How can I help prevent infection and protect others?
Every person plays a role in saving lives and livelihoods by stopping the spread of COVID-19.
The best thing you can do for yourself, your loved ones, and your community is get vaccinated against COVID-19. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health and Cheshire Medical Center have collected information about vaccination to inform your decision.
COVID-19 spreads easily
The virus is spread through respiratory droplets. For example:
- If you are breathing in air within in close contact of a person who is infected.
- If an infected person coughs or sneezes and you get splashes or sprays into your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- If you have droplets on your hands that are then transferred to your eyes, nose, or mouth
This why it’s important to wear masks. Masking is particularly important if you have individuals in your household who are not vaccinated, who are immunocompromised, or who may be at risk for severe disease from Covid-19.
Some people with COVID-19 can spread the virus without knowing they have it because they do not experience any symptoms (asymptomatic state). Others can spread the virus without knowing they have it because they have not developed symptoms yet (pre-symptomatic state).
New virus variants that are spreading within our community now are much more contagious than the version of the virus we experienced in 2020.
Even some people who are fully vaccinated can spread the virus if they catch it and have a mild infection or are asymptomatic.
Many people who develop COVID-19 are most contagious 72-48 hours before they first experience symptoms and for the first five days they feel ill.
That is why it is important that every person follow the CDC's guidelines for protecting yourself and others. This includes:
- Maintain social distancing, or staying at least six feet from people outside your household.
- Wear a mask when you are with people you don't live with, or if you feel unwell. Learn the best way to put on a mask.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Avoid gatherings or being in enclosed spaces with people from outside your household, unless everyone is vaccinated.
- Stay home if you feel unwell, and stay away from people you live with unless you receive a negative test showing you do not have COVID-19. Learn what to do about possible COVID-19 exposure or symptoms.
- Get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible. COVID-19 vaccines are the most effective tool we have to ending this pandemic. Visit the CDC website for answers on the vaccine and how it can help protect you, your family, and your loved ones.
Thank you for doing your part to keep yourself, your loved ones, and your community safe.