Take care coronavirus at home

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How to Care for Someone at Home Who Has Coronavirus

How to Care for Someone at Home Who Has Coronavirus

How to take care of someone who is sick while also protecting yourself
Take care coronavirus at home

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Although catching the coronavirus can seem scary, most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you are caring for someone with COVID-19 at home, you also need to make sure to protect yourself and any other friends, family or pets that also live with you. Here are the important steps to take if someone in your house has coronavirus, according to the CDC. ​​​​​​

Limit contact

Limit contact

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While there are still plenty of unknowns and persistent myths about the novel coronavirus, according to the CDC, COVID-19 is spread between people who are in close contact through respiratory droplets that are created when someone talks, coughs or sneezes. If there are many people in your household, choose one person to be the primary caregiver in order to limit the sick person’s contact with others. If possible, make sure the primary caregiver is someone who is not at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Make sure the person who is sick drinks a lot of fluids and rests

Make sure the person who is sick drinks a lot of fluids and rests

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It might seem like common sense, but two of the best things for a person infected with COVID-19 are rest and fluids. Refill glasses or water bottles for them if needed, and remind them to drink plenty of water or other hydrating drinks while avoiding caffeine, which can affect their ability to fall asleep.

See if over-the-counter medicines help

See if over-the-counter medicines help

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To help the sick person manage their symptoms, over-the-counter medicines for fever, such as acetaminophen — also known by its brand name, Tylenol — may help the person feel better, according to the CDC. However, you should ultimately adhere to their doctor’s instructions for care and medicine and reach out to their doctor with any questions you may have.

Stock up on what you might need

Stock up on what you might need

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One way to show your appreciation for grocery store workers during this pandemic is to only go to the store sparingly and keep your shopping trips as efficient as possible. If possible, go on one big trip for supplies for the sick person to get over-the-counter medicines, personal items, sports drinks or other things that might help or comfort them while they recover.

Have their doctor’s phone number on hand

Have their doctor’s phone number on hand

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Write down the instructions the sick person’s doctor gave them for care and medicine while they recover at home. Make sure you also have their doctor’s phone number on hand in case they start getting sicker. Coronavirus symptoms can worsen rapidly. If the sick person displays certain symptoms, you might need to call 911 for emergency medical care.

Know the emergency warning signs

Know the emergency warning signs

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There are certain symptoms for which you should get emergency medical attention immediately. These include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to wake up, and bluish lips or face, according to the CDC. Some symptoms may also be specific to the sick person, so ask their medical provider for other symptoms to be on the lookout for based on their age and medical history.

Take care of your mental health

Take care of your mental health

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Taking care of someone who is sick while also trying to protect your physical health and that of other members of your household can be stressful and take a toll on your mental health. Make sure you take care of yourself so you can effectively take care of others. Follow these steps to help relax and clear your mind, go for a walk or take an online workout class, or simply take a break and watch an episode of a feel-good TV show to help manage your stress and anxiety.

Keep them away from pets

Keep them away from pets

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If you’re taking care of someone with pets, you’ll likely be taking care of their animal companions too. The CDC recommends that anyone who is sick should avoid contact with their pets. This means no petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, or sharing food or bedding. This is all to keep your furry friends safe as it is possible for animals to become infected through close contact with humans who have coronavirus. ​​​​​​

Use a separate bedroom

Use a separate bedroom

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One of the best ways to keep someone with coronavirus separated from other people is setting them up in their own bedroom or their own designated “sick room” or area. This will help you more easily maintain separation and keep the recommended distance of 6 feet away.

Use a separate bathroom

Use a separate bathroom

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If possible, the CDC recommends that the person who is sick use a separate bathroom. If that’s not possible, the person who is sick should clean and then disinfect the bathroom after each use. Skipping the disinfecting step is just one way you might be cleaning your house wrong.

Clean around the sick person sparingly

Clean around the sick person sparingly

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Because you should limit contact, the CDC recommends caregivers only clean the area around the person who is sick when necessary, such as when the area is soiled. You can also provide cleaning supplies to the person who is sick so that they can clean their own space if they feel up to it.

Clean and disinfect ‘high-touch’ surfaces

Clean and disinfect ‘high-touch’ surfaces

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While bathrooms are well-known to be one of the dirtiest places in your home, it’s important to clean and disinfect “high-touch” surfaces. These areas get touched by everyone in the house multiple times a day and include tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets and sinks.

Clean electronics

Clean electronics

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Other household items you might forget to clean but should include electronics. Any smartphones, tablets, laptops or remote controls should be cleaned. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions or use alcohol-based wipes or spray containing at least 70% alcohol. Do not share any electronics with someone who is sick with COVID-19.

Avoid sharing personal items

Avoid sharing personal items

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On top of not sharing electronics, you should avoid sharing personal items with someone with COVID-19. This includes cups, towels, blankets, pillows and more.​

Increase air circulation

Increase air circulation

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If you have to share space or interact with someone who is sick with COVID-19, make sure the room has good airflow by turning on a fan or opening a window. This helps clear any lingering respiratory droplets carrying coronavirus from the air. In general, having good air circulation is one way to create a healthier home environment.

Avoid having visitors

Avoid having visitors

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When you’re sick, you often crave the company and comforting words of friends or family. Unfortunately, with COVID-19, it’s best to avoid having any unnecessary visitors over, especially people who are at higher risk for severe illness. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to stay connected with loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic.

Thoroughly wash dishes and utensils

Thoroughly wash dishes and utensils

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Whether you have a dishwasher or hand-wash your dishes, it’s important to thoroughly clean any dishes or utensils used by someone who has COVID-19 with soap and hot water. The CDC also recommends wearing gloves while handling any dishes, glasses or silverware used by a person who is sick.

Use lined trash cans

Use lined trash cans

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Use a trash bag or liner in any can where you will throw away cleaning items, disposable gloves or anything else like tissues that have come in contact with a sick person. Wear gloves when handling trash or taking out the garbage and wash your hands afterward.

Don’t recycle exposed items

Don’t recycle exposed items

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While you might be trying to be as eco-friendly as possible, anything that’s been exposed to someone with coronavirus is not recyclable. That means gloves, face masks and other personal protective equipment belong in the trash.

Wear gloves

Wear gloves

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Caregivers should wear gloves when disinfecting around the house or handling dishes or laundry from the sick person. They should also wear gloves when coming in contact with any bodily fluids, including mucus, saliva or vomit. 

Wear masks

Wear masks

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A caregiver can wear a mask when caring for a person who is sick, but it’s more effective for the person who is sick to wear a mask to prevent spreading the virus to others. The person who is sick should wear a cloth face covering of some sort when they are around other people, even at home.

Make your own face mask

Make your own face mask

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Because medical-grade face masks are reserved for healthcare workers and first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may need to make your own face mask for you or the person who is sick. There are plenty of online tutorials on sewing your own mask. You can also make one using a bandana or an old T-shirt.

Properly wash laundry

Properly wash laundry

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Knowing how often to wash clothes, bedding and more when someone is sick is definitely helpful when caring for someone with COVID-19. Dirty laundry from a person who is sick can still be safely washed with other people’s items, but you should wear gloves while handling their dirty items. Do not shake dirty laundry — this can release germs and viruses that can then spread through the air.

Use warm settings

Use warm settings

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You should still wash items according to the label instructions, but when possible, use the warmest water setting you can. The CDC also recommends drying laundry on hot if possible. Wash your hands after removing your gloves and make sure to clean and disinfect clothes hampers as well.

Track your own health

Track your own health

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Caregivers and people in close contact with sick people should monitor their own health for COVID-19 symptoms. Common symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath as well as chills, headache, sore throat and or muscle pain. Loss of taste or smell has also been reported.

Wash your hands often

Wash your hands often

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Even more so than the general population, people living or working in close proximity to someone who is sick with COVID-19 need to be properly washing their hands often. Make sure to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after being around someone who is sick, cleaning up after them or touching any items or surfaces they have touched.

Use hand sanitizer

Use hand sanitizer

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If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer. Make sure your hand sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol in order to effectively kill coronavirus. Cover all of the surface of your hands with hand sanitizer and rub them together until they feel dry.

Self-quarantine

Self-quarantine

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If you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 despite precautions, the CDC recommends 14 days of quarantine after the time of exposure. It could take that long for symptoms to develop, so even if you don’t feel sick, you should opt to self-quarantine to prevent the spread of the illness.

Keep them quarantined until symptoms subside

Keep them quarantined until symptoms subside

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How long should you keep your friend or family member sequestered? According to the CDC, people with COVID-19 or its symptoms who are recovering at home can leave their “sick room” or home if they have had no fever for at least three full days without the use of medicine that reduces fevers and if their other symptoms have improved. They should also wait until at least seven days have passed since their symptoms first appeared.

Social distance

Social distance

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As caretaker for someone sick with COVID-19, you’ll likely need to run errands for them to get groceries, prescriptions and other items they may need. You might also consider having food and items delivered through a delivery service or ordering ahead for curbside pickup. If you do leave the house, make sure to practice social distancing and to strategize so your shopping trip is as quick and efficient as possible.

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