Infected with Coronavirus! How to Remain Safe When Staying With: If your loved one has been diagnosed with Covid-19, life will not only be stressful, and you’ll have to live with the risk of contracting the virus. The following is the expert advice you can follow to protect yourself and other family members and other people in your community.
If a person you live with has tested positive for Covid-19, you can easily be resigned to the idea that you will get it too. After all, you’ve been breathing the same air without wearing a mask and have touched the same doorknobs day in day out. But, it’s not necessarily true that members of the same household have shared the virus.
According to a study by the University of Utah’s Utah HERO study, once a person becomes infected with the virus, a 12% chance that someone they live with will also become infected. However, reports from China (also here) indicate that the report from Utah is similar to what’s happening elsewhere in the world. Learning that a loved one has tested positive can cause serious concern to both of you. Dr. David Hirschwerk, an infectious disease internal medicine physician at Northwell Health, says:
“This is an important situation to consider because we know that household members have a roughly 50 percent risk of infection when somebody living in their home is infected.”
Thankfully, you can care for a person with Covid-19 and keep yourself safe. Consider the following eight tips from experts:
a. Get Tested
Should anyone in your home test positive for Covid-19, your first course of action should be going for a test yourself. However, even if the test comes out negative, don’t rule out an infection as yet. You can get a negative result when the viral load is low. Dr. Scott Braunstein, medical director of Sollis Health in Los Angeles, says:
“We know that the sensitivity of the tests increases dramatically at 5 to 7 days after last exposure, so you will want to obtain a second COVID-19 PCR test during or after that window […] household members and all other close contacts should be assumed to be positive.”
b. Isolate Yourselves
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, when you’re caring for someone with Covid-19, you both must isolate yourself. Where possible, let the person who has Covid-19 use a separate bedroom and bathroom. Let everyone else stay at least 6 feet away from the person with COVID-19 as often as possible. The person with the infection should be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days from the onset of symptoms or positive test, and longer in severe cases.
c. Improve Ventilation
Improve ventilation in your home by keeping the windows open as much as tolerable. You want to remember that indoors the virus can remain in the air in tiny droplets and potentially infect others.
d. Protect Yourself
According to the CDC, a sick person should wear a mask when they’re around other people, and anyone living with them should wear a mask or face covering, too. Masks help contain respiratory infections from the nose and mouth of the infected person. But more recent data supports that masks protect individuals from becoming infected as well. While wearing masks doesn’t guarantee 100 percent protection against contracting the virus that causes COVID-19. Wearing goggles when you’re near the person with COVID-19 “can protect from getting virus directly into the eyes’ mucus membranes.
e. Wash Hands and Disinfect Surfaces
The CDC suggests that you can maintain good hygiene by washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being near a sick person. Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water aren’t readily available. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Clean and disinfect “high-touch” surfaces and items every day, such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, and electronics.
f. Eat Healthily
It’s important to have a healthy diet and avoid weight gain that is so easy to experience during this time of stress and uncertainty. There’s evidence that certain health conditions predispose a person to COVID-19 complications, and a lot of those health conditions can be addressed by lifestyle changes. According to the CDC, adults with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe COVID-19, hospitalization, ICU admissions, intubation or mechanical ventilation, and death. These conditions include heart conditions, obesity, severe obesity, and non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.
g. Rely On Trusted Sources
You can listen to what friends, family, and those on social media say. However, it’s more important to listen only to trusted sources backed by experts regarding COVID-19 information and recommendations. Braunstein says:
“There’s a lot of misinformation on social media and the internet that will recommend everything from taking massive doses of vitamins to taking hot showers as being effective in safeguarding you from getting the COVID-19 infection.”
h. Talk to a Friend
Friends and family can be great for expressing your feelings during difficult times. It’s normal and natural to experience various emotions, including fear, anxiety, depression, and loneliness, which can be profound and debilitating. Speaking about and expressing these feelings to a friend or relative can be very cathartic and improve your physical and emotional well-being.
Should you have anything that’s bothering you, don’t hesitate to visit your doctor for essential health care. But if you want to avoid crowded waiting rooms, the easiest way is to chat with a doctor online. That’s thanks to the rise of telemedicine apps, an umbrella term that covers all the ways you can receive medical care via text, online chat, phone, and video, and yes, even apps such as the Global Telehealth Exchange.
Online doctors can diagnose and treat various medical conditions, including allergies, cold and flu, fevers, asthma, ear infections, UTIs, and so much more through an online doctor consultation. And, depending on the particular virtual care you receive, you can use your regular health insurance. You also shouldn’t use telehealth services when you experience a true emergency, like trouble breathing, or you sustain an injury that needs immediate attention, like a broken bone. All that said, there are many benefits of using Telehealth Apps during this period.