COVID-19 can spread anywhere, even places where you feel safe, like your home. If even one person in your household gets COVID-19, it can spread to others in your home. Learn what you can do to keep COVID-19 outside your home, and if it gets in your home, what you can do to keep it from spreading.
Keep COVID-19 Outside Your Home
When you leave your house for work, to run errands, or for any other reason, you have a chance of being exposed to COVID-19 and bringing it back to your home.
The chances of being exposed increase when you
- Have close contact with other people (closer than 6 feet)
- Spend more time with other people
- Spend time in crowds (more than 10 people)
- Spend time in indoor spaces, particularly if poorly ventilated
Keep COVID-19 outside your home! When around people who don’t live in your home, wear a mask, wash your hands, and stay at least 6 feet apart to protect yourself and prevent bringing COVID-19 into your home.
Wear a Mask
- Wash your hands before putting on your mask.
- Wear your mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
- Fit your mask snugly against the sides of your face.
- Make sure you can breathe easily.
- When you take off your mask, handle it only by the ear loops or ties.
- Store your used mask safely to keep it clean between uses.
- Wash your cloth mask regularly, preferably in a washing machine.
Stay at least 6 Feet Apart and Avoid Crowds
- Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from other people. Remember that people can spread the virus even if they don’t have symptoms.
- Avoid crowds and indoor spaces as much as possible, particularly ones that aren’t well ventilated
- The more people you are in contact with, the more likely you are to be exposed to COVID-19.
Wash Your Hands
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and water aren’t 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 until after you wash your hands.
Prevent COVID-19 Inside Your Home
If your household includes one or more people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 then all household members should act as if they are more likely to get very sick. Learn how to protect yourself and others.
If you aren’t able to take steps to keep COVID-19 outside your home, then stop it from spreading inside your home, especially if you have someone at home who is more likely to get very sick from COVID-19. Take these steps to protect people in your household.
- Wear a mask in shared spaces around others
- If you or others in your household are in close contact (within 6 feet) of other people who don’t live in your household and if you have household members who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 (older adults, people with specific medical conditions or who have to take extra precautions), consider wearing masks in shared spaces around others in your home.
- Stay at least 6 feet apart
- In shared spaces, stay about 2 arm lengths apart. Remember that people can spread the virus even if they don’t have symptoms.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.
- Monitor your health daily
- Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
- Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in shared spaces
- Avoid sharing personal household items
- Do not share items such asdishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, or towels with other people in your home.
- Wash these items thoroughly after using them.
If Someone Gets Sick
- Separate the person who is sick from other people in your home, if possible.
- People in the household should stay separated from the person who is sick. If they must be around the person who is sick, they should wear a mask.
- The person who is sick should
- Stay in a separate room and away from other people and pets
- Use a separate bathroom
- Wear a mask around others
- Be sure the person who is sick
- Covers their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing
- Throws away used tissues in a lined trashcan. Washes their hands often.
- Does not prepare, serve, or assist in preparing or serving, food to others.
For more information on what to do if someone is sick in your home, see Caring for Someone Sick at Home.
Ms. Jenn Landers | Patient Advocate Alliance LLC Edited by Dr. Justin Groode