With the Thanksgiving holiday just around the corner, medical experts fear it will be a Covid-19 superspreader event for the US. Infection rates are already breaking previous records around the world, so chances are increasing for someone in your home to contract the virus—if it hasn’t already happened.
While a new wave of the virus is a scary experience to live through, a much worse scenario would be for everyone in your home to get it. Research shows the virus spreads quickly within households, but that doesn’t mean you should just give up and accept it. With the right precautions and knowledge, you can stop it from spreading in your home. By putting the right plan in place, you can successfully quarantine one person to care for them, without anyone else getting sick.
This guide will give you some tips you can use to prepare for the worst, in addition to how you can avoid getting sick if someone in your home has coronavirus disease.
Supplies to Buy in Case of Someone in your Home Gets Sick
For some people, their experience with Covid-19 is very mild. They may just have some minor nasal congestion and body aches, or possibly a sore throat. But for others, it can be a terrifying experience of feeling like they’re suffocating. Many cases fall somewhere in between. In case anyone in your family gets sick, you’ll want to have the right supplies ready. Here’s a quick list of the basics:
When you last visited your doctor, you may remember them putting a small device on your finger, but not know its purpose. These tools are called pulse oximeters and they measure the amount of oxygen in your blood. Pulse oximeters shine an infrared light through the tip of your finger and reflect it across a sensor to take the oxygen reading along with your heart rate.
Since Covid most commonly attacks the lungs, if someone in your home gets sick from it, you need to know their oxygen saturation level to ensure it’s not too low. Emergency room nurses and doctors have widely reported that patients with severe Covid cases look and act like they feel almost normal—even though their blood oxygen levels are dangerously low. Some news outlets have called it “happy hypoxia.”
A good rule of thumb is to have a blood oxygen level above 94%. If you or someone in your home gets a result below that, you should contact your doctor or hospital for advice on what to do next.
Most homes have a thermometer tucked away in a medicine cabinet, so make sure you have fresh batteries if it requires them. And if there are multiple people in your household, you may want to consider a digital thermometer that takes readings on foreheads instead of through the mouth. It will be easier to disinfect for everyone to use, and much less likely to transmit the virus from one person to the next.
Watch for a fever that is 100.5 °F or higher when someone in your home starts to feel sick. This is one of the common symptoms of Covid. Contact a doctor if any adults in your home have a fever above 104 °F. For reference purposes, brain damage occurs at 108 °F.
When most of us feel sick, we don’t want to drink anything. Dehydration causes us to feel worse and can lead to other serious complications like heart damage. So before you or anyone in your home gets sick, be sure to stock up on drinks you’ll think everyone will accept even when they don’t feel like consuming anything.
For nausea, ginger ale is good to drink to have in small sips. It’s much easier on upset stomachs than water or caffeinated drinks. Many people prefer to drink sports drinks when they feel sick, such as Gatorade and Powerade. These drinks are designed to give your body electrolytes. When someone is sick, electrolyte levels can get low, which causes dizziness and fatigue.
Over-The-Counter Fever and Pain Medication
Since Covid-19 is new, there aren’t any products on the market designed to specifically treat it yet. The best we can do is treat the symptoms, which vary from person to person. Common symptoms include muscle aches and a fever, so medications like Tylenol are a safe solution. Just be sure to follow the directions closely for whatever medication you use and don’t take more than what is recommended.
Many people who suffer from Covid-19 feel nauseated. Aside from sipping drinks like ginger ale, you can take anti-nausea medicine like antacids.
Be sure you understand the difference between a cough expectorant and a cough suppressant before purchasing one. An expectorant will make someone cough more, which will help them clear their lungs of mucus. A cough suppressant will make someone cough less.
Covid-19 can cause a wet or a dry cough, but for most cases, you want a cough suppressant—especially for a dry cough. This will allow whoever is sick to rest and breath more normally. Many people with Covid find that over-the-counter cough medicines are not very effective. If this happens, it’s best to contact a doctor to see if they can provide a stronger prescription.
These are useful for alleviating a sore throat. Try to find a throat drop that will clear sinuses as well, such as the menthol and peppermint flavors. Any drops that can help open airways or make them feel cooler can go a long way toward reducing symptoms.
Due to muscle aches and coughing, the steam from a warm bath can help Covid sufferers feel better. There are many oils and other salts that can be added to a bath for aromatherapy purposes, but people with Covid often find that scents like eucalyptus and peppermint will make their lungs feel better.
Similar to the common cold and the flu, people who get Covid tend to lose their appetites, especially if they feel nauseated. Simple soups that are mostly made of broth make it possible to stay hydrated and get other important nutrients.
When you’re away from home shopping for groceries or at work, use hand sanitizer when it’s not convenient to wash your hands at a sink. Since it’s difficult for most of us to keep from touching our eyes and faces, the best thing to do is to keep your hands as clean as possible at all times. So when you touch anything in a public place, use some hand sanitizer. When you leave the grocery store, rub it into your hands as you walk to your car. Make it a habit so you can increase the odds you avoid getting sick.
How to not Get Sick if Someone in your Home has Covid-19
At this point, you’re stocked up on everything you need if someone in your home gets sick, but you still need to know how to keep everyone around them healthy. It’s much easier to treat one sick person instead of a house full. Follow the steps below to learn how to not get sick when you’re caring for someone else.
Separate At-Risk People in your House
The best way to not get sick when someone else has Covid-19 is to keep everyone separated. This is also a good rule to use before anyone gets sick. For example, if you have a spouse that interacts with people outside your home who might be infected, set a rule for them to stay physically distant from everyone else until you can all be vaccinated. This may be a difficult adjustment, but it will decrease the chances of them spreading the virus to you and others.
At the very least, as soon as you find out someone in your home has Covid, you need to make everyone—not just the infected person—stay away from each other. It’s possible that no one has already contracted the virus from the infected person, but it’s also possible that at least one has and doesn’t know it yet. This is why people exposed to an infected person need to be tested even when they don’t have any symptoms. Asymptomatic people with the virus can spread it just as easily as people with symptoms.
Create a Sick Room
This is straightforward to do if everyone in your home has their own room but can be a challenge with shared arrangements. Regardless, to prevent getting sick, you need to keep anyone infected in rooms with the door closed. Keep them quarantined so that you’re not sharing the same air. Covid-19 is transmitted most easily through droplets in the air that are released when someone sneezes, coughs, or talks (or sings). So do your best to keep their air in their room and away from the rest of your family.
Use Best Practices to Avoid More Transmission
Before you enter a sick person’s room, you should always put on a mask that covers your nose and mouth. For even better protection, keep your eyes from being exposed with sealed safety glasses or a face shield.
While you’re in the sick room, do not touch your face, including adjusting your eyeglasses if you wear them. Do not take off your mask the entire time you are in the room.
Any plates or glasses you collect from the sick room need to be placed in hot water in your sink or cleaned in the dishwasher immediately. Any trash bags removed from the sick room need to be sealed, taken outside, and placed in a trash can immediately.
Since Covid can accumulate in the air in a small room, if possible, open a window when you enter the sick room. Even a small opening in the window will allow fresh air to enter a room and reduce your chances of getting sick.
Always wash your hands as soon as you leave the sick room.
One note for CPAP users: Some experts have recommended that CPAP users temporarily stop treatment if they are sick. For mild cases, this may be acceptable, but contact your doctor for advice before stopping treatment. CPAP machines are not like ventilators, which have a sealed system that does not release contaminated air into a room. Some doctors believe CPAP systems can lead to everyone in a home getting sick. So if you want to avoid getting Covid-19 from a sick CPAP user, at the very least, talk to their doctor about what they recommend.
Keep Yourself Healthy
If you are caring for someone who is sick, you need to make sure you stay healthy. The best ways to do that are to get plenty of sleep, exercise, eat a balanced diet, and take a multivitamin. You’re less likely to get sick if your body is ready to meet the challenges it faces.
Disinfection Makes a Big Difference
It’s not enough to wash your hands more often and wear a mask when someone close to you has Covid. You also need to kill the virus on surfaces to keep it from getting transferred to you or anyone else. Using disinfecting wipes that are approved for use against Covid-19 is your best defense, and will significantly reduce the chances for the virus to spread throughout your home.
So how do you know which wipes are effective against Covid? The American Chemistry Council’s Center for Biocide Chemistries (CBC) has compiled a list of products that have been pre-approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). SONO Disinfecting Wipes can be found on page 7 of the CBC list.
When someone in your home has Covid, you need to disinfect much more frequently than normal. Anything that comes from their room needs to be immediately disinfected. Every time you enter their room, you’ll also want to disinfect any surfaces you must touch, such as doorknobs and light switches. Frequent disinfection is also important if the quarantined person uses a bathroom that is shared with anyone else.
How to Disinfect with SONO Wipes
SONO Disinfecting Wipes aren’t like other wipes on the market. They’re designed for medical settings, but safe for everyday use in your home.
Its wipes do not contain alcohol, which means the disinfecting formula doesn’t evaporate quickly. That’s exactly what you want to kill Covid-19 because it means the solution stays on surfaces longer to kill more of the virus. It also means your surfaces are protected for an extended time from recontamination.
But to get the best results, you need to use SONO Wipes the way medical professionals use them. Here’s how:
If a surface has dirt or debris on it, you’ll want to use a wipe to clean it before disinfecting. Then, use a fresh wipe to coat the surface with the disinfecting solution. You can squeeze the solution out of a wipe and onto a surface, or you can gently wipe it. No matter which way you do it, the most important step to remember is to keep the surface “wet” with the solution for at least 4 minutes. If the surface dries before this time is up, use another wipe.
For all non-food surfaces (everything except kitchen table countertops), you don’t need to wipe the solution away. Just leave it wet to fight germs as long as it can. You’ll find that SONO Disinfecting Wipes don’t leave a sticky film on surfaces as other products do.
SONO Healthcare is registered with the EPA to manufacture disinfecting wipes. It’s also the brand hospitals and doctors have trusted for more than 10 years to kill drug-resistant germs like MRSA, SARS, and the AIDS virus. SONO wipes are available in plastic containers as well as resealable soft packages and are safe to use in your car, home, and everywhere else you go.
When to Get Medical Help for Covid-19
The CDC has made a list of symptoms for Covid-19 that require immediate medical treatment:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
This list of symptoms is not comprehensive, so if you are concerned about another issue, contact a hospital to get a doctor’s opinion. If you need to take someone in your family to the hospital due to Covid complications, call ahead to let them know their symptoms and get instructions on where they want you to bring them.
Following this guide can’t guarantee you won’t get sick if someone in your home has Covid-19, but it will greatly reduce the chances. We’re close to having a vaccine, so we’ll all be able to go back to our normal lives soon. But for now, continue to wash your hands, wear a mask, disinfect surfaces, and stay safe in your daily activities.