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VOL. 44 | NO. 12 | Friday, March 20, 2020

Tips for taking care of virus patients

By Kathy Carlson

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There’s a good chance you’ll come down with coronavirus or you’ll be taking care of someone who has.

Home caretakers can take some comfort in knowing there are guidelines for helping spouses, children or others, and the guidelines pretty much mirror how people with coronavirus can care for themselves at home.

The Centers for Disease Control offer these recommendations:

• Watch your own health. If someone in your household has COVID-19 or is under investigation for it, you may be at risk for catching the virus yourself. Call your health care provider right away if you develop symptoms – fever, cough and shortness of breath.

• Understand and help the patient follow their health care provider’s instructions for meds and care. Watch their symptoms. If they’re getting sicker, call their provider, telling them if the person has or is being evaluated for COVID-19. If it’s an emergency situation, tell the 911 dispatcher the person has or is being evaluated for COVID-19.

• Stay in another room apart from the patient as much as possible. Make sure that shared spaces in the home have good ventilation.

• Only allow essential visitors into the home.

• Take care of the sick person’s pets.

• Keep your hands clean. Wash often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use at least 60% alcohol hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available. Don’t touch eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.

• The patient should wear a facemask when around other people. If the patient cannot wear a facemask, caretakers should mask when in the same room as the patient.

• Wear disposable facemask and gloves when you may have contact with the patient’s blood, stool or bodily fluids. Throw out the disposables and don’t reuse. Remove gloves and dispose of gloves first, then clean hands, then take off and throw out facemask, then wash hands again. Don’t share household items with the patient. After the patient uses them, wash them thoroughly.

• Laundry: Immediately remove and wash clothing or bedding with blood, stool or bodily fluids on them. Handle soiled items using disposable gloves, keeping them away from your body. Clean hands immediately after removing gloves. Follow normal laundry instructions and dry thoroughly using warmest temperature recommended for the fabric.

• Place used disposable gloves, masks and other contaminated items in lined container before disposing of them with other household waste. Clean hands immediately after handling these items.

Talk with your state or local health department or health care provider if you have other questions.

Source: CDC

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