Doing your best to avoid other people and public areas with the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) is not as easy as it sounds. Maybe you have a job or other requirements that force you outside of your home for a period of time. If you do have to go out in public, how do you protect the people in your home from coronavirus?
How to keep your family safe from coronavirus
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help make sure that you are not spreading coronavirus to your family in case you are exposed to it. Some of these things include:
- Cleaning and disinfecting your home often.
- Regularly washing stuffed animals and other toys that can harbor germs.
- Avoiding touching your face or the faces of other family members.
- Not sharing food and drinks with other family members.
- Avoiding travel to highly infected areas, if possible.
- Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If in public, doing your best to avoid others by practicing social-distancing techniques.
- If you feel ill, making sure to self-quarantine or isolate yourself from other family members.
Reduce take-home exposure
If you work in the medical field, service industry, or any other field where you may have a lot of contact with people who have been exposed to coronavirus, you may want to take further actions to prevent exposing your family or others to COVID-19.
Dr. Sanders, medical director of Pedi Express urgent care at University Health System, explains, “You don’t have to banish each person to their own corner. In a household where people are in close contact, you can reduce the risk of exposure by taking a look at how your family interacts. What are the high-touch surfaces? Those are the priorities to keep clean.”
Some of the things you can do include:
- Taking off your shoes before you enter your home and disinfecting with Lysol.
- Changing out of your clothes and washing up as soon as you get home. Consider keeping another set of clothes in the garage or laundry room to avoid contaminating your home with germs from your work clothes.
- Taking a shower as soon as you get home. Avoid sitting on or touching household furniture or items before taking a shower.
- Washing your work clothes in a different load than other laundry.
- Cleaning the floorboards, steering wheel and dashboard of your car when you get home.
- Making sure to clean all jewelry and accessories or better yet, leave them at home. If you need to have a watch at work, consider getting a watch specifically for your job and then leaving it there or in the glove compartment of your car when you head home.
How to care for a family member with coronavirus
If you suspect that you or another member of your household has coronavirus, you can still help protect the rest of your family.
Dr. Sanders reminds parents that “kids pick up on parental anxiety, so by explaining that this is how we help stay healthy, parents can give their family more of a sense of control over the situation – and encourage them to play a role by, for instance, washing their hands well.”
How you communicate during difficult situations can be just as important as any practical steps you may take, such as:
- Avoiding contact with pets who can spread germs.
- Wearing a facemask.
- Not sharing personal household items or food and drink with other family members.
- Cleaning all areas of the house often, especially those areas that are “high-touch.” These areas include keyboards, toilets, light switches, doorknobs, etc.
- Separating family members with symptoms from the rest of the family by keeping them in a specific room with its own bathroom if possible.
- Not allowing others to visit your home to avoid spreading the virus further.
Stay informed about coronavirus
Some of the best ways to protect your family is by practicing good hygiene, washing your hands often and staying informed. Try to closely monitor the state of the pandemic through reliable local and national resources. If you have any questions or concerns regarding how to protect you or your family from contracting coronavirus, here are some resources you can turn to for answers:
University Health System is dedicated to providing the best, most comprehensive care for patients in South Texas and beyond. For more information about coronavirus, visit universityhealthsystem.com/COVID19.