Consider wearing a face covering when in shared spaces.
As COVID-19 vaccine inoculation gathers steam around the world, thousands of people are still contracting and suffering from the effects of coronavirus.
In most cases, healthy adults are advised to receive care at home while dealing with the virus, unless they suffer from severe symptoms or have underlying illnesses.
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But what should you do if someone you live with tests positive? And can you still take care of them while protecting yourself?
Here’s everything you need to know about looking after someone with coronavirus at home.
Wear a face mask in shared spaces
Whether you’re simply making someone lunch or brewing tea, if you’re in a shared space, you should wear a face covering in order to protect yourself and the person you’re caring for.
“This is because the virus is spread by droplets and aerosols,” explains Dr Penny Ward, chair of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine’s Education and Standards Committee.
“Therefore, you should wear a mask to reduce the spread of these droplets and aerosols at home.”
Therefore, you should wear a mask in the kitchen, bathroom or any other living space you might share with someone who has been infected.
Look after their mental wellness
When you or someone you live with has coronavirus, the government stipulates that everyone in your household must self-isolate for 10 days, meaning you cannot leave your home for exercise or running errands, aside from very limited exceptions such as seeking emergency medical care.
This can take a toll on one’s mental health, hence it is vital to take steps in order to monitor how a person copes with this new setting.
The organisation Every Mind Matters suggests keeping in touch with family and friends over the phone and planning out the isolation period e.g. scheduling specific days to video chat with individual family members.
Bring them regular food and water
It’s crucial not to eat at the same time as someone with coronavirus as this will make it difficult to self-isolate and prevent transmission, warns Dr Ward.
With rules stating that someone with Covid-19 should quarantine in one room in the house, it’s important that whoever else lives there brings them regular meals and fluids.
“Do not eat meals together, simply bring them to their door and leave.”
Disinfect shared spaces regularly
“There needs to be frequent cleaning of all touched surfaces with disinfectant,” says Dr Ward.
Not only will this prevent the person with Covid-19 from spreading the illness to others within the home, but keeping the home clean will also help provide a sense of safety and security while everyone is isolating together.
“It is particularly important to give them separate bed linen and towels as well,” adds Dr Ward.
If the need to enter the room of the infected person arises, make sure you wear gloves when touching any surfaces and dispose them of in a garbage bag afterwards.
Ventilation is also important when it comes to protecting yourself, says Dr Ward. You should try to keep windows and doors open throughout the day if possible.
Bring them over-the-counter medication as and when they need it
With no specific medication for coronavirus produced till now, there are several tips for managing symptoms at home that can be useful if you’re looking after someone who is unwell with the virus.
In addition to ensuring that they get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids, experts also advise bringing them paracetamol and/or ibuprofen if they feel uncomfortable.
If they have a cough, you could also try bringing them some cough syrup or giving them a teaspoon of honey.
Seek medical advice if necessary
In some instances, it may be necessary to seek medical advice and support when taking care of someone with coronavirus.
Healthcare professionals insist you seek prompt medical attention if the illness of someone in your household is worsening, e.g. if they suddenly become breathless or are experiencing chest pain or a loss of consciousness.
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