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10 Things to Do When Someone in Your House has COVID-19

  • Category: Coronavirus
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Baton Rouge General
10 Things to Do When Someone in Your House has COVID-19

An estimated 21.4 million people in the U.S. and 87.6 million worldwide have had COVID-19 and now someone you live with has tested positive. According to The Center for Disease Control (CDC), most people who become infected only have a mild case and can recover easily at home. You can safely help those who are sick and living under your roof, while protecting yourself and anyone else you live with.

It is important to remember some basic precautions that should be taken when dealing with anyone who is sick with COVID-19. You and the person you are caring for should be masked, at all times, when you are within 6 feet of each other. The mask should cover the nose and mouth to work properly. Clean your hands often with soap, rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer and clean surfaces multiple times a day with disinfectants. Washing your hands before touching your face or eyes will help stop the spread within your home.

Your sick friend or loved one will need help managing their symptoms—here are 10 ways to care for a COVID-19 patient at home while keeping yourself healthy.

  • Pick a ‘sick’ room and bathroom- Keeping the sick isolated is important in preventing the spread of germs. Give them their own room and bathroom that no one else will be allowed to enter. Not even the beloved family pet. When possible, open a window to help keep fresh air circulating. If you don’t have an additional bathroom, you will have to clean every surface they touch every time they touch it, so it’s clean when you or other people you live with need to use it.
  • Keep them hydrated: One of the main symptoms of the coronavirus is loss of taste and smell. Even if your loved one does not feel like eating, make sure you provide them with water and clear fluids to keep them hydrated.
  • Provide meals, but from a distance: Using a tray or cookie sheet to deliver food to the bedroom door will help eliminate contact with the sick. If you must enter the room, make sure you and the patient are masked. Dishes should be washed thoroughly, as will your hands, after handling anything they ate or drank out of.
  • Help with medication: It is important that the sick person continue to take all prescribed medication as scheduled, unless otherwise directed by their physician. Provide ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help ease body aches or fever. Other over-the-counter medications like cold and cough suppressants may be needed. Record the dosage information and times taken to keep from taking too much too frequently.
  • Laundry should be kept separate: Make sure they have a change of clothes, clean masks, socks, and towels available to them, as they won’t be able to leave their sick room to get it. Provide a hamper or basket for dirty laundry that should be laundered separate from the rest of the household.
  • No visitors allowed: Current CDC guidelines suggest that it is safe to be around others 10 days after symptoms first appeared- as long as they have been fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever- reducing medication and all other symptoms are improving. If someone wants to drop off a care package, it can be left at the front door to minimize risk of spreading the virus to a visitor.
  • Stay home: You, and all the other members of your home, have now had contact with someone who has COVID-19. Notify your boss and your child’s school or daycare of the exposure and make plans accordingly. Schedule food delivery from restaurants and grocery stores or ask friends and family to do the shopping for you and leave the items outside.
  • Help them stay connected and entertained: Most have a phone or electronic device that will allow them to stream movies, tv shows, religious services and allow them to stay in touch virtually with loved ones. Let the kids do a video call with the family pet to say “hi” or check-in with frequent phone calls to friends or grandparents. Finding ways to stay entertained and engaged while sick and stuck in a room will help pass the time.
  • Clean and clean often: Your entire home and especially anything the sick person encountered, in the early stages of getting sick or before they were showing symptoms, should be cleaned, and disinfected with a spray or wipes. Common “high touch” items include doorknobs, light switches, remote controls, toilets, sinks, handles on cabinets, showers and the refrigerator, the steering wheel of a car, car keys, and don’t forget to throw that toothbrush away! After the patient has recovered and quarantine is no longer necessary, the ‘sick’ room should be thoroughly cleaned and wiped down. Remember all bedding, including blankets, should be washed and the room should be vacuumed and mopped to kill any virus that may still be left on the surface.
  • Ask for help and support: Being a COVID-19 caregiver can be taxing. Asking for support from trusted friends and neighbors is OK and can be done safely. Ask a nearby friend to pick up needed groceries or supplies and drop them at your door. A neighborhood student could help with walking the dog, as long as the leash is disinfected prior to and after the walk. Enlist family members to help with meals by having items delivered from local restaurants. Remember that your own mental health is important. Scheduling Facetime and phone calls with those you trust most can be a great way to cope with your feelings and experiences. If you feel like you need to talk to a professional, most doctors are offering telehealth appointments that can be scheduled at your convenience.

Caring for a loved one can be hard but caring for someone with COVID-19 poses more of a challenge. For more information about COVID-19 and more tips on how to stay safe while providing care visit The Center for Disease Control and Prevention.