As you know, COVID-19 is spreading across the world and many are taking extra precautions to try and mitigate the risk. Thankfully, we do have some guidance on how each of us can help.

The first thing we need to do is take it seriously. This is a real problem that is facing the world and each of us needs to do our part to protect not just ourselves but others in our society.

One of the concerning things about COVID-19 is that it can take up to 14 days to show symptoms. This means someone could have it and not know it. And, while many who get the virus may not have much to worry about, it can be life-threatening for some. This is why we need to do our part.

What does that mean?

Wash your hands like it’s going out of style. Make washing your hands an ongoing habit. When you wash your hands, do so for a minimum of 20 seconds. Don’t forget to clean under your nails and in between your fingers. Unfortunately, you may not always have soap and water readily available. In these cases, you can thoroughly cover your hands with “a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.”

Think about all of the surfaces that you and others touch. According to the WHO, “studies suggest that coronaviruses… may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days.” The type of surface material and the environment could affect the longevity of the virus. Just make sure that you’re cleaning surfaces, especially those that multiple people are touching like doorknobs and light switches. Also, consider cleaning your phone if you touch something and then touch your phone. There are certain cleaners that are recommended for killing the virus, take a look at this article from Consumer Reports for further guidance.

Keep your hands off your face. This is often harder than it sounds. Most people probably touch their faces more than they think, but it’s incredibly important when trying to prevent the virus.

Keep a safe distance from others. We’ve seen that in some locations they’ve issued “shelter in place” orders. Many businesses have also shut down or are asking employees to work remotely. But, if you have to be around people. According to the CDC, you should keep at least a 6′ distance from others. This is to help protect people if someone coughs or sneezes in the area. These droplets can potentially infect those within a closer radius. Keep in mind, when you do cough, cough into your elbow. You don’t want to cough into the air or into your hand.

It’s important to take these safety procedures seriously. And you can lead by example. Spread the news to others about the importance of slowing down the virus. We can all do our part to make a difference.