Many people who get COVID-19 can be safely cared for at home, but patients and their caregivers may have questions about how to help with recovery and how to prevent spreading the virus to others in the household.
Caring for your patient at home (Downloadable PDF)
The most common symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, GI symptoms, muscle aches, nasal congestion and sore throat.
- Rest, fluids, over-the-counter medications for symptoms are typically the mainstay of care.
- Talk with your doctor to make sure that medications, even over-the-counter ones, are safe to take.
- Stock up on facial tissues, toilet paper and paper towels.
- Have the patient’s physician contact information on hand.
- If there is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 and let the dispatcher know the patient has COVID-19.
One of the more challenging aspects of COVID-19 is taking care of the patient at home without putting other members of the household at risk.
- Try to dedicate one room and one bathroom in the house for the exclusive use of the COVID-19 patient. If not possible, try to improve airflow in shared spaces by opening windows.
- Minimize the number of people going into the room.
- When going into room, the caregiver should always wear a mask and gloves.
- The patient should use a separate bathroom if possible. If a bathroom is shared, be sure to clean any surfaces before using the bathroom after the COVID-19 patient.
- Avoid sharing personal items.
Clean all surfaces
It's important to clean surfaces that are touched often.
- Cleaning supplies: paper towels, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, soap, disposable gloves.
- Use gloves when handling dirty laundry, trash or dirty dishes. Dispose of the gloves after each use and wash your hands after removing gloves.
- Use a liner for the patient's trash can. Not only does it help in removing the trash, but keeps the germs more contained.
- Keep separate towels as well as separate dishes and utensils for use by the COVID-19 patient. If possible, consider using disposal dishes and utensils.
- Wash patient’s laundry and linens separately from the rest of the household using hot water.
- All household members should wash hands frequently.
- Clean high touch surfaces daily, even if the patient is quarantined. These items include tables, doorknobs, light switches, electronics, remote controls, etc.
Care for the Caregiver
Caring for a COVID-19 patient can be a challenge, so it’s important to care for yourself as well.
- Make a list of emergency contacts you can call, if needed.
- Ask others to help with grocery runs and errands. Consider using delivery services, when possible.
- Redistribute household chores, such as paying bills and taking care of pets.
- Try to give yourself a break from time to time.