If someone in my household tests positive for COVID-19, how can I best care for them and keep the rest of my household safe?

Clinical Symptoms Families/Kids Staying Safe Treatments

A: If someone in your household develops symptoms of COVID-19 (see link below for symptom list), or suspects they have been exposed to COVID-19, they should contact their health care provider to get a test or, if available, visit a community testing site to get tested for COVID-19. If COVID-19 is suspected based on symptoms or verified with a positive test, you can take the following steps to care for them and protect your other household members as outlined in the article below (https://www.aarp.org/…/treating-coronavirus-symptoms-at…):

1. Isolate the ill household member. Designate a separate bedroom, and if available, a separate bathroom, for the ill household member to use exclusively during their illness. If only one bathroom is available, open a window or use a fan to increase circulation and clean all surfaces after the ill individual uses it. Caretakers should also try to minimize contact with other household members, to the extent possible, when caring for the ill individual.

2. Use masks. Both the ill individual and the person caring for them should wear a mask when interacting. The ill household member should also wear a mask when using shared spaces such as a bathroom. The caretaker should also wear a mask as well as gloves when washing the ill individual’s dishes, laundry or bedding.

3. Wash your hands. Both ill individuals and caretakers should wash their hands often, with soap and water, for 20 seconds each time.

4. Clean surfaces. Caretakers should clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (i.e., doorknobs, light switches, faucets, TV remotes, etc. at least once a day.

5. Monitor their temperature. If they are able, have the ill individual take their own temperature, and check at least twice daily. Treat fever with medications such as Tylenol, Advil/Motrin or Aleve as recommended.

6. Keep them hydrated. Encourage the ill individual to drink plenty of liquids.

7. Ease their cough. Provide them with cough drops or tea with honey to help with symptom of dry cough if present.

8. Consider use of a technique known as proning. This breathing technique (described further in article below) can help your ill household member decrease mucus build up in their lungs.

9. Consider buying a pulse oximeter. This is a device that clips to your finger and can be used to monitor hear rate and oxygen saturation level-levels below 94% or that steadily decline over a span of days are concerning and can signal worsening condition.

10. Contact your doctor. While the majority of COVID-19 patients recover at home without needing medical care, if the ill individual members conditions seems to be worsening or you are concerned at all, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor.

COVID-19 symptom information can be found here

AARP How to Take Care of Someone with Coronavirus at Home

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