Although President Trump announced at the coronavirus task force briefing om March 30th that over 1 million Americans have been tested for the coronavirus, it is a far cry of the “millions” of tests the Trump administration said would be available in March. Trump also falsely said on on March 6th while visiting the Center for Disease Control that “Anybody that wants a test can get a test. That’s what the bottom line is”.
A mix of both public and private laboratories are now executing more than 100,000 tests per day, but there are over 331 million people in the United States. And the catch 22 has been that most people didn’t even qualify for coronavirus testing, although they displayed symptoms, because they haven’t left the country or visited a high-risk area or had come into contact with someone who had already “tested positive” for Covid-19.
Stunningly, medical professionals now says that over 20% of people that don’t even show any signs of coronavirus actually could have have the virus, and each infected person can spread the virus to as many as 40 other people.
The bottom line is simply that the U.S. is still not doing enough testing, and hundreds of millions of people in the US are under stay-at-home orders with infection rates soaring through out the country. The chances are high that someone in our households will be infected.
So how do you know if someone close to you has the virus, and more importantly, someone in your home?
The Center for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that most people that display mild symptoms of the coronavirus, including a dry cough, fever, sore throat, body aches and fatigue, chills, and/or a runny nose and diarrhea, should recover at home. You should call 911 for immediate medical care if you or someone in your home has severe symptoms, including shortness of breath, chest pains and pneumonia.
Taking care of a family member at home who has COVID-19 can be done safely, according to doctors. To limit the spread of the infection, self-isolation until the sick person recovers is vital.
Sleep in separate bedrooms, and if possible use different bathrooms
The CDC strongly recommends that the sick person should stay in one room, away from other people in the house for as long as possible. If it isn’t possible to move the sick person into a separate room, find a way to use separate beds, and if possible to use separate bathrooms. It is extremely important that you don’t come into contact with anything the sick person had, including faucets and bath towels, as the coronavirus can live for several days in aerosols and on surfaces.
Talk to your doctor about how long he or she would need to stay in isolation in a separate room. The consensus still seems to be around 14 days, although some studies now say that recovery from coronavirus can take nearly 25 days.
Wash your hands, practice good hygiene
When bringing meals to the afflicted person, wear a face mask and try to remain 6 feet away. With a shortage of face masks available in stores or online, if you don’t have one you can try to make your own mask. Save the N95 surgical masks for the healthcare professionals that are in desperate need of them.
Common sense precautions should be taken, like serving meals on disposable plates, cups and utensils if you are lucky enough to have them, or if you use dishes be sure to wash them thoroughly in hot, soapy water and rinse in a bleach solution. Or you can wash dishes in the dishwasher on the disinfect cycle if you have it.
The CDC also says that whenever you come into contact with a sick person you should wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds, or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water aren’t available, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as much as possible. If you can’t find hand sanitizer but have isopropyl rubbing alcohol, you can make your own.
Treat their symptoms
Provide the sick person with plenty of water or electrolyte filled drinks like Gatorade or Pedialyte, and make sure they drink plenty of fluids so they don’t become dehydrated. Over-the-counter medicine like Tylenol (acetaminophen) can help reduce minor coronavirus symptoms, and supplements like vitamin C and zinc can help boost their immune system.
Researchers have said that while “contradictory” information has been spread about the use of ibuprofen for the treatment of COVID-19, the results were ultimately “inconclusive”, but also did not give conclusive evidence either for or against the use of NSAIDs in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
Keep your home clean and sanitized
Keep surfaces that are touched often, like door and stove knobs, countertops and remote controls as clean as possible, using household cleaning sprays or wipes. The CDC also recommends being vigilant with your laundry, washing clothes often while wearing protective gloves, as the coronavirus can live on clothing, too. Don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly after doing laundry, too.
Help them feel less isolated, although they are, and monitor symptoms
It’s important that you do the best you can to help isolated family members feel normal while also controlling your own anxiety, and monitor them for potentially worsening symptoms. If you have the option, facetime or video chat with them often from a different room and communicate regularly, and use text messaging. This will help the sick person feel more connected and loved, and also a way for you to monitor symptoms. If you think the symptoms are getting worse, specifically a fever that persists, shortness of breath and chest pain, call your doctor for advice.
While caring for a person in your home that has the coronavirus could be extremely stressful and the cause for high anxiety for other household members, too, it is imperative that you and your family also take care of yourselves. The last thing you want to do is to let yourselves get run down while the sick person slowly recovers. You have the power over your own self-care, including getting enough rest and sleep, eating right and staying hydrated, exercising regularly, and washing your hands often and thoroughly.