Jan. 18, 2021 —
Hope is on the horizon with vaccination news and the beginning of a new year. But COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. are on the rise. This means we all must continue to take steps to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This is true even after people eventually get vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“In conjunction with vaccination, public health measures such as handwashing, wearing a face mask, and social distancing remain vital practices that all of us should continue to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. John Kugler, chief of the Clinical Support Division at the Defense Health Agency. “As the winter months progress, it’s more important than ever to stay vigilant and protect yourself and your family.”
Continue to practice the healthy habits that we’ve all learned more about last year. Here are three important reminders on how you can help prevent the COVID-19 virus from spreading.
1. Wear a Mask
Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth can help prevent you from getting or spreading COVID-19. The CDC recommends you wear a mask when you’re in public, with people you don’t live with, or in a place where it’s hard to maintain social distance. Even with a mask, you should continue to practice social or physical distancing. Learn more about face masks do’s and don’ts.
2. Keep a Safe Distance
To practice social or physical distancing, you want to stay at least six feet (about two arms’ length) from others who don’t live with you. This means limit close face-to-face contact with other people who aren’t from your household in both indoor and outdoor spaces. When you’re inside your home, avoid close contact with family members who are sick. This physical distancing also includes avoiding crowds, which can put you at higher risk for COVID-19. Staying apart is also important since people can spread the virus before they know they’re sick or have symptoms.
3. Wash Your Hands Often
The CDC says, “handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick.” Keep your hands clean by frequently washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important after you’ve been in a public space, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If you can’t use soap and water, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Learn more about when and how you should wash your hands to stay healthy.
While it’s important to slow the spread, it’s also important to know what to do if you get sick or need to be tested.
Recognize the Symptoms
If you do get sick, it’s important know the symptoms of COVID-19 range from mild to severe. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. You can use the Department of Defense Coronavirus Symptom Checker to help assess your symptoms. Keep in mind, this list doesn’t include all possible symptoms. If you believe you’re experiencing emergency warning signs of COVID-19, like trouble breathing, chest pain, or bluish lips or face, call 911 or seek emergency medical care immediately.
If you believe you’re experiencing symptoms, have had close contact with another person who has tested positive for COVID-19, or have been asked or referred to get testing by your health care provider, you should consider getting tested. Call your health care provider for guidance. Learn more about testing and what TRICARE covers on the Coronavirus Testing Coverage page.
Do your part to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and take command of your health. For more on how to protect yourself and others, visit the CDC website. If you have questions about TRICARE and COVID-19, check out these TRICARE FAQs.
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