DON’T go out except to see your doctor, after calling first. And if you do have to go out, avoid public transportation, taxis, and ride-sharing.
DO cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow or a tissue, and dispose of the tissue immediately in a covered bin. (You should be doing this whether or not you suspect COVID-19 -- you don’t want to spread a common cold, either.)
DON’T hang out with your family or pets if you suspect you have the virus. In order to protect them, eat and sleep separately from them, try to stay in one room, and use a separate bathroom if possible. Yes, pets are included in the recommendations.The CDC says experts don’t know for sure whether pets can catch it.
DO wear a mask properly around others if you suspect you may have the virus -- the mask itself can be a source of infection if you don’t follow the guidelines. The World Health Organization has videos on when and how to use a mask.
DON’T reach for antibiotics. If you happen to have some lying around from a previous illness, you may be tempted. But antibiotics work only on illnesses caused by bacteria, and the coronavirus is -- you guessed it -- a virus.
DO make sure someone in your home knows how to clean properly. Studies suggest that coronaviruses can live on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. To reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19, wear disposable gloves to clean surfaces regularly with soap and water, followed by a disinfectant to kill the virus. Effective options include a bleach solution of 5 tablespoons per gallon/4 teaspoons per quart of water, solutions with at least 70% alcohol, or one of the EPA-approved items on this list.
Dos and Don’ts When You’re Caring for Someone Who May Have It
DO treat the sickness. Keep the sick person hydrated with plenty of fluids, and use over-the-counter medications for individual symptoms.
DON’T hesitate to seek help immediately if someone in your home is experiencing these emergency warning signs:
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest.
- New confusion or inability to arouse.
- Bluish lips or face.
DO make sure to clean frequently-touched surfaces properly. Studies suggest that coronaviruses can live on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. To reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19, wear disposable gloves to clean surfaces in shared spaces daily, including tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, and sinks. Use soap and water, followed by a disinfectant to kill the virus. Effective options include a bleach solution of 5 tablespoons per gallon/4 teaspoons per quart of water and solutions with at least 70% alcohol.
DON’T share household items like dishes and glasses -- and definitely not bedding and towels. They should be washed thoroughly before being used again.
DO open a window or use an air conditioner or fan in shared spaces, weather permitting. This will maintain good airflow. Because the virus may be airborne, it could help protect the other members of your household.
DON’T go near seniors or those at higher risk for severe illness. You may be able to transmit the virus even if you feel fine. Now is not the time to pay a visit to grandma, or your friend with asthma.
DO keep the sick person home until all three of these things have happened:
- They’ve been fever-free for 72 hours, without using medicine that reduces fever.
- Their other symptoms have improved – no more coughing or shortness of breath.
- It’s been at least 7 days since they first noticed symptoms.
By Debbie Koenig posted on Editor's Note: This story was most recently updated March 26, 2020. For the latest updates on the 2020 coronavirus outbreak, see our news coverage , "Preparing for coronavirus Do's and Dont's", https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200228/preparing-for-coronavirus-dos-and-donts.