If Someone in Your Home Is Infected With COVID-19, Do so First.

If someone you live with has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or appears to be sick (for example, waiting for test results), you suddenly have an important job: caring for the person while reducing the risk of that they will transmit the virus to you or anyone else. Here’s what you should do once you are diagnosed.

Find out how carefully you can isolate an infected person.

Provide the patient with a separate bedroom and bathroom if possible. If you have a guest room or if your home has multiple bedrooms and you can choose who sleeps where, this would be ideal.

To learn more about home disinfection, watch the video below:

But even if space is tight, consider your options. For example, if you usually sleep with a sick person, perhaps one of you can sleep on the couch. Keep personal items as separate as possible: do not share dishes, toiletries, bedding or other items. The CDC’s guidelines for people living in the immediate area also recommend not eating together.

Should people who are still healthy move out of their apartment if they can? Jose Torradas, an emergency physician and spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians who recently released a free course on COVID at home , says it’s a tough question. Someone at a high risk (such as an older person with COPD) may be better off staying with friends or family for a short time, but then they also risk inadvertently spreading the virus to those they move with.

Designate a responsible person

If you have more than one person in your home, choose one person to communicate with the sick person. (Again, if someone is at a higher risk, they shouldn’t take on that role.)

If you are the main person, you will be the main caregiver of the patient, and it is you who will clean up after him, wash them, bring them food, and so on. This minimizes the risk to other people in the home.

Make sure the person still has social connections

With all precautions, an infected person can easily spend a lot of time alone. Now is not the time for personal visitors, but when you set up your impromptu sick room, make sure that the person has plenty of opportunities to interact with others. Make sure they have a phone or device close at hand that they can use for Facetime or chat with others, both at home and outdoors.

Dr. Torradas notes that communication is important for a person’s mental health and it is also an opportunity for others to take care of them. If you meet a sick friend on Facetiming and notice that they appear unusually tired or out of breath, this is an important warning that they may need help.

Collect your supplies

The fewer trips to the shops, the better. Here are a few things to stock up on :

  • Cleaning agents, including disinfectants and bleach, for cleaning surfaces
  • Soap and hand sanitizer to keep your hands clean
  • Thermometer
  • Temperature control products such as Tylenol, optional.
  • Masks, if they are not already there

There is some disagreement among healthcare professionals about the need for a pulse oximeter. (This is a device that painlessly attaches to your finger and uses light to measure the oxygen in your blood.) Dr. Torradas recommends it, noting that some COVID-19 patients can have dangerously low oxygen saturation without feeling short of breath. If you are using it, it is recommended that you talk to your doctor about how to interpret the results.

Minimize the likelihood of transmission

While many cases of COVID-19 are spread within households, Dr. Torradas notes that there are also many examples of families in which one person has been infected but, through careful precautions, has not passed it on to others. Therefore, additional efforts to reduce the risk of transmission may be warranted.

The main (not the only) way of spreading coronavirus is airborne droplets. In other words, when someone breathes, screams, or coughs near you. Thus, you can reduce this risk:

  • Stay six feet away.
  • Open a window or spend time outside if you can.
  • Masks help. The infected person and other family members should both wear a mask when you are in close contact.
  • A plastic face mask can also trap extra drops from your face, including your eyes. If you have one, use it.

The virus can also spread through surfaces to prevent this:

  • Wear gloves and / or wash your hands frequently after touching, washing, or cleaning up the sick person’s belongings.
  • When interacting with them, consider wearing a cape to avoid dripping on your clothes. For example, it could be a plastic poncho.
  • Disinfect surfaces that the patient touches, especially items that are frequently touched, such as doorknobs and countertops.

Help them track and manage symptoms

A mild case of coronavirus will not require treatment that is very different from a cold or flu. But COVID-19 can become serious, even fatal, so it’s important to keep an eye on your health.

Record symptoms so you can answer questions if you seek medical attention – for example, on what day did the symptoms appear?

And be sure to watch for signs that the person needs urgent help. These warning signs, according to the CDC, include :

  • Labored breathing
  • Constant chest pain or pressure
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake up or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

Whenever possible, always call ahead of time before taking a COVID-19 patient to the hospital.

Follow these precautions in accordance with current home isolation regulations. Unless your healthcare provider has given you specific instructions, the CDC’s page on when to stop home isolation is here . It is now said that a sufferer can come out of home isolation three days after his fever has subsided and has no symptoms, and it has been at least ten days since he first had symptoms. A healthy caregiver should stay at home for 14 days after first exposure to the virus.

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