How to self isolate/quarantine if you have or are suspected to have COVID 19
Self isolation or quarantine means you must isolate yourself from others for 14 days. This is usually if you have Covid-19 or have come in close contact with someone who has had COVID-19. Additionally, recently this also includes those who have returned from recent travel given the high risk.
This will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and must be taken very seriously to avoid infecting others.
When should you self isolate/quarantine
If you being to feel unwell, you may want to self isolate from other household members. If you develop cough and fever, contact your medical provider by phone or use Telehealth to see a doctor virtually so that you can stay home as long as those symptoms are manageable. Individuals with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate until their symptoms have resolved and it has been at least seven additional days since symptoms first appeared to ensure they are no longer contagious
What is the difference between social distancing or “stay home, work from home orders” and self isolation or quarantine?
Self-quarantine or isolation means isolating yourself from others for fourteen days because you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or you have COVID-19 yourself.
Social distancing or a “stay at home, work from home order” is a responsible public recommendation to have folks remain home and distant from others (such as by refraining from shaking hands or hugging or going to the store or doing non-essential work), without any known exposure to the virus, to limit possible transmission to or from others.
What to do if you are on Self Quarantine or Isolation orders:
If you live alone:
• Do not leave your home
• Be sure to open windows if you don’t have a shared space and get fresh air or step outside twice a day, if you won’t risk coming into contact with others.
• Do not go out to buy food or medications, use a delivery service (online or phone) or ask for others to help you. Have them leave necessary items at your doorstep.
• Do not have visitors, family or friends, for 14 days
• Disinfect frequently touched surfaces like your phone and door handles
• Throw all tissues and contaminated garbage into a trashbag. When full, double bag the trashbag and put outside only after 3 days.
What to do if you must have contact with others for life-essential circumstances:
• Be sure to stay at least 6 feet from others if you must be around them, avoid longer than 10 minutes
• Wear a mask to contain the infectious droplets.
What might you need during isolation/quarantine:
A good idea would be to prepare in advance knowing there’s a chance you could become quarantined. If you become quarantined, use a delivery source or ask others to help you obtain these items. Do not go yourself. Some items you will want to have on hand include:
• Nonperishable, easy to prepare foods
• Medication refills
• Essential daily items, soap, toilet paper, hygiene products, toothpaste, laundry detergent
• Disinfecting wipes, sprays, etc. Refer to this list.
• Gatorade or Electrolyte solution
• Tylenol and cough/cold relief medications
• First aid kit
• Books, movies, and games to prevent boredom
What to do in addition to the above recommendations if you live with others?
• Designate a space in your home that is separate from others, either a room and if not possible an area that is at least 6 feet away from others, ideally with a partition.
• Keep good hand and respiratory hygiene- ie- washing hands frequently, covering cough
• Keep good ventilation when possible, windows open
• Avoid shared spaces like bathrooms and the kitchen. If you are able to use a separate bathroom this is ideal. If you must share a bathroom, be sure to disinfect all surfaces that were touched after each use.
• Avoid and separate from household members who may be at increased risk of complications from a COVID-19 infection (e.g. people over the age of 65, young children, pregnant women, people who are immunocompromised or who have chronic heart, lung, or kidney conditions)
• Ideally, you or they should stay elsewhere and not be sharing living quarters.
• Keep separate cutlery, plate, bowls, and cup for use. If possible, keep and wash separately. If you cannot, then use a dishwasher with heat for cleaning. Be sure thoroughly dried.
• Do not share a bed
• Do not share personal hygiene products or towels, including hand towels
• Do your laundry as you normally would on a hot cycle at home, but avoid shaking out dirty laundry as it can contribute to the spread of the virus. If you do not have a washer/dryer in your home, then wait for 3 days after your quarantine has ended to take to the laundromat.
• Wear a mask if you must move through shared spaces
• Disinfect all frequently touched surfaces daily
• Caregivers should wear a facemask when providing any essential care. Be sure to use appropriate facemask precautions, wash hands before putting facemask on and also before taking off to avoid contamination. Avoid touching face.
• If you are a confirmed case, then it is likely the others in your home should also be quarantined for 14 days. However, if they are not sick, you should stay separated per these recommendations.
Know what to do if you need medical help?
Know the alarm symptoms for which you must seek emergency care. Shortness of breath, meaning difficulty breathing, fast breathing making it difficult to do routine activities, difficulty speaking; chest pain, confusion, bluish discoloration to fingertips, shaking chills or any other emergency condition. Call 9-1-1 in these circumstances and let them know you are on quarantine for COVID19.
If you do not have an emergency situation, do not go to your doctor’s office, urgent care or ER. Use Telehealth/Telemedicine to see a doctor via videoconferencing on your phone or app. In Hawaii, www.WePrescribe.com is an affordable great quick option, even for those without insurance.
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