The idea of quarantining yourself may sound scary, but it is just a simple precaution to protect yourself and others from infectious diseases. If you live in an area affected by an infectious disease outbreak, such as the recent COVID-19 pandemic, health officials may recommend that you take some distance from others or limit the time spent in public to protect themselves and others. If you are sick and exposed to this disease, you may need to quarantine or isolate yourself until the risk of passing the infection on to others has passed. Also, you should take the precaution of staying in touch with your doctor and communicating with friends and family members to reduce anxiety and stress while waiting for the quarantine period to end.
Self-quarantine after exposure to the disease
1-Put yourself in self-isolation. In case you know that you have been around someone infected with a dangerous disease like VOC | ID-19, you should quarantine yourself to protect yourself and others as well. If you think you’ve been exposed to an infectious disease during an outbreak, call your local doctor or public health department and ask if you need to self-isolate.
- Your school, employer, or local public health department may tell you about potential exposure. Take this kind of advice seriously and don’t hesitate to educate yourself if you are unsure of what to do.
2-Contact your doctor as soon as possible. Do this if you think you are sick. If you have reason to believe that you have been exposed to an illness such as COVID-19 and start to show suspicious symptoms, contact your doctor and explain the situation to them. They may ask you to come and take an exam and require you to self-isolate.
- For example, contact a health facility immediately if you have symptoms like fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, especially if you live in an area affected by COVID-19 infection.
- Do not go to the hospital without first contacting the doctor if you think you have an illness like 2019 coronavirus disease or the flu. Indeed, he may need to take special precautions to protect himself, protect you and his other patients against the disease.
- Today, many clinics offer telephone consultations or telehealth visits to remotely examine the condition of the sick subject and determine whether he should come in for treatment or for tests. If the practitioner feels you should be tested for COVID-19, they will direct you to a site that has the necessary resources and facilities (such as a drive-thru center or negative pressure room).
3-Stay at home. Do this for 14 days or as directed by the doctor. The recommended self-isolation period is generally two weeks. This will give you time to observe your symptoms and determine if you may pose a risk to others. If the doctor recommends that you self-isolate, ask how long this should last.
- If you are showing symptoms and you have been officially diagnosed with an infectious disease such as COVID-19, you may need to stay home for more than two weeks.
4-Avoid contact with other people as much as you can. You should also avoid contact with animals. While in isolation, it is essential that you remain alone so that you do not risk spreading the disease to others. Even if you have no symptoms, you should not receive any visitors and you should keep your distance from those who live with you. Limit contact with your pets as much as possible, including avoiding cuddling, petting, feeding, and grooming them
- Choose a room, for example your bedroom, for your exclusive use. Other members of the household should stay away from this room, except when absolutely necessary. If possible, do not use the same bathroom with them.
- In case you need to have food or supplies delivered to your house, tell whoever made the delivery to drop off the items at the front door of the house.
- If you have pets, have a friend or household member take care of them until the quarantine period is over. If you must have contact with your pets, be sure to wear a mask and wash your hands before and after.
5-Wear a mask if you must be around other people. Even in the absence of obvious symptoms of illness, wearing a mask during quarantine can reduce the risk of the disease spreading to others. So wear it if someone is visiting you, if a loved one needs to enter your room, or if you need to leave the house for medical treatment.
- If you cannot find a mask in stores because there is a shortage, you can cover your nose and mouth with a scarf or handkerchief.
- Anyone who comes into your room or who must be in close contact with you while you are in quarantine should also wear a mask.
6-Wash your hands frequently. Do it with lukewarm water and soap. You should take this precaution while you are in quarantine to protect yourself and others from the potential spread of the disease. Be sure to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, especially after sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose, after using the toilet, and before preparing food or eating
- In case you do not have access to soap and water, use a gel containing at least 60% alcohol to disinfect your hands.
7-Cover your nose and mouth. Do this every time you sneeze or cough. If you feel like you want to sneeze or cough, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue to prevent the spread of potentially contaminated fluids that will come out of these openings. If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into the crook of your arm
- Avoid leaving tissues that you have used before. Instead, throw them as soon as possible in lined trash cans, then be sure to wash your hands with soap and water.
8-Disinfect surfaces and objects that you have touched. Once a day, use household cleaning products such as disinfectant wipes or general-purpose cleaners to clean the surfaces you touch frequently. These include door handles, counters, light switches, table tops and toilet seats.
- Always try to wash anything that gets into your mouth with warm water and soap. It could be kitchen utensils or a thermometer.
9-Monitor your health closely. You must take this arrangement and consult a doctor if anything changes. During your quarantine, watch closely for any signs of illness or worsening of your condition. If you have any new symptom or if your symptoms worsen, contact the doctor as soon as possible and seek advice.
- Describe in detail what symptoms you have, when you started having them, and what treatments, if any, you have used (such as non-prescription drugs).
Quarantine in case of illness
1-Ask the doctor if you can stay home. You could also find out if you need to be hospitalized. If you are confirmed to be infected with an infectious disease like the novel coronavirus, your doctor will need to assess your specific case and make recommendations based on your condition. Discuss whether it is safe for you to return home and, if so, whether you need to remain in isolation until your recovery
- If the healthcare professional thinks your condition is stable enough to allow you to return home, ask them to give you detailed instructions on how you can take care of yourself during the isolation period. If you were to be cared for by friends or family, ask the practitioner to share this information with them.
- The doctor will send the results of the confirmed laboratory tests to the public health department. From there, the public health department will make recommendations on how long you should spend in isolation.
2-Stay home unless you need medical help. In case you are ill, it is imperative that you stay home and rest as much as possible. This will help you get well quickly, and it will also prevent others from catching your disease. Do not go to work or school, avoid using public transport as much as possible when planning to go to the doctor
- Always contact the hospital or health facility before going. Tell them about your diagnosis and describe any symptoms you have.
- Do you need certain supplies? If so, order them online so they can be shipped to you. Do not shop while you are in isolation.
3-Stay in your bedroom. Do this as much as possible if you live with other people. Whenever possible, stay in your own space inside the house and do not let in visitors, loved ones, and even pets. If possible, use a bathroom separate from other members of the household
- To avoid having to enter other rooms in the house, ask the rest of the household or caregivers to leave meals or other supplies outside your bedroom door.
- Preferably stay in a well ventilated room with a window that can be opened
4-Wear a mask if you must interact with other people. If you are too weak to take care of yourself, wear a mask whenever the caregiver needs to be present. You should also wear a mask if you have to go out of the house (for example to go to the doctor)
- Ask the person helping you to also wear a mask when they are next to you.
- If you cannot find a mask because there is a shortage, cover your nose and mouth with a scarf or handkerchief.
5-Practice good hygiene. This will help prevent the spread of your disease. While you are in isolation, you should keep your surroundings clean and take certain precautions to avoid spreading your infection to others in the house. You can protect your loved ones by doing the following
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially after sneezing, coughing, blowing your nose, or using the toilet.
- Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.
- Immediately dispose of used tissues in lined garbage bags.
- Do not use personal items with other people, including towels, medical supplies (such as thermometers, medicine cups), plates, spoons, forks, toiletries, and bed sheets.
- Clean objects and surfaces that you touch frequently, such as doorknobs, counters, and toilet seats with disinfectant.
6-Call your doctor as soon as possible. Do this if your symptoms change or worsen. While in seclusion, you or your caregiver (s) should keep an eye on your health. If you experience any new symptoms, or if your symptoms worsen or do not improve after the expected recovery period, contact your doctor immediately. He can advise you on what to do
- In the event of a medical emergency, call 15 if you are in France or the emergency number for the region where you are. If possible, inform the professional who confirmed the diagnosis so that they can take the necessary precautions.
7-Work with your doctor. That way you can determine when you can get out of isolation. The duration of self-isolation will depend mainly on your situation and the specific symptoms you have. Even if you are feeling much better, stay home until your doctor tells you it is safe. This will help protect you and others around you.
- The doctor may need to consult with the local public health department to determine the best time for you to be released from your isolation.
Manage a self-quarantine
1-Remember that it is normal to feel difficult emotions. Be aware that it is quite normal for you to experience difficult emotions during your self-quarantine. Dealing with outbreaks of dangerous diseases is stressful and frightening, and having to self-quarantine can exacerbate these feelings. Feelings of fear, sadness, frustration, loneliness, worry, or even anger with what is going on are normal. If you have any of these feelings, try to admit it without having to judge yourself.
- Not feeling them is also normal. We do not all react in the same way to frightening situations.
Remember: If these sensations are very heavy, or if you feel stressed for two weeks (or more) with no signs of improvement, you may need additional help. Contact a doctor or psychologist for help.
2-Call the doctor if you have any concerns. You can also do this if you want to ask questions. If you are afraid or unsure of what is going on, the doctor may be able to reassure you. Do not hesitate to contact a doctor or contact someone from your local public health department in case you have any questions.
- They can direct you to useful sources of information online.
3-Talk to your employer. Do this if you’re worried about not getting paid. Having to take time off work because of quarantine, isolation, or forced social distancing can take a toll on your finances. If you are concerned, try to discuss it with your boss so that you know your situation. Clearly explain your reasons for taking time off work and provide a doctor’s note, if necessary
- Some employers are willing to offer paid sick leave to employees who are in quarantine or in isolation due to illness.
- Ask your company’s human resources department if you are eligible for family leave for medical reasons. This is unpaid leave for employees who are ill or have to care for a sick family member. The number of days you will be granted will depend on the region in which you live.
- You also have the option of speaking to your utility providers and explaining your situation to them. They may be able to offer you payment terms that can reduce your financial burden until you can return to work.
4-Keep in touch with your friends and family. Being quarantined or in isolation can make you feel very lonely. Being alone while you are sick or the fear of contracting the disease can also increase anxiety or frustration. Contact your friends and relatives by phone, email, social media or video calls to reduce your loneliness
- Besides offering you an attentive ear and helping you reduce your loneliness and boredom, your relatives or friends can give you practical help. Don’t hesitate to ask them to bring you food or supplies home (at the doorway), take care of your pets while you are in quarantine, or help with chores that you can’t do.
5-Do activities that can relieve stress. This will allow you to stay more relaxed. To reduce boredom, frustration, and anxiety, look for simple, fun activities you can do while you’re stuck at home. Depending on your level of well-being, you can
- watch shows or movies
- to read
- listen to relaxing music
- to play games
- meditating or doing light stretching or practicing yoga
- practice your hobbies or do creative projects
- clean the house a bit.