If you or someone in your household has been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, it’s important to prevent further possible spread of the disease. You can do a lot to protect those in your home — and in your community. One way is through self-quarantine.
What Exactly Is Self-Quarantine?
Self-quarantine means limiting contact with others for a period of time. It’s a way to help prevent the spread of diseases like coronavirus to people who have not yet been exposed to it.
Who Needs to Self-Quarantine?
You should consider self-quarantine if you have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with or who may have coronavirus. It may also apply if you have recently traveled to countries with countries with widespread community transmission.
Unlike self-isolation — used to isolate sick people from those who are well — people who self-quarantine don’t have symptoms of the virus. But there is a chance they were exposed to COVID-19 and could develop symptoms later on.
If you are wondering whether you need to self-quarantine, talk with your doctor. You can reach your doctor any time virtually through the AdventHealth App.
How Long Should Self-Quarantine Last?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently advises self-quarantine to last for 14 days after a person has been exposed to the virus. If you need to self-quarantine, your doctor can talk with you about the steps you should take and for how long.
How to Self-Quarantine if Needed
To best limit contact with others, stay home. Don’t go to work or school.
If you need to go out for essentials, such as groceries, keep your distance from other people. Avoid using a shared means of travel like public transportation or ride-shares. Driving yourself is a better option.
Or ask someone else to get what you need. You can also use online ordering and delivery.
How to Protect Those in Your Home During Self-Quarantine
If you have others living with you, you can also take steps to protect them. In some cases, the doctor may recommend they also self-quarantine.
To help limit possible transmission of coronavirus in your home, those under self-quarantine should follow these precautions when possible:
- If possible, don’t share a bathroom
- Don’t share personal items, like towels or bedding. Don’t share food from someone else’s plate
- Spend most of your time in a separate room
- Try to maintain a distance of about six feet from other people
It’s also a good idea to stay away from pets. There is no evidence that animals can get COVID-19. But the CDC advises avoiding contact with pets until more is known about the disease.
Other At-Home Prevention Steps During Self-Quarantine
Along with limiting contact, you can help prevent the spread of the virus in your home by practicing good hygiene. These habits are always important to follow — not only during self-quarantine:
Wash hands often. Hand-washing is especially important after sneezing or coughing, using the bathroom and before eating or preparing food. Use soap and scrub for at least 20 seconds, then dry your hands with a paper towel. Or use a hand sanitizer.
Cover coughs. Encourage everyone to cover all coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Or use the inside of the elbow. Throw away used tissue right away.
Try not to touch your face. Encourage family members to not touch their eyes, nose and mouth, especially with unwashed hands, because coronavirus enters your body through these areas.
Clean commonly used items. Every day, clean and disinfect items or surfaces that you and others touch often. Some examples are cell phones, doorknobs, toilet handles, light switches and counters.
Monitor Symptoms During Self-Quarantine
During a self-quarantine, it’s important to watch yourself and others under self-quarantine for possible symptoms of the coronavirus disease. If available, use a thermometer to check for a fever at least two times a day, preferably once in the morning and once at night.
If you start to have symptoms, such as a fever, cough or trouble breathing, reach out to a doctor right away. Make sure to tell the doctor that you or a family member is under self-quarantine for COVID-19.
The doctor will tell you how best to proceed. To help prevent the spread of coronavirus, you should avoid the emergency department at your local hospital except in the event of an emergency. To more easily reach a doctor, you can use the AdventHealth App.