COVID-19 has affected numerous lives around the world, including how people are able to manage their own health if they’re unable to seek a medical professional. Here are 10 practices we recommend to stay safe at home:
1. Stay at home unless you absolutely need to seek medical treatment. I know it’s hard to drop everything you’re doing when you are sick, but it is important to stay home when you start showing symptoms. This will help prevent the virus from spreading to other people. Ask a family member, friend, or a neighbor if they can assist with certain tasks that may require you to leave the house such as going to the grocery store. Maybe offer to give them gas money or purchase one of the items on their grocery list to return the favor. I usually ask my younger cousin who is 16 who may need a little gas money! Just think of it as doing a public service to prevent someone else from becoming ill.
2. Supervise your symptoms, and if they start to worsen, call your healthcare provider as soon as possible. If you are unable to go to your local healthcare provider right away, be sure to observe your symptoms the best way you can. COVID symptoms can vary, some people experience mild symptoms such as: sneezing, coughing, and a runny nose, while others experience more severe symptoms such as: fever, chills/shivers, delirium, shortness of breath and chest pains. It is important to observe your symptoms and notice when they are becoming severe. If symptoms become severe contact your local healthcare provider or call 911 to visit the emergency room for care.
3. Ensure you’re getting enough sleep and fluids to remain hydrated. Friends, I cannot stress how important it is to make sure you are getting enough sleep and fluids to remain hydrated. According to scientists, it is very easy to get dehydrated when you are sick because cold and flu symptoms increase the amount of water your body loses. As a result of losing water dehydration may occur if your fluid intake is not increased to compensate. So, even though you may not feel like swallowing because you have a sore throat, it is vital that you drink as much water as possible.
Sleeping is another must when you are sick! By resting during the day, your body will be able to devote more resources to fighting the virus. Research tells us that your body uses the time you sleep to develop key proteins in your brain. If you have kids at home and you’re sick, see if a family member, or a neighbor can watch them for a couple hours so you can get some rest, this can help avoid parental burnout. “Parental burnout is the physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that one feels from the chronic stress of parenting,” Dr. Puja Aggarwal. If you absolutely cannot find someone to watch your child while you are sick try to sleep when they are sleeping. This can be challenging with mounting household tasks, but even short naps that are 10 to 20 minutes long, help you recharge. Research shows napping can also reduce your stress level and will allow you to make time for things like cleaning, meal preparation, and other general tasks.
4. Notify your healthcare provider if you tested positive or have COVID-19 related symptoms. After you have tested positive or have had COVID-19 related symptoms you may become worried about the diagnosis and what may happen after it is important to contact your healthcare provider so they can help you make informed choices about your health.
5. Call 911 immediately for a medical emergency and inform the responder that you either have or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. It is very important to inform these conditions to the dispatcher in order for the first responder to approach the situation with specific precautions such as the proper personal protective equipment (PPE). By failing to inform the first responder of your symptoms, you may delay treatment.
6. Protect yourself by covering your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze. These are basic practices that should be followed daily. However, with the spread of COVID-19 it is critical to reduce the amount of germs that can also aid in other deadly respiratory diseases such as influenza. Cough or sneeze into your elbow if tissue is not available. Dispose all used tissue followed by washing your hands immediately afterwards, with soap and water (20 seconds).
7. Wash your hands. To decrease the spread of COVID-19 it is important to wash your hands with soap and water (20 seconds). If you are unable to get to a bathroom to wash your hands use hand sanitizer with a base that is 60% alcohol. Remember the virus can be spread through the air or on a surface that you touch before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. I like to keep hand sanitizer in my purse or in my pocket so that I can clean my hands before eating or doing something where I may have to touch my face.
8. Remain away from others even within your home if possible. Okay friends, I know this can be difficult for some people to follow, especially people living in homes with multiple people, but it is vital to try to remain away from others while you are sick. If you must leave your room and you live in a shared household, be sure to take the following precautions: put on your mask and tell others in your household to put their mask on BEFORE you come out of your room, this can avoid people getting sick from droplets in the air when you sneeze or cough; wash your hands before touching objects that are commonly shared; use lysol wipes or disinfectant wipes to clean any surfaces that you have touched in the house.
9. Steer clear of others personal items, you should not share dishes, towels and/or bedding. Although we may be in the same household and it becomes second hand nature to use certain items, unfortunately this is all it takes for the transmission of COVID-19 to spread from you onto the entire household. Keep track of the items you used while also keeping them away from others within the same household. In a case where you may have to share dishes, wear gloves and wash with soap and hot water. Wash towels and bedding on the hot setting before sharing with others.
10. Clean your space! This includes anything within your household that is touched frequently. This could be doorknobs, tables, light switches, tv remotes, and/or phones. Always wear gloves while cleaning, followed by using disinfectant wipes or products that suit the furniture or countertop. In addition, if you are in a situation where you do have to share a space with someone who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, be sure to enforce good ventilation. By opening some windows in the house you can reduce the amount of respiratory droplets within the rooms.
By: Asiany Williams and Noelle Mobley