4 ways to stop the spread of COVID-19 this winter

As life moves almost entirely indoors, we need to prepare to prevent more COVID-19 spikes.

Mercey Livingston CNET Contributor
Mercey Livingston is a health and wellness writer and certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She's written about fitness and wellness for Well+Good, Women's Health, Business Insider, and Prevention.com among others. When not writing, she enjoys reading and trying out workout classes all over New York City.
Mercey Livingston
3 min read

Wearing masks while indoors with people who don't live with you is a helpful safety precaution.

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As COVID-19 cases rise and temperatures fall, we are already seeing the pandemic getting worse for the winter. If there's one advantage we had this summer, it was access to safer outdoor activities. Now as temperatures drop, much of life migrates indoors, which is not good news during this pandemic.

Due to the potential for airborne spread of COVID-19 gathering inside with others you don't live with is simply more risky than being outside. Another factor is the coming holidays, which usually involve gatherings inside with extended friends and family. Unfortunately, this year the holidays will have to look different for people to stay safe. 

Outside of the holidays, we still have a long winter ahead, but thankfully there are some simple measures we can take that could significantly help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your own community. Keep reading to find out what tips you should keep in mind this winter to stay safe. 

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Always wear a mask around people outside your own household (inside and outside)

If there's one thing we know about things that can help curb the spread of COVID-19, it's wearing masks. This simple, yet highly effective safety measure, is now a normal part of life that we need to keep continuing throughout the winter. You may already wear a mask whenever you're in public, but you should also consider wearing a mask whenever you are around someone who does not live with you, whether that's inside or outside.

"The more you go outside of your immediate household, the greater the risk," Dr. Sandra Kesh, infectious disease expert at WestMed Medical Group told CNET. Even if you think you're around people who are careful or feel the same way as you do about risk and safety, it's a good idea to wear a mask as an extra safety measure, especially when you're indoors. 


Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer regularly. 

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Keep washing your hands and using hand sanitizer

If you're used to washing your hands more and using hand sanitizer frequently, then continuing this practice will only benefit you and others. If you've been slacking on hand hygiene, now is a great time to put it back into practice. Remember that you need to wash for at least 20 seconds, preferably with warm water and antibacterial soap. 

Practice social distancing indoors and out

Social distancing is one of the key tools we know can help keep you and others around you safe. You may think that you only need to practice it when you're out in public and around strangers, but you should consider using it in other situations as well. For example, if you are visiting friends or family you don't live with, you should practice social distancing whether you are visiting inside or outside. 

Keep in mind that you should avoid situations where social distancing is not possible (like crowded stores or shopping centers). Especially moving closer to the holiday season, you're more likely to run into crowds at stores, so get creative by shopping online, doing curbside pickup, and shopping at off hours when you can. 


Host get-togethers with family and friends online instead of gathering in groups.

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Plan virtual get-togethers with friends and family

As the holidays get closer, it's normal to miss friends and family and long for days where holiday parties and travel were safe. This year, instead of in-person get-togethers, plan more virtual hangouts -- whether that's inviting everyone you normally see to a party on Zoom, or just making time to catch up more with your closest friends and family. 

While not ideal, this year it's the safest option we have for visiting with people who are outside of your household or quarantine bubble. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.