While the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States and Tennessee specifically has leveled off some, the threat isn’t completely gone. It’s still important to take steps to protect yourself from the virus.

If you wonder how you can protect yourself, you aren’t alone! It’s a common question, which is why our team at AFC Urgent Care Chattanooga wants to shed some light on the topic.

Who’s at Risk of Getting COVID-19?

Every person is at risk of getting COVID-19. And its spread has been prolific. As of June 1, more than 1.5 million Americans had been diagnosed, including more than 24,000 Tennesseans.

While we all need to take precautions to protect ourselves, some people are at even high risk and should be especially careful. This includes those who are age 65 and older and anyone who is immune-compromised.

Steps to Lower Your Risk

  • Limit time spent outside the home as much as possible.
  • Stay six feet away from others while outside the home.
  • If age 2 or older, wear a cloth face covering when out in public.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds at a time.
  • Disinfect commonly touched surfaces and objects often.
  • Avoid contact with anyone exhibiting symptoms.

Do I Really Need to Wear a Mask?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that nearly everyone age 2 and older wear a cloth face covering when around others outside the home. That’s because COVID-19 is spread via airborne particles, which move through the air when someone with the virus coughs, sneezes or breathes.

If it were as simple as avoiding contact with people who were visibly sick, masks might not be necessary. But in many cases, people who have the virus are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic, meaning they would not know they were infected—and neither would you. A mask protects you somewhat, but it also protects those around you in the case you could be infected.

Best Practices for Mask Use

  • Choose a cloth face covering, rather than a surgical mask or N-95 respirator.
  • Wear the mask covering both your nose and mouth.
  • Try not to touch the mask once it’s on your face.
  • Wash your hands after removing your mask.
  • Wash your mask regularly.

If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, we are offering COVID-19 testing at our urgent care center. Visit the AFC Urgent Care Chattanooga website to learn more or to schedule a testing appointment.