As there is currently no vaccine for COVID-19, avoiding exposure to the virus is the best protection currently available.

How does the virus spread?

Transmission of COVID-19 tends to happen person-to-person. This typically involves close contact (within 6′) of another person and happens through respiratory droplets from speaking, coughing, or sneezing. These drops may enter through the mouth, nose, or eyes, and can infect the lungs directly when inhaled.

It is important to keep in mind that people who are showing no symptoms can still be contagious.

The virus can also be spread by touching surfaces where respiratory drops have landed.

How can I protect myself?

The best ways to avoid exposure to COVID-19 are as follows:

• Practice proper social distancing. Be sure to maintain a distance of 6′ from other people when in public.

• Wash your hands frequently. Make sure you are using proper technique.

• If soap is unavailable, use hand sanitizer containing a minimum of 60% alcohol.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth unless you have washed your hands first.

• Wear a mask or cloth face covering when in public.

• Always cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Wash your hands immediately afterward.

• Be sure to regularly clean and disinfect surfaces

How can I tell if I have COVID-19

Symptoms of COVID-19 may be mild or severe. Be sure to check your temperature if you believe you may have symptoms. Common symptoms to be aware of include:

• Fever
• Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
• Cough
• Chills
• Fatigue
• Muscle or body aches
• Headaches
• Loss of taste or smell
• Sore throat
• Congestion or runny nose
• Vomiting or nausea
• Diarrhea

Who is most at risk?

While anyone can develop severe complications from COVID-19, those who are most at risk are people over 65 years old or who have underlying medical conditions, such as:

• Asthma or chronic lung disease
• Serious heart conditions
• People who are immunocompromised
• Severe obesity
• Chronic kidney disease
• Liver disease

What should I do if I get sick?

If you believe that you may have COVID-19, the CDC provides a self-checker and a website with guidelines to follow.