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Care Tips for COVID-19

Updates from USA Health | Care and Self-Quarantine | Employee Resources

The following recommendations come from the CDC and USA Health, with additional content provided by Nebraska Medicine.

Recommended preventive measures

Please note: CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, but facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a healthcare facility).

Hand Washing

Hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing

Cleaning Surfaces

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe

Monitoring

Monitoring and self-isolation (home isolation) for 14 days for individuals who suspect they are infected

Covering Coughs

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash

Avoiding Your Face

Avoid touching your face, including your eyes, nose, and mouth

Maintaining Distance

Maintaining distance from people who are sick

If You're Sick: Call Ahead

Call ahead to a healthcare professional if you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have Coronavirus or if you live in or have recently traveled to an area with ongoing spread

If You're Sick: Tell Your Provider

Tell your healthcare professional about your recent travel or contact

If You're Sick: Next Steps

Your healthcare professional will work with your state’s public health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for Coronavirus

USA Health shares hand-washing techniques

Colleen M. Lynch, assistant professor in the USA College of Nursing, shares tips for effectively washing your hands. 

Self-Quarantine Instructions

The following instructions come from Nebraska Medicine.

What should I do if I’ve been told to self-quarantine?

The following instructions are provided to assist you to safely care for yourself or others who are infected or potentially infected with COVID-19. View the instructions on CDC.gov.

Your healthcare provider and public health staff will evaluate whether you can be safely cared for at home. If it is determined that you do not need to be hospitalized and can be isolated at home, you will be monitored by staff from your local health department. You should follow the prevention steps below until a healthcare provider or local health department says you can return to your normal activities.

Stay home except to get medical care

You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. Under no circumstance should you go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride sharing, or taxis.

Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home

  • People: As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.
  • Animals: You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask.

Call ahead before visiting your doctor

If you have a medical appointment, call the healthcare provider prior to your appointment and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed. Ask your healthcare provider to call the local or state health department. Persons who are placed under active monitoring or facilitated self-monitoring should follow instructions provided by their local health department or occupational health professionals, as appropriate. If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive.

Take care of your mental health

You might be feeling anxious, afraid, lonely or uncertain. Download this guide for a list of helpful behavioral health resources, and a few tips for taking care of your emotional health while you're quarantined.

Wear a face mask

You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) or pets, and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then people who live with you should not stay in the same room with you, or they should wear a facemask if they enter your room.

Cover your coughs and sneezes

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can.

Clean your hands often

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 to 95% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Clean all high-touch surfaces every day

Clean all high-touch surfaces daily. High-touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.

Avoid sharing personal household items

You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.

Monitor your symptoms

Please contact your local or state health department as soon as possible. Persons who are placed under active monitoring or facilitated self-monitoring should follow instructions provided by their local health department or occupational health professionals, as appropriate.

Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty breathing). Before seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. Put on a facemask before you enter the facility. These steps will help the healthcare provider’s office to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected or exposed.

If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If possible, put on a face mask before emergency medical services arrive.

Discontinuing home isolation

Patients with confirmed COVID-19 should remain under home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low. The decision to discontinue home isolation precautions is made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with healthcare providers, and state and local health departments.

If you are providing care for a person infected or suspected to be infected with COVID-19, please note the following.

How do I take care of someone who's quarantined in my home?

If you are providing care for a person infected or suspected to be infected with COVID-19, please note the following. These instructions are also available at CDC.gov.

Household members, intimate partners, and caregivers in a non-healthcare setting may have close contact (within 6 feet) with a person with symptomatic, laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 or a person under investigation. Those in close contact should monitor their health and should call their healthcare provider right away if they develop symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath).

Those in close contacts should also follow these recommendations:

  • Make sure that you understand and can help the patient follow their healthcare provider’s instructions for medication(s) and care. You should help the patient with basic needs in the home and provide support for getting groceries, prescriptions and other personal needs
  • Monitor the patient’s symptoms. If the patient is getting sicker, call his or her healthcare provider and tell them that the patient has laboratory-confirmed or is under investigation for COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected. Ask the healthcare provider to call the local or state health department for additional guidance. If the patient has a medical emergency and you need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that the patient has, or is being evaluated for, COVID-19
  • Household members should stay in another room or be separated from the patient as much as possible. Household members should use a separate bedroom and bathroom, if available
  • Prohibit visitors who do not have an essential need to be in the home
  • Household members should care for any pets in the home. Do not handle pets or other animals while sick
  • Make sure that shared spaces in the home have good airflow, such as by an air conditioner or an opened window, weather permitting
  • Perform hand hygiene frequently. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 to 95% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • You and the patient should wear a facemask if you are in the same room
  • Wear a disposable facemask and gloves when you touch or have contact with the patient’s blood, stool, or body fluids, such as saliva, sputum, nasal mucus, vomit or urine.
    • Do not reuse disposable facemasks and gloves. Throw them away after using them.
    • When removing personal protective equipment, first remove and dispose of gloves. Then, immediately clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Next, remove and dispose of facemask, and immediately clean your hands again with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid sharing household items with the patient. You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding or other items. After the patient uses these items, you should wash them thoroughly (See “Wash laundry thoroughly” below.)
  • Clean all high-touch surfaces, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables, every day. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them
    • Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during the use of the product
  • Wash laundry thoroughly
    • Immediately remove and wash clothes or bedding that have blood, stool, or body fluids on them
    • Wear disposable gloves while handling soiled items and keep soiled items away from your body. Clean your hands (with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) immediately after removing and throwing away your gloves
    • Read and follow directions on labels of laundry or clothing items and detergent. In general, using a normal laundry detergent according to washing machine instructions and dry thoroughly using the warmest temperatures recommended on the clothing label
  • Place all used disposable gloves, facemasks, and other contaminated items in a lined container before disposing of them with other household waste. Clean your hands (with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) immediately after handling these items. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty
  • Discuss any additional questions with your state or local health department or healthcare provider

What if I live with someone who's been told to self-quarantine?

  • If the person you live with is NOT exhibiting respiratory symptoms, you can go about your day-to-day business, and you do not need to be tested or monitored.
  • If the person you live with is exhibiting respiratory symptoms, but has not yet tested positive for COVID-19:
    • Please make sure to stay home
    • Monitor your symptoms closely, and seek medical attention if your symptoms are worsening
    • Avoid public areas and public transportation
    • Wear a facemask if you are sick
    • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, dispose of the tissue and immediately wash your hands
    • Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds, and if soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
    • Avoid sharing personal household items
    • Clean "high-touch" surfaces daily
  • If the person you live with has tested positive for COVID-19, you will be considered a close contact, and will also likely be asked to self-quarantine.

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