Precautions for household members of a patient with confirmed COVID-19 or a patient being monitored
Individuals who have close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient should monitor their health and call their health care provider if they develop symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath). Currently, there are no medicines that have been clinically proven to lessen the severity of COVID-19 or speed up recovery. But most cases of COVID-19 can be treated at home.
People in close contact with a COVID-19 patient or someone who might have COVID-19 should also follow these recommendations:
- Help the patient with basic needs in the home and provide support for getting groceries, prescriptions and other personal needs.
- Monitor the patient’s symptoms. If they are getting sicker, call their health care provider and tell them the patient has laboratory-confirmed COVID-19.
- Stay in another room or be separated from the patient as much as possible. Use a separate bedroom and bathroom, if available.
- Prohibit visitors.
- Household members should care for any pets in the home. However, do not handle pets or other animals while sick.
- Make sure that shared spaces in the home have good air flow, such as by an air conditioner or an opened window, weather permitting.
- Perform hand hygiene frequently. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- The patient should wear a face mask. If unable to do so (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), you, as the caregiver, should wear a mask when you are in the same room as the patient.
- Wear a disposable face mask and gloves when you touch or have contact with the patient’s blood, stool or body fluids (i.e., saliva, sputum, nasal mucus, vomit, urine).
- Throw out disposable face masks and gloves after using them. Do not reuse.
- When removing personal protective equipment (PPE), first remove and dispose of gloves. Then, immediately clean hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Next, remove and dispose of face mask and immediately clean hands again.
- Avoid sharing household items with the patient (i.e., dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding or other items). After the patient uses these items, you should wash them thoroughly.
- Clean all “high-touch” surfaces, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables every day. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool or body fluids on them. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash laundry thoroughly. Immediately remove and wash clothes or bedding that have blood, stool or body fluids on them.
- Wear disposable gloves while handling soiled items and keep soiled items away from your body. Clean hands immediately after removing gloves.
- Wash and dry thoroughly using the warmest temperatures recommended on the clothing label.
- Place all used disposable gloves, face masks and other contaminated items in a lined container before disposing of them with other household waste. Wash hands immediately after handling these items.