Home-care Guide of Do’s and Don’ts for COVID-19 Infections

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Home-care Guide of Do’s and Don’ts for COVID-19 Infections

A Layperson’s Guide in Plain Talk

  • This is a compilation based on information from World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and other sources in an easy-to-read format with the survival of African and all people in mind.
  • Many of the recommendations are based on what worked during the MERS and SARS pandemics, but others have been specially adapted to the challenges faced with the novel or new coronavirus COVID- 19.
  • Most people who get sick with COVID-19 will have only mild illness and should recover at home.
  • Care at home either from a family member(s), friend or home health care-worker can help stop the spread of COVID-19 and help protect people who are at risk for getting seriously ill from COVID-19.


  1. Make sure you understand and follow instructions given to the person in your care by a healthcare professional: doctor/nurse/nurse practitioner/medical assistant.
  2. Monitor Symptoms. Know what could be COVID-19 or something else:

Know Your Symptoms:

SymptomCOVID-19InfluenzaColdSeasonal Allergies
CoughCommon (Dry)Common (Dry)CommonCommon
FatigueCommonCommonSome CasesUncommon / None
FeverCommonCommonSome CasesUncommon / None
Shortness of BreathCommonUncommon / NoneUncommon / NoneUncommon / None
Aches and PainsSome CasesCommonSome CasesUncommon / None
DiarrheaSome CasesSome CasesUncommon / NoneUncommon / None
Sore ThroatSome CasesCommonCommonUncommon / None
Stuffy or Runny NoseSome CasesCommonCommonCommon
HeadacheUncommon / NoneCommonSome CasesUncommon / None
Itchy or Watery EyesUncommon / NoneUncommon / NoneCommonCommon
SneezingUncommon / NoneCommonCommonCommon
Stomach PainUncommon / NoneSome CasesUncommon / NoneUncommon / None
VomitingUncommon / NoneSome CasesUncommon / NoneUncommon / None
  • Keep all other household members as separate as possible.
  • That means in whatever space you have available do the very best you can to avoid being too close the patient.   Separate bathroom, etc. if possible.
  • NO VISITORS -unless absolutely needed!
  • Others in home care for pets.
  • Make sure shared spaces have good ventilation:  open window or air conditioner (weather permitting).  
  • Wash hands often!!
  • World Health Organization recommends: 
  • Perform hand washing after any type of contact with patients or their immediate environment.
  • Hand hygiene should be performed before and after preparing food, before eating, after using the toilet, and whenever hands look dirty. If hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol-based hand rub can be used. For visibly dirty hands, use soap and water. 
  • Use disposable paper towels to dry hands. If these are not available, use clean cloth towels and replace them frequently.
  • Patient should always wear a face mask when around others
  • Clean All Highly Touched Surfaces Often. Including: toilets, countertops, keyboards, phones, table tops, doorknobs, bedroom furniture, countertops
    • Wear gloves
    • Use cleaning spray or wipes
    • Open a window if possible- ventilate
  1. Always wear disposable face-masks & gloves when touching any of the patient’s body fluids: blood, urine, snot, saliva, etc. MAKE SURE TO DISPOSE OF THEM IMMEDIATELY AFTER USE- IN A LINED CONTAINER.  DO NOT REUSE the lining.
    1. Remove gloves first and throw away
    2. Wash hands thoroughly
    3. Next dispose of mask
    4. Clean hands again
  1. Don’t Share Household Items with the Patient
    • If Possible: provide patient with disposable cups, plates, forks & spoons
    • IF NOT Possible: wash all utensils thoroughly in hot soapy water, SEPARATELY from all other household members
  1. Laundry and Sanitation
    1. Always Wear Disposable Gloves
    2. Remove & wash clothes or bedding with blood, stool or other fluids on them
    3. KEEP SOILED ITEMS AWAY FROM YOUR BODY with the gloves still on
    4. Load & Wash on the hottest setting clothes can take
    5. Regular detergent is OK

Additional Links

Fever Reducers

Caution About Ibuprofen and Other Over The Counter Meds With Covid-19

  • No solid evidence that ibuprofen can make coronavirus symptoms and/or outcomes worse but there are conflicting views on use.
  • Some infectious disease experts say use Tylenol as a first-line agent
  • Ibuprofen and other NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can be considered if there are no other conditions such as kidney disease  or stomach ulcers.
  • Not recommended in infants younger than 6 months.
  • The more cautious approach would be to stick with acetaminophen (Tylenol) for fever in COVID-19 infection
  • These suggestions may change with the pandemic’s evolution and as more information becomes available about drug interactions and COVID-19.


If you or the person you’re caring for develops these emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

This list is not all-inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

How to tell when someone is no longer infectious

  1. Incubation period” means the time between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms of the disease. Most estimates of the incubation period for COVID-19 range from 1-14 days, most commonly around five days
  2. People with COVID-19 who have stayed home (are home isolated) can stop home isolation when:

If NoTest to determine if they are still contagious, they can leave home after these three things have happened:

  • no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use medicine that reduces fevers)
  • other symptoms have improved (for example, when their cough or shortness of breath have improved)
  • AND
  • at least 7 days have passed since their symptoms first appeared 

If Tested to determine if still contagious, they can leave home after these three things have happened:

  • They no longer have a fever (without the use medicine that reduces fevers)
  • AND
  • Other symptoms have improved (for example, when their cough or shortness of breath have improved)
  • AND
  • They received two negative tests in a row, 24 hours apart.

More Tips: 

Alternative ways to pass the time

“Social distancing” doesn’t mean an end to all social interaction! Let’s share ways we can continue to stay tuned and supportive of one another                 

Virtually (click the following links)

Staying connected during social distancing

Support groups use technology during social distancing

50 tips for social distancing

Travel the world from the comfort of your home: Virtual museum tours

In person

5 ways to help your community while social distancing


Headspace being offered free for all healthcare providers: https://www.headspace.com/covid-19

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