The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to several terms and even living conditions that can be considered a part of our new “norm.” Self-quarantine and self-isolation among them. These two are recommended to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, but we have to ask, in our country where it is common for families and even extended family members to live in one small home, is self-quarantine and self-isolation even possible?
What is the difference between self-quarantine and self-isolation?
Before we go further, another thing to consider is the difference between self-quarantine and self-isolation. To put it simply:
Self-quarantine: Staying in one place, at home or elsewhere, for 14 days due to an exposure to someone who tested positive for COVD-19
Self-isolation: Isolating oneself within your home due to the onset of COVID-19 symptoms
And to add: Social distancing: Wherein people maintain a distance (1 meter or more) from others at all times. This includes refraining from hugging or shaking hands or going to crowded places.
When should I self-isolate?
Medical experts recommend that you self-isolate if you develop symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath. At the same time, it’s also best to contact set hotlines for COVID-19 or your healthcare provider, but stay at home especially if your symptoms are manageable.
How long should I self-isolate?
The recommended time for self-isolation is until your symptoms have resolved plus seven additional days since the symptoms first appeared. This is to ensure that you are no longer contagious.
How do I self-isolate if I belong in a large household?
If you have and live with a big family here are a few recommendations on how to self-isolate:
- Stay in one room or separate space, away from the rest of the family members. Having a separate bathroom for your use is also best.
- Wear a mask. If you need to leave your space, it’s best to wear a mask at all times. Caregivers or those who will bring you food and other supplies should also wear a mask.
- Set aside your own personal items and utensils. To avoid spreading the virus, do not share dishes, utensils, towels, and other personal items.
- Stay away from pets. While there have been no reports of pets transmitting COVID-19 to humans, it’s still best to limit contact with your fur-babies.
- Wash your hands. Wash or disinfect your hands as much as possible.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces frequently. Wipe down “high touch” surfaces such as doorknobs, toilets, phones, countertops, and tables as much as possible.
- Caregivers are recommended to always wear masks and wash and disinfect as much as possible.
How do I self-isolate if we don’t have a spare room?
If your home does not have a spare room for you to stay in, try to stay in one space and ask other family members to maintain a distance of more than 6-feet away from you at all times. You can also wear a mask at all times and everyone should wash and disinfect their hands frequently.
If my child or a dependent is sick and needs to self-isolate, how can I take care of them?
This is hard for most moms as it can be hard to stay away from kids and refrain from giving them comfort when they’re sick. If possible, caregivers in such instances should be those individuals who do not belong to the “high-risk” group — they should not be more than 60 years old and without any underlying health issues. Again, the caretaker should practice proper hand washing and disinfecting as well.
Can I ask other family members to look after my child if I need to self-isolate?
At this point, it is important to keep our circle smaller, so it might not be possible to send your child to live with other relatives in their home if you need to self-isolate. But you can ask other family members who might also be living in the same household, or even one who might live in the same city to look after your child. However, ensure that they (or anyone in their own household) do not belong in the “high-risk” group.
What supplies should I have for self-quarantine and self-isolation?
Basic supplies such as food, water, and medicines good for 30 days are a must.