What To Do if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19

Health
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Whether you’re ill with COVID-19, or think you may have it, take the steps below to help protect other people in your home and community.

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Stay home

  • People who have a mild COVID-19 condition will recover at home. Do not leave, except to seek medical attention. Should not pay a visit to public places.

Separate yourself from others at home, this is known as home insulation

  • You must live in a designated “sick room” as much as possible, preferably away from other people in your house. If available, use a separate toilet.

Call ahead before visiting your doctor

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  • If you have a medical appointment, call your physician’s office or emergency room to inform them you have COVID-19 or could have it. This will help the office and other patients protect themselves.

Wear a facemask

  • If you are sick: You should wear a facemask while you are with others and when joining the office of a health care provider.
    If possible, put on a facemask before you enter the building. If you can’t put on a facemask, try to keep a safe distance from other people (at least 6 feet away). This will help protect the people in the office or waiting room.
  • If you are caring for others:  If the person who is sick is not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then people who live in the home should stay in a different room. When caregivers enter the room of the sick person, they should wear a facemask. Visitors, other than caregivers, are not recommended.

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.
  • Instantly wash your hands with at least 20 seconds of soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 % alcohol to clean your hands.

Clean your hands often

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  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
  • Soap and water are the best option, especially if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Don’t share personal household products

  • Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people in your home.
  • After using these items, wash them thoroughly with soap and water.

Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday

  • Routinely clean high-touch surfaces in your “sick room” and bathroom. Let someone else clean and disinfect surfaces in common areas, but not your bedroom and bathroom.
  • High-touch surfaces include phones, remote controls, counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.

Monitor your symptoms

  • Seek medical attention, but call first: Seek medical care right away if your illness is worsening (for example, if you have difficulty breathing).
  • Follow care instructions from your healthcare provider and local health department: Your local health authorities will give instructions on checking your symptoms and reporting information.

How to discontinue home isolation

If you will not have a test to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after these three things have happened:

  • You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use medicine that reduces fevers)
  • Other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
  • At least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared

If you will be tested to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after these three things have happened:

  • You no longer have a fever (without the use medicine that reduces fevers)
  • Other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
  • You received two negative tests in a row, 24 hours apart.

Content source: National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases

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