7 tips for protecting yourself and others
Since there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. These tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can help you and those around you to stay healthy.
1. Wash 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.
2. Avoid close contact.
- Inside your home: Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Outside your home: Put at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and people who don't live in your household. Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus. Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
3. Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others.
Under the Governor’s Executive Order, everyone in Rhode Island must wear face coverings when in a public place, both indoors and outdoors, with limited exceptions. For information about those exceptions and additional information about masks, please see this Reopening Rhode Island advisory sheet.
- You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
- The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
- Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- Do NOT use a face mask meant for a healthcare worker.
- Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The mask is not a substitute for social distancing.
4. Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit.
- 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.
5. 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.
- Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.
6. Monitor your health daily.
- Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19. This is especially important if you are running essential errands, going into the office or workplace, and in settings where it may be difficult to keep a physical distance of 6 feet.
- Take your temperature if symptoms develop. Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.
- Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.
7. Protect your health this flu season.
It’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both spread this fall and winter. Healthcare systems could be overwhelmed treating both patients with flu and patients with COVID-19. This means getting a flu vaccine during 2020-2021 is more important than ever.
While getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19 there are many important benefits, such as:
- Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death.
- Getting a flu vaccine can also save healthcare resources for the care of patients with COVID-19.
Find out where BCBSRI members can get a no-cost flu shot.*
*This benefit is not available to Plan 65 members or members who only have dental coverage from BCBSRI.