How to Successfully Quarantine When There’s a Sick Relative in the Home
As coronavirus infections increase in the United States, social distancing is encouraged to attempt to control the spread of coronavirus; it involves staying home, washing your hands often, and cleaning your space. But what should you do if someone in your home contracts coronavirus?
The National Institutes of Health have indicated that COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, manifests in different ways in different people. Some people develop a cough and fever, some get extremely sick requiring hospitalization to breathe, and some people remain fairly asymptomatic and have no outward signs of being sick but are still communicable (meaning, others can catch coronavirus from them).
Despite how COVID-19 may present itself, if someone in your household has been infected with coronavirus, you need to take it seriously in order to protect and care for that person, as well as protect the other people that may live in the house. The sick person needs to be isolated until the infectious period of the illness is over.
Here are some tips to quarantine yourself or a family member at home. Please note: these tips are listed as a guide only. More disease-specific details will be provided by your doctor.
Even if no one in your home has been exposed, be prepared for the possibility of a home quarantine:
– Exposure requires 7-10 days in isolation at home.
– Stock your pantry with a two-week supply of non-perishable food items, such as soup, tinned fruit, and frozen vegetables.
– Purchase disposable tissues, antibacterial wipes, and latex gloves.
– Make sure your first aid kit includes a thermometer and paracetamol/Tylenol (to reduce fever).
– Fill all your prescriptions and have enough non-prescription medication to last a couple of weeks.
– Make arrangements with friends, neighbors, and relatives (who don’t live with you) to provide support for each other. For example, agree to drop groceries or other supplies at the front door.
How to conduct yourself if a family member gets infected and everyone in the household is quarantined:
– Everyone should stay home; no visitors to the house.
– Use facemasks to reduce the risk of infection.
– Appoint one adult to look after the sick person (not a pregnant person, if possible). Watch for any signs that they are getting worse, for example, breathing problems, confusion, or chest pain. In that case, seek medical attention.
– Make sure the sick person gets plenty of rest, drinks plenty of water, and maintains a healthy diet.
– The sick person should cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze, then discard it.
– Reduce contact between the sick person and all other members of the household. They should remain in their bedroom with the door closed, and should not share a bedroom.
– If common areas must be shared, maintain a distance of three feet, and all should wear facemasks.
– Everyone should practice good hygiene and wash their hands regularly.
– If you can, give the sick person exclusive use of one bathroom.
– Separate the items used by the sick person from everyone else’s; do not share towels, eating utensils, toothbrush holders, etc.
– Wipe down items touched by the sick person with disinfectant.
Guidelines for facemasks:
– Obtain facemasks from pharmacies, hardware stores, purchase them online, or make one yourself.
– Ensure that the mask is well-fitted to your face and the sick person’s face. The mask should cover the bridge of the nose and mouth, and there should be no gaps between the mask and face.
– Make sure the sick person wears a facemask when they are out of their bedroom.
– If your facemasks are disposable, discard after one use. If your facemasks are reusable, you can wash them in hot water and tumble-dry.
– Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after taking off a facemask and before touching anything else.
How to clean your space and reduce coronavirus on the surfaces in your house:
– Regularly clean high-touch surfaces (including your phone, game controllers, remotes, light switches, faucets, door handles, toilet handles, etc.) with disinfectant.
– Don’t wear outside shoes in the house.
– Wipe down packages and groceries before they are put away.
– Consider using a heavy-duty air purifier in your home.
– If the weather permits, open windows to increase ventilation.
– Enlist the help of professional cleaning services, if needed.
How to keep spirits up during quarantine at home:
– Research the latest news about the infection from reliable sources.
– Connect with family members and friends via telephone, email, or social media.
– Maintain a normal daily routine as much as possible.
Quarantine helps to slow the spread of infection across a population. Your doctor can tell you when your quarantine can safely end, but generally, you should continue these practices until the person is no longer infectious. These tips will help you create a home quarantine plan, so you’re ready in the event you need it.