Handwashing

COVID-19 Prevention

How to Protect Yourself and Others

COVID-19 Prevention Actions

There are many ways your actions can help protect you, your household, and your community from severe illness from COVID-19. CDC’s COVID-19 Community Levels provide information about the amount of severe illness in the community where you are located to help you decide when to take action to protect yourself and others.

In addition to basic health and hygiene practices, like handwashing, CDC recommends some prevention actions at all COVID-19 Community Levels, which include:

What to Do If You Were Exposed to COVID-19

If you were exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 or have been told by a healthcare provider or public health authority that you were exposed, there are steps that you should take, regardless of your vaccination status or if you have had a previous infection.

Isolation

This information is intended for a general audience. Healthcare professionals should see Ending Isolation and Precautions for People with COVID-19. This CDC guidance is meant to supplement—not replace—any federal, state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations.

If you have COVID-19, you can spread the virus to others. There are precautions you can take to prevent spreading it to others: isolation, masking, and avoiding contact with people who are at high risk of getting very sick. Isolation is used to separate people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 from those without COVID-19.

These recommendations do not change based on COVID-19 Community Levels. If you have COVID-19, also see additional information on treatments that may be available to you.

Wear a Mask to Protect Yourself and Others

Masking is a critical public health tool and it is important to remember that any mask is better than no mask. Wear the most protective mask you can that fits well and that you will wear consistently. Wearing a well-fitted mask along with vaccination, self-testing, and physical distancing, helps protect you and others by reducing the chance of spreading COVID-19.