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Prevention & self-care

How can I help prevent illness?

Prevention measures are similar to those utilized against the common cold and flu, which are currently circulating in high numbers in California.

Get a flu shot. We strongly recommend that everyone obtain seasonal flu vaccination. While it will not prevent COVID-19, influenza is currently in widespread circulation in California, and initial symptoms can be similar to novel coronavirus. Any illness right now can increase anxiety and concerns. Members of the Stanford community can contact the SU Occupational Health Center (Stanford employees) or go to Vaden Health Center (Stanford students) to get a flu shot.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Don’t share food and drinks.

Clean and disinfect shared surfaces and objects that are touched frequently (e.g. door knobs, desks, phones).

If you can, avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.

How effective are prevention measures against COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a new disease so data is limited, but a 2017 CDC report about pandemic flu concluded that actions like the ones listed above dramatically slowed the spread of influenza in communities and reduced the peak number of cases and demands on hospitals during pandemics. The total number of overall cases and ill health effects related to the flu also dropped. (see figure below).

Flattening the curve diagram
Image credit: CDC, US Department of Health and Human Services

I am feeling stressed and overwhelmed, who can I talk to?

Stanford CAPS is dedicated to Stanford student emotional health and can be reached 24/7 at 723-3785. 

Faculty, staff, and postdocs can contact the HELP Center at 723-4577.

Santa Clara County maintains an anonymous crisis line that is available 24 hours, 7 days a week, at 1-800-704-0900 (Mental Health Services).  

SAMHSA’s Distress Helpline (related to any natural or human-caused disaster) is accessible 24/7 at 1-800-985-5990 or via text (send TALKWITHUS to 66746; Press 2 for Spanish).

The World Health Organization (WHO) has tips for helping children deal with stress and for dealing with your own stress during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Guide to self-care: Coping with coronavirus

Stanford BeWell offers information on how to maintain good mental and emotional health during the coronavirus outbreak.