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Most COVID Patients Did This Before Getting Sick

Share this science-backed checklist and save a life—including yours.

It's a race against the COVID-19 vaccines and the variants, and you're reading a ton of information about coronavirus and what to do while we're in an active pandemic. Some of what you've heard is spot-on; some of it's utterly bogus; some of it changes every day; most of it's scaring the pants off you. That's why we've consulted the experts to compile this comprehensive list of the most important, science-backed coronavirus tips you can do to stay healthy. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Signs Your Illness is Actually Coronavirus in Disguise.


Don't Travel

Young woman getting ready for summer vacation

Stay with just the people you're sheltering with. "The tragedy that could happen is one of your family members, from coming together in a family gathering, could wind up hospitalized and severely ill and could die. We don't want to see that happen," said Dr. Henry Walke, a COVID-19 incident manager at the CDC. "This year we're asking people to be as safe as possible."


Don't Think You're Immune

Friends eating pizza

Now isn't the time to be complacent. If you're young, you can still develop COVID-19 and serious complications—Millennials are being hospitalized, and many are developing Long COVID—and spread coronavirus to people who are more vulnerable, like the elderly and immunocompromised, even if you're symptom free.


Don't Ignore These Simple Fundamentals

Everyone health expert agree that the following fundamentals, if followed, can keep us safer until we're all vaccinated:

  1. Universal wearing of masks
  2. Maintaining physical distance
  3. Avoiding congregate settings or crowds
  4. Doing more outdoors, as opposed to indoors
  5. Washing hands frequently

Don't Drink Bleach or Disinfectant


After President Trump mentioned "disinfectant" as a possible cure, calls to poison control doubled and companies like Lysol had to send notices telling people they should not ingest their products. Don't ever ingest bleach or disinfectant! It is literally poisonous and can least to gastric distress at best, death at worst.


Don't Think a Lamp or Bright Light Will Cure COVID-19

young african american woman smiling and looking up

President Trump once mused that "the heat and the light" might kill the coronavirus. "Not as a treatment," answered Deborah Birx, a top adviser. Same goes for the sun. It would be "irresponsible for us to say that we feel that the summer is just going to totally kill the virus," says Bill Bryan, an undersecretary of science and technology at the Department of Homeland Security.


Don't Think Social Distancing Will be Over Tomorrow

People standing in line front of bank/store due to coronavirus pandemic safety guideline

"Social distancing will be with us to really ensure that we protect one another as we move through these phases," Birx told NBC's Meet the Press. That includes even after the first folks start taking the vaccine, which is set to be distributed to those most in need come December.


Don't Hoard Food

Empty shelves in supermarket

There's no need to panic-buy food. Officials from around the U.S. and world have said there is no shortage in the food supply, and grocery stores will be restocked.


Obviously: Don't Forget to Wash Your Hands

scrubbing soapy hand against washbasin

This is the most important protection against COVID-19. Wash your hands after being out in public, after you use the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing, and before preparing or consuming food—basically, as often as is practical. 


Don't Touch Your Face

Woman stressed

Germs are most often introduced into our body when we touch our eyes, nose or mouth, experts say. 


Don't Wash Your Hands for Less Than 20 Seconds

Analogue metal stopwatch close-up on the black background.

Anything less would be uncivilized—and will leave germs on your hands, experts say. Do it for 20 seconds or more, or as long as it takes to sing "Happy Birthday"—or the theme from Full House or the Imperial March from Star Wars. Whatever it takes to get you through.


Always Wash Your Hands With Soap

Woman Washing her hands with soap and water at home bathroom


Studies show that during handwashing, soap creates a chemical reaction that removes germs from your hands more efficiently than water alone. Don't use too little or too much—too much soap can prevent thorough rinsing of germs from your hands—and rinse and dry completely.


Don't Sneeze or Cough Openly

man coughing

Cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow—some call it "The Batman Sneeze"—or into a disposable tissue.


Don't Touch Door Handles (If You Can Help It)

Door knob on or off the bathroom

Researchers have found that coronavirus can live for two to three days on hard surfaces like door handles. That's why it's especially important to wash your hands regularly, and push doors with your arm or elbow when possible. 


Adhere to Social Distancing Recommendations

Woman and man in social distancing sitting on bench in park

Social distancing guidelines come from a place of knowledge—they've prevented other novel viruses (like the flu of 1918) from exacting an even greater toll. 


Don't Attend Large Gatherings

People with face mask drinking at coffee house

The White House still recommends that gatherings be limited to 10 people or fewer.


Be Wary of Entering Restaurants and Bars

Two young women at a lunch in a restaurant

Many localities have closed bars and restaurants to everything but carryout and delivery. Even if your city has opened these places, enter with caution, as the virus can still spread.


Don't Shake Hands

Two women friends meet in a street with bare hands. Instead of greeting with a hug or handshake, they bump elbows instead

Not to encourage antisocial behavior, but now's a good time to substitute a handshake for a wave or an elbow bump.


Don't Forget to Wash Your Hands After Handling Food Packages and Food Deliveries


You don't need to spray your groceries or food deliveries with disinfectant, but be sure to take the food out of the packaging right when you get home (in a special area for this purpose), discard it, and then wash your hands for 20 seconds before eating.


Don't Forget Your Face Mask

Surgical masks on a table

According to the CDC: "In light of new data about how COVID-19 spreads, along with evidence of widespread COVID-19 illness in communities across the country, CDC recommends that people wear a cloth face covering to cover their nose and mouth in the community setting. This is to protect people around you if you are infected but do not have symptoms."

You can make your own at home out of cloth.

They go on: "A cloth face covering should be worn whenever people are in a community setting, especially in situations where you may be near people. These settings include grocery stores and pharmacies. These face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing. Cloth face coverings are especially important to wear in public in areas of widespread COVID-19 illness."


Don't Cross-Contaminate Via Your Mask

First person view of a woman holding face mask

"Once you wear a mask once, it's contaminated by whatever. If you take the mask off and sit it on another surface, that surface is now contaminated," says Geoffrey Mount Varner, MD, MPH, FACEP, a Maryland-based emergency medicine physician.

The Rx: "It's best to use one-use masks and once they are taken off, dispose of them," says Mount Varner. "If you use a cloth or hand-made mask, it needs to be washed and sanitized between wears."


Don't Touch the Mask With Dirty Hands

Asian female model wearing green surgical face mask

"If you contaminate your mask even from the outside, you can get easily infected," says physician Dimitar Marinov, MD, Ph.D.

"Taking off your face mask and then reapplying it with contaminated hands can move the bacteria or virus directly into the breathable area," says Jared Heathman, MD, a Texas-based psychiatrist.

The Rx: Make sure your hands are clean before adjusting the mask. It's best to avoid touching your face in general.


Don't Wear the Same Mask All Day

Ill young man feeling sick, wearing protective mask against transmissible infectious diseases and as protection against the flu in public and transportation.

"A mask should be changed or disinfected as often as every 2 hours, otherwise viral particles can accumulate on it and you are more likely to breathe them in," says Marinov.


Make Sure You're Fully Covered

woman in a medical mask on her face during the pandemic outdoors

"I see many people wearing their masks below the nose," says Marinov. "While it will still protect others if you are coughing or sneezing, it will not protect you from COVID-19 if someone else nearby is infected and coughs."

The Rx: Once the mask is fitted properly on the nose, it should be extended so that it fits right under your chin, says Angela Abernathy, a New York City-based dentist. "This is to ensure maximum coverage." Adds Heathman: "The purpose is to breathe through the mask, not around the mask."


Don't Put It on Too Late

African American man wearing red pullover, out and about in the city streets during the day, putting on a face mask against air pollution and covid19 coronavirus.

Without the mask, you're susceptible to inhaling the particles in the air. "You must put it on ahead of entering an area of risk," says Rafael Lugo, a general surgeon and owner/CEO at Lugo Surgical Group in The Woodlands, Texas. 


Don't Trust the Mask Too Much

Retired couple walking in a park under quarantine during coronavirus outbreak

You may think "the mask is 100 percent reliable," says Lugo. Not so. "It is meant to decrease the risk. Ultimately, social distancing is king."

"A surgical mask is not designed to provide a barrier between your respiratory system and all viruses and bacteria," says Leann Poston, MD, a physician with Invigor Medical in New York City. "Social distancing helps protect you from viral particles sneezed and coughed into the air by people who may not know that they are sick yet."


Don't Spray Your Mask With Chemicals

reuse surgical face mask by using alcohol spray to kill bacteria and virus but that make waterproof layer no worked

"Applying any chemical like Lysol to the mask that makes it wet is bad," says Lugo. "You can spray it to sanitize lightly, and then put it in a bag. Do not saturate it."


Don't Get Your Mask Wet

Washed surgical mask drying on a rack with copy space on the right side. Selective focus.

"Once the mask becomes wet, it becomes less effective and needs to be changed to a dry one," says Abernathy. Avoid touching the mask with your tongue. "Touching the mask with your tongue makes it wet and more porous," advises Lugo. "You want the mask to stay dry."


Don't Wear It Wrong

man in red sweater using medical mask

"Masks have a front (that is usually colored, textured or has the brand name) and a back (that is usually white and more cotton-like)," says Abernathy. "The back side should be touching your face. It is designed this way so that particles are properly filtered."


Don't Think All Masks Are the Same

Corona virus prevetion face mask protection N95 masks and medical surgical masks at home .

Different masks have different uses. "An N95 mask filters out 95% of bacteria and viruses if they are correctly fitted to your face," says Poston. This is what healthcare workers are using to better protect themselves when caring for sick patients. "A surgical mask is designed to contain your droplets to help protect those around you."


Don't Go to an ER Unless You're Seriously Ill

old woman and adult man sit on gray stainless chair waiting medical and health services to the hospital,patients waiting treatment

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, it's best to call your healthcare provider for advice. Don't go to an ER unless you're having trouble breathing; you might infect others there. 


Don't Drink Too Much Alcohol

man sitting on bed with alcohol glass - how does alcohol affect the brain

It's a scary time, but overindulging in alcohol isn't the answer. Drinking too much can raise blood pressure and reduce immunity, two factors that could make you more susceptible to COVID-19 and complications.


Don't Sleep Less

Alarm clock ringing,annoyed woman waking up in early morning for work.Sleeping disorder

Sleep is a time when our immune system recharges, and a lack of quality sleep has been associated with other serious diseases. Aim for seven to nine hours a night.


Don't Let Anxiety Take Over

Woman meditating on her bed

If you're feeling anxious, turn off the news and social media. Breathe deeply for a few minutes. Practice techniques that reduce anxiety and stress, including mindfulness, meditation and exercise. 


You're Using Sanitizer Wrong

Young asian woman washing hand by sanitizer gel after came back home from public,prevention of virus avoid infections corona virus.

"Another mistake is that people don't completely saturate their hands with hand sanitizer," says Stephen Loyd, MD, chief medical director at JourneyPure. They might only be covering the palms or the backs of their hands."

The Rx: "It's important to put it between your fingers, as well as under the nails, to distribute the sanitizer evenly," says Loyd. "You want to apply hand sanitizer in the same way you would if you are washing your hands with soap."


You're Overusing It

female hands applying cream

"Hand sanitizers kill not only bad bacteria, but also communal good bacteria, which can be irritating to the skin," says Dr. Rhonda Kalasho, a double board-certified dentist in Los Angeles. 

The Rx: "Hand sanitizer is much more drying for the hands than soap and water, so it's easy to get dry skin from over-using hand sanitizer," says Loyd. "People should moisturize their hands immediately after use, preferably with a cream."


You're Using A Less Concentrated One

Young man in medical face mask read antibacterial gel bottle label in hand at home. Confident doctor in protective mask on face holding sanitizers. Personal hygiene, safety. Coronavirus COVID-19

"Hand sanitizer should have at least 60 percent alcohol," says Inna Husain, MD, an otolaryngologist in Chicago. "The higher the concentration of alcohol, the more effective it will be."


You're Keeping It Near Children

Boy using wash hand sanitizer gel

"People need to keep hand sanitizer, especially nicely scented ones, out of the reach of young children," says Heather Finlay-Morreale, MD, a pediatrician in Sterling, Massachusetts. "Young children can drink them and get poisoned."


You're Not Letting It Dry

hand sanitizer

"One common mistake people make when using hand sanitizer is that they fail to rub it in all the way," says Loyd. "It's important to continue to rub it into your skin until it dries." 

The Rx: "Give hand sanitizer time to take effect," says Husain. "I have seen people squirt a small amount, then immediately touch their face. Give it at least a minute to dry."


You're Contaminating Yourself Again

Hotel registration form with blue alcohol gel prepare for guest to make clean up hand before do a registration

"The sanitizer pump has been touched lots of times by people with unclean hands," says general practitioner Dr. Giuseppe Aragona. "It can harbor similar levels of germs to door handles, cash and ATM keypads."

The Rx: Pump with the side of your hand or fist, and don't touch any part of the bottle after you've applied hand sanitizer.


You're Making Hand Sanitizer Yourself

Prevention of coronavirus: hydroalcoholic gel, soap, alcohol and home-made mask

Because of panic buying, your local store might have run out of hand sanitizer. You may be tempted to create your own. Experts advise against it; it's easy to mistakenly create a mixture that's not strong enough to kill germs. "I've seen people try and make sunscreen before, and the worst-case scenario was people being sunburned," says Aragona. "With COVID-19, the worst-case scenario is death and infecting dozens of other people." 


You're Not Using Enough

African American Woman Disinfecting Skin With Hand Sanitizer

Because of the hand sanitizer shortage, you may be tempted to use a smaller amount of sanitizer than usual to make it last longer. But that may not kill germs as expected. A common mistake is "not applying the right amount, and not applying to both hands," says Magdalena Cadet, MD, a rheumatologist based in New York City. "Don't forget under fingernails and the back of the hand, as well as the entire palm."


Don't Use Hand Sanitizer That's Less Than 60% Alcohol

COVID-19 Close up woman wash hand sanitizer gel dispenser, against Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) at home.

Experts say 60% and above is necessary to kill germs.


Don't Forget to Check in With Others

Cheerful excited joyful intelligent clever glad relaxed grandpa using netbook telling relatives friends

"Social distancing only applies to physical space, not all human connections," said doctors from Johns Hopkins on March 17. "If you know someone who can't go outside, like an older person, call them regularly."


Don't Stop Exercising

Smiling woman sitting exercise mat and watching training videos on digital tablet

Even though gyms may be closed in your area, daily exercise is key to staying healthy. Luckily, working out at home is easier than ever, thanks to apps and sites like Beachbody, Openfit, Aaptiv and Fitbod. Several gym chains have online workouts too.  


Don't Eat Poorly

Obese woman laying on sofa with smartphone eating chips

Stress eating could turn COVID-19 into the new version of the Freshman 15. Don't let it; that will only compromise your overall health.


Don't Share Bogus Information

Coronavirus outbreak: A woman reading news/updates about coronavirus and getting anxiety/depression

We all want our friends, loved ones and community to stay informed about COVID-19, but make sure any information you share comes from major news sources, hospitals and health organizations like the CDC and WHO.


Don't Totally Avoid Nature

A woman wearing protective face mask is seen walking in the park during COVID-19 virus outbreak

Going outside during social distancing is "more than okay. It's a good idea," the Johns Hopkins doctors said. "Just keep your distance from others. Walking, hiking and biking are good. Contact sports are a no-no. Exercise is physically and mentally important, especially in stressful times."


Self-Quarantine If You Suspect You've Been Exposed

Young woman spending free time home.Self care,staying home

This is key to slowing the spread of the virus, experts say. Follow your healthcare provider's instructions. 


Self-Isolate If You Suspect You've Been Infected

Young business woman working from home with laptop, wearing protective mask

If you're ill with COVID-19, it's important to occupy a separate bedroom from other members of your family if you can, and avoid sharing towels, bedding, glasses, plates and silverware until you're recovered.


Don't Touch Shopping Carts

Man wearing disposable medical face mask wipes the shopping cart handle with a disinfecting cloth in supermarket

…without wiping them down with an antibacterial wipe, or washing your hands as soon as you get home, that is.


Don't Touch Elevator Buttons

A woman pushing an elevator button with sleeve nylon down jacket instead of using her hand.

If you can help it, press these germ magnets with a knuckle or the side of your hand; it'll lower the chances you'll transfer 


Don't Stock Up on Simple Carbs

White bread on wooden cutting board

When you're buying groceries, go for complex carbs, not white bread and flour, baked goods and processed foods. 


Disinfect Your Cell Phone

cleaning phone

Even in normal times, they can carry seven times more germs than the average toilet seat. Wipe them down with disinfectant daily.  


Don't Feel Helpless to Help Others

These are unforeseen circumstances, but staying at home doesn't mean you're powerless to help others. Michigan Health has a great list of things you can do, from donating to food and diaper banks to helping the homebound. 


Don't Forget to Wash Your Hand Towels

hand and puts the laundry into the washing machine

Experts recommend washing your kitchen hand towels after two days of use, in hot water, with a bit of bleach or a product with activated oxygen bleach.


Don't Panic!

Nervous african woman breathing calming down relieving headache or managing stress, black girl feeling stressed self-soothing massaging temples exhaling

Be prepared, be vigilant, be informed. But don't be panicked. We will get through this together, even if we have to temporarily remain apart.


Don't Skip a Vitamin D Supplement

Yellow soft shell D-vitamin capsule against sun and blue sky on sunny day

Among other benefits, Vitamin D boosts the immune system. "If you are deficient in vitamin D, that does have an impact on your susceptibility to infection. So I would not mind recommending, and I do it myself taking vitamin D supplements," says Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert.


Don't Skip the Flu Shot

Medication nurse wearing protective gloves and white scrubs get a needle or shot ready for an injection. - Image

If you haven't gotten one, it's not too late. It won't protect against COVID-19, but it will help protect you against the seasonal flu, which can have similar symptoms.


Don't Let Your Blood Pressure Rise

Woman Checking Blood Pressure At Home

If you're on medication or a lifestyle-change regimen for high blood pressure, don't discontinue them. High blood pressure has been associated with worse outcomes for people who contract COVID-19. 


Don't Skip the Veggies

woman preparing vegetable salad in modern kitchen

As always, try to eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible—they contain vitamins, minerals and compounds that can boost your immune system. 


Don't Handle Cash (If You Can Help It)

paying with cash at grocery store

Initial reports indicated that cash might help spread coronavirus. No harm in paying with plastic whenever possible. 


Don't Touch a Public Screen Or Keypad (Without Washing Your Hands)

woman paying by credit card at juice bar. Focus on woman hands entering security pin in credit card reader

The checkout screens at grocery stores and keypads at banks and ATMs were notoriously germy even before the coronavirus outbreak. Bring a pen with you and use the non-writing end to press keys and give your signature.


Don't Go to Religious Services

Young woman is worshipping at a service in a church

Right now is the time to avoid crowds in general. Attend services online, or in a virtual group hangout.


Don't Take Chloroquine Phosphate

Doctor holding Chloroquine Phosphate drug

An Arizona man died, and his wife became seriously ill, after the couple ingested chloroquine phosphate, an additive used to clean fish tanks. President Trump had touted the antimalarial drug chloroquine as a potential coronavirus cure. 


Don't Use a Community Pen


Bring your own writing utensil with you anywhere you might need to use one—to the bank, doctor's office or other essential places. 


Don't Blame Others

An angry senior points an accusing finger

Viruses don't belong to one country or discriminate about who they infect. Blaming one country or group of people for COVID-19 isn't emotionally healthy or constructive.


Consider Every Health Procedure Carefully

Doctor checking his daily planner when talking to his patient on the phone

Ask your healthcare provider if any of your upcoming procedures are urgent or can be rescheduled.


Don't Take a Cruise

Cruises have proven to be an effective vector for transmitting a number of viruses, including coronavirus. If you have one booked, now's a good time to reschedule or choose another diversion. 


Don't Take Children to Closed Playgrounds

little boy playing inside a tunnel in the playground balls poll

Many parks and playgrounds remain closed for a reason—playground equipment is rarely (if ever) disinfected.


Don't Go Out When You're Sick


If you feel ill, stay home.


Disinfect "High-Touch" Surfaces

man cleaning his computer keyboard

Take a minute to wipe down other frequently touched surfaces such as computer keyboards, remote controls and light switches.


Don't Close-Talk

There will be time for establishing intimacy later. If you run into a friend on the street, try to stay three feet apart for the time being.


And Sorry About This One: Don't Visit the Grandparents (or Your Grandkids) In Person

Multi generation black family at home

Older people are more susceptible to complications from COVID-19. Move any visits to FaceTime for the time being.


If You're Thinking Negatively, Flip the Script

man laughing and showing thumb up gesture

Although times can be scary, try to engage in self-talk that's positive and constructive. "We'll get through this" and "I'm doing the best I can" are two good examples. They may sound corny but they really work.


Don't Forget to Make Time For Yourself

Woman reading in a bath

Your plate may be full of remote work and caring for a partner, children and other family members. But it's important to allot regular time for yourself, whether it's exercise, meditation, indulging in a favorite TV show, reading a book or taking a long bath.  


Don't OD on News

women watching tv and use remote controller

Using TV news as background noise, or constantly checking news sites, may not be helpful and can lead to anxiety. Pick a reputable news site, and check in briefly once or twice a day.  


Your Checklist—Check in With it!

Man writing a to do list while also on his tablet computer

Create a checklist of things you'd like to get done, and hold yourself to it each day. 


Don't Slack on Your Routine

man is taking shower in bathroom

Get up and go to bed at a regular time. Wake up, shower, get dressed as if you were going to work or heading out. Eat well—and regularly—and exercise. Start work at the same time each day, and have an end of day—don't just keep working all night.


Try Not to Work From the Bed

Middle aged man using laptop while lying in bed

Create a work-from-home space for yourself; your own desk, if a whole room isn't available. It'll help you maintain a routine and stay focused.


Breaks—You Need 'Em

Happy relaxed young woman sitting in her kitchen with a laptop in front of her stretching her arms above her head and looking out of the window with a smile

When you're working from home, don't let it expand to fill your entire day. Give yourself a lunch hour and at least two 15-minute breaks. 


Set Boundaries—and Stick to Them

Busy Family Home With Mother Working As Father Prepares Meal

If you're working from home with a spouse and/or children around, establish clear guidelines about when you'll be available and when you must concentrate on work. 


Don't Fade Away From Your Co-Workers

Happy bearded African man making video conversation via modern laptop with partners while holding white cup black coffee at home

If you work on a team, check in with your boss and/or co-workers at an established time. It'll help you keep focused and targeted and will be good for your mental health. 


It's OK: Give Yourself a "Worry Window"

Portrait of beautiful Mixed race woman writing in notebook while sitting at desk in office, copy space

The executive director of UNICEF recently shared this tip on social media: As things worry you throughout the day, write them down, and put the list aside. Then give yourself a few minutes a day to look over the list and worry. Then put those things out of your mind. It's an effective strategy for reducing free-floating anxiety. 


Don't Take Life for Granted—Keep a Gratitude Journal

Close-up Of A Person Writing Today I Am Grateful For Text On Notebook With Marker

This time-tested therapy for anxiety and depression can be especially helpful now: Each day, write down three things you're grateful for that day. They can be as basic as the roof over your head or the food you have to eat. 


Remember You Can't Predict the Future

hand holding a clear transparent Crystal ball

Predictions about the economic repercussions of COVID-19 can be alarming. But remember that none of us has a crystal ball; we don't know how things are going to turn out. They could be much better than predicted. 


Be Careful About Talking With Kids


"Don't put your adult's brain into a child's brain," advises Dr. Joyce Mikal-Flynn, who works with trauma survivors. Be a calming presence, and if a child asks you a question, "answer that question and just that question–don't go overboard. Then ask, 'Is there something else you want to ask me?'" Make it clear that asking questions is always OK, and if you don't know the answer, you can look it up together. 


Don't Follow the Rumor Mill

A man browsing the CDC website to learn key facts about the Coronavirus Disease 2019

Don't concentrate on speculation or rumors—and unfortunately, a lot of news reports right now are one, the other or both. Focus on facts about COVID-19, how it spreads, how serious it is, and where we are by reading the latest updates on the CDC and WHO websites.


Talk About Anything But Coronavirus

man text messaging in front of vegetables in the kitchen at home

When you call or video-chat with friends and family, be open and share your worries about the current situation. But don't let that be your entire conversation. Talk about something great on TV, a book you're reading, a meal you've cooked or pop-culture nonsense—anything to get your mind off coronavirus for a minute.


Reschedule That Date

Couple Enjoying Drink Together In Bar

Unfortunately, now is the time to give the dating apps a rest for a little while.


Don't Ignore Cleaning Product Labels

happy red hair woman sitting at home sofa couch drinking coffee using internet dating app on mobile phone

As you disinfect your home, be aware of the ingredients of and warnings on the products you buy, and follow any listed instructions. 


Don't Spray Lysol on Yourself

Woman disinfecting room with Lysol spray that kills germs during coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic

You might be tempted to spray yourself down after a trip outside. "Do not do this. There is no fine line — it is a bad idea," cleaning expert Jolie Kerr told Vox. Disinfectants like Lysol can be harmful if inhaled, and their ingredients can cause skin irritation or burns. Wash your hands thoroughly instead; it's your best protection. 


Don't Mix Products

Baking soda with vinegar, natural mix for effective house cleaning

Cleaning products with ammonia should never be mixed with bleach, and vinegar should never be mixed with products containing hydrogen peroxide, says Kerr. The combinations can create gases that are harmful to the eyes, nose and respiratory system. 


Don't Spray Down Your Mail

Young woman putting letter into envelope at table in cafe. Mail delivery

It's not necessary to disinfect your mail or cardboard packages before you open them. Just wash your hands thoroughly after touching them, and dispose of them outside your home if possible.


Know the Facts About COVID-19 and Children

Sick little girl covered in blanket is lying on couch

Children are not at higher risk for coronavirus, the CDC says. But they can still become ill or transmit the virus to more vulnerable people. 


Don't Scare Your Kids; Teach Them

mother washing baby hands

The CDC recommends teaching kids to do the things you're doing to reduce spread of the virus: Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, stay home if you're sick, clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily, and launder items according to manufacturer's instructions, in the warmest possible water. 


Don't Give Children Under 2 Face Masks


This is not necessary, the CDC says.


Limit Children's Social Interactions


The CDC recommends that playdates and group outings should be minimized for the time being, as well as any visits with older adults like grandparents. 


One More Thing About the Little Ones: Assure Them They'll Be Safe

Father, son in emotional embrace of tears and joy

The most important thing to tell children about COVID-19 is that you'll do everything possible to keep them safe, says Karen Swartz, MD, a psychiatrist with Johns Hopkins Medicine. Their anxiety levels may be high because of news and social media, and this reassurance can go a long way.


Encourage Young People to Reschedule Trips

Mother and child wear facemask during coronavirus and flu outbreak.

Older children should reschedule non-essential travel to crowded areas, the CDC says. 


Stress May Be Quarantined With You, But He is Not Your Friend

stressed woman

Stress increases the level of cortisol in the body, a hormone that can inhibit the immune system. 


Avoid Screens Before Bed

Man using his mobile phone in the bed

This is an especially important time to practice good sleep hygiene to ensure you get quality rest. To avoid insomnia, avoid looking at laptops, tablets and cellphones for a few hours before turning in. 


Don't Let Yourself Get Overwhelmed


Feeling overwhelmed can lead to stress and panic, which taxes your immune system. If you feel like things are getting to be too much to handle, give yourself a time-out. Do some relaxation exercises or a pleasurable activity that you enjoy.


Don't Forget to Drink That Water

Asian middle age woman who drinks water

Drinking water isn't a miracle cure for COVID-19, but it has plenty of benefits, from moistening mucous membranes to improving metabolism. Aim to drink five to seven cups of water a day.


If You've Read This Far, Take a Moment and Breathe Deeply

man relaxing after work breathing fresh air sitting at home office desk with laptop

If you're feeling anxious, take a moment to concentrate on your breath. Breathe in for a count of four, then slowly release the breath for another count of four. Repeat until you feel yourself begin to relax. It's simple but one of the most effective anti-anxiety exercises around.


Don't Check the News Before Bed

Asian Caucasian teen girl reading book in bed at night with yellow lamp light on walls

For a few hours before bed, read a book, meditate, listen to music—anything but check the news. It'll be there in the morning. 


Let Yourself Laugh More

Handsome happy man holding a mobile phone.

Laughter reduces stress, eases tension, improves circulation—and studies show it can also reduce inflammation and bolster your immune system. 


Avoid Non-Essential Flights

A young woman wearing face mask is traveling on airplane , New normal travel after covid-19 pandemic

The CDC currently advises against non-essential plane travel for older adults. It's a good idea for everyone. 


Take Advantage of Telehealth

Shot of a woman covered with thick blanket, holding a white cup during on-line consultation with a GP

See if you can schedule telemedicine sessions for any doctor's appointments you can't miss. In fact, many doctors nor prefer this, given the contagiousness of COVID-19.


Who is Your Emergency Contact?

Complete the emergency contact information section isolated on blue

If you don't have a designated person to reach out to in an emergency, now's a good time to establish one. That contact can apprise caregivers of any essential information and contact other family members in the event you need care or are hospitalized.  


Do Not Hold a Blowdryer Up To Your Nose (Please)

woman drying her hair

A Florida politician claimed that blowing a hairdryer up your nose can cure coronavirus. Shockingly, this is not true. Be skeptical about any folk remedies circulating online. Follow the advice of your healthcare provider and reputable health organizations.


Pick a Time of Day to Address Relationship Conflict


Stressed about sharing space with a partner all day and getting on their nerves? Swartz recommends picking a specific time of day to discuss any areas of conflict briefly, then concentrating on avoiding arguments for the rest of the day.


If You Live Alone, Make a Network

Group Friends Video Chat Connection Concept

If you're flying solo, take this time to connect with other people who live alone. Swartz suggests using a program like FaceTime or Zoom to hold group chats, start a virtual book club or movie discussion group. 


Don't Catastrophize

elderly Man suffering from headache migraine pain at home on sofa

Sometimes we have to force our minds away from negative thoughts, like changing the channel, says Swartz. For example: Instead of thinking "this is a disaster and things will never be the same again," think, "This is a challenging time, but we'll get through it."


Keep a File of Positive Thoughts

happy woman laughing

Think of some things that make you happy—it could be a great memory, an event, a family member, a comedian or cute cat videos. Whatever those are, keep them at top of mind. When you feel yourself getting stressed or anxious, replace those negative thoughts with positive ones.


Don't Sleep Too Much

Woman sleeping in bed

Getting enough sleep is important for maintaining your health. But don't overcorrect and hibernate in bed; that can lead to depression.  


Do Things You Enjoy

mature woman playing guitar in her bedroom, Free time and hobbies

To reduce stress and anxiety, take this time to reconnect with things you enjoy doing but might have let fall by the wayside—whether it's reading, crafting, writing, listening to music, looking at art online or working on things around the house. 


Don't Take Antibiotics Without Guidance

man in red shirt pouring pills from prescription pill bottle

They only cure bacterial infections. COVID-19 is caused by a virus, and antibiotics won't clear it. Only take antibiotics on the advice of your healthcare provider. 


Don't Take Colloidal Silver

Dropper and bottle

Don't believe online rumors that colloidal silver is effective against coronavirus. In fact, on March 9, the FDA warned seven companies to stop selling silver products they claimed cure the coronavirus. 


Don't Count on a Hot Water Cure

Pouring hot water into into a cup on a black background

A widely circulated internet rumor claims that drinking hot water will kill the coronavirus. This is not true. The disease affects the respiratory system, not the digestive tract. Do, however, get plenty of fluids, when you're healthy and anytime you're sick.  


Don't Take Megadoses of Vitamins

Woman taking vitamins

No vitamin or supplement has been proven to combat COVID-19. And taking high doses of various vitamins can have side effects that range from minor (stomach irritation) to serious (toxicity). Instead, eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables to bolster your immune system. 


Don't Drink or Inhale Iodine

Lugol's iodine in a dropper. Iodine and iodide solution.

One online rumor maintains that drinking or inhaling liquid iodine can be a COVID-19 remedy. This is not true. What's more, the practice can be seriously harmful. 


Remember That "This Too Shall Pass"

Young African designer looking through window thinking about the future

Because it will. This is a chapter in history, not the rest of your future.  


One Final Thought

Happy young woman wearing protective face mask disinfects her hands with alcohol sanitizer while sitting at table in restaurant on summer day.

If each and every one of us follow this simple checklist, we can get through this pandemic with fewer infections and fewer deaths.

  1. Universal wearing of masks
  2. Maintaining physical distance
  3. Avoiding congregate settings or crowds
  4. Doing more outdoors, as opposed to indoors
  5. Washing hands frequently

Please forward it to someone you care about, so they can do the same. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor. Read more about Michael