YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Now that coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, is in the United States many people want to protect themselves.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, the virus spreads through droplets when people cough or sneeze.

If you’re coughing, make sure you do it into a tissue or into your sleeve. The virus is more likely spread by people who have symptoms but those without symptoms could still be contagious.

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has 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.

Symptoms of COVID-19 appear within two to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, runny nose and difficulty breathing.

For extra precaution, keeping a safe distance from others can be helpful. The guideline right now from the World Health Organization (WHO) is three feet, the Cleveland Clinic is recommending six feet.

“Particularly, if we are approaching people who might be infected or may transmit silently, and we don’t know whether they are infected or not,” said Dr. Robert Wyllie.

As always, your first line of defense is good hand hygiene. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 15-20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.

Some people wonder if wearing a face mask can help prevent illness. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control does not recommend them for healthy people.

Cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in our neighboring states of Indiana and Pennsylvania. As of this report, there have not been any confirmed cases in Ohio, but health officials say it is only a matter of time.

COVID-19 GUIDELINES FROM THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

The Ohio Department of Health recommends you have a plan for care for people at higher risk, including the very young, older people, people with chronic diseases, and people with compromised immune systems. Also, keep an adequate supply of water, food, and pet food in your home. Make sure you have supplies you need such as medicines or water.