Most of 2020 has been spent dodging a virus that medical providers and researchers are learning something new about each day. How to stay healthy and keep those around you safe has been the topic of conversation between families and friends for months. As the epidemic morphed into a pandemic, inevitably, a growing number of people know someone who has been affected by the coronavirus. Social distancing, masks, and regular hand-washing have become precautionary measures to keep everyone safe. Even when abiding by these preventative steps, there is still a risk of exposure.
Here are ways you can support your housemate if they get Covid-19:
- Help them limit their exposure to others outside the home. Pick up food, water, medication or toiletries for them, if possible. Ask them to Venmo or use another electronic payment system instead of accepting cash.
- If they order takeout, opt to answer the door during delivery. This limits the spread of the virus unintentionally and unnecessarily to delivery workers and other customers.
- Give them space, but don’t cut them off. It is necessary for your housemate to quarantine for at least 14 days. This can be a frightening and lonely time. Check in on them regularly. Be sure to wear your mask when interacting with them and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds regularly.
- Open the windows. Poor air circulation can cause the virus to linger in the air and increase the possibility of affecting someone in the home especially in the bathroom. “Ventilation and filtration provided by heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems can reduce the airborne concentration of SARS-CoV-2 and thus the risk of transmission through the air,” according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
- Ask your ill housemate, nicely, if they could clean the shower, bathtub, sink, or toilet after each use to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If your housemate is not feeling up for those tasks, wait as long as possible before entering to use, clean, or disinfect the room. Bleach-based solutions are an effective disinfectant to use to fight the spread of virus.
- High-touch surfaces in common areas such as tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remote controls, handles, and electronics should be cleaned and disinfected daily.
- Be sure to wash shared textiles frequently. This includes shared hand-drying towels and kitchen and bathroom sponges. Avoid shaking dirty textiles, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control. It can release droplets into the air.
Remember, it’s a tough time for all. Working together to help your housemate recover doesn’t just help your housemate, it helps everyone in the household remain healthy.