Take care if you or someone in your home has COVID-19
Follow these steps if you have been diagnosed or are awaiting test results.
If you have tested positive or are being monitored for coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, follow the self-quarantine steps below until a health care provider or health department (local or state) says you can return to your normal activities.
Stay home except to get medical care
Do not take part in activities outside of your home except for getting medical care. Do not go to work, school or public areas, and do not use public transportation or taxis.
Separate yourself from other people in your home
As much as possible, stay in a different room from other people in your home. Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
Call ahead before visiting your health provider
Before any medical appointment, call your health care provider and tell them you have or are being monitored for COVID-19. This will help the provider’s office staff take steps to keep other people from potentially being exposed.
Cover your coughs and sneezes
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or cough or sneeze into your sleeve. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Wash your hands often
Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid sharing household items
Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding or other items with other people in your home. After using these items, wash them thoroughly with soap and water.
Monitor your symptoms
Notify your health care provider and local health department if you develop symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, difficulty breathing).
Preventive steps for caregivers and household members
If you live with or provide care at home for a person who has or is being monitored for COVID-19, follow these steps:
- Make sure you understand the health care provider’s instructions for medication and care so that you can help the patient follow them. You should help the patient with basic needs in the home and be the one who goes out for groceries, prescriptions and other personal needs.
- Only allow people in the home who are essential to caring for the patient.
- Make sure other household members stay in another home or place of residence. If this is not possible, they should stay in another room or be separated from the patient as much as possible. They also should use a separate bathroom, if possible.
- People over age 60 and those who have compromised immune systems or chronic health conditions should stay away from the patient. This includes people with chronic heart, lung or kidney conditions, and diabetes.
- Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid sharing household items, such as dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding or other items, with the patient. After the patient uses these items, wash them thoroughly, including laundry (see below).
- Clean all “high-touch” surfaces, such as countertops, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables, every day.
- Read cleaning product labels and follow their recommendations. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use, including precautions you should take when using the products.
- You may use a diluted bleach solution or a household disinfectant with a label that says “EPA approved.” To make a bleach solution at home, add 1 tablespoon of bleach to 1 quart (4 cups) of water. For a larger supply, add ¼ cup of bleach to 1 gallon (16 cups) of water. Use a freshly made bleach solution each day.
- Wash laundry thoroughly.
- Immediately remove and wash clothes or bedding that have blood, body fluids and/or secretions or excretions on them.
- You may wear disposable gloves while handling soiled items, and wash your hands immediately after removing your gloves.
- Read and follow label directions on linens, clothing items and detergent.
- In general, wash and dry with the warmest temperature recommended on the clothing label.
- Monitor the patient’s symptoms. If they develop a fever, cough or shortness of breath, call their health care provider and tell them that the patient has or is being monitored for COVID-19. This will help the health care provider’s office take steps to limit potential exposure.