What is self-quarantine for COVID-19?

March 11, 2020

COVID-19 continues to spread in communities in the U.S. and other countries, prompting extra precautions for infection prevention. What if you come in contact with an infected person? What if you are experiencing symptoms? Should you stay home from work or events, keep away from public spaces or otherwise limit your interaction with people to avoid infecting others?

In “What does self-quarantine mean?”, Wendi Hawthorne of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) writes:

“Isolation requires sick people to be separated from those who are not sick, while quarantine restricts the movement of people who are exposed to a contagious disease to monitor if they become sick, according to Luis Ostrosky, MD, professor of infectious diseases at UTHealth.

So, what does self-quarantine look like? Susan Wootton, MD, an infectious disease pediatrician at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, explains.

•           Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home

•           Stay home except to get medical care

•           Call ahead before visiting your doctor

•           Wear a face mask if you are sick

•           Cover your coughs and sneezes

•           Wash your hands often

•           Avoid sharing personal household items

•           Clean all “high-touch” surfaces daily

•           Monitor your symptoms

•           Receive a green light from health care providers before discontinuing quarantine

Household members, intimate partners, and caregivers who may have close contact with a person exposed to or symptomatic with COVID-19 should monitor their health closely. Call your healthcare provider right away if you develop symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 including fever, cough, and trouble breathing.

For those who have been to an affected area or exposed to someone who is sick with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you may have some limitations on your movement or activity. If you develop symptoms during that period, seek medical advice immediately. Call the office of your healthcare provider before you go and tell them about your recent travel history and your symptoms. They will give you instructions on how to get care without exposing other people to your illness.

“Infection control and prevention efforts by patients with COVID-19, their household members, and their healthcare providers, in combination with contact tracing activities, are key to limiting the community spread of disease,” Wootton said.”

UTHealth has the story.

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