Certain people, such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, have higher risks of infection and complications resulting from a COVID-19 illness. However, new variants increase COVID-19 transmission and infection risks for the vaccinated and unvaccinated. Thus, health and safety guidelines help slow and prevent the transmission and spread of COVID-19.
- These universal precautions help the general public minimize their risks for COVID-19 exposure and infection.
- Wear a mask or facial covering to reduce your risk of inhaling respiratory droplets
- Practice good hygiene, such as frequent hand washing, covering your coughs and sneezes, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth without washing or sanitizing your hands.
- Maintain a social distance (3 feet minimum) when you are out in public spaces.
- Seek medical treatment when you start to experience symptoms.
- Clean and disinfect public surfaces.
- Consider delaying travel to current hotspots (areas experiencing a surge in cases).
When to Self-Quarantine
If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, you should quarantine until you get tested. Self-quarantining is something you can do to prevent potentially exposing others to COVID-19.
When to Self-Isolate
You self-isolate when you test positive for COVID-19. Self-isolating prevents you from infecting other people. If you have mild or moderate symptoms, you can isolate yourself at home. However, if you experience severe or life-threatening symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.
Using Personal Protective Equipment
Personal protective equipment (PPE) 1 is gear that protects you against injury, hazardous waste, prevents airborne infections, and your exposure to bodily fluids, like blood, secretions, and respiratory droplets. Examples of PPE include face masks, N95 respirators, face shields, gowns, gloves, and safety glasses. PPE acts as a barrier between you and infectious droplets; thus, preventing or significantly reducing your risk for COVID-19. N95 are preferred, but you can use an FDA-regulated face mask. These masks protect you against sprays and splashes, like respiratory droplets from a cough or sneeze. If you do not have a face mask, you can use a kerchief or a scarf. In short, a barrier is better at preventing COVID-19 infections than no barrier!