from The update caused a bit of alarm, as many media outlets seized on a quote from Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, who said that Americans should “prepare in the expectation that this could be bad.”
As is the case in any outbreak, the CDC is taking the approach that it’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.
It seems to happen with the outbreak of any new virus or disease, but misinformation surrounding COVID-19 is rampant — especially on social media.
In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has put out a series of graphics on social media debunking common COVID-19 myths: you shouldn’t spray your body with chlorine, and garlic doesn’t have special COVID-19 prevention properties.
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1. Practice good hand hygiene.
It sounds simple, but it’s true: good hand hygiene helps prevent the transmission of a virus from one person to another.
Too often, people only wash their hands when they’re visibly soiled. However, viruses and bacteria are microscopic, meaning they can be present even if your skin looks clean.
2. Avoid coughing or sneezing into your hand.
Covering a cough or sneeze may seem like something that should be done simply out of good manners, but it goes a bit beyond that — you should avoid coughing or sneezing into your hand whenever possible.
When you cough or sneeze into your hand, you have the potential of transferring bacteria or viruses onto that hand; those bacteria and viruses can then be spread to other surfaces you touch.
3. Stay home if you are sick.
While it’s admirable to be dedicated to your job or to your studies, it’s not a good idea to go into work or school if you’re sick.
If you’re not feeling well, stay home and let yourself recover. If you have to go out in public, try to wear a face mask to avoid infecting others.
If you’re a parent and your child isn’t feeling well, it’s best to keep him or her home from school. After all, illnesses can spread rapidly in school settings, and you don’t want your child to get his or her classmates sick.
4. Consider alternatives to shaking hands.
Extending a handshake is a common greeting or sign of respect, whether closing a business deal or meeting someone for the first time.
However, as discussed above, your hands can carry bacteria and viruses. This means that shaking someone’s hand comes with the risk of passing bacteria or viruses on to that person, or vice versa.
5. Try to avoid touching your face.
Touching the hands of other people isn’t the only hand-related practice to lessen: you should try to avoid touching your face with your own hands too!
As mentioned above, it’s possible for droplets to be transferred via hand-to-hand contact. For that reason, it’s a good idea to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
If droplets containing the virus made their way onto your hands, touching your eyes, nose, or mouth would be the primary way to transfer those droplets into your own body.