Social distancing means putting space between yourself and other people. The recommended distance is 6 feet, or about 2 meters. This also means staying away from any place where people may gather, such as parks or other public gathering places.
Social distancing is the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This virus seems to spread from person to person through droplets from coughing and sneezing. So if you keep your distance from others, you're less likely to get it or spread it.
And social distancing is important for everyone, not just those who are at high risk of infection, like older people. You might have the virus but not have symptoms. You could then give the infection to someone you come into contact with.
Experts recommend putting at least 6 feet (2 meters) between you and other people. And wear masks if you are around people you don't live with. So follow this advice, if possible.
- Work from home.
- Avoid having visitors.
If you have to have visitors, they need to wear a mask and stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) away from you. And keep the visit as short as possible.
- Increase airflow in your home if people visit.
- If you can, open some windows or doors to the outside.
- Use a fan to blow air away from people and out a window.
- Turn on exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom.
Doing these things can help reduce the amount of virus particles (droplets) that travel through the air.
- Don't travel if you don't have to.
And avoid public transportation, ride-shares, and taxis unless you have no choice.
- Limit shopping to essentials, like food and medicines.
- Don't eat in restaurants.
You can still get takeout or food deliveries.
- Avoid crowds and busy places.
Be sure to follow all instructions from your local health authorities.
It may be hard to get some people to do social distancing. This may be especially true of older kids and teens. You might offer this information:
- Think about others.
This virus seems to spread easily and quickly. Those at highest risk of serious illness include older people and others who have serious health problems like diabetes or lung disease. You may not know that a friend or family member has one of these diseases. By limiting close contact, you can help protect the people you care most about and your community.
- Remind them that social distancing isn't quarantine.
Unless you are sick, you don't have to be trapped in the house. You can still get outside and be active. Fresh air is good for you. Just remember to keep that 6-foot space between you and others. Avoid gathering places like playgrounds and coffee shops. And wash your hands well when you get home.
Current as of: March 26, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Heather Quinn MD - Family Medicine
Lesley Ryan MD - Family Medicine