Need to quarantine? Here are some ways to keep everyone at home safer

Steps for reducing the chance of spread are much the same as if the person is actually showing signs of COVID-19.

Since cold weather means it may be difficult to spend much time outside, truly isolating in the same household with someone who is quarantining may be unrealistic. Here is some guidance on how to stay safe at home after a family member has been exposed to the coronavirus, but isn’t sick.

Steps for reducing the chance of spread are much the same as if the person is actually showing signs of COVID-19.

The incubation period is 14 days, and if someone is going to get sick, it usually happens about five days after they were exposed. In the meantime, keep 6 feet away from the exposed person as much as possible and be diligent about disinfecting high-touch surfaces.

Wearing a mask inside the house isn’t necessary unless a household member starts experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

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Our past routines for getting flu shots — at work or just while running errands — may not be available this season. This year, it’s especially important to make time.

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Additionally, if the person who was exposed is a child, try to designate one adult at a time as the primary caregiver. When you need to switch, change clothes and wash hands to help contain any potential spread of the virus.

Keeping 6 feet of separation can be difficult for those living in close quarters, but opening a window helps introduce fresh air if the weather permits. If a bedroom is shared, sleeping head to toe also helps reduce the chance of spread. Don’t share utensils, including serving spoons.

Make it a point to disinfect high-touch surfaces such as light switches, door knobs, the remote control, etc.

Get your flu shots. This is no year to take chances on any kind of viral infection.

Keep your spirits up

“It is important to take steps that improve mental wellness” said Crystal D. Narcisse, M.D., internal medicine physician/pediatrician with Norton Community Medical Associates – Hurstbourne. “I recommend physical distancing — not social distancing, per se. For example, take time to reach out to family members who don’t live in the household, and to friends by communicating via FaceTime or Zoom or just calling them on the phone.”

With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, plan a virtual (Zoom) party instead of getting together in person, she suggested. Plan a drive-by visit, but stay in your car.

“Make time for things that you enjoy like scheduling time to exercise, reading a book or learning how to cook a new dish,” Dr. Narcisse said.

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