How to Protect Yourself
Main Page Content
On this page
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The actions you take to protect yourself against COVID-19 are the same as those used to protect against common respiratory illnesses, such as the flu, which include:
- Washing your hands often with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoiding close contact with people who are ill.
- Self-isolating and staying home when you are feeling ill.
- Considering protective self-separation if you are a person at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19, such as older adults, those with chronic underlying medical conditions, and people with compromised immune systems, especially if COVID-19 is known to be spreading in your community.
- Cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
- Follow guidelines on the safe wear and care of a reusable cloth mask.
- Practicing physical distancing by staying at least an arm’s length (i.e., 2 metres) away from the nearest person.
- Creating an emergency preparedness plan to ensure you have what you need in case of self-isolation.
Know the difference
Self-Monitoring, Self-Isolation, and Isolation for COVID-19
These terms have been used often to describe how best to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. There are different recommendations depending on symptoms, exposure to the virus, or travel to certain areas. See the guide below to know which, if any, of these recommendations apply to you.
A history of possible exposure to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, in the last 14 days
SELF-MONITOR means to:
Monitor yourself for 14 days or more for one or more symptoms of COVID-19
Go about your day but avoid crowded places and increase your personal space from others, whenever possible
You need to self-monitor if:
You have reason to believe you have been exposed to a person with COVID-19
You are in close contact with older adults or medically vulnerable people
You have been advised to self-monitor for any other reason by your Public Health Authority
If you develop symptoms, isolate yourself from others immediately and contact the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit as soon as possible.
A history of possible exposure to the novel coronavirus due to travel outside of Canada or close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19
SELF-ISOLATE means to:
Stay at home and monitor yourself for symptoms, even if mild, for 14 days
Avoid contact with other people to help prevent the spread of disease in your home and in your community in the event you become symptomatic
You have travelled outside of Canada within the last 14 days
Your Public Health Authority has identified you as a close contact of someone diagnosed with COVID-19
If you develop symptoms, stay at home, avoid other people and contact the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit as soon as possible.
Symptoms, even if mild
You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are waiting for the results of a lab test for COVID-19
To be ISOLATED means to:
Stay at home until your Public Health Authority advises you that you are no longer at risk of spreading the virus to others
Avoid contact with other people to help prevent the spread of disease in your home and in your community, particularly people at high risk of severe illness outcomes such as older adults or medically vulnerable people
You need to isolate if:
You have been diagnosed with COVID-19
You are waiting to hear the results of a laboratory test for COVID-19
You have been advised to isolate at home for any other reason by your Public Health Authority
If your symptoms get worse, immediately contact your health care provider or the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit as soon as possible.
Symptoms include fever, cough, & difficulty breathing.
Adapted from Public Health Agency of Canada, 2020
A close contact is defined as a person who provided care for the patient, including healthcare workers, family members or other caregivers, or who had other similar close physical contact OR who lived with or otherwise had close prolonged contact with a probable or confirmed case while the case was ill.
Practising Physical Distancing
To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect our community, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit encourages residents to stay home, when possible, and reduce their interactions with others. Physical distancing means limiting the number of people you come into close contact with.
Posters created by the Health Unit are available in multiple languages to provide guidance on physical distancing. Please print and post them in visible areas.
The most important thing you can do is stay home when you are sick. You can also:
Cancel large gatherings
- Cancel gatherings with more than 5 people
Limit, postpone, or cancel small gatherings
- If you can, connect with friends by phone or online
- Keep children away from group settings including indoor playdates with other children
- Take a walk, go to the park, walk the dog
- Keep a distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from others and stay home when sick
- Greet others with a wave, a bow, or a nod (in place of handshakes or hugs)
- After going outside, wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
Stay physically active
- Go for walks or exercise indoors
- Do yoga or aerobics at home
Cancel non-essential trips
- Consider if outings are necessary
- No parties or playdates
For essential trips (e.g., grocery stores, work)
- Sanitize or wash your hands when entering and exiting buildings
- Avoid long lineups
- Use tap to pay rather than handling money
- When taking public transit, avoid prolonged close contact with others
- Travel during non-peak hours
- Take shorter trips rather than one long trip
Consider alternative ways to work
- Work from home, if feasible
- Facilitate virtual meetings (video or teleconferencing)
While you may not feel sick, we ask that you be mindful of those more vulnerable in our community. Thank you for your efforts to keep everyone healthy. We are all in this together.
How to Wear a Mask
Learn about face coverings and how to properly wear, fit, remove and clean your non-medical face mask.