Staying Healthy at Home Resources
Posted April 10, 2020 by UVM Medical Center
Protect Yourself & Others – What You Need To Know
SLOW THE SPREAD: Staying home helps slow the spread of the virus. This protects our community and reduces the burden on health care providers. Learn how you can save lives by staying home.
REMEMBER TO SOCIAL DISTANCE: If you are outside of your home, wear a mask and keep a distance of at least 6 feet from any other people. If you have a cough, wear a mask to protect others.
REMEMBER HAND HYGIENE: Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you can't wash your hands use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. And keep your hands away from your face.
IF YOU FEEL SICK: Unless it is an emergency, if you feel sick or have mild COVID-19 symptoms, please stay at home and contact your doctor by phone or through MyChart. You can also use the CDC's Coronavirus Self-Checker to review your symptoms.
WE ARE HERE FOR YOU: If you need care, our emergency departments and urgent, specialty and primary care clinics are ready to care for you. Video visits, telephone visits and, in some cases, in-person visits can be arranged. Contact your doctor by phone or through MyChart to determine the best option for your needs. As always, if you have a life-threatening situation, call 9-1-1.
How to Clean & Disinfect Your Home
Remember, wear disposable gloves to clean and disinfect. Here is some useful guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Clean surfaces using soap and water. Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces, which include: tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.
Clean the area or item with soap and water or another detergent if it is dirty. Then, use a household disinfectant. The CDC recommends use of EPA-registered household disinfectant.
Follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product. Many products recommend:
- Keeping surface wet for a period of time (see product label)
- Precautions such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
- Diluted household bleach solutions may also be used if appropriate for the surface. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted. Always follow manufacturer's instructions for application and proper ventilation. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Leave solution on the surface for at least 1 minute.
To make a bleach solution, mix:
- 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water.
- 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water.
- Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol.
- More details: Complete Disinfection Guidance.
For soft surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes:
- Clean the surface using soap and water or with cleaners appropriate for use on these surfaces.
- Launder items (if possible) according to the manufacturer's instructions. Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
- Disinfect with an EPA-registered household disinfectant. These disinfectants meet EPA's criteria for use against COVID-19.
For electronics, such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, and remote controls:
- Consider putting a wipeable cover on electronics.
- Follow manufacturer's instruction for cleaning and disinfecting.
- If no guidance, use alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70 percent alcohol. Dry surface thoroughly.
For clothing, towels, linens and other items:
- Launder items according to the manufacturer's instructions. Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
- Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry from a person who is sick.
- Dirty laundry from a person who is sick can be washed with other people's items.
- Do not shake dirty laundry.
- Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance above for surfaces.
- Remove gloves, and wash hands right away.
- Clean hands often.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
NOTE: If soap and water are not readily available and hands are not visibly dirty, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.
When to clean your hands
- Always wash immediately after removing gloves and after contact with a person who is sick.
- After blowing one's nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- After using the restroom.
- Before eating or preparing food.
- After contact with animals or pets.
- Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g. a child).
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
How to Self-Isolate at Home
If you feel sick with flu-like symptoms, you should assume you have COVID-19 and self-isolate at home. COVID-19 is a viral illness that cannot be treated with antibiotics or antivirals, and there is no vaccine.
Symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath that can last 2-4 weeks. Some people will have sore throat, body aches, and/or diarrhea. It is spread through person-to-person contact or by touching objects and surfaces contaminated with the virus and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.
If you are experiencing any symptoms, it is important that you “self-isolate.” Here is our helpful guide for self-isolation.
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