COVID-19: Tips for staying healthy and what to do if you become sick

This is an older post, there may be more recent information available. Please visit our COVID-19 resource page for the most current information about Red Cross programs, support, and tips. 

With so much about COVID-19 in the news, it’s not surprising that many people have questions or are feeling concerned. Here are some tips for staying healthy, how to prepare, and what to do if you become sick.

Staying healthy:

Hands demonstrating hand washing technique

Just like during a regular cold and flu season, there are steps you can take to stay healthy. In fact, it is important to remember that while COVID-19 is being talked about so much, it is still cold and flu season. Here are some general ways to reduce your risk of getting sick:

  • Regularly wash your hands with warm water and soap, or use hand sanitizer if proper handwashing facilities are unavailable
  • Avoid close contact with people who are feeling sick
  • Frequently clean and disinfect common surfaces like countertops, doorknobs, bedside tables, phones, remote controls, keyboards, and phones at least once a day
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands


It’s always good to be prepared! One way you can be ready is to make sure you have what you need so that if you become ill you can still stay home for 7 – 14 days. Consider stocking up on items like:

  • Non-perishable food items
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Daily personal medications
  • Things that you like to have when you’re not feeling well, like tea
  • Cold,flu and pain medications that are approved by your healthcare provider for everyone in your family
  • Pet supplies
  • Also take a moment to check your thermometer’s batteries. 

If you become sick:

Even when taking precautions there is a chance you might become ill. Here are some tips if you are not feeling well:

  • Stay home – this is incredibly important for helping reduce the spread of illness
  • Cover your mouth using your elbow or sleeve, not your hand, when coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid close contact with people especially those with compromised immune systems, the very young or the elderly
  • Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds, or use a full pump of hand sanitizer and rub your hands until they are dry
  • Drink plenty of fluids and get lots of rest
  • If you experience symptoms, like trouble breathing, contact your healthcare provider

If you are concerned you may have COVID-19:

  • Follow the same tips as when you are feeling ill
  • If you develop symptoms such as fever, coughing, or difficulty breathing within 14 days of recent travel, please isolate yourself at home and contact your healthcare provider.
  • If you need to visit a healthcare provider, call ahead before your arrival

There is a lot of misinformation about COVID-19, be sure your information is current and coming from a trusted source, such as the Public Health Agency of Canada, your provincial Health Authority,  or Centre for Disease Control. By taking steps to keep healthy, while being prepared in the event you get sick, you can feel empowered that you are ready!

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