Amid outbreak, here’s what you can do to reduce your chances of getting sick

According to doctors with University Hospitals most people are not washing their hands often...
According to doctors with University Hospitals most people are not washing their hands often enough, or for long enough.(Source: CDC)
Updated: Mar. 13, 2020 at 12:17 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the US grapples with an outbreak of COVID-19, officials are urging people to practice good hygiene to lower their chances of getting sick and infecting others.

What does that mean exactly?

  • Wash your hands ... frequently.

When you wash your hands, count to 20 as you lather up (or about as long as it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice).

You should be washing your hands every time you use the restroom ― something only about 35% of men and 65% of women actually do, according to the CDC.

Also wash your hands before you eat and when you get in the door after a long day.

When you don’t have a sink handy, go for a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

  • Don’t touch your face!

It’s easier said than done, but try to keep your hands away from your face.

That means no resting your chin in your hands. No rubbing your eyes. No scratching your nose.

  • Get your flu shot.

The symptoms of the seasonal flu and coronavirus (COVID-19) are pretty similar.

That’s why public health officials are urging people to get a flu shot. It will help protect you against the flu and reduce the number of people who see health care during a busy time.

  • Stay home if you’re sick.

It can be tough to stay home when you’re sick, but officials say employers’ attitudes toward sick time need to change in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Staying home doesn’t necessarily mean not working.

You could attend meetings remotely or tackle the day’s work from your home computer.

Employers should also be coming up with plans to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, including procedures that would mitigate the risk of sharing illnesses in the office.

  • Disinfect surfaces that are touched a lot.

Scientists don’t yet know how long the coronavirus can live on surfaces so your best bet is to disinfect frequently with cleaning wipes or spray.

Use disinfectants on things like your computer keyboard, your kitchen surfaces and your table.

  • Opt for an elbow bump over a handshake or a hug.

The state Health Department is urging people to forgo hugging and kissing when greeting people.

Handshaking is OK as long as you wash your hands.

  • Stay tuned for more information.

Coronavirus news is changing daily so it’s important to stay informed.

Hawaii News Now has launched a special newsletter to deliver the latest coronavirus news to your inbox. To sign up, click here.

We’re also always updating our app and website, and we also have a daily update livestreamed online and on Facebook.

This story will be updated.

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