The American Red Cross is closely monitoring the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and following the latest guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
According to the CDC, COVID-19 symptoms include fever, shortness of breath or a cough. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Call your doctor for medical advice if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop symptoms.
How Does COVID-19 Spread?
According to the CDC, the virus is thought to be spread mainly from person-to-person. This means it may spread between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), or through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
The CDC also reports that it may be possible for someone to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object with the virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
The best way to prevent illness from COVID-19 is to avoid being exposed to the virus, as there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19.
Use Healthy Practices to Protect Yourself
The best way to stay healthy is to follow these steps from the CDC:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Wear a cloth face covering to cover your mouth and nose when around others as physical distancing is not always possible. People may spread the infection even prior to having symptoms and you could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. Don’t place coverings on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. Learn more.
Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and throw the tissue away after use. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow or sleeve, not your hands.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, computers, phones, keyboards, sinks, toilets, faucets and countertops.
Wear a facemask if you are sick. You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
Follow these five easy steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19
Sneeze or cough? Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or use your elbow.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Clean and disinfect surfaces around your home and work frequently.
Keep at least 6 feet between yourself and others if you must be in public.
Wear a cloth face covering over your mouth and nose when around others.
Hand Washing: A Simple Solution That Really Works
Teach kids how to wash their hands
Proper and consistent hand washing is one of the easiest ways to prevent the spread of illness. Teach kids by example by showing them proper hand washing technique:
Wet hands with water and apply an amount of soap recommended by the manufacturer to hands.
Rub hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds, covering all surfaces of the hands and giving added attention to fingernails and surfaces where jewelry is worn.
Rinse hands with water.
Dry thoroughly with a disposable towel.
Use towel to turn off the faucet.
For younger children who tend to rush their hand washing, have them sing a short song such as "Row Row Row Your Boat," or the "Happy Birthday" song – this will ensure they wash for at least 20 seconds. Placing hand-washing reminders at children's eye level will also help them become consistent hand washers.
During this uncertain time, the American Red Cross encourages people to make blood donation appointments for the weeks ahead to ensure a stable supply throughout this pandemic.
If you are healthy and feeling well, please schedule an appointment to donate in the weeks ahead. Donating blood is a safe process, and each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control.
There is no known end date in this fight against coronavirus, and the Red Cross needs the help of blood and platelet donors and blood drive hosts to ensure the health of our communities. But please postpone your donation for 28 days if you have been diagnosed with or have had contact with anyone with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.
Have You Recovered from COVID-19?
People who have fully recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies in their plasma that may help attack the virus. The Red Cross is helping to identify prospective donors and manage the distribution of donated convalescent plasma to hospitals treating patients in need.
If you're fully recovered from a verified coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnosis, please visit RedCrossBlood.org/plasma4covid to help current patients who are seriously ill.
Help the Red Cross with a Financial Gift
Help the American Red Cross continue to deliver its lifesaving mission nationwide due to this public health emergency.
Donations will help to:
Ensure the American Red Cross maintains a sufficient supply of blood to help patients in need and prevent any shortages.
Ensure that, due to this Coronavirus outbreak, the American Red Cross is able to provide critical relief services to people affected by disasters big and small.
The American Red Cross has a high-priority need for Blood Donor and Facility Screener Volunteers to continue delivering services to our communities. These volunteers welcome visitors to Red Cross facilities or blood drives and take their temperature before they enter. Visitors could include potential blood donors, clients, course participants, and Red Cross employees and volunteers. We can use your help right now!
Search for “Screener” in the search bar to find positions.
*Note: Positions will vary based on location.