe? 

Our colleagues at N.C. Cooperative Extension have also put together this graphic about concerns about grocery shopping: 

Graphic on grocery store safety


The public service announcement on this page was provided by the AD Council's YouTube page.

The information about the Coronavirus on this page is from the Centers for Disease Control's website.

Handwashing video is from the CDC's YouTube channel

Graphics and tips on foodsafety FAQs are from the N.C. Cooperative Extension

Transmission graphic courtesy of thespinoff.co.nz.