These Are the 3 Things You Should Carry During the Coronavirus Pandemic

America is in the midst of reopening, and you may start resuming some of your pre-pandemic activities. It’s not possible to completely eliminate your risk of contracting the novel coronavirus, but you can reduce your chances of getting sick. The Centers Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines to help you reduce the risk of spreading and contracting COVID-19 whenever you leave the house.

One of the best ways to avoid getting sick—or infecting others—is by having three simple items whenever you go out in public: a face mask, tissues, and hand sanitizer, according to the CDC. Here’s what you should know about using all three:

Why you should wear a face mask to prevent COVID-19

The use of masks in China, Italy, and New York City, significantly reduced the number of COVID-19 infections, according to study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers found that masks reduced the number of infections in New York City by 66,000 between April 17 to May 9. The CDC recommends that everyone over two years old wear cloth face coverings in public if they don’t have breathing problems.

Why you need to keep tissues on-hand to protect against COVID-19

Sometimes, wearing a mask may not be possible—like when you’re eating or drinking in public. The CDC recommends using a tissue to sneeze or cough when you’re not wearing a face cover. Dispose of used tissues immediately and be sure to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after sneezing and blowing your nose.

Tissues may also provide a protective barrier when you can’t avoid touching surfaces, says Karen Hoffmann, R.N., infection prevention specialist at the University of North Carolina’s School of Medicine in Chapel Hill.

“Carry a pack of single-use tissues,” Hoffman tells Consumer Reports. “You can use these to open a door or grab a handrail.”

Why you need to check the ingredients on your hand sanitizer

By now, you probably know that hand sanitizer should be used only when you can’t wash your hands. However, you should check the label to ensure the product meets the CDC recommendations for preventing the novel coronavirus. The agency advises choosing a product made with at least 60 percent ethanol or 70 percent to effectively protect against the virus.

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