At Home with COVID-19? Here are Some Tips on Taking Care of Yourself
LINCOLN – Cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continue to increase in Nebraska. If you have recently tested positive for COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, it’s likely you are recovering at home, isolating from others and caring for yourself.
“As the virus continues to spread, it’s important to remember that most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms and are able to recover at home with rest,” said Nebraska’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gary Anthone. “If you are sick and self-isolating at home or you are caring for a loved one who is sick, there are things you can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to help protect others from getting the virus.”
Here are some recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Stay home. Do not leave your home if you are sick, except to get medical care. If medical care is needed, avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing or taxis.
Contact your health care provider. It’s especially important for older adults and people with serious underlying medical conditions like lung disease, heart disease or diabetes to contact a health care provider if they have COVID-19 or think they have it, as these people are at a higher risk for developing serious complications.
Monitor your symptoms carefully. Follow instructions from your health care provider and local health department as they may have additional advice about checking and reporting symptoms and information.
Call for medical attention right away if your symptoms get worse or if you experience any of the following emergency warning signs. Call 9-1-1, your doctor or emergency room, tell them that you have or may have COVID-19, and tell them if you are experiencing:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
(This list doesn’t cover everything. Talk with your health care provider if you have other symptoms that are severe or concerning.)
Practice self care. Get plenty of rest and stay hydrated as you would with any illness. Eat healthy food and try to reduce your level of stress. As there are currently no medications to treat COVID-19, over-the-counter medicines like fever reducers and cough syrups may offer some relief.
Stay away from others. When recovering at home, sick people should stay away from other people and pets as much as possible. Stay in a specific, designated “sick” room if possible, away from others. Also, sick people should use a separate bathroom if one is available.
Wash your hands. Whether you are sick yourself or taking care of someone who is sick, wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Wear a facemask or cloth face covering that covers your nose and mouth if you are sick. Put on the cloth face covering when you must be around other people, even at home, and before you enter a health care provider’s office. Cloth face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing. Maintaining 6-feet social distancing is crucial to slowing the spread of the virus.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and put the tissue in the trash right away. If you don’t have a tissue handy, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Sick people should avoid sharing personal items with other people in the household, like dishes, towels and bedding.
Clean and disinfect. Clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched often throughout your home, like counters, tabletops, doorknobs and light switches. Use household cleaning products according to instructions.
Clean high-touch surfaces in your designated “sick room” (and bathroom) every day like phones, remote controls, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.
Wash laundry thoroughly. Wear disposable gloves and keep soiled items away from your body while laundering. Wash your hands after removing gloves.
Stop smoking and vaping. Smokers and those with respiratory disease have a higher rate of serious illness and complications from COVID-19.
Avoid having visitors, but stay connected to family and friends through social networks, phone calls and video chats.
Get help. If you are feeling overwhelmed with emotions such as sadness, depression, anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or someone else, call 911, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or the Nebraska Family Helpline, 888-866-8660.
DHHS opened a statewide COVID-19 information line to help answer general questions and share the latest information and resources with Nebraskans to help keep them informed. The number is 402-552-6645; hours of operation are 8 a.m.-8 p.m. CST, 7 days a week.
Here’s where to find tools and resources for individuals and families, schools, communities, businesses, healthcare facilities, and first responders on the DHHS website - http://dhhs.ne.gov/coronavirus and CDC’s website – https://www.cdc.gov/covid19.
DHHS will continue to update Nebraskans through the DHHS website and on Facebook and Twitter as we have new information. The CDC’s website is also a good resource for COVID-19 information - https://www.cdc.gov/covid19.