Updated as of March 12 at 10:40 a.m. to include Student Health Services hours of operation during Spring Break.

As Elon University takes precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, Dr. Ginette Archinal, medical director of student health and university physician, gives advice to community members about staying healthy.

In addition, Student Health Services, will remain open during Spring Break with adjusted hours. Appointments can be scheduled Tuesday, March 17, to Friday, March 20 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Regular hours will resume after Spring Break. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older people and individuals with severe underlying health conditions are at the highest risk for developing serious COVID-19. 

Archinal said everyone has a responsibility to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 

“It really isn’t just about us and whether we’re going to get sick,” Archinal said. “As human beings, as people who live in a society and interact with other people, we do have that responsibility. … We have a responsibility to everybody we interact with to not do anything that’s going to harm them.”

Tip 1: Don’t wear face masks

While wearing masks has commonly been suggested as a way to avoid the coronavirus, Archinal says this practice might hurt more than help.

“Masks don’t prevent you catching anything,” Archinal said. “What a mask does is prevents you, if you are infected, from spreading it to somebody else.”

According to the CDC, face masks should only be worn if healthcare professionals recommend it. Masks should only be used by individuals with COVID-19 or those experiencing symptoms.

Tip 2: Keep your hands clean

According to Archinal, one of the simplest ways to stay healthy is by washing your hands and using hand sanitizer.

“Hand sanitizer is essentially alcohol, and a high enough percentage of alcohol kills viruses and bacteria, but needs to go on the palm. You need to work it between your fingers. You need to make sure it gets everywhere and then you need to make sure that it dries,” Archinal said.

Disinfectant products are in short supply in Burlington. Target, CVS and Walgreens are capping how many products customers can buy at a time.

Tip 3: Don’t touch your face

“Don't touch your face, that's the hardest thing,” Archinal said. “There are techniques you can do to not touch your face. When you sit down in a lecture, sit on your hands.”

According to the CDC, the virus spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land on surfaces and come in contact with peoples’ mouths or noses or be inhaled into the lungs when people touch their face.

Tip 4: If you have symptoms, don’t panic

According to Archinal, individuals with flu-like symptoms should only be concerned if they have come in close contact with COVID-19.

“You should take COVID-19 seriously, but don’t be afraid,” Archinal said.

If Elon community members are concerned, Archinal suggests going directly to a primary care doctor. 

“Don't go to an emergency room. All you’re going to do is catch something more serious by sitting next to somebody in the waiting room,” Archinal said.