How can I protect myself and my family from contracting COVID-19?

As this pandemic continues, and communities and businesses across the United States are opening and shutting down at different times and to different degrees, you may be wondering about the real risks to resuming activities, running errands, and attending events and gatherings. There is no way to ensure you have zero risk of infection, so it is important to understand the risks and know how to be as safe as possible.

People who are pregnant, and those who live with them, should consider their level of risk before deciding to go out and ensure they are taking steps to protect themselves and others. Consider avoiding activities where taking protective measures may be difficult, such as activities where social distancing can’t be maintained. Everyone should take steps to prevent getting and spreading COVID-19 to protect themselves, their communities, and people who are at increased risk of severe illness.

In general, the more people you interact with, the more closely you interact with them, and the longer that interaction, the higher your risk of getting and spreading COVID-19.viii

Follow the below guidance to reduce risks of spread. Even if you have received the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s important to continue taking the below described steps to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

• Frequently wash hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.

• Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when handwashing is unavailable.

• Clean commonly used surfaces (e.g., cell phones, personal electronic devices, remote controls, countertops, cabinet handles, tables, doorknobs, light switches) regularly with disinfectant (pregnant women should wear gloves or use green (natural, eco-friendly) products with disinfectant agent, or ideally have another household member clean the surface when possible).

• Avoid contact with sick people.

• Avoid interactions with people who might have exposed to or who might be infected with COVID-19.

• Avoid poorly ventilated spaces.

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

• Cover your coughs (coughing into your elbow).

• If you or your family has not yet received vaccines for Influenza, get vaccinated now.

• Consider getting a COVID-19 vaccine when its available to you. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.

• Practice social distancing and staying at home:

o Only go out for essential items.

o Avoid gathering in groups, if possible.

o Keep distance of 6 feet, if you must go out.

o Limit contact with other individuals as much as practicable. • Wear masks or cloth face coverings at work and in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies). KDHE recommends wearing a mask that fits snuggly around the nose, mouth and chin and has multiple layers of fabric. Alternatively, a thinner disposable mask may be worn underneath a cloth facemask to improve the fit. Visit Mask Guidance for more information. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2 due to risk of suffocation and strangulation. Try to avoid being around others who are not wearing masks.

Updated: March 10, 2021

i Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19); Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, and Caring for Newborns; updated November 3, 2020; retrieved from

ii Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19); Pregnancy Data; updated November 13, 2020; retrieved from

iii The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; Clinical Guidance; Practice Advisory; Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19); updated July 1, 2020 with summary of key updates made November 6, 2020retrieved from

iv Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19); Caring for Pregnant Women; revised May 20, 2020; retrieved from

v Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), Caring for Newborns; updated May 20,2020; retrieved from

vi American Academy of Pediatrics; Critical Updates on COVID-19; Clinical Guidance; FAQs: Management of Infants Born to COVID-19 Mothers; updated 7/22/20; retrieved from

vii The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; Patient Resources; FAQ; Coronavirus (COVID-19); Pregnancy and Breastfeeding; updated November, 2020; retrieved from

Show All Answers

1. Are pregnant women at greater risk of contracting COVID-19?
2. Can COVID-19 cause problems for a pregnancy or be passed on to the unborn baby?
3. Is it safe to breastfeed my baby?
4. How can I protect myself and my family from contracting COVID-19?
5. When should I contact my medical provider?
6. Should I still go to my prenatal and postpartum appointments?
7. How will this outbreak affect my delivery experience?
8. If I have Medicaid or KanCare coverage for my pregnancy, how will it be affected by this pandemic?
9. How can I keep my newborn safe?
10. Should I take my baby/child to his/her regularly scheduled well-child appointments?
11. What extra precautions can I take to protect my baby if I have, or am suspected of having, COVID-19?
12. What symptoms should I be watching for in my baby?
13. Should I continue to receive other health and support services?
14. How else can I help keep my baby safe?
15. Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe and recommended for pregnant and lactating women?