How to Lower Your Chances of Getting or Spreading Covid-19

It's been many months since the COVID-19 pandemic changed our lives, and we have adapted to wearing masks, social distancing, washing our hands constantly, and working and learning remotely. But what do we really know about how to prevent COVID-19 infection? As we leave behind a chaotic spring and summer and head into fall, now is a good time to consult with the experts at Yale Medicine and review standard and latest advice on how to stay safe. Wearing a mask that covers the mouth and nose can prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others. Recent evidence suggests that masks may even benefit the wearer, offering some level of protection against infections.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 2 years of age and older wear masks in public settings and around people who don't live in the same household when they can't stay 6 feet away from others. People can be asymptomatic and spread the virus without knowing they are sick, which makes it especially important to stay 6 feet apart from others, whether you are inside or outside. In addition, the more people you interact in a meeting and the more time you spend interacting with each of them, the greater the risk that someone who has you infected with the virus. While R0 refers to the basic, or initial, reproduction number, there is another measure called Rt, which is the current reproduction number and is the average number of people who become infected by an infectious person.

If Rt is above 1.0, it spreads rapidly. If it is below 1.0, it will eventually stop spreading. You can check the number of each state here. Hand washing and staying healthy remains a key step in preventing COVID-19 infection.

Wash your hands with soap often, and especially after being in a public place or blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, CDC recommends. CDC recommends washing your hands for at least 20 seconds and lathering the backs of your hands and rubbing between all your fingers, under all your nails and reaching your wrist. After washing, dry them completely (with an air dryer or paper towel) and avoid touching the sink, faucet, door handles, or other objects. If soap is not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content and rub it on your hands until they are dry.

Although the CDC states that the main way the virus spreads is through close person-to-person contact, it is possible to become infected with COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes. Remember that your elderly family members and people with other medical conditions are the most vulnerable to COVID-19, so take additional steps to protect them, says Dr. Although many restaurants offer outdoor dining, which experts say is the safest option, a recent CDC study showed that adults with COVID-19 infection were twice as likely to have visited a restaurant in the two weeks prior to illness than those without infection. The study did not distinguish between eating indoors and outdoors, nor did it consider compliance with social distancing and wearing masks. People with COVID-19 infections were more likely to report dining out in places where few people wore masks or social distancing. But before you leave, you can check if the virus is spreading at your destination.

More cases at their destination increase the risk of contracting the virus and transmitting it to others. You can view each state's weekly case count here on the CDC website. Public Health Experts Say This Isn't the Year to Skip the Flu Shot. While measures to prevent COVID-19 such as wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing can also protect against the flu, doctors say that getting vaccinated is especially important this year due to its safety. Flu vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months and older.

Talk to your doctor about finding a vaccine near you. Many people are likely to struggle to differentiate between the flu, common colds, and COVID-19 as they all have similar symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, coughs sore throat runny nose muscle pain body pain vomiting diarrhea (although these last two are more common in children). However one difference is that COVID-19 is associated with loss of taste and smell. At a time when routines are disrupted and many people work at home where snacks are available some may be gaining weight (so-called quarantine 1). Now more than ever doctors at Yale Medicine recommend that you focus on eating a healthy diet incorporating regular exercise sleeping well and finding healthy ways to manage stress. Meanwhile obesity is becoming an independent risk factor for severe COVID-19 illness even among younger patients. A study which examined patients hospitalized for COVID-19 under 60 found that people with obesity were twice as likely to need hospitalization and even more likely to need intensive care than those who did not.

Given that an estimated 42% of Americans are obese (have a body mass index equal to or greater than 30) this is important. COVID-19 is likely to be with us for a while but even before a safe and effective vaccine is available it's a preventable disease says Dr. Visit...

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