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:
- Staying Up to Date with COVID-19 Vaccines
- Improving Ventilation
- Getting Tested for COVID-19 If Needed
- Following Recommendations for What to Do If You Have Been Exposed
- Staying Home If You Have Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19
- Seeking Treatment If You Have COVID-19 and Are at High Risk of Getting Very Sick
- Avoiding Contact with People Who Have Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19
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.
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.
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.