Can I prevent getting ill?

Preventing coronavirus

At this time, there is no vaccine for COVID-19 or any natural health products that are authorized to protect against it.

A recent study found that the COVID-19 coronavirus can survive up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. The researchers also found that this virus can hang out as droplets in the air for up to three hours before they fall. But most often they will fall more quickly.

There's a lot we still don't know, such as how different conditions, such as exposure to sunlight, heat, or cold, can affect these survival times.

As we learn more, continue to follow recommendations for cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects every day. These include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.

SOURCE: https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/coronavirus-resource-center

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How long does the virus survive on household surfaces?

 

It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment).

If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.

How long is the incubation period for COVID-19?

 

The “incubation period” means the time between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms of the disease. Most estimates of the incubation period for COVID-19 range from 1-14 days, most commonly around five days. These estimates will be updated as more data become available.

SOURCE: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses

If you have travelled to an at-risk area

If you have travelled anywhere outside of Canada in the last 14 days, limit your contact with others for 14 days, starting the day you began your journey to Canada. This means self-isolate and stay at home.

If you have COVID-19, reduce contact with others

If you are sick, the following steps will help to reduce contact with others:

  • stay at home and self-isolate (unless directed to seek medical care)

    • if you must leave your home, wear a mask or cover your mouth and nose with tissues, and maintain a 2-metre distance from others

  • avoid individuals in hospitals and long-term care centres, especially older adults and those with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems

  • avoid having visitors to your home

  • cover your mouth and nose with your arm when coughing and sneezing

  • have supplies delivered to your home instead of running errands

    • supplies should be dropped off outside to ensure a 2-metre distance

Being prepared

It is important to know how you can prepare in case you or a family member become ill.

Self-isolate vs. self-monitor

There is a difference between advice to self-isolate and advice to self-monitor.

You should self-isolate if:

  • you have been diagnosed with COVID-19

  • local public health has identified you as a close contact of someone diagnosed with COVID-19

If you have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 or identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19, you may be asked to self-monitor.

This means:

  • monitor yourself for symptoms of respiratory illness such as fever, cough, difficulty breathing

If symptoms develop:

  • stay home

  • limit contact with others

  • contact local public health, and follow their instructions

Hygiene

Proper hygiene can help reduce the risk of infection or spreading infection to others:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the washroom and when preparing food

    • use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available

  • when coughing or sneezing:

    • cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand

    • dispose of any tissues you have used as soon as possible in a lined waste basket and wash your hands afterwards

  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands

  • clean the following high-touch surfaces frequently with regular household cleaners or diluted bleach (1 part bleach to 9 parts water):

    • toys

    • toilets

    • phones

    • electronics

    • door handles

    • bedside tables

    • television remotes

Wearing masks

If you are a healthy individual, the use of a mask is not recommended for preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Wearing a mask when you are not ill may give a false sense of security. There is a potential risk of infection with improper mask use and disposal. They also need to be changed frequently.

However, your health care provider may recommend you wear a mask if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 while you are seeking or waiting for care. In this instance, masks are an appropriate part of infection prevention and control measures. The mask acts as a barrier and helps stop the tiny droplets from spreading you when you cough or sneeze.

Risks of getting coronavirus

At this time, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has assessed the public health risk associated with COVID-19 as low for the general population in Canada but this could change rapidly. There is an increased risk of more severe outcomes for Canadians:

  • aged 65 and over

  • with compromised immune systems

  • with underlying medical conditions

While a COVID-19 outbreak is not unexpected in Canada, our public health system is prepared to respond. PHAC, along with provincial, territorial and community partners, continues to reassess the public health risk, based on the best available evidence as the situation evolves.

The risk to Canadian travellers abroad will vary depending on the destination, as well as the person’s age and health status. There are some destinations where the Government of Canada recommends avoiding all travel or all non-essential travel. Check the latest travel health notices often before travelling.

As well, the risk for COVID-19 may be increased for certain settings such as:

  • cruise ships

  • heavily affected areas

  • international conferences and other large gatherings in enclosed spaces

It is important for all travellers to:

  • self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough or difficulty breathing) for 14 days after returning to Canada

  • avoid places where you cannot easily separate yourself from others if you become ill

If you have even mild symptoms, stay home and call the public health authority in the province or territory you are in to inform them. They will provide advice on what you should do.

We will continue to adapt our risk assessment based on the latest data available.

Products shipped from China

Coronaviruses generally do not survive on surfaces after being contaminated. The risk of spread from products shipped over a period of days or weeks at room temperature is very low.

There is no known risk of coronaviruses entering Canada on parcels or packages coming from affected regions in China.

SOURCE: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/prevention-risks.html