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This Month In Life
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Health and Fitness News

A COVID Caretaker

What you need to know before caring for someone with COVID-19.

When someone in your home comes down with a fever, cough, aches, or chills, it’s time to take things seriously. A dreaded COVID-19 diagnosis may be around the corner, and you’ve got to protect yourself and your family while taking care of your loved one the best you can. Since the coronavirus is highly contagious and dangerous—especially to those who are elderly or have certain pre-existing medical conditions—extra measures must be followed to prevent infection.

While best practices are evolving, the current guidelines are to take the following precautions when caring for someone who has either been diagnosed with COVID-19, is experiencing symptoms but waiting on test results, or doesn’t have symptoms but tested COVID-positive.

Isolate the Sick Person

If possible, someone who is sick with COVID-19 should quarantine themselves in a separate bedroom with their own bathroom, away from the rest of the family. Keep the doors between rooms closed. When a separate space isn’t an option, keep air circulating through the room at all times. Open the windows or turn on fans to disperse respiratory droplets that may contain the virus. Whenever anyone must be near a sick person, stay at least six feet apart.

Provide Supplies

To keep the sick person from leaving their room, make sure they have the supplies needed to recover. Give your patient plenty of water to drink and healthy meals to support their immune system. Have the sick person eat in their own room away from the family. Keep the home quiet so the sick person is able to rest. Provide over-the-counter medications as needed to reduce fever and relieve pain.

Take Safety Measures

While the virus is highly contagious, infection to the rest of the family isn’t inevitable when the right safety precautions are taken. Anytime the sick patient must be around other people in the home, they should wear a mask to protect others. When the caregiver enters the patient’s room, they should also wear a mask.

In case pets can be infected or spread the virus, it’s important to keep them out of the sick person’s room. Additionally, everyone in the home should wash their hands frequently and avoid touching their face. All dishes and utensils touched by the sick person should be washed with soap and hot water or washed in the dishwasher on the sanitizing cycle. And no dishes, towels, bedding, or electronics should be shared with someone who is ill. High-touch surfaces in the home such as doorknobs, faucets, toilets, electronics, and light switches should be disinfected throughout the day.

Stay Vigilant

As a caretaker, stay in contact with the doctor and follow their recommendations for medication or additional care. If you’re ever unsure about the next step in care, call the doctor. Watch for warning signs of worsening infection. Seek emergency medical care if the patient has trouble breathing, new confusion, chest pain or pressure that doesn’t go away, bluish lips or face, or trouble staying awake or waking up.

Quarantine Yourself

Anyone who has had close contact with someone with a positive COVID-19 test should quarantine themselves for 14 days after their last contact with a sick person or 14 days after the sick person has met the criteria to end their quarantine.

It’s stressful taking care of someone who’s sick, especially someone with the coronavirus. Caretakers should be sure to take care of themselves and keep their immune system strong. Get enough rest, eat a healthy diet, and take time out to relax.