Steps to prepare your household for COVID-19

Ask the Expert

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Health care professionals are asking you to do a few things now in case someone in your house becomes infected with COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has listed several steps to prepare your household.

The first step is to designate a room in your house as a quarantine zone, preferably one with access to its own bathroom, Bon Secours’ Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Marcus Blackstone said. The person who is sick should eat (or be fed) in their room, if possible. The caregiver, when possible, should not be someone who is at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

He also said it’s especially important for people to keep up with their prescription medications in case they need to be quarantined.

The CDC recommends that people plan to order and pick up all prescriptions at the same time, call prescription orders in ahead of time, and use drive-thru windows, curbside services, mail-order, or other delivery services. The agency also recommends checking with your doctor and pharmacist to see if you can get a larger supply of your medicines so you do not have to visit the pharmacy as often. The same guidelines apply for pet medications.

You should be cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched areas regularly, he said, but if you can’t find cleaning supplies, he recommended diluting bleach with water with a 1 to 4 ratio and putting it in a spray bottle.

For cleaning guidelines and suggestions for making your own disinfectant, click here. The Environmental Protection Agency has listed substances that can be used as disinfectants against COVID-19.

If someone in your house shows symptoms of COVID-19, Dr. Blackstone said to put your house on lock down immediately .

“If someone in your household is showing signs… really, everyone ought to be quarantined for 14 days,” he said.

People who develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 should call 911 right away. Emergency warning signs include, but are not limited to:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to wake up
  • Bluish lips or face

“They start getting more short of breath, fever gets higher, that’s when they really need to be seen, if they start having complications it happens pretty quick,” Dr. Blackstone said.

To be prepared, it’s best to have a few items in your house ahead of time, he added, like plenty of fluids, tissues, a thermometer to monitor fevers, cough drops for relief and Tylenol to bring fevers down.

“The recommendation is not to use ibuprofen but Tylenol does work for the fevers and that’s really what Tylenol is designed for,” he said.

In case you need to quickly reach a doctor, you can download the Bon Secours 24/7 app now. COVID-19 related virtual visits are free with a code.

Dr. Blackstone also urges everyone to make sure wills and powers of attorney are now in place.

“What we’re realizing with COVID-19 is, initially we thought it was really high risk patients were the elderly patients and also patients with co-morbidities, but what we are seeing across the county and in our area is that it’s really [patients of] all ages.”

Dr. Blackstone also said another key prevention step is to avoid bringing multiple family members to highly trafficked places like grocery stores, especially young children who are more prone to touching things.

To submit a health question about the Coronavirus or any other health topic, click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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