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How We Can Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

How We Can Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

Last Updated: April 01, 2021

This is part 5 of the COVID-19 Misinformation Toolkit for Parents and Kids.

You now know how infectious diseases spread. Knowing this information will make it easier to understand how to lower your chances of getting an infectious disease. In this lesson, you will learn about what you can do to help prevent getting infected with coronavirus (COVID-19).

How can I prevent getting infected with COVID-19?

The most important thing you can do to prevent infection is to wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, or mouth.

Wash Your Hands!

Washing your hands often with soap and water is the single most effective way of reducing the spread of infection. When washing your hands, it's important that you do it right. Remove hand and wrist jewelry (rings, watches, bracelets, etc.) and follow these six steps:

  1. Wet your hands with warm running water.
  2. Apply liquid or foam soap.
  3. Rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds or the time it takes to sing Twinkle, Twinkle. Rub all parts of your hands including palms, between your fingers, backs of hands, thumbs, wrists, fingertips and nails.
  4. Rinse your hands thoroughly under running water.
  5. Dry your hands thoroughly with a paper towel.
  6. Use the towel to turn off the taps and let yourself out the washroom door.

Probably the toughest step in the six steps to washing your hands is step #3. Twenty seconds can seem like a long time.

Try the timer test below. When you press "Start" the numbers will disappear. Press "Stop" when you think it has been twenty seconds since you pressed the start button. The goal is to get to at least 20 seconds without looking at a clock. Just imagine you're washing your hands at the nearest sink.

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9


What should you do if you don’t have soap and water?

If a sink is not available, you can use an alcohol-based hand rub (also called hand sanitizer) to clean your hands - as long as your hands are not visibly dirty. When using hand sanitizer, remove hand and wrist jewelry and follow these three steps:

  1. Ensure hands are visibly clean (if soiled, follow hand washing steps)
  2. Apply about a loonie-sized amount to your hands
  3. Rub all surfaces of your hand and wrist until completely dry (15-20 seconds)

Do not touch your face, eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

This is important because your hands can pick up pathogens from the surfaces they touch (desks, door handles, etc.). Once contaminated, your unwashed hands can then transfer the pathogen to your eyes, nose, or mouth, and from there, it can enter your body and can make you sick.

Here are some other things you can do to help reduce your risk of infection:

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze.

Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve prevents the spread of pathogens through the air. Doing so also keeps pathogens off your hands. Others will appreciate this and should do this too.

Do not share food, drinks, utensils, etc.

Avoid sharing personal items like toothbrushes, razors and lipstick and avoid sharing items such as cups, water bottles and eating utensils.

Clean and disinfect surfaces or objects.

Cleaning and disinfecting areas where pathogens are likely to be found, such as toilets and kitchen countertops, can help prevent the spread of infections.

Avoid crowded public spaces including mass gatherings, such as concerts and sporting events.

Avoid handshaking.

Did you know that 80% percent of common infections are spread by hands?

It's important to always wash your hands to protect yourself against lots of different infections - not just COVID-19. Not only will washing your hands help keep you healthy, but it will also help prevent the spread of infections to others too.