What is COVID-19? prevention and protection

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is be well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol based rub frequently and not touching your face.

The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow).

At this time, there are no specific vaccines or treatments for COVID-19. However, there are many ongoing clinical trials evaluating potential treatments. WHO will continue to provide updated information as soon as clinical findings become available.

prevention and protection:

  • Protect yourself and others around you by knowing the facts and taking appropriate precautions. Follow advice provided by your local health authority.
  • To prevent the spread of COVID-19:
  • Clean your hands often. Use soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Maintain a safe distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Wear a mask when physical distancing is not possible.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell.
  • If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention.
  • Calling in advance allows your healthcare provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This protects you, and prevents the spread of viruses and other infections.
  • Masks
  • Masks can help prevent the spread of the virus from the person wearing the mask to others. Masks alone do not protect against COVID-19, and should be combined with physical distancing and hand hygiene. Follow the advice provided by your local health authority.

Who is most at risk? 

We are learning more about how COVID-19 affects people every day.  Older people, and people with
chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, appear to be more at risk of developing
severe symptoms.  As this is a new virus, we are still learning about how it affects children. We know it is
possible for people of any age to be infected with the virus, but so far there are relatively few cases of
COVID-19 reported among children. This is a new virus and we need to learn more about how it affects
children. The virus can be fatal in rare cases, so far mainly among older people with pre-existing medical
conditions.

What is the treatment for COVID-19? 


There is no currently available vaccine for COVID-19. However, many of the symptoms can be treated
and getting early care from a healthcare provider can make the disease less dangerous. There are
several clinical trials that are being conducted to evaluate potential therapeutics for COVID-19.

Know how it spreads

  • There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
  • Everyone Should
  • hands wash light icon
  • Wash your hands often
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • It’s especially important to wash:
  • Before eating or preparing food
  • Before touching your face
  • After using the restroom
  • After leaving a public place
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After handling your cloth face covering
  • After changing a diaper
  • After caring for someone sick
  • After touching animals or pets
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • spraybottle icon
  • Clean and disinfect
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectantsexternal icon will work.
  • head side medical light icon
  • Monitor Your Health Daily
  • Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Especially important if you are running essential errands, going into the office or workplace, and in settings where it may be difficult to keep a physical distance of 6 feet.
  • Take your temperature if symptoms develop.
  • Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.
  • Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.

Identify and Isolate Suspected Cases


In workplaces where exposure to COVID-19 may occur, prompt identification and isolation of potentially infectious individuals is a critical first step in protecting workers, visitors, and others at the work site.
Wherever feasible, immediately isolate individuals suspected of having COVID-19. For example, move potentially infectious individuals to isolation rooms. On an aircraft, if possible and without compromising aviation safety, move potentially infectious individuals to seats away from passengers and crew. In other work sites, move potentially infectious individuals to a location away from workers, customers, and other visitors and with a closed door, if possible.
Take steps to limit the spread of the individual’s infectious respiratory secretions, including by providing them a facemask and asking them to wear it, if they can tolerate doing so. Note: A surgical mask on a patient or other sick person should not be confused with PPE for a worker; the surgical mask acts to contain potentially infectious respiratory secretions at the source (i.e., the person’s nose and mouth).
After isolation, the next steps depend on the type of workplace. For example:
In most types of workplaces (i.e., those outside of healthcare):
Isolated individuals should leave the work site as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of the isolated individual’s illness, he or she might be able to return home or seek medical care on his or her own, but some individuals may need emergency medical services.
In healthcare workplaces:
If possible, isolate patients suspected of having COVID-19 separately from those with confirmed cases of the virus to prevent further transmission, including in screening, triage, or healthcare facilities.
Restrict the number of personnel entering isolation areas, including the room of a patient with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

Protect workers in close contact with the sick person by using additional engineering and administrative controls, safe work practices, and PPE.
Sick workers should leave the work site as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of the isolated worker’s illness, he or she might be able to return home or seek medical care on his or her own, but some individuals may need emergency medical services.

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