If Someone In Your Family Has C0ovid-19, Follow These Tips

Covid-19, Follow Tips

It’s much easier to catch coronavirus these days as the highly contagious omicron variant spreads around the world. As people grapple with this reality, it’s important to note that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recently changed its guidance on isolation and quarantine. Many have questions about what to do if they or someone in their family ends up infected with covid-19.

What happens if a child tests positive for covid-19? How should parents and guardians care for that child safely? What happens if a parent has covid-19, but their children do not? How long should someone be in isolation? When should people get tested? What happens if everyone in the family gets covid-19? Do they need to isolate themselves from each other?

To answer all these questions, I spoke with one of our top experts: Dr. Leana Wen, a CNN medical analyst, emergency room doctor, and professor of health policy and management at the George University Milken Institute School of Public Health. Washington. She is also the author of “Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in the Fight for Public Health” and the mother of two young children.

You’ve talked a lot about the difference between isolation and quarantine: what is it and why is it important?

Dr. Leana Wen: There is a big difference and it is important to distinguish between the two. The guidelines are very different, depending on whether you are in isolation or quarantine. Isolating yourself is what you should do when you are diagnosed with covid-19. Meanwhile, quarantine is what you could do if you were exposed to covid-19 but don’t have a diagnosis yet. The CDC has very different guidelines for isolation versus quarantine, so specific vocabulary is important.

Many families face situations where someone tests positive. If a family member, say a parent, has covid-19, what should you do?

That person should be immediately isolated from others. Anyone who has just been diagnosed with covid-19 should be assumed to be potentially infectious. All other family members should also be screened immediately. The person who tested positive may not have been the first person to get COVID-19, and other members may also test positive.

What if everyone tests positive for covid-19? Do they need to isolate themselves from each other?

If everyone has covid-19 they don’t need to isolate themselves from each other. That’s because it’s quite unlikely that they have different strains of coronavirus. They’ve all probably gotten the same strain from each other, and they won’t re-infect each other as quickly. The whole family, of course, must be isolated from other people.

What to do if one child tests positive and all the others test negative? Who is going to take care of it?

This is very difficult, especially if you are a younger child who cannot take care of himself. I would assess the circumstances of the home. Let’s say there are two parents or primary caregivers, and both are vaccinated, on their booster dose, and generally healthy. Let’s say there is another child who is not vaccinated and therefore has a higher risk of severe illness from covid-19 compared to one who is vaccinated.

covid contagion
In that scenario, I would recommend dividing up the home. In this way, one of the parents will take care of the child who has covid-19 and the other will take care of the child who does not have it. The two “groups” or “capsules” must not interact with each other during the isolation period. If possible, they should not share any indoor space. They should sleep in different rooms, not share the same bathroom, and not gather indoors during this time. The parent caring for the child with covid-19 should wear a mask when with the child to try to reduce the chance of becoming infected.

The situation is more challenging if there is only one parent or caregiver. Ventilation ––opening windows and doors when feasible––can help. Just like washing your hands properly and wearing a face mask.

Does isolation mean you have to be indoors all the time? Can you go outside and get some fresh air?

Technically, seclusion means you have to be indoors and away from others. However, this is where you can use common sense. If you live in a house, townhome, or apartment where you don’t have to go through any shared spaces to get fresh air, you can go outside. Be careful, stay far away from others, and do not share indoor spaces with people. None of us want to inadvertently infect others.

How long should someone self-isolate?

The new CDC guidelines basically shorten the isolation period from 10 days to five days, with an additional five days of mask-wearing. This means that you must remain completely isolated for the first five days. After that, you can go out (to work, to the grocery store, etc.), but you should wear a high-quality, well-fitting mask when in public spaces. Do not go to places where you will be without a mask, such as restaurants.

When it comes to people in the same family, this guideline means that you really shouldn’t eat together or have other casual unmasked encounters with uninfected members of your family in the 10-day period. If the families are in two groups, they should not mix for 10 days inside the house.

If someone had symptoms on Monday, got tested on Wednesday, and then got results on Friday, when does the five-day window start?

Monday. The five-day period begins when someone first starts having symptoms. If an asymptomatic person is tested and their result is positive, the five-day clock starts when the test was performed. If you’re not sure, for example, if you feel a little run down on Sunday but don’t have full symptoms until Tuesday, use the date you’re sure about symptoms.

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