The novel coronavirus COVID-19 has been spreading around the world at a frightening speed. Whole communities and even cities have had to shut down to prevent the outbreak from reaching further. Also, vaccines for the coronavirus are very unlikely to be available this year, so we must understand how to protect ourselves. Fortunately, as unknown and dangerous as the virus might be, there are simple hygienic measures anyone can do to stay safe.

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The new coronavirus outbreak is dangerous, but there are simple ways to protect ourselves

These measures are from the world's top health experts and authorities in response to the coronavirus, including the World Health Organization. 8 might sound like a lot of extra steps to stay safe, but we already know how to do many of them in our everyday life. Just have to remember not to neglect them in these worrying times!

Wash your hands frequently

Here's the most common thing we all know how to do but often forget: washing our hands. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, either with soap or with an alcohol-based sanitizer. The keywords here are "regularly" and "thoroughly".

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Washing your hands is one of the best ways to prevent coronavirus

Hand contact is one of the most common ways diseases transmit between people. So washing your hands often would kill the coronavirus or other pathogens where they would most likely be.

Maintain social distancing

This might not be a part of social etiquette, but it is important to stay at least 1 meter, or 3 feet, away from someone who is sneezing or coughing. When someone sneezes or coughs, the liquid droplets fly out from their nose and/or mouth which almost always contain the coronavirus if the person has the infection.

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Maintain a distance from those who are sick with healthy people

Therefore, if you don't maintain enough distance from someone coughing or sneezing, you could breathe in the droplets that can contain COVID-19.

Try not to touch your face

Your hands come into contact with all sorts of surfaces every day and these can contain pathogens, including the coronavirus. If your hands happen to come into contact with COVID-19, touching your eyes, mouth or nose would allow the virus to enter your body from there.

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Remember these occasions when you need to wash your hands afterward

So refrain from touching your face if you have not fully washed your hands as suggested above.

Practice respiratory hygiene

Practicing proper respiratory hygiene requires not just you, but other people around you to do the same. What you and other people you know should do is to cover your mouth and nose by coughing or sneezing into your elbow joint or tissue. Then you dispose of the tissue as soon as you can.

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Having proper hygienic practices can greatly prevent COVID-19 from spreading in public

Doing this prevents liquid droplets from spreading everywhere. Droplets often contain viruses. The coronavirus would be a lot harder to spread if you and other people remember this step.

Seek medical support if you have symptoms like fever, coughing and difficulty breathing ASAP

If you begin to feel unwell, you should probably stay home. Be even more cautious if there are symptoms like fever, coughing and difficulty breathing. In that case, you need to find medical care as soon as you can. Also, inform your doctor in advance and follow health instructions.

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You need to know what to do during a crisis like this

The health authorities in your locality or country should have the best information on the coronavirus where you live. They can get you to where you can be treated for COVID-19 if you happen to test positive if you inform them early.

Always keep up to date on coronavirus and follow medical advice

Remember to keep up with news on what's happening with coronavirus and follow medical instructions. The instructions can come from your healthcare provider, national or local health authorities or your workplace.

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If you have children, here are the steps you need to follow

Being informed allows you to have a better understanding of whether the virus is spreading in your area. Your health authorities should have the best information on what people should do to protect themselves.

Be vigilant for any symptom if you are in or have been in an area with COVID-19 recently

If you are in a location or have stayed in a location that COVID-19 has been known to spread, be on guard with how you feel. If you start to have even a runny nose or a slight cough, you should stay at home until the symptoms pass. This means not going to a hospital unless you start having serious symptoms as described above.

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Be extra cautious about any abnormality if you have been in a location with COVID-19

Firstly, this is to protect others from the infection if you have COVID-19 and your symptoms are developing. Secondly, this allows medical facilities to treat others with COVID-19 more effectively and prevents you from catching the coronavirus from the hospital itself.

Use and dispose of a face mask properly

When you put on a mask, remember that it is only effective if you have already washed your hands with soap or with sanitizer. Make sure that your nose and mouth are both covered and that there are no gaps between your face and the mask. And don't touch your mask while you are using it. If you do so, you should wash your hands again either with soap or sanitizer.

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Remember to use masks and tissues correctly

You need to replace your mask with a new one if the old one starts becoming damp, and don't ever re-use a single-use mask. When you remove your mask, don't remove it by touching it from the front. It should only be removed from behind. And lastly, you should throw the mask away in a safely-closed trash bin, and wash your hands after you've done so.

These were 8 simple steps anyone can do to protect yourself and your community from the dangerous and infectious coronavirus, as recommended by top public health agencies like the World Health Organization. To keep up with news and updates on the complex developments of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, check out our coronavirus section on