Coronavirus: A guide on self-isolation and ways to prevent virus spread in homes
Here’s how you and your family members can be safe amid the rising coronavirus cases across the globe.
A deadly coronavirus pandemic – Covid-19 – continues to spread across the world, and has so far killed nearly 5,000 people, with more than 132,500 confirmed cases across the globe. Owing to the “mass hysteria” amid the disease outbreak, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued certain guidelines regarding home isolation and preventative steps for household members, partners, and caregivers in a non-healthcare setting of a person with confirmed Covid-19.
In case you experience any of the coronavirus symptoms such as -- High temperature and tiredness, cough, breathing difficulties, and muscle pain -- you should isolate yourself to prevent the spread, experts say. Anyone who has travelled to an affected area, or who has been in close contact with an infected person should do home-based quarantine.
What is self-isolation?
It means cutting yourself off from the rest of the world. You need to stay at home, not go to work, school, or other public places, and avoid public transport and taxis.
"Common-sense" steps include staying in a well-ventilated room with a window that can be opened and keeping away from other people in your home. Ask for help if you need groceries, other shopping, or medication. But one shouldn't have any visitors, say experts.
Coronavirus: What you need to do
-- Wash your hands for about 20 seconds with soap and hot water or use a sanitizer gel.
-- Use tissues while coughing and sneezing. If you don’t have a tissue, use the bend of your elbow.
-- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
-- Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
It takes an average of five days for people to start showing the symptoms. The incubation period lasts up to 14 days, the World Health Organization (WHO) says. But some researchers say it may be up to 24 days.
What if someone self-isolating shares a home?
Here are the set of guidelines that may help prevent this killer virus from spreading among people in their homes and other residential communities. This information is meant for people who have or are suspected to have coronavirus; people who were infected but are now stable and at home; and family members of infected people. Take a look:
Stay home except to get medical care
People who are mildly ill with coronavirus can isolate themselves at home. An infected person should restrict activities outside their home, except for getting medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
People: One should stay in a specific room as much as possible and away from other people in their home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.
Animals: You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with Covid-19, just like you would around other people. It is recommended that sick people limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. Do not engage in petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask.
Wear a facemask
Infected people should wear a facemask when you are around other people. If you are not able to wear a facemask, then people who live with you should not stay in the same room with you, or they should wear a facemask if they enter your room.
Cover your coughs and sneezes
Infected people must cover their mouth and nose with a tissue while coughing and sneezing. One should throw used tissues in a trash can and then immediately wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or, if soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Clean your hands often
In this alarming situation, everyone must wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing, going to the bathroom, and before eating or preparing food.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid sharing personal household items
Infected people should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home. Wash these items thoroughly with soap and water.
Clean all “high-touch” surfaces daily
High-touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. These should be cleaned every day.
Monitor your symptoms
Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening.
Discontinuing home isolation
Infected patients should remain under home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low.
One should help the patient with basic needs in the home and monitor the infected person’s symptoms. But the family members of an infected person should stay in another room or be separated from the patient as much as possible. They should use a separate bedroom and bathroom, if available. Prohibit visitors who do not have an essential need to be in the home.
Make sure that shared spaces in the home have good airflow.
Perform hygiene frequently
Wear a disposable facemask and gloves when you touch or have contact with the patient’s blood, stool, or body fluids, such as saliva, sputum, nasal mucus, vomit, or urine. Throw out disposable facemasks and gloves after using them. Do not reuse. Avoid sharing household items with the patient. Wash laundry thoroughly.
Differences between coronavirus and flu?
Coronavirus and flu share many similar symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose without a test. The main coronavirus symptoms to look out for are fever and a cough. Flu often has other symptoms too, such as a sore throat, while people with coronavirus may feel shortness of breath.