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How to self-quarantine and other ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus

As the outbreak continues, the CDC says a lot of people will be exposed to COVID19 in the next year, but most will have mild symptoms.

HOUSTON — The number of people advised to self-quarantine for 14 days, is likely to spike dramatically in the coming weeks, according to the CDC.

If you or someone you live with is advised to self-quarantine, here’s what you should do.

If you're sick

  •  Symptoms: If you show symptoms such as fever, a cough or difficulty breathing, call your doctor immediately.
  • Stay home unless you need medical care
  • Call ahead: Before going to a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital, call ahead to alert them you might have coronavirus. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed. 
  • Medical emergency: If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If possible, put on a face mask before emergency medical services arrive.

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Mild cases

  • Stay home: People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness so they don't spread the virus to others. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.
  • Avoid public areas: Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
  • Avoid public transportation: Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
  • Stay away from others: As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.
  • Limit contact with pets & animals: You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a face mask. See COVID-19 and Animals for more information.
  • Wear a face mask: When you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) or pets and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office, wear a mask, if possible.  

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No sharing

  • Do not share: You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home.
  • Wash thoroughly after use: After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.

Clean all “high-touch” surfaces frequently

  • Clean and disinfect: Practice routine cleaning of high touch surfaces. High touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.
  • Household cleaners: Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.

Blood and bodily fluids

  • Disinfect areas with bodily fluids: Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them.
  •  Wear a disposable facemask and gloves when you touch or have contact with the patient’s blood, stool, or body fluids, such as saliva, sputum, nasal mucus, vomit, urine.
  • Don’t reuse protective items: Throw out disposable face masks and gloves after using them. When removing personal protective equipment, first remove and dispose of gloves. Then, immediately clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Next, remove and dispose of face mask, and immediately clean your hands again with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Soiled items: Wear disposable gloves while handling soiled items and keep soiled items away from your body. Clean your hands (with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) immediately after removing your gloves.
  • Wash laundry thoroughly: Immediately remove and wash clothes or bedding that have blood, stool, or body fluids on them. Read and follow directions on labels of laundry or clothing items and detergent. In general, using a normal laundry detergent according to washing machine instructions and dry thoroughly using the warmest temperatures recommended on the clothing label.

Caregivers

If you are caring for others: If the person who is sick is not able to wear a face mask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then people who live with the person who is sick should not stay in the same room with them, or they should wear a face mask if they enter a room with the person who is sick.

Preventive steps

  • Cover: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Dispose: Throw used tissues in a lined trash can.
  • Wash hands: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
  • Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching: Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Discontinuing home isolation

Stay at home until instructed to leave: Patients with confirmed COVID-19 should remain under home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low.

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