The World Health Organisation (WHO) says self-isolation is currently “the most effective way” of preventing the deadly bug from spreading. If you have the Covid-19 or thing that you have been exposed you should self-isolate from the coronavirus. You may be asking yourself should I self-isolate from the coronavirus as well?
At the time of this post we currently live in Malaysia and as of yesterday, March 16th Malaysia is under lockdown until the 1st of April. This might sound scary for many of you and for us, but in actuality, for the world to beat this virus faster this needs to happen. We need to be practicing social distancing.
Malaysia is not alone in closing business, restaurants, and asking residents to only come out for groceries. By practicing good social distancing it can dramatically slow the rate at which the infection is spreading. This eases the burden on the health care system.
But if social distancing is not enough or you suspect that you might be contagious you may be asking yourself should I self-isolate from the coronavirus.
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What does it mean to self-isolate?
The meaning of isolating is to set apart from others. Other meanings of isolating are to quarantine. To self-isolate or self-quarantine is to separate yourself from others. The virus must not be allowed to spread unhindered. The outbreak can be contained through self-isolation and self-quarantine.
How to self-isolate from the coronavirus
Staying home is a precautionary measure to protect those around you – your family, friends, colleagues – from possibly contracting COVID-19. Self-isolation is also an effective measure of prevention.
Governments are asking people to take simple, common-sense steps to avoid close contact with other people as much as possible as you would with the seasonal flu virus.
As much as possible, you should limit your contact with people other than the family members/companions especially those who have traveled. You should avoid having visitors to your home, but it is okay for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food and supplies.
It is also okay to ask them to wear a mask or to wash their hands on arrival. We did this after each of our kids were born. When people would come to visit we would make sure they would wash their hands and use hand sanitizer before holding the baby or even coming over. We even asked the close family if they had colds to stay away.
Should I self-isolate from the coronavirus?
- If you have traveled to any affected area or even if you have traveled recently you should self isolate from the coronavirus.
- Do you have flu-like symptoms? Even if you have not been around anyone with the covid-19 virus you should self isolate.
- If you have had a fever above 37.8C or 100F. You should self-isolate and monitor your symptoms.
If you have experienced any of the above you should quarantine yourself for at least 14 days.
At what age should I self-isolate from the coronavirus?
In the United States, California is the first state to come out and ask those that are over 65 years of age to self-isolate. In other counties in Europe, such as the UK, Italy, France, and Spain they are asking anyone over the age of 70 to self-quarantine for the time being.
This is for your own protection. You do not want to go out and accidentally come in contact with someone who has the coronavirus. This could be as simple as touching a door handle after someone who has the virus has touched it.
Please take care of yourself and stay home as much as possible. If you do go out to the grocery store or anywhere else. Make sure to wash your hands when you return home and use hand sanitizer while you are out.
Immune compromised should also self-isolate from the conornavirus
If your immune system is at all compromised, it is time to self-isolate. Stay home as much as possible. If you need food, medicine, or other essentials ask friends and neighbors to help.
Amazon will still be running during this pandemic. Order essentials from Amazon so you do not have to go out. Don’t answer the door for deliveries, just have them leave the things outside your door.
You will want to avoid contact with as many people as possible. This may mean asking family and friends to stay away for the time being. Once again, you need to take care of yourself.
Use technology to connect with others. Google Hangouts, Facebook chats, there are so many ways for you to connect.
What if I need to self-isolate for the coronavirus how can I work?
Many companies around the world are asking employees to work from home if they are able to. For most companies, non-essential employees have been asked to work remotely or telecommute if possible. These are positions that are noncustomer facing.
In the face of this pandemic, it is best to stay away from work if at all possible.
What if I still have to go to work?
If you happen to have one of these positions that require you to work in the office make sure to talk to your employer about working from home. This may not be an option for you so make sure you protect yourself on your way to work.
If you take public transportation you will want to be extra cautious about your commute. You might want to ask your employer to pay for your taxi or Uber for the next couple of weeks if you don’t have your own transportation.
Make sure that you carry a hand sanitizer with you on your commute. While you are on the train or bus, try not to stand close to anyone else. Also, try not to touch anything.
Once you are at work, make sure to stay as far away from co-workers as possible. Wash your hands often and use hand sanitizer when you can’t get to a sink.
How do I self-isolate if I live with others?
This is definitely a concern for families right now. If one of you gets sick, how do you contain it so that the whole family doesn’t get sick?
You may need to speak with your family about sleeping arrangements. You should avoid sleeping in a common area during the 14 day period. Do not share a bed with anyone that may have the coronavirus.
Limit time in shared spaces
If you think you may have the coronavirus you need to limit your time in shared spaces such as bathrooms, kitchens and sitting rooms/common areas. It is recommended to clean the area and surfaces before contacting them. Take a Clorox wipe or disinfectant wipe to clean the areas.
Make sure to use separate towels from others in the house. Everyone should be using their own towel.
Other precautions you will want to take is to make sure your bathroom is clean. If you share a toilet, shower or bath you will want to consider wiping the surface and handle before use.
Make sure your toothbrush is not near others or in a common area that could be contaminated. Other things are kitchen utensils, plates, and cups. Make sure to wipe them down before eating.
We understand that it will be difficult for some people to separate themselves from others at home. You should do your very best to follow this guidance and everyone in your household should regularly wash their hands, avoid touching their face and clean frequently touched surfaces.
If you live with older or vulnerable people
You might live with or provide care to an elderly or vulnerable person (person who is immune-compromised or with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high risk of pneumonia or hypertension).
You should reduce your close contact with them, and when you do have close contact make sure that you have sanitized your hands or more importantly wash them for 20 seconds.
Try not to use the same bathroom as them. It would also be best to not even use the same dishes as they are using. Isolate yourself and the things you touch as much as possible.
What is social distancing?
Social distancing is a public health term that is used during an outbreak of a disease. This means that everyone should keep space between themselves and others. When we use social distancing, we can help to slow the spread of the disease.
What does social distancing mean to you? Right now, most people should try to stay at home as much as possible. But you still need to go out to get food and other basic items. So how do you practice social distancing when you are out?
The best way to practice social distancing is to keep at least 6 feet apart from any other person. Most states are recommending you keep 10 feet apart from each other in the stores. This will ensure that if someone coughs or sneezes, you will not breathe in the water droplets from them.
Why is social distancing so hard?
Social distancing is difficult for many reasons but it is especially hard because it goes against our nature. Human beings like to be close to other human beings. This is the opposite of what we should be practicing now.
It is also difficult because of cultural norms. Think about when you are standing in line at the store. If you leave too much space, we are worried that someone will cut in front of us.
Right now we need to go against our nature and keep our distances in public. We need to do everything we can to slow the spread of this disease.
How to tell if you have Covid-19, the flu, or just a cold?
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea but these are not as common. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually.
Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who get COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and may have difficulties breathing. This is when you will need to go seek help.
Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.
Wash your hands often
Cleaning your hands frequently throughout the day by washing with soap and water for 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer will help protect you and the people you live with.
This step is one of the most effective ways of reducing the risk of infection to you and to other people. If you live with others, they should also wash their hands regularly as a precaution. If you have been out as soon as possible wash your hands with soap and water.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Cover your coughs and sneezes
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or you can cough or sneeze into your elbow. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can, and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds making sure you dry them thoroughly. You can also use hand sanitizer.
Facemasks are not recommended as an effective means of preventing the spread of infection. They play an important role in clinical settings, such as hospitals, but there’s very little evidence of benefit from their use outside of these settings.
They do help as a reminder to not touch your face, but please limit your purchase of masks as they are needed in clinics and hospitals.
Staying mental healthy during isolation
While you are in self-isolation, make sure to take care of your mental health. It is very important that you practice regular mental health checks.
Try to keep yourself busy, use this time wisely. Think of it as an enforced staycation. Read that book you keep putting off. Learn a new skill with YouTube, there are so many tutorials. Daydream about a future trip and plan out how you can save to make it happen.
You can even practice meditation to help your mental health. It’s a great time to start meditating, it will help relieve stress and anxiety. Overall, take care of your self during this time.
Please help in reducing the coronavirus spread
In epidemiology, the idea of slowing a virus’ spread so that fewer people need to seek treatment is known as “flattening the curve.” This example explains why so many countries are implementing “social distancing” guidelines — including “self-isolation.”
Please do your part over the next few weeks and possibly months to practice good social distancing and even up to self-isolation from the coronavirus. We are all in this together as a global community. Let’s all do our part!