crowded coffee shopWhile your chances of getting sick from coronavirus in Wisconsin are low at the moment, now is the time to prepare for widespread illness in the future. This is a new virus, and with that comes some anxiety, but sticking to basic public health prevention practices is very effective in helping us all stay healthy.

By preparing ourselves for the possibility of coronavirus spreading, we can:

  • Limit the spread of illness: Limiting contact with other people lowers how many people may catch the virus.
  • Help protect others: Help protect those in our community who are more vulnerable, like the elderly and people with chronic disease, who may be more likely to experience serious complications or death.
  • Reduce strain on the healthcare system: The more precautions people take to not get sick, the less strain on our healthcare system.

What you can do to stay healthy

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. Wash your hands afterwards.
  • Wash hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, like doorknobs, remotes, refrigerator handles, and sink handles.
  • Avoid shaking hands or getting in someone’s personal space.
  • Stay home if you are sick, and avoid contact with others who are sick.
  • If you haven’t gotten your flu shot, do so now. Flu is circulating widely in our community. Getting a flu shot lessens your odds of being hospitalized for flu, which frees up hospitals for people who may get sick from coronavirus.

How you can prepare

To reduce chances of illness spreading, reconsider some of your habits.

  • Learn about your doctor’s virtual visit options.
  • Rethink social norms. Avoid handshakes.
  • Leave a few feet of space between people in lines.
  • Try online ordering. Can you order items you need?
  • Try remote options. Can you attend services or other events remotely?

Just like when you prepare for a big snowstorm, stock some supplies now so you don’t have to leave home to get them if illness is widespread in our community. Don’t forget daily medications, fever reducing medicine, and supplies for your pets.

Learn about plans and policies for work and kids’ schools if an outbreak of illness occurs. Can you work from home? If your child can’t go to school, do you have childcare?

Talk to your supervisor about ways you can reduce illness in your workplace. Our fact sheet for employers has great tips.

When we all pull together as a community to prepare for widespread illness, we protect ourselves, our families, those who are more vulnerable, and those providing services and care to us. Stay tuned as this situation progresses by following us on social media and checking our regularly updated coronavirus webpage.

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Public Health Madison & Dane County and a link back to the original post.