Protecting Yourself and Your Family: COVID-19
What you can do to prepare, if you or a family member gets ill, or if your community experiences spread of COVID-19.
- Monitor local information about COVID-19 in your community.
- Practice personal protective measures (e.g., keep social distance when in public and wash hands frequently, especially when in public spaces).
- Put household plan into action.
- People who are 65 and older, or people of any age who have underlying medical conditions should stay at home and avoid gatherings or other situations of potential exposures, including travel.
Guidance on wearing masks:
- The federal government has issued some new guidance on the use of cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
- Here are a few important things to keep in mind with this recommendation:
- Masks or cloth face coverings can help with preventing your germs from infecting others – especially in situations where you may spread the virus without symptoms.
- Wearing a mask does not protect you from others who may spread the virus. So, whether or not you wear a mask, you still need to wash your hands frequently, cover your cough, and practice social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet of space between people.
- People who are sick should still stay home. Wearing a mask does not mean people who are sick should go out into the community. If you are sick and need to go to the doctor, call your health care provider before going in and wear a mask to the clinic.
- Don’t buy or wear surgical or N95 masks. These supplies are in high need in health care facilities to protect health care workers.
Continue these activities:
- Know where to find local information on COVID-19 and local trends of COVID-19 cases.
- Know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and what to do if symptomatic:
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Call your health care provider’s office before you go in.
- Limit movement in the community.
- Limit visitors.
- Know what additional measures people at high risk and who are vulnerable should take.
- Implement personal protective measures (e.g., stay home when sick, hand-washing, respiratory etiquette, clean frequently touched surfaces daily).
- Create a household plan of action in case of illness in the household or disruption of daily activities due to COVID-19 in the community.
- Consider getting a two-week supply of prescription and over the counter medications, food and other essentials to keep at home. Know how to get food delivered if possible.
- Establish ways to communicate with others (e.g., family, friends, co-workers).
- Establish plans to telework, what to do about child care needs, and how to adapt to cancellation of events.
- Know about emergency operations plans for schools/workplaces of household members.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough.
- CDC: How to Prepare
Information on how you can protect yourself, your family, and your home, as well as how to manage stress and anxiety.
- CDC: If You Are Sick or Caring for Someone
Information on caring for yourself or someone at home and how to disinfect your home.
- At this time, there is no evidence that dogs, cats, or other household pets can spread COVID-19. However, CDC is recommending that people who are sick with COVID-19 limit their contact with pets and other animals, just as they would restrict contact with other household members. This conservative approach helps protect pets and other animals.
- See CDC: Interim Guidance for Public Health Professionals Managing People With COVID-19 in Home Care and Isolation Who Have Pets or Other Animals for more detailed guidance.
- Learn more about domestic animals and COVID-19 at American Veterinary Medical Association: COVID-19.
- To prepare to care for your pets in case you or your family must stay home, think about necessary items to have on hand ahead of time, including sufficient pet food and prescription or non-prescription medications.
People who are at higher risk for severe illness
COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Based upon available information to date, people at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include:
- People aged 65 years and older
- People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
- Other high-risk conditions could include:
- People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
- People who have heart disease with complications
- People who are immunocompromised including cancer treatment
- People of any age with severe obesity (body mass index [(BM]I)≥40) or certain underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as those with diabetes, renal failure, or liver disease might also be at risk
- People who are pregnant should be monitored since they are known to be at risk with severe viral illness, however, to date data on COVID-19 has not shown increased risk
Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications.