As part of your everyday prevention actions clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects. For example: tables, counter tops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles. Wear disposable gloves to clean and disinfect.
- Clean surfaces using soap and water. Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces.
High touch surfaces include:
Tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.
- Use diluted household bleach solutions if appropriate for the surface. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coraonviruses when properly diluted.
Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.
To make a bleach solution, mix:
- 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water
- 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
- Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol.
- Household cleaners and disinfectants: Clean the area or item with soap and water or another detergent if it is dirty. Then, use a household disinfectant.
Follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product.
Many products recommend:
- Keeping the surface wet for several minutes to ensure germs are killed.
- Precautions such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
- Most EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.
For soft surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes
- Clean the surface using soap and water or with cleaners appropriate for use on these surfaces.
- Launder items (if possible) according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
- Disinfect with an EPA-registered household disinfectant. These disinfectants meet EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19.
For clothing, towels, linens and other items
- Wear disposable gloves.
- Wash hands with soap and water as soon as you remove the gloves.
- Do not shake dirty laundry.
- Launder items according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
- Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.
- Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance above for surfaces.
Clean Hands Often
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Always wash immediately after removing gloves and after contact with an ill person.
- Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not readily available and hands are not visibly dirty, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.
Additional key times to clean hands include:
- After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After using the restroom
- Before eating or preparing food
- After contact with animals or pets
- Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g. a child)
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay separated: The ill person should eat (or be fed) in their room if possible.
- Wash dishes and utensils using gloves and hot water: Handle any non-disposable used food service items with gloves and wash with hot water or in a dishwasher.
- Clean hands after handling used food service items.
- Dedicated, lined trash can: If possible, dedicate a lined trash can for the ill person. Use gloves when removing garbage bags, and handling and disposing of trash. Wash hands afterwards.
Who is at higher risk?
Early information out of China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes:
- Older adults
- People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
Get ready for COVID-19 Now
Take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick
If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is extra important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease.
- Stock up on supplies.
- Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
- When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
- Avoid crowds as much as possible.
- Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
- During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.
Have Supplies on Hand
- Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community and you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time.
- If you cannot get extra medications, consider using mail-order for medications.
- Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.
- Have enough household items and groceries on hand so that you will be prepared to stay at home for a period of time.
Take Everyday Precautions
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Take everyday preventive actions:
- Clean your hands often
- Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick.
- Avoid all non-essential travel including plane trips, and especially avoid embarking on cruise ships.