Stay Healthy with Good Health and Hygiene Habits


Good health and hygiene habits are among the most effective ways to keep yourself and your family healthy. There is currently no vaccine or approved medication to treat COVID-19 (coronavirus) disease, but there are steps that each of us can take that significantly reduce the likelihood of infection with respiratory viruses like COVID-19.

Steps to Reduce the Likelihood of Infection

  1. Avoid close contact. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too. If possible, stay home from work, school and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness. Maintain social distance in public spaces (at least 6 feet between yourself and others).
  2. Cover your coughs and sneezes. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands. If a tissue is not available, cover your mouth and nose with your sleeve at your elbow when coughing and sneezing. Practicing this will help break the habit of coughing or sneezing into your hand.
  3. Wash your hands. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Use hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol, if soap and water are not available. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs are often spread when we touch something that is contaminated with germs and then touches our eyes, nose or mouth.
  5. Wear a face covering. Learn about the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Guidance on Face Coverings: English (PDF) (Spanish coming soon) NEW!
  6. Use a barrier, such as a paper towel or tissue, to touch commonly touched surfaces, such as bathroom door handles or elevator buttons.
  7. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  8. Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
  9. Teach your children good basic hygiene (washing hands, covering mouth when sneezing or coughing) and make sure they use it year-round. Set a good example by washing your hands often and covering coughs and sneezes with your shirt sleeve or a tissue.

Tips for safe use of Face Coverings

  • Clean hands carefully before and after touching the face covering.
  • Use a securely placed bandana, scarf, or homemade cloth cover (preferably several layers of tightly woven cotton cloth) to cover nose and mouth.
  • Avoid touching the face covering. It should not hang on one ear, around the neck, or be pushed to the forehead. When you first put it on be sure that it is properly fitted so that you will not need to adjust it repeatedly.
  • Remove and store face covering before eating or drinking. Remember that the job of a face covering is to act as a barrier for droplets that may contain the virus; pushing it up on your face to eat around it could expose you to anything that has been stopped by the covering while it was being worn properly.
  • Wash after each use, especially if it has become moist from your breath.
  • Store used cloth face coverings in a bag or bin until you can launder them. 
  • Wash used cloth face coverings with detergent and hot water, then dry on the hot cycle.

Handwashing Fact Sheets and Videos

There are important differences between washing hands with soap and water and cleaning them with hand sanitizer. Learn more in this CDC Fact Sheet: Handwashing and Hand Sanitizer Use at Home, at Play, and Out and About (PDF)