As COVID-19 continues to spread, doctors will ask more and more people to self-quarantine to prevent sharing the disease with others. What exactly does this mean, especially if you live in a home with other people and pets?
Follow these steps:
Stay home except for medical care
Don’t leave your home unless you’re going to the doctor’s. Don’t go to work, school or public areas. Avoid using public buses, subways, ride-sharing services or taxis.
Separate yourself from other people and pets
As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Use a separate bathroom, if you can.
Don’t touch your pets or other animals. Have another member of your household care for your pets during this time.
Call ahead before visiting your doctor
If you have a medical appointment, call your doctor and say that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help your doctor’s office take steps to keep other people in the office or the waiting room from getting infected.
Wear a face mask
Wear a face mask when you are around other people, such as sharing a room or car, around pets, and before entering your doctor’s office.
Cover your coughs and sneezes
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in a lined trashcan. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Avoid sharing personal household items
Do not share dishes, glasses, cups, silverware, towels or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After using these items, wash them thoroughly with soap and water or detergent.
Wash your hands
Wash your hands often, especially after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food. Use soap and water and wash for at least 20 seconds. This is about the time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands, including between your fingers, and rub your hands together until they feel dry. Use soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth if you haven’t washed your hands.
Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day
High-touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables. Clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool or body fluids on them. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the directions. The label contains directions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product, such as wearing gloves and making sure the room has good airflow.
Monitor your symptoms
See your doctor if your illness gets worse — for example, you find it hard to breathe. Before seeking care, call your doctor and say you have or may have COVID-19. Put on a face mask before entering the building. These steps will help keep people in the doctor’s office or waiting room from being infected.
If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, say that you have or may have COVID-19. If possible, put on a face mask before the ambulance arrives.
Ending home isolation
Continue home quarantine until your doctor believes your risk of spreading the virus is low. Your doctor will make this decision in consultation with your state and local health departments. Be aware that you may receive calls or visits from the state health department during your quarantine.
What exactly does social distancing mean?