COVID-19 is a respiratory
infection. It will infect you if you breathe it in, or if it comes in contact
with your mouth or nose. It attacks your lungs and spreads to others when you
cough, sneeze, talk or exhale.
COVID-19 can also live on
surfaces for a while. It gets there either when you sneeze, cough or when you
touch your nose or mouth, then touch a surface. From there, others can pick it
up and move it to their nose or mouth.
There are other possible
means of transmission, but these are the ones that easily endanger all of us.
It is these means of infection that have led to the advice you commonly hear that
will help you and your family to stay safe during this pandemic.
What: Keep 6’ from other people.
Why: This is to prevent you from breathing in the
virus exhaled by others. If you are infected, it prevents others getting it
Don’t touch your face
What: Don’t use your hands to touch your face,
especially your nose, mouth, eyes and ears unless your hands are clean.
Why: Touching surfaces contaminated with the
virus can contaminate your hands. Touching your face moves the virus to where
it needs to be to infect you.
Wash your hands
What: Wash for 20 seconds using soap and water, or
with 60% alcohol hand sanitizer
Why: This kills the virus on your hands. When
your hands are clean, you can touch your face without worrying about infection.
It also keeps you from spreading the virus by touching things.
Cough into your elbow
What: When you cough or sneeze, put your face in the
crook of your elbow.
Why: Firstly, it greatly reduces how far the
virus can spread from your cough or sneeze. When you use your hand to do this,
you just get the virus on your hands, and can spread it by touching surfaces.
We don’t touch anything with our elbows, so it is much safer.
Wear a breathing mask
What: Wear a breathing mask when you are close to
others or someone who is infected. Also wear one if you are sick and near
Why: Wearing a mask that covers your nose and
mouth can help prevent you from breathing in the virus. If you are sick, it
reduces how much you spread the virus in the air around you. Learn about the
proper way to use a breathing mask to get the most benefit from it.
Note: At this time, we are trying to reserve N95
rated breathing masks for healthcare workers and those caring for patient’s
sick with COVID-19. Everyone else is encouraged to use a consumer mask, or to
make a simple breathing mask at home.