HOW TO CARE FOR SOMEONE SICK AT HOME WITH COVID-19?

This information also should be followed when caring for people who have tested positive but are not showing symptoms*.



*Symptoms of COVID -19

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle or body aches

  • Headache

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Sore throat

  • Congestion or runny nose

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. If you suspect you have been exposed to the virus, then consult your physician if you develop any symptoms.



When to seek emergency urgent medical attention

Look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:

  • Trouble breathing

  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest

  • New confusion

  • Inability to wake or stay awake

  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please immediately consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.


PROTECT YOURSELF


Limit contact

  • Keep a separate bedroom and bathroom for a person who is sick

  • The caregiver, when possible, should not be someone who is at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

  • If possible, have the person who is sick stay in their own “sick room” or area and away from others.

  • Try to stay at least 6 feet away from the sick person.


Shared space: If you have to share space, make sure the room has good airflow.

  • Open the window to increase air circulation.

  • Improving ventilation helps remove respiratory droplets from the air.


Avoid having visitors. Avoid having any unnecessary visitors, especially visits by people who are at higher risk for severe illness.


Caregivers should quarantine

  • Caregivers and anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 should stay home, except in limited circumstances.

  • Eat in separate rooms or areas


Stay separated: The person who is sick should eat (or be fed) in their room, if possible.


Wash dishes and utensils using gloves and hot water: Handle any dishes, cups/glasses, or silverware used by the person who is sick with gloves. Wash them with soap and hot water or in a dishwasher.

  • Clean hands after taking off gloves or handling used items.

  • Avoid sharing personal items

  • Do not share: Do not share dishes, cups/glasses, silverware, towels, bedding, or electronics (like a cell phone) with the person who is sick.


When to Wear a Mask Or Gloves


The person who is sick

  • The person who is sick should wear a mask when they are around other people at home and out.

  • Masks should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is not able to remove the covering without help.

Caregiver

  • Put on a mask and ask the sick person to put on a mask before entering the room.

  • Wear gloves when you touch or have contact with the sick person’s blood, stool, or body fluids, such as saliva, mucus, vomit, and urine. Throw out gloves into a lined trash can and wash your hands right away.

  • Practice everyday preventive actions to keep from getting sick: wash your hands often; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; and frequently clean and disinfect surfaces.


Clean your hands often


  • Wash hands: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Tell everyone in the home to do the same, especially after being near the person who is sick.

  • Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

  • Hands off: Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.



When and how to clean surfaces and objects

  • Cleaning with a household cleaner that contains soap or detergent reduces the amount of germs on surfaces and objects and decreases risk of infection from surfaces. In most situations, cleaning alone removes most virus particles on surfaces.

  • Clean high-touch surfaces and objects regularly (for example, daily or after each use) and after you have visitors in your home.

  • Focus on high-touch surfaces and objects (doorknobs, tables, handles, light switches, phones, remote controls, and countertops).

  • Clean other surfaces in your home when they are visibly dirty or as needed. Clean them more frequently if people in your household are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.

  • Disinfect if certain conditions apply.

  • When Someone Is Sick: If someone in your home is sick or someone who has COVID-19 has been in your home in the last 24 hours, clean and disinfect your home.




Track your own health

  • Caregivers should stay home and monitor their health for COVID-19 symptoms while caring for the person who is sick.

  • Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath but other symptoms may be present as well. Trouble breathing is a more serious warning sign that you need medical attention.

  • Caregivers should continue to stay home after care is complete. Caregivers can leave their home 14 days after their last close contact with the person who is sick (based on the time it takes to develop illness), or 14 days after the person who is sick meets the criteria to end home isolation.

  • The best way to protect yourself and others is to stay home for 14 days if you think you’ve been exposed to someone who has COVID-19.


What surface disinfectants are effective against COVID-19 for disinfection at home?

  • Sodium hypochlorite (bleach/chlorine) may be used at a recommended concentration of 0.1% or 1,000ppm (1 part of 5% strength household bleach to 49 parts of water).

  • Alcohol at 70-90% can also be used for surface disinfection. Surfaces must be cleaned with water and soap or a detergent first to remove dirt, followed by disinfection.

  • Cleaning should always start from the least soiled (cleanest) area to the most soiled (dirtiest) area in order to not spread the dirty to areas that are less soiled.

  • All disinfectant solutions should be stored in opaque containers, in a well-ventilated, covered area that is not exposed to direct sunlight, and ideally should be freshly prepared every day.

  • In indoor spaces, routine application of disinfectants to surfaces via spraying is not recommended for COVID-19. If disinfectants are to be applied, these should be via a cloth or wipe which is soaked in the disinfectant.



How to clean food items from the grocery store or packaged items?

  • There is no evidence to date of viruses that cause respiratory illnesses being transmitted via food or food packaging. Coronaviruses cannot multiply in food; they need an animal or human host to multiply.

  • The COVID-19 virus is generally thought to be spread from person to person through respiratory droplets. Currently, there is no evidence to support the transmission of the COVID-19 virus associated with food.

  • Before preparing or eating food it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 40-60 seconds.


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