With COVID-19 cases on the rise, you may want to consider reassessing how you are protecting yourself from the virus at home.
Most of us think of our homes as safe havens. We feel comfortable with our household members. That may be the problem.
“People tend to let their guard down when they’re around their loved ones,” said Natalie Talis, Population Health Manager at the Alexandria Health Department in Virginia. “They’re maybe not as vigilant as they would be if they were say next to a stranger at a grocery store”
In Alexandria, health officials have been polling people who have tested positive for COVID-19 to find out where they could have potentially been exposed to the virus. And 29% indicated their exposure could have come from another member of their household or a visitor to their home.
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So Talis recommends any family member feeling sick should isolate from others. She doesn’t mean having a full-blown illness, but even a sniffle, a cough or just feeling off, as often people can be infectious before they know they are truly sick. So, take appropriate precautions.
“The gold standard would be that you can be in your own bedroom with your own bathroom and be separate and away from others,” Talis said.
If that’s not realistic, the person not feeling well should at the least isolate within the house and wear a mask, and do what they can to avoid contaminating others or shared spaces.
“Wiping down anything you’ve touched, especially bathrooms or any other shared surfaces,” Talis said. “Not sharing utensils or laundry, things like that.”
For healthy family members, Talis said when someone in your household is sick, that doesn’t mean you have to completely abandon them.
“People underestimate the support that you can provide in a contactless way,” Talis said. “When we’re all sick, it’s not just our physical that’s impacted. We’re also more stressed out. We’re a little bit more anxious about what it means and how we’re going to be effected.”
Talis suggested using your phone to reach out to ill family members and be their contactless emotional support, so you can be there for them, without putting yourself at risk.