Risk factors for COVID-19 appear to include:
- Recent travel from or residence in an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19 as determined by CDC or WHO. As of March 16, 2020 these are the areas of concern: China, Iran, Italy and South Korea.
- Close contact with someone who has COVID-19 — such as when a family member or health care worker takes care of an infected person
Although there is no vaccine available to prevent infection with the new coronavirus, you can take steps to reduce your risk of infection. WHO and CDC recommend following the standard precautions for avoiding respiratory viruses:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth if your hands aren’t clean.
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick.
- Avoid sharing dishes, glasses, bedding and other household items if you’re sick.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces you often touch.
- Stay home from work, school and public areas if you’re sick.
*CDC doesn’t recommend that healthy people wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. Only wear a mask if a health care provider tells you to do so.
WHO also recommends that you:
- Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat or animal organs.
- Avoid contact with live animals and surfaces they may have touched if you’re visiting live markets in areas that have recently had new coronavirus cases.
If you’re planning to travel internationally, first check the CDC and WHO websites for updates and advice, and for current travel restrictions. Also look for any health advisories that may be in place where you plan to travel. You may also want to talk with your doctor if you have health conditions that make you more susceptible to respiratory infections and complications.
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