Have you recently learned that you will have to remain confined to your home for the next few days because of COVID-19? Here are a few tips for successful isolation.
Isolation: a necessary measure
When a person has COVID-19, or is under investigation, they are required to self-isolate. This means that they must remain at home and avoid all contact with other people to stop the virus from spreading to family members or to the community. Therefore, they must take certain particular measures.
Limit contact with others
The infection can spread from one person to another by respiratory droplets produced through coughing or sneezing. Simple measures can be used to reduce the risk of contagion, as follows:
- don’t leave your residence and don’t invite visitors into your home
- don’t go to public places and don’t use public transit
- reschedule all non-urgent medical appointments
- use the delivery service of various businesses (e.g., grocery store, pharmacy), pay by credit card and ask that the package be left outside your door
- stay in a separate, well-ventilated room, and try to use a bathroom reserved only to you
- keep a two-metre distance between you and those you live with and, if possible, wear a mask when someone is in the same room as you
- avoid contact with pets, which could spread germs to other family members
If a loved one must help with certain daily activities, it should ideally be the same person each time and they should be in good health. They should wear a mask and gloves while they provide care and above all, wash their hands before and after providing care.
Focus on handwashing
To minimize the risks of transmission, it’s important to wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and to dry them with a disposable hand towel or a washable one that must be frequently changed. An alcohol-based disinfectant is also adequate if soap and water are not available.
Avoid transmission through objects
Since the virus can survive on surfaces for a period ranging from a few hours to three days, rigorously disinfecting common areas is required.
Clean frequently touched surfaces (e.g., light switches, doorknobs, faucets, etc.) at least once a day with a proven disinfectant. The use of a homemade bleach solution (1 cup of bleach for 9 cups of water) is also very effective.
Be extra careful not to share personal objects (e.g., towels, sheets, plates, glasses) to limit the risks of spreading the virus to other family members. It is also important that family members avoid touching their faces with their hands.
Take care of yourself
One essential aspect of isolation is to rest and to follow the health advice given by the medical team.
It is also beneficial to make the most of a difficult situation by doing activities you usually don’t have time for, if you have the energy.
Here are some simple ideas that aren’t too demanding to help pass the time during isolation:
- speak to loved ones by telephone or online, or send them emails
- read a good book
- listen to an interesting podcast
- watch a tutorial (learning guide) to learn something new
- catch up on your favourite television series
- create a photo album or a music playlist
- reorganize your closet
- do some stretching exercises or yoga, if you’re feeling up to it
- take a bath
Some people will experience stress, anxiety or a feeling of panic due to the present situation. Contacting loved ones or the various available resources will provide valuable support. They can help affected people to better cope with this crucial step of their recovery in a safe environment.
Don’t hesitate to speak to your pharmacist for additional information about COVID-19.