As a respiratory illness, the best method to protect yourself against COVID-19 is to practise everyday preventive actions, including:
- Practise proper cough and sneezing etiquette (into a tissue or the bend of your elbow);
- Wash your hands often with soap and water; if soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
- Clean and disinfect your home regularly;
- Maintain safe food practices;
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
- Avoid unnecessary travel; and
- Avoid large crowds and practice physical distancing of ideally two metres whenever possible. Avoid shaking hands, hugging or kissing.
Health officials have agreed that wearing a non-medical mask (e.g. cloth or other materials) – even if you have no symptoms – is an additional measure you may take to protect others around you, particularly in situations where the recommended physical distancing cannot be maintained, such as public transit.
Wearing a non-medical mask will not prevent you from getting sick. However, it is another way of covering your mouth and nose to prevent your respiratory droplets from contaminating others or landing on surfaces.
People should also be aware that masks can become contaminated on the outside or when touched by hands.
- Avoid moving the mask around or adjusting it often.
- Masks should not be shared with others.
Perform hand hygiene after putting on or taking off a mask.
If you are experiencing respiratory symptoms such as cough or difficulty breathing, you should wear a surgical mask when seeking medical care at a health facility. If possible, please phone the facility prior to attending. If you are going to a health care facility for treatment, are experiencing respiratory symptoms and do not have a mask, ask for one at the admission desk and one will be provided to you.
For Caregivers in the Home
If HealthLine 811, public health officials or your healthcare provider have advised you to self-isolate, you may be cared for at home.
If you are providing care to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 at home, it's recommended to keep distant from an affected individual as much as possible. Hand hygiene should be performed frequently, preferably using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub. Wear a surgical mask when in the same room with the affected individual and dispose of the mask immediately after use. Hand hygiene should also be performed following removal of the mask. Eye protection is also recommended.