Tips for Coronavirus Safety and Prevention

Protect yourself from the coronavirus by following these recommendations from the CDC and the U.S. Department of State.

novel coronavirus covid-19 illustration
Take preventative measures to protect yourself and others, and remember to heed all official advisories. 
Lightspring / Shutterstock

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the outbreak of the COVID-19 strain of coronavirus has spread throughout the world. CDC officials said they expect to see the number of cases in the U.S. increase, and the U.S. State Department has advised travelers to avoid all travel abroad.

How can I help prevent the spread of coronavirus?

Following the CDC’s recommendations for everyday preventive measures can help prevent the spread of coronavirus and any other respiratory diseases.

  • Abide by any city, county, or state orders to mostly stay indoors and leave your home only for essential activities, such as grocery shopping.
  • Limit interactions with others by avoiding group gatherings, not going to crowded places, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet) from others when possible.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Monitor your health, and stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a face mask: If you’re healthy, you don’t need a face mask to protect you from Covid-19. If you have symptoms of Covid-19, use a face mask to help prevent the spread of the disease.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.

What about traveling?

The U.S. Department of State has advised everyone to avoid international travel and cruises. Many countries, including the United States, have closed their borders to visitors in response to the pandemic.

  • If you are concerned about upcoming travel plans, consult your travel providers or a travel agent for any changes to travel plans or requirements. Many travel providers—including airlines, hotels, cruise lines, and tour operators—have altered itineraries and adjusted their policies in response to the outbreak. AAA travel counselors are available to assist Members.
  • If you must travel domestically, bring all necessary travel documentation, including health insurance cards. Stay informed, remain vigilant with preventative measures when traveling, and heed all official advisories. Talk with your healthcare provider about your plans. Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues may be at higher risk for contracting the disease.
  • If you are currently traveling outside the United States, locate the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for further instructions. The State Department Level 4 travel advisory released on March 19 said that citizens who are currently abroad should return to the U.S. immediately, “unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.”

This article was first published on March 4, 2020 and last updated on March 20, 2020.