What does it mean to ‘self-quarantine’ for Covid-19?

No, not everyone with cough, body pain/aches and diarrhea needs to immediately rush to the E.R. to be tested for the new coronavirus, Covid-19. These are also to be considered with: 1. whether you have traveled to places with risk of infection; and 2. if you have been exposed to persons with Covid-19.

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The Department of Health (DOH) has – sort of – segregated individuals with a known history of exposure and travel presenting with mild symptoms, and those presenting severe and critical symptoms.

The latter – those with severe and critical symptoms – need to be immediately admitted to health facilities. So if you are one of these, contact DOH and call the designated hotline at (+632) 8651-7800 loc 1149-1150.

For the former – those presenting mild symptoms; or even those who are asymptomatic but have exposure – the DOH advises self-isolation and undergoing home quarantine for 14 days.

And so… what is self-quarantine?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US is recommending some steps if you are asked to self-quarantine.

  • Stay away from other people; stay in your home as much as possible, preferably staying in a separate room and using a separate bathroom (if available).
  • Limit contact with pets, as there is a small chance humans can pass the disease to dogs or other pets, though only one such case of such a transmission has been reported (in a Pomeranian dog in Hong Kong living with a woman diagnosed with COVID-19).
  • No visitors please unless the person really needs to be in your home. 
  • If you need medical attention, call ahead to ensure you’re going to the right place and taking the necessary precautions.
  • Wear a face mask if you must be around other people.
  • When you cough/sneeze:
    Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, and immediately throw tissues in garbage.
    Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If that’s not available, clean with hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid sharing household items, including drinking glasses/cups, eating utensils, towels or even bedding. Wash these items thoroughly after using.
  • Clean high-touch surfaces daily using a household cleaner or wipe. These include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables.
  • Clean any surfaces that may be contaminated with blood, stool or any bodily fluids. 
  • Shared spaces in the home should have good airflow — use an air conditioner or open those windows. 
  • Continue monitoring your symptoms. If they worsen, such as you if you begin to have difficulty breathing, call your health care provider. 

When to stop isolating? 

To figure out when to stop your self-quarantine or isolation, the CDC says this will be on a case-by-case basis. So should check with a health care provider before making any changes. 

To monitor your health and practice social distancing:

  1. Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever. Also watch for cough or trouble breathing.
  2. Stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school for this 14-day period. Discuss your work situation with your employer before returning to work.
  3. Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares during the time you are practicing social distancing.
  4. Avoid crowded places (such as shopping centers and movie theaters) and limit your activities in public.
  5. Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).

What To Do If You Get Sick

If you get sick with fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher), cough, or have trouble breathing:

  • Seek medical care. Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room.
  • Tell your doctor about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
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