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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

      Tips on Caring for someone at home


Most people who get sick with COVID-19 will have only mild illness and should recover at home.* Care at home can help stop the spread of COVID-19 and help protect people who are at risk for getting seriously ill from COVID-19.

If you are caring for someone at home, monitor for emergency signs, prevent the spread of germs, treat symptoms, and carefully consider when to end home isolation 14 days.

 Older adults and people of any age with certain serious underlying medical conditions like lung disease, heart disease, or diabetes are at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness and should seek care as soon as symptoms start.

COVID-19 spreads between people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Recent studies indicate that people who are infected but do not have symptoms likely also play a role in the spread of COVID-19.

Monitor the person for worsening symptoms. Know the emergency warning signs.

  • Have their healthcare provider’s contact information on hand.

  • If they are getting sicker, call their healthcare provider. For medical emergencies, call 911 and notify the dispatch personnel that they have or are suspected to have COVID-19.

When to Seek Medical Attention

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:

  • Trouble breathing

  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest

  • New confusion or inability to arouse

  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

Prevent the spread of germs when caring for someone who is sick

  • Have the person stay in one room, away from other people, including yourself, as much as possible.

    • If possible, have them use a separate bathroom.

    • Avoid sharing personal household items, like dishes, towels, and bedding

    • Have them wear a cloth face covering (that covers their nose and mouth) when they are around people, including you.

    • It the sick person can’t wear a cloth face covering, you should wear one while in the same room with them.

    • If the sick person needs to be around others (within the home, in a vehicle, or doctor’s office), they should wear a cloth face covering that covers their mouth and nose.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after interacting with the sick person. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

  • Every day, clean all surfaces that are touched often, like counters, tabletops, and doorknobs

    • Use household cleaning sprays or wipes according to the label instructions.

  • Wash laundry thoroughly.

    • If laundry is soiled, wear disposable gloves and keep the soiled items away from your body while laundering. Wash your hands immediately after removing gloves.

  • Avoid having any unnecessary visitors.

  • For any additional questions about their care, contact their healthcare provider or state or local health department.





        Top 5 mask-related questions:

1. Can caregivers re-use N95 or surgical masks?

In a perfect world, N95 respirators and surgical masks are worn a single time and then discarded. But we are NOT living in a perfect world right now. In today’s reality, these masks must be reused. The best way to lengthen the life of an N95 or surgical mask is to protect it with a cloth mask. For instance, a caregiver could put on a surgical mask, then wear a homemade cloth mask over it. 



2. How often should a mask be changed?

If caregivers must visit multiple clients, they should put on a clean mask for each client. If a proper N95 or surgical mask is not available for each new client, the caregiver should put on a surgical mask, then wear a homemade cloth mask over it. The cloth mask can be changed between clients and washed at the end of each day while the N95 or surgical mask can be reused for up to one week.


3. Can you disinfect a mask with Lysol, alcohol, bleach, or peroxide? 

No. Spraying a mask with Lysol, alcohol, bleach or peroxide will not disinfect it. In fact, it will ruin it. And, putting something that has been sprayed with one of these chemicals back on your face could cause serious respiratory problems, especially for people who have asthma or other chronic respiratory conditions. chronic respiratory conditions. chronic respiratory conditions.


4. Can you get coronavirus by removing your mask improperly?

Yes. You can contaminate yourself if you remove your mask improperly. Masks should be removed by grasping the ties or elastics and carefully pulling the mask off the face. The outside and inside of the mask is contaminated after use. If you accidentally touch it during removal, immediately wash your hands.


5. How should you store a mask if you are going to reuse it?

The best way to store a used mask is in a paper bag. Paper is better than plastic for a couple of reasons. For one, the virus can’t live as long on paper as it can on plastic. And two, a mask that was recently used will be damp from breathing through it. A damp mask in a plastic bag cannot dry out as easily as a damp mask in a paper bag. In addition, the paper bag should be large enough for the person to be able to reach in to grab the mask without touching the sides of the bag (which may have become contaminated).

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