Self-isolation, self-monitoring, social distancing – more than current buzzwords, these measures are proven methods to slow down or limit the spread of COVID-19. In this article, we tackle the importance of self-isolation in specific cases.
WHAT IS SELF-ISOLATION?
Self-isolation is when you separate yourself from others to avoid transmitting or catching a virus. This includes limiting contact with members of your household and your community, as much as possible.
WHO SHOULD SELF-ISOLATE?
While it is a good idea for everyone to practice self-isolation as an attempt to flatten the curve of COVID-19 infections (and as a preventive measure for at-risk groups), some specific cases do require it more than others.
The Government of Canada recommends self-isolation and quarantine for these specific cases:
|When||You have no symptoms.
You have traveled abroad recently or may have been in contact with a COVID-19 infected person.
|You are showing symptoms, even if mild.
You are waiting for COVID-19 diagnosis results or have been recently diagnosed.
|How||Stay at home and be on the lookout for symptoms, even mild symptoms, for at least 14 days.
Avoid contact with members of your household and community, as much as possible. If you start developing symptoms over the course of these days, you will have prevented the spread of disease to others.
|Stay at home until your healthcare professional or Public Health Authority advises you are no longer at risk of spreading the virus to others.
Avoid contact with members of your household and community, especially individuals at risk of severe negative outcomes, such as older adults and vulnerable individuals with compromised immune system.
|Action Required||If you start developing symptoms, even if mild, stay home. Avoid all personal contact and call your Public Health Authority as soon as possible.||If your symptoms worsen, seek immediate help by contacting your healthcare professional or public health authorities. Follow their instructions. If you are experiencing severe shortness of breath or chest pain, seek emergency help (call 911).|
BENEFITS OF SELF-ISOLATION
Self-isolation is proven to be an efficient method of virus containment. Combined with regular hygiene and proper decontamination measures if you live with other people, self-isolation can protect others from contracting a virus, which in turns, decrease the chances of an outbreak in your community.
Self-isolation is a responsible behaviour that can ultimately save lives. If you meet the criteria mentioned above, consider it seriously.
TIPS ON SELF-ISOLATION
If you can, planning for self-isolation in advance is a good way to make sure you stick to it and that your morale remains high. Here is some advice to make sure you are prepared.
- Take advantage of delivery services from restaurants or groceries to get access to food.
- Ask a friend or a loved one to drop food or other essential items to your house.
Dealing with Household Items and Shared Spaces
- Avoid sharing household items such as cutlery, plates and drinking glasses. Always wash them thoroughly with soap or in the dishwasher.
- Regularly wash towels, pillows, bedsheets and blankets. Avoid sharing them, if possible.
- Regularly disinfect frequently touched or common surfaces such as counters, doorknobs, appliances and sinks (faucets).
- Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap.
- Avoid touching your face and your mouth at all time.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze.
- Call your pharmacy to discuss safe options to receive your medications without leaving your home.
- Call or use your pharmacy’s mobile app to renew your prescriptions at home, if needed.
- Call your pharmacist for any concerns and questions you may have about your health.
STAY STRONG AND KEEP CONNECTED
Self-isolating for a long period of time can put a strain on your well-being and mental health. Make sure you take care of yourself by keeping connected to your friends and family via phone and video. Maintain your hobbies and interests as much as you can, even if it means making adjustments to accommodate your new, but temporary lifestyle. Staying active is also a good way to ensure you stay healthy: home exercise routines are recommended and can be very helpful.