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30 Coronavirus Rules Everyone Should Follow

The definitive list of staying healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic
A young woman is wearing face mask on the street

The spread of COVID-19 has also brought on an overload of coronavirus tips about how to prevent infection, best practices, what to do if you're diagnosed, and how to stay sane during quarantine. While these ever-changing coronavirus tips are important to absorb, they can be overwhelming to sort through. So we put together 30 of the best coronavirus tips ever into one easy, definitive list. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

1

Use an Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer

The riskiest thing a person can touch for COVID-19
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Experts agree that hand sanitizer is a good alternative to washing your hands in a pinch. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) advises that you use a coin-sized amount of alcohol-based sanitizer and avoid touching your eyes or face after use. Store your sanitizer properly and make sure it's out of childrens' reach and away from flames or items that are combustible. 

2

Stop Avoiding the Doctor

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If you're trying desperately to stay away from COVID-19, a doctor's office may seem like the first place you want to avoid. However, if you need medical treatment for an issue or you need to closely monitor a medical condition, it's time to make an appointment. Ignoring your own health issues may cause them to worsen over time. 

If you're not healthy, you're more susceptible to a serious case of COVID-19 if you contract the virus. Most doctor's offices have strict social distancing and sanitary procedures in place to ensure patients are safe when visiting.

3

Check Your Sources

Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Courtesy of NIH

The COVID-19 situation is constantly evolving and certain areas may be affected differently by the virus. Before assuming everything you read online is correct, check the source. Be sure the source is trustworthy and the information provided is up to date. "Local and national authorities are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves," according to the WHO. You can start from these practical coronavirus tips from the nation's top infectious disease experts for more than 30 years, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

4

Stay Away From Other People

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COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets from infected persons. Therefore, one of the best tips to stop the spread of coronavirus is to stay away from other people when you're in public. "Keep a distance of about six feet (two meters) from others if the COVID-19 virus is spreading in your community, especially if you have a higher risk of serious illness," the Mayo Clinic suggests.

5

Stay on a Schedule

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Whether you're anxious about contracting coronavirus or you're just driving yourself crazy in quarantine, it's important to pay attention to your mental health. If you're furloughed from work, you've suddenly become a home-school teacher to your children, or you're working from home for the first time, a schedule is key. 

"If facing a quarantine at home, it is important to honor your body's habits and routines and maintain a schedule. Wake up around the same time each day, get dressed, eat breakfast, and make a list of things you would like to get done that day," says Alicia Murray of Convenient Counseling Services.

6

Wash Your Hands Frequently

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One of the best lines of defense against the spread of COVID-19 is to wash your hands frequently. You're probably used to washing your hands before and after preparing food or after using the bathroom. 

During the pandemic, you should also wash your hands thoroughly, "after you have been in a public place and touched an item or surface that may be frequently touched by other people, such as door handles, tables, gas pumps, shopping carts, or electronic cashier registers/screens," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). You should also wash them, "before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth because that's how germs enter our bodies."

7

Try to Attend Only Outdoor Events

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Gathering with large groups of people is always a potentially dangerous way to spread coronavirus. However, research shows if you're ready to head to a bar, restaurant, farmer's market, or other public place, you may be safer outside. 

A study conducted in Japan analyzed 100 COVID-19 cases and found you're about 20 times more likely to contract the virus indoors if you're mingling with an infected individual. Experts confirm this may be because the wind or outdoor air disperse infected respiratory droplets away from other people more easily than when you're sharing air inside.

8

Talk It Out With Friends and Family

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When physically being around others feels dangerous and potentially harmful to society, you could face long days, weeks, and months in social isolation. If you're feeling alone, it's important to reach out to friends and family and talk through your emotions. 

A study published in Scientific Reports analyzed individuals living with depression and their frequency of interactions with others. The study found that the "individuals' depressive symptoms are associated with spending less time in social interactions." Interacting with your friends and family is crucial for your mental health and to combat depressive or lonely feelings.

9

Pay Attention to Signs

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If you've recently visited a grocery store, pharmacy, or other public place, you may have noticed the one-way aisle stickers on the floor, face mask requirement signs, and other directions to promote social distancing. These signs may seem annoying and can sometimes make a quick errand take longer than it should. 

Since every store has a different layout and capacity, the CDC can't set blanket guidelines for all stores. However, the organization encourages retail workers to "minimize handling cash" and "clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces." By following a store's procedures, you make it easier on the workers to follow the CDC's protocol and keep everyone safe.

10

Ditch the Gloves

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At one point, it was thought that gloves would be helpful in stopping the spread of COVID-19. But unless you're meticulous with how you use your gloves, what you touch, and when and how you dispose of them, they may not do you any good. "Most gloves have minute holes and eventually, the gloves themselves become contaminated," according to Dr. Cody Meissner, MD, from Tufts Medical Center. Stick with a face mask and good hand washing after you've left a public place.

11

Limit Your Stress

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If you're worried about contracting coronavirus and how this pandemic is materializing, it's important to limit your stress. "Stressful events reliably associate with changes in the immune system," according to a study published in the Psychological Bulletin

When you're constantly stressed out, it can weaken your immune system. If you catch COVID-19 with a weak immune system, it may be more detrimental to your health than if your immune system was more prepared to fight the virus. Keep stress at bay in healthy ways so your immune system can remain strong.

12

Be Sure Your Mask Covers Your Nose and Mouth

woman putting on a medical disposable mask.
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When you wear a face mask in public, you're protecting others around you. It's possible that you're infected with COVID-19 but aren't showing any symptoms and by covering your nose and mouth, you can stop the spread. 

"Wear a mask correctly and don't put the mask around your neck or up on your forehead," warns the CDC. While it's tempting to pull the mask down when you're talking or because it's more comfortable, ensuring it covers both your nose and mouth keeps the mask effective at containing your respiratory droplets.

13

Analyze a Business's Procedures Before Visiting

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Different areas are in different stages of reopening. If your area is beginning to re-open and you're ready to visit local places, it's still important to be cautious. Before dining out, attending an event, or shopping at a retail store, analyze the business's practices and procedures. Be sure there's enough social distancing and requirements in place to make you and other patrons feel safe. 

As a citizen, you can do your part by adhering to, "state and local guidance as well as complementary CDC guidance, particularly with respect to face coverings," according to the White House and CDC's approach to reopening.

14

Use Video Chats

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If you can't travel and don't feel safe visiting with friends and family members, harness the power of technology to keep in touch. Video chat applications, such as FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts, may feel impersonal. But seeing your loved one's face and interacting in real time may be just the connection you need to boost your spirit. 

A study published in the Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace analyzed how connected participants felt to family and friends using different mediums, such as voice, text, and video. "Participants who used video chat more frequently, perhaps with long-distance family members or long-distance friends, felt closer to their participating friends when they did take the opportunity to video chat with them," the study concluded.

15

Don't Touch Your Face

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It's known that coronavirus is spread when you're exposed to respiratory droplets from an infected individual. You can also pick these infected droplets up from frequently touched surfaces. But you won't actually catch the virus unless you then touch your eyes or wipe your nose.

A study published in the American Journal of Infection Control observed students on a normal day and found that "on average, each of the 26 observed students touched their face 23 times per hour." The study also concluded "of all face touches, 44% involved contact with a mucous membrane." We're used to touching our faces without concern but with COVID-19 around, you'll need to remain conscious of your hands, especially if you haven't washed them recently.

16

Start a New Hobby

Diy woman painting, renewing chair at home.
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If limited social interaction is driving you crazy, delving into a new pastime or activity may be the solution. "Research shows that people with hobbies are less likely to suffer from stress, low mood, and depression," according to the Australian Government's Department of Health. Consider starting a new hobby, such as learning how to play a musical instrument or painting, so you can focus on self improvement and have fun on your own.

17

Hug Safely

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During the pandemic, you may be missing a hug from your friends or family members. If you're dying to hug a loved one, you may be able to sneak one in safely. "If you don't talk or cough while hugging, the risk should be very low," according to Professor Linsey Marr from Virginia Tech. First, be sure both parties haven't been exposed to the virus recently. Stay outside to hug and don't allow a lot of people to also be close. Make your hug quick and turn your faces away from each other as you engage.

18

Ride the Elevator Alone

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Before the pandemic, a small and crowded elevator was just a part of daily office life. However, with COVID-19, this tiny space may seem like a dangerous way to spread the virus. If you can, wait it out and ride the elevator alone. 

If there's no way you can go solo and you must ride with other people, be sure everyone is wearing a mask and limit conversations, according to Harvard Health. Face away from each other and social distance as much as possible throughout the ride to prevent potentially spreading the virus.

19

Keep Exercising

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We all know exercise is good for our bodies but it's an even more crucial component to our health during the pandemic. Focusing on a strong immune system is the best way to ensure you're prepared to fight off COVID-19 if you're ever exposed to the virus and exercise is helpful in turning up your immune system's functionality. 

"Exercise boosts our ability to breathe, which helps our immune systems and organs function well," according to UC Davis Health. Stay active and exercise regularly to keep your immune system humming and your body healthy.

20

Turn Off the TV Sometimes

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It's important to stay informed and on top of the latest pandemic news. But keeping your TV tuned to a 24-hour news station may increase your stress to unhealthy levels. "Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting," suggests the CDC. Get the latest news developments you need to know, then turn off the TV and enjoy your day.

21

Keep Cleaning

Disinfect - Woman Spraying Table Surface with Disinfectant and Wiping it with a Cloth
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The pandemic has been dragging out for months, so it's tempting to slack on disinfecting and cleaning frequently touched surfaces inside your home. But experts warn that it's still important to make sure you're diligently cleaning to stop the spread of the virus. The CDC recommends you identify the areas in your home that are touched frequently and clean these surfaces with soap, water, and disinfectant. "Cleaning with soap and water reduces the number of germs, dirt and impurities on the surface. Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces," the CDC reports.

22

Get the Facts Before You Travel

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Feeling brave and ready to get out of town? COVID-19 is a fluid situation and travel restrictions seem to be ever changing depending on location. Before you plan a trip, research the local, state, and federal guidelines regarding coronavirus to ensure you can adhere to them. 

The Mayo Clinic suggests "checking the U.S. Transportation Security Administration's website and your airline's website for additional guidance." Consider the risks associated with hopping on a crowded flight or staying in a hotel before you decide to travel.

23

Make Reservations Wherever You Can

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Businesses are facing a new frontier and are now forced to implement social distancing and face mask regulations to keep patrons safe. In many cases, restaurants are only allowed to operate at a small percentage of their usual capacity, making it challenging to provide great service.

One way you can help restaurants flow into their new style of service is by making reservations. "Reservations are becoming increasingly important especially for places that didn't use them before for capacity management," according to Andrea Johnston from OpenTable. When you make a reservation, the restaurant sets aside a table for your party and can ensure it's sanitized and adequately distanced from other diners.

24

Stay Home If You Don't Feel Well

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Is it allergies? A cold? A hangover? Or COVID-19? If you don't feel well for any reason, it's best to stay home and self isolate, whether you think it's the virus or not. Coronavirus can present symptoms that differ from one person to another so it's better to be safe than sorry. 

COVID-19 symptoms could include fever, chills, congestion, nausea, fatigue, headaches, loss of taste or smell, or others, according to the CDC. It's never fun to cancel plans and stay home, but if you're not feeling well, be responsible and self isolate until you're sure you don't have the virus.

25

Stay Away From High-Risk Friends

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If you suspect you may have COVID-19 or you were exposed to someone who does, it's important to self isolate until you know if you're infected or not. Staying away from your friends or family members who may be at high risk for complications with the virus is also crucial to their health and safety. 

Older adults and individuals with underlying medical conditions, such as cancer, asthma, or high blood pressure, are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 cases, according to the CDC. Connect over video chat or by phone until it's safe to make in-person visits.

26

Cover Your Mouth When You Cough or Sneeze

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It's always polite to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, but this gesture is especially important in the times of COVID-19. To stop the spread of the virus, "Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene," according to the WHO, "Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19."

27

Stock Up on What You Need

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The key to stopping the spread of COVID-19 is to minimize your exposure to other people and public places. While your area may not be under stay-at-home or quarantine guidelines, planning out your time in public efficiently and consolidating your errands to spend the least amount of time around people is crucial. 

If you may have been exposed to the virus and you plan to quarantine, you should "store additional supplies of food and water," according to the Department of Homeland Security. While you don't need to hoard items, stock up on what you need in one trip or use a grocery delivery service to minimize contact and prepare yourself for time at home.

28

Eat Healthy

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Your nutrition plays a big role in the health of your immune system. With this big scary virus all around us, keeping your immune system in tip-top shape is important. Having excess weight on your body and eating a poor diet can suppress your immune system, according to Harvard Health. Instead, you should "eat a balanced diet with whole fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and plenty of water."

29

Get Good Sleep

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Whether you've been diagnosed with COVID-19 or you're just trying to keep your body healthy to fight the virus if needed, sleep is a key factor. It helps your body fight off the virus and keeps your immune system strong. 

"Your immune system is like your computer—it needs moments of rest so it doesn't become overheated. Sleep reboots the system," according to Dr. Mark Moyad, M.D., M.P.H. from University of Michigan Medical Center. The CDC recommends adults get at least seven hours of sleep per night.

30

Know When You Need Emergency Medical Treatment

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If you're suffering through COVID-19 at home and in self isolation, keep track of your symptoms and keep in contact with your doctor. Follow your doctor's advice on how to deal with the virus at home but know how to identify the warning signs that you may need emergency medical treatment. 

If you experience "trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, the inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face," you may need to call 911 or head to the ER, according to the Red Cross. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.

Kelly Hernandez
Kelly Hernandez is a health and wellness writer and certified personal trainer. Read more