Site Map

How to stop the spread of COVID-19

COVID-19 - Prevention; 2019 Novel Coronavirus - Prevention; SARS CoV 2 - Prevention

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a serious disease, mainly of the respiratory system, affecting many people around the globe. It can cause mild to severe illness and even death. COVID-19 spreads easily between people. Learn how to protect yourself and others from this illness.

Images

COVID-19
Handwashing
Face masks prevent the spread of COVID-19
How to wear a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19
COVID-19 vaccine

I Would Like to Learn About:

Information

HOW COVID-19 SPREADS

COVID-19 is an illness caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. COVID-19 most commonly spreads between people within close contact (about 6 feet or 2 meters). When someone with the illness coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes, droplets carrying the virus spray into the air. You can catch the illness if you breathe in these droplets.

In some instances, COVID-19 may spread through the air and infect people who are more than 6 feet away. Small droplets and particles can remain in the air for minutes to hours. This is called airborne transmission, and it occurs mainly in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation. However, it is more common for COVID-19 to spread through close contact.

Less often, the illness can spread if you touch a surface with the virus on it, and then touch your eyes, nose, mouth, or face. But this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

The risk of spreading COVID-19 is higher when you interact closely with others who are not in your household for longer periods of time.

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND OTHERS

You can spread COVID-19 before you show symptoms. Some people with the illness never have symptoms, but can still spread the disease. However, there are ways to protect yourself and others from getting COVID-19. These tips can help you and others stay safe:

HOME ISOLATION

If you have COVID-19 or have symptoms of it, you must isolate yourself at home and avoid contact with other people, both inside and outside your home, to avoid spreading the illness. This is called home isolation (also known as "self-quarantine").

You should remain at home, avoid contact with people, and follow the guidance of your provider and local health department about when to stop home isolation.

For the most up-to-date news and information about COVID-19, you can visit the following websites:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) - www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

World Health Organization website. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic - www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019.

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. COVID-19 vaccines for children and teens. www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/children-teens.html. Updated January 11, 2022. Accessed March 13, 2022.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. COVID-19: How COVID-19 spreads. www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-covid-spreads.html. Updated July 14, 2021. Accessed March 13, 2022.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. COVID-19: How to protect yourself and others. www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html. Updated February 25, 2022. Accessed March 13, 2022.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. COVID-19: Use of masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19. www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html. Updated August 12, 2021. Accessed March 13, 2022.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. COVID-19: Use and care of masks. www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html. Updated February 25, 2022. Accessed March 13, 2022.

BACK TO TOP

Review Date: 3/13/2022  

Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

ADAM Quality Logo

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, for Health Content Provider (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2022 A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.