If a loved one is dealing with COVID-19 at home, there are several steps you can take to aid in their recovery.
First and foremost: Limit your direct exposure to them. Stay 6 feet away whenever you can.
“If possible, sleep in different rooms, use different bathrooms, and have your family member isolate him- or herself in certain rooms of the home,” said Dr. Turner Overton, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Wear a mask and wash your hands often with soap and water, he recommended. But don’t leave your loved one completely alone.
“Check on your loved one frequently to make sure he or she is doing OK,” Overton said in a university news release. “Make sure they are hydrating and eating.”
Check to be sure they are not developing symptoms that could suggest inadequate oxygen levels: blue lips, blue fingers or toes, persistent headache, slow thinking, shortness of breath at rest and inability to talk because of it, and high fever.
Remember: You could still have the disease even if you don’t have symptoms. But you don’t need to get tested if you are asymptomatic, Overton said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you isolate for 14 days after a loved one is diagnosed with COVID-19 to prevent spread of the virus.
People with mild COVID-19 can take over-the-counter medicines to relieve symptoms, including acetaminophen or ibuprofen for headaches and fever.
“I recommend over-the-counter decongestants if sinus or nasal congestion is a major symptom and OTC cough suppressants, particularly at bedtime,” Overton said. “Antidiarrheal agents are recommended if diarrhea is a major component of the disease illness.”
For more about COVID-19, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.