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Stay Safe From Coronavirus

There's a lot of information out there about coronavirus. That can be helpful, but it's not always clear what you can trust. Stick with these tips from the experts to keep yourself safe and healthy. (updated February 2022)

How can I protect myself?

Get the vaccine
The vaccines and boosters are safe and work well — especially at preventing serious illness and death from the coronavirus, including variants like Delta and Omicron.

Find a coronavirus vaccine or booster near you

Learn more about the vaccine and booster shots

Practice social distancing
If there are a lot of coronavirus cases in your area, one of the best ways to protect yourself is social distancing. That means:

  • Staying home when you can — for example, by getting your groceries and medications delivered to your house or by signing up for our free mail-order pharmacy
  • Keeping your distance from others when you do need to go out
  • Limiting the amount of time you spend close to other people
  • Choosing safer ways to socialize — like having a video call or meeting up outdoors with just a few friends instead of going to a big indoor party

Social distancing protects you because it means there’s less chance that you’ll come in contact with the virus. 

This is especially important for people who are more likely to get very sick from coronavirus — including people ages 65 and older, people with health conditions like lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, or cancer, and people who haven’t had the coronavirus vaccine yet. 

Wear a face mask
Wear a mask in indoor public places like grocery stores, doctor’s offices, and buses. This is especially important if you’re not fully vaccinated, you have a weakened immune system, or there are a lot of coronavirus cases in your area.

Make sure your mask fits well over your nose, mouth, and chin. Choose higher-quality masks if you can, like N95 or KN95 masks.

To learn more about face masks, visit the CDC website

Get tested
It’s important to get tested if you have any coronavirus symptoms, or if you recently spent time with someone who found out they have coronavirus. You may also need to get a test before doing certain things, like traveling or having surgery.

There are 2 main types of tests for coronavirus. Both types are done with a nose or throat swab:

  • PCR tests are done in a lab. You usually go to a testing site and then get your results later. This is the most accurate type of test. 
  • Rapid tests (also called at-home or antigen tests) are tests you can do yourself at home. You get your results in about 10 to 15 minutes. 

Rapid tests aren’t as accurate as PCR tests, but they still work pretty well. If you have symptoms of coronavirus and your rapid test is negative, take another rapid test 1 to 2 days later — or call your doctor to set up a PCR test.

Take the same steps as for preventing cold and flu
Here are some CDC guidelines:

  • Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds (or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol)
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Stay home when you're sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect things that you touch a lot — like cell phones and doorknobs — using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe

Take care of your mental health
Coronavirus is unlike anything we've faced in our lifetime. So if you're feeling anxious, sad, stressed, or lonely — or all of the above — it makes sense. The good news is that there are lots of ways to take care of your mental health during the pandemic.

Find ways to stay connected and manage stress

Get updates from trusted sources 
There’s a lot of information about coronavirus that’s going around by word of mouth, over email, and on social media sites like Facebook — and some of it is just plain false. 

Always check the source to verify what you’re reading. Or better yet, stick with these trusted sources:

When do I need to call the doctor?

Call your doctor right away if you think you have coronavirus or if you recently spent time with someone who later found out they have the virus. Your doctor can help you get a coronavirus test and tell you about symptoms to watch out for. 

Can’t get in touch with your doctor? Call us at 1-800-338-6833 (TTY 711) or text COVID to 866-85. We’re here to help you get the care you need.

Call 911 or go to the emergency room right away if you’re having a medical emergency or if you have:

  • Trouble breathing — or if your lips or face look pale, gray, or blue (depending on your skin tone)
  • Severe chest pain
  • Sudden confusion

Get the facts

Understand what coronavirus is, how it spreads, and more

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