Protect Your Family

Health experts share their tips on how to stop Covid-19 from spreading in your home if someone is sick. But remember, that the virus can be contagious both before and after you have symptoms.

Set up a Quarantine Zone: Ideally, this should be a separate room. If that’s not possible, set up a quarantine zone at least six feet away from others in the household. Health Experts believes that the new coronavirus primarily spreads by respiratory droplets expelled when a person coughs or sneezes. Coughing is one of the most common symptoms of Covid-19 (fever is the most common), according to the World Health Organization. It’s believed that the respiratory droplets should not travel farther than six feet. However, the patient (and others in the household) should practice good hygiene, like sneezing or coughing into a tissue and then disposing of it, if possible.

Keep high-risk individuals stay elsewhere: For people at high risk who are not yet infected, this could be at the home of a friend or family member who isn’t infected or even a hotel. If a high-risk person without symptoms settles into another environment, they should practice extra precautions like social distancing, washing hands, and wiping counters just in case they are infected and don’t know it. Elderly people are at higher risk for complications if they get Covid-19, as are people with chronic diseases like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes.

Don’t take food directly from someone else: This could mean food items (even if they’re wrapped) as well as plates or containers of food. People taking care of you should leave them at the door to the separate room, if you have one, or at the edge of the designated quarantine zone then back off. Though respiratory droplets seem to be the main way Covid-19 is spread, the CDC also believes the virus can live on surfaces. At this point, no one knows how long the virus can live on inanimate objects

Clean surfaces: Make sure every surface you touch in or out of the quarantine zone is disinfected. Assume the virus can be infectious on surfaces for at least 24 hours, which is how long norovirus (the long-lasting germ that causes stomach bugs) lasts outside the body. The biggest areas are bathrooms and kitchens. Every surface that’s touched [should be] cleaned. That includes cloth so throw towels and clothes into the wash. If you don’t have any ready-made products like Lysol wipes or spray, dilute two-thirds of a cup of bleach in a gallon of water. It’s a perfectly good antimicrobial.

Use a separate bathroom, if possible: If that’s not possible, you should take great care and clean the space after each visit. That’s because evidence suggests the virus may also spread through fecal matter. A February 2020 study publishing in the journal Gastroenterology found the infectious Covid-19 virus in the stool of 53.4 percent of 73 hospitalized Covid-19 patients. The researchers concluded that diarrhea is a more common symptom of the virus than previously thought. That means you could contract coronavirus if you come into contact with fecal matter and then touch your mouth.

Have designated objects for the patient: The sick person should get a designated object, like a TV remote or phone that no one else uses, also, confine yourself to only one plate or bowl used consistently as well as one set of silverware. These should be washed individually or sanitized in the dishwasher. Disposable paper products can also work.

Make sure you have one designated caregiver: That caregiver should wear a mask and gloves if available and hand washing is a must. Instruct everyone in the household to practice strict infection-control measures whether or not they come near you. That means washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Household members should also avoid touching their face. You may also want to have a designated shopper (not you) to minimize bringing any more virus into the house.

Limit contact with pets and animals: Heartbreaking as it may be, this is not the time to be cuddling with pets or other animals. The Health Experts recommends taking the same precautions with animals as you would with people. This has as much to do with what we don’t know as what we do know. There are no reports yet of animals with Covid-19 symptoms or of animals being able to spread the virus. They also recommends having someone else in the household take care of your pet while you are sick. If you pets and have to care for and interact with, wear a face mask and wash your hands before and after contact.

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