Special Report

16 Tips to Prevent Coronavirus and Other Viral Infections

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Cover your mouth and nose

Sometimes people sneeze at you. There is no guarantee they covered their mouth, so you cover yours, just to be safe. Sneezing and coughing releases droplets into the air that can spread far, at least about five times farther than people previously thought — up to 26 feet, according to a study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Close contact, however, is defined as less than 6 feet, which is generally believed to be the exposure area from an infected person.

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Don’t stay in cold places

There is seasonality to many viral illnesses. The cold and the flu may be more common in the winter because of the colder temperatures — not only do some respiratory viruses die at warm temperatures, but also our body’s antiviral defenses to the common cold, not the flu, may be affected at colder temperatures, according to one study.

Of course, it is yet unknown if COVID-19 has such similar seasonality. Some scientists warn warmer weather may not stop the novel coronavirus because people have no immunity to it as they have not been exposed to it before.

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Clean surfaces you touch often

Viruses can survive on surfaces anywhere from a few minutes to several weeks, depending on the type of virus and surface as well as other conditions. Disinfect surfaces frequently, especially at home, work, and school if someone is sick.

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Wear a face mask the right way

You have probably seen people wear face masks on the train, at the store, or just walking down the street. It provides some protection, but you have to wear it the right way. The mask has to be over your face with the firm edge up. Mold it to the shape of your nose. Finally, don’t forget to lower the bottom of the face mask all the way under your chin.

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Consider taking vitamin C

Vitamins, especially vitamin C, can help the immune system in people who lack enough of them. And there is very little evidence vitamin C can prevent the flu or a cold. A few studies show that vitamin C may be helpful in preventing colds in people who are exposed to cold weather or to periods of severe physical exercise.