Aug 25, 2020 12:00 PM

Whether you have COVID-19 (coronavirus) or someone you live with does, you need to take care of yourself and your household. Use these 10 tips to take care of yourself and those you live with.

How to Isolate if Your Housemate Is Sick & Space Is Limited

Many of us share living space with other family, friends, or housemates/roommates. If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you need to make sure you keep yourself isolated from your housemates.

Isolation vs. Quarantine

When a health provider asks you to isolate, this is different from quarantining. Health care providers define “isolation” as staying away from others when you are sick. Quarantine is when you are not sick and have tested negative but are still asked to stay away from others for a period of time.

The good news is that people who live together don’t always get COVID-19 together. Be sure, however, to follow these tips to take care of your sick household member.

10 Tips for Isolating a Sick Household Member

If you cannot provide a separate room and bathroom for a person who is sick with COVID-19, try to separate them from other household members. Try to create separation within your household to protect everyone, especially people at higher risk (those over 65 years and those who have medical conditions).

Follow these ten tips when isolating a household member who is sick:

  1. Maintain six feet between the person who is sick and other household members. 
  2. Cover coughs and sneezes; wash hands often; and don’t touch your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  3. Have the sick household member wear a face covering when they are around other people at home and out of the house (including before they enter a doctor’s office).
  4. Keep people at higher risk separated from anyone who is sick.
  5. Designate one person in the household to take care of the person who is sick. This caregiver should be someone who is not at higher risk for severe illness. 
    • The caregiver should clean any areas where the sick person has been, as well as their bedding and laundry.
    • The caregiver should minimize contact with other people in the household, especially those who are at higher risk for severe illness.
    • Designate a different caregiver for other members of the household who require help with cleaning, bathing, or other daily tasks.
  6. Clean and disinfect surfaces, doorknobs, and other commonly touched surfaces with EPA-registered disinfectants daily. 
  7. Limit visitors to those with an essential need to be in your home.
  8. Don’t share personal items like phones, dishes, bedding, or toys.
  9. Try to do the following if you need to share a bedroom with someone who is sick:
    • Make sure the room has good air flow. Open a window and turn on a fan to bring in fresh air.
    • Place beds at least six feet apart, if possible.
    • Sleep head to toe.
    • Put a curtain or other physical divider to separate the bed of the person who is sick from other beds. For example, you might use a shower curtain, room screen divider, large cardboard poster, quilt, or large bedspread.
  10. Have the person who is sick clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in a shared bathroom.

When to Call Your Health Care Provider or Doctor

Call your health care provider right away if any of these symptoms occur:

  • Cough with lots of colored sputum (mucus) or blood in your sputum
  • Chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, or trouble breathing
  • Severe headache; face, neck, or ear pain
  • Severe, constant pain in the lower right side of your belly (abdominal)
  • Continued vomiting (can't keep liquids down)
  • Frequent diarrhea (more than five times a day); blood (red or black color) or mucus in diarrhea
  • Feeling weak, dizzy, or susceptible to fainting
  • Extreme thirst
  • Fever that is not responding to medications

You can also use our Virtual Urgent Care services.

We hope these 10 tips will help you stay safe. Find more information on how to take care of yourself and your family during COVID-19 if you are sick.

coronavirus covid-19 isolation quarantine

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