As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this is definitely true when it comes to COVID-19. Prevention measures can protect you from becoming severely ill and limit the spread of COVID-19 in your home and community.
A prevention measure is something that helps limit the spread of a virus like COVID-19. These strategies can be implemented by individuals, communities, businesses, and workplaces. Even when public health measures are no longer in effect, prevention by individuals can impact coronavirus levels in the community and shield others from severe illness. There are several preventative measures you can incorporate into daily routines.
Physical distancing, also referred to as social distancing, is the habit of keeping a certain distance between yourself and other people, especially if they have COVID symptoms. The CDC website recommends staying at least 2 meters, or 6 feet, away from others. The virus is spread through respiratory droplets, and this disease control measure protects you from coming into contact with the respiratory droplets of an infected person. Avoiding crowded areas and maintaining a buffer of physical space between you and others is an easy preventative measure to use regularly.
If you can’t maintain your physical distance from others, a high-quality mask offers 2-way protection from the COVID-19 virus. Masks can reduce the volume of respiratory droplets you inhale and protect others from your respiratory droplets. Consider wearing a mask in crowded public places or when you are caring for someone who has coronavirus.
Masks are most effective when:
In addition to social distancing and masks, vaccines are another preventative measure that help protect you from severe illness caused by coronavirus. A vaccine teaches your body how to develop immunity to a specific virus.
Vaccine developers were able to create the COVID-19 vaccine so quickly since there was already a significant amount of research and information related to other coronaviruses. Once the genetic code for COVID-19 was available, scientists used that information and previous decades of analysis to create an mRNA vaccine.
Today, there are three approved vaccine types for COVID-19. They are:
Each vaccine has several things in common.
After being vaccinated, you can still get sick but are less likely to suffer severe outcomes like hospitalization or death.
Vaccines are most effective when administered according to evidence-based protocols. You may need subsequent doses or boosters depending on the type of vaccine you receive. These additional doses help to fortify you against waning immunity.
One sometimes overlooked preventative measure is testing for coronavirus. The CDC recommends that you get tested, either at home or at a testing location, if you develop symptoms, have been in close contact with someone who tested positive, will be in close proximity to people who have compromised immune systems, or are attending an indoor event where social distancing will be difficult.
There are two benefits to testing. First, if you test positive, you can talk to your healthcare provider about treatment options and quickly access one of the approved antiviral medications. Second, you will protect people by preventing the spread of coronavirus.
Ventilation is a preventative measure that brings outdoor air into an indoor space. When done correctly, it can improve indoor air quality by decreasing the concentration of pollutants like viruses. Improving ventilation is easy; It is as simple as opening windows, keeping exterior doors ajar, or using a ventilation fan. Ventilation can be used effectively in homes, schools, workplaces, and other indoor public places.
When the weather permits, moving group gatherings and activities outdoors can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. In outdoor settings, it is easier to practice physical distancing, and the constant movement of air diffuses respiratory droplets making it harder for the virus to spread.
Examples of activities that you can move to outdoor settings include:
Outside activities also offer other benefits. The Mayo Clinic reminds us that outdoor activities can boost our moods, decrease stress, help us get Vitamin D, and encourage physical movement.
Stopping the spread of COVID-19 doesn’t mean you can’t continue to do the things you enjoy! It just means that you might need to make a few modifications to stay safe. Preventative measures are an effective tool that slow the spread of COVID-19 and other airborne viruses. It can help keep you, your family, and your community safe from severe illness while spending time together.