Sharing is caring…except when it comes to COVID-19 or other infectious diseases

When it comes to infectious diseases, like COVID-19, not sharing is caring.

If you have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, or think you might have been infected, it is important to stay home and self-isolate even if you have minor symptoms such as cough or mild fever, until you recover.

Other symptoms that are less common and may affect some patients include loss of taste or smell, aches and pains, headache, sore throat, nasal congestion, red eyes, diarrhea, or a skin rash.

As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people (and even pets) in your home. Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people in your home.

Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. Get rest, eat well, and stay hydrated. Staying away from others helps stop the spread of COVID-19. Call your doctor for advice.

Have someone bring you supplies. If you really need to leave your house or have someone near you, wear a medical mask (not a cloth mask) to avoid infecting others. You do not need to wear the mask if you are alone. If you can’t put on a mask (because of trouble breathing, for example), cover your coughs and sneezes in some other way and try your best to stay at least six feet away from other people.

Tell your close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. You can spread the coronavirus starting 48 hours (or two days) before you have any symptoms or tests positive.

By letting your close contacts know they may have been exposed to COVID-19, you are helping to protect everyone.

If you have a high fever, persistent chest pain or difficulty breathing, seek medical attention immediately. Call by telephone first and follow the directions of your local health authority.

You can be with others after 10 days since symptoms first appeared AND at least 24 hours with no fever AND other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving (except loss of taste and smell which may persist for months after recovery).

Keep up to date on the latest information from trusted sources, such as WHO, DOH, or your local health authorities. Local and national authorities and public health units are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves. Be responsible and stay safe.

This Christmas season, share love…not the coronavirus!*

Dr. Melvin Sanicas (@Vaccinologist) is a physician-scientist specializing in vaccines, infectious diseases, and global health.

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