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Coronavirus: Here’s what it means to self-isolate

Experts say self-isolation could help curb spread of COVID-19

Also, avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, avoid contact with people who are sick, disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as toys and doorknobs, and stay home when you feeling under the weather to avoid infecting others.
Also, avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, avoid contact with people who are sick, disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as toys and doorknobs, and stay home when you feeling under the weather to avoid infecting others. (EHStock/iStock)

Amid mounting concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control on Monday advised anyone who has traveled internationally, to any location, and is feeling sick to self-isolate for at least 14 days upon their return to the U.S.

But what does it mean to “self-isolate?”

According to Massachusetts Institute of Technology Medical, if you are told to self-isolate or quarantine, you should:

  • Stay home in your room, your apartment or your house; do not go to work, classes, athletic events or other social gatherings until 14 days after the date of your departure from the country in question.
  • Limit your contact with other people, which includes others who may live in your residence.
  • Cover all coughs and sneezes with the upper arm or tissue, never use your hand.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand rubs after coughing or sneezing or throwing a used tissue in the garbage.
  • Avoid sharing household items. Do not share drinking glasses, towels, eating utensils, bedding or any other items until you are no longer asked to self- quarantine.
  • Keep your surroundings clean. While the virus is not spread very well from contact with soiled household surfaces, try to clean surfaces that you share with others, such as door knobs, telephones and bathroom surfaces (or any other object that you sneeze or cough on), with a standard household disinfectant such as Clorox wipes. Wash your hands after cleaning the area.

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If you live with someone who has been ordered to self-quarantine, MIT Medical recommends you do the following:

  • Clean your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Monitor yourself for symptoms. If you are sharing living quarters with someone who is under self-quarantine, monitor yourself closely for the development of fever and respiratory symptoms.
  • Don’t visit anyone who is under self-isolation protocol.
  • Clean common surfaces. The virus is not spread very well from contact with soiled household surfaces, but it’s still a good idea to clean surfaces that you share with the person who is under self-quarantine (or any sick person), such as door knobs, telephones and bathroom surfaces. Use a standard household disinfectant. Wash your hands after cleaning the area.
  • Wash laundry and dishes safely by using the hottest water settings and laundry soap. Clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub right after handling dirty laundry. Dirty dishes and eating utensils should be washed in a dishwasher or by hand with warm water and soap.

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