How to Care for Someone with COVID-19 at Home

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If you are caring for a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, follow this advice to protect yourself and others in the home, as well as those in your community.

Limit Contact

  • Only one healthy person should provide care.
  • Do not share personal items with the ill person, such as toothbrushes, towels, bed linen, utensils, or electronic devices.
  • Use a separate bathroom from the ill person if possible.
  • If not possible, the ill person should put the toilet lid down before flushing.
  • If at all possible, try to ensure that the ill person has a designated bedroom and bathroom.

Protect Yourself

If possible, people who are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 should not care for someone with COVID-19. These people include elderly persons, those with chronic medical conditions (e.g., heart disease, diabetes) or compromised immune systems.

  • Maintain physical distance from the ill individual, as much as possible.
  • If you need to be within 2 metres of the ill person, wear a mask, disposable gloves, and eye protection.
  • Wear disposable gloves when touching the ill person, their environment, and soiled items or surfaces.
  • Do not re-use masks or gloves.
  • Clean your hands often for at least 20 seconds, especially after contact with the ill person and after removing gloves, masks, and eye protection.
  • Dry your hands with disposable paper towels.
  • If not available, use a reusable towel and replace it when it becomes wet.
  • You can also remove dirt with a wet wipe and then use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Keep Your Environment Clean

  • Place used masks, gloves, and other contaminated items in a lined container, secure the contents and dispose of them with other household waste.
  • Place possibly contaminated laundry into a container with a plastic liner and do not shake.
  • Wash with regular laundry soap and hot water (60-90°C), and dry well.
  • Clothing and linens belonging to the ill person can be washed with other laundry.
  • At least once daily, use household disinfectants or diluted bleach (1-part bleach and 9-parts water) to clean and disinfect surfaces that people touch often (e.g., toilets, laundry containers, bedside tables, doorknobs, phones, and television remotes).
  • Clean touch screens with 70 percent alcohol wipes.

Monitor Yourself for Symptoms

  • If you have always used the recommended precautions, then monitor yourself for symptoms for 14 days following your last contact with the ill person.
  • If you have had direct contact with body fluids of the ill person (e.g., were coughed or sneezed on when you weren’t wearing a mask), contact your local public health authority for further instructions.
  • If you develop symptoms, isolate yourself as quickly as possible and contact your local public health authority for further instructions.