By Karen Stokes
The COVID-19 vaccine may be available, but the pandemic isn’t over yet and there are still many questions on how to care for someone at home who tested positive with the virus.
As of Jan 28, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 25,456,670 cases of COVID-19. About 80% of people who are infected with the coronavirus will either experience mild symptoms or be completely asymptomatic.
When caring for yourself or family members who test positive for COVID-19, you also need to protect yourself.
“The household members do not need to leave, they can stay in the same house with the person that is infected,” Dr. Carlos Figueroa-Castro, assistant professor of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Medical College of Wisconsin, said. “You need to be very careful. The person that is infected should have a space for themselves inside the household.”
Figueroa-Castro recommended that the infected person suspend household chores such as cooking. Household members need to be meticulous with hand washing and cleaning commonly used surfaces like phones and light switches. Members of the household need to be quarantined and tested.
The CDC recommends making sure that the person who is sick drinks a lot of fluids, rests and eats in their room. Over-the-counter medicines for fever may help the person feel better.
The person who is sick should wear a mask when they are around other people at home. Caregivers can help with grocery shopping, filling prescriptions, taking care of pets and getting other items they may need. They should help the person who is sick and encourage them to follow their doctor’s instructions for care and medicine. There should be limited contact between the person who is sick, their caregiver and their pets.
For most people, symptoms last a few days, and people usually feel better after a week.
If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
• Trouble breathing
• Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
• New confusion
• Inability to wake or stay awake or bluish lips or face
Currently two vaccines, Pfizer, and Moderna, are authorized and available for vaccination to prevent COVID-19.
“The vaccine is going to be the way that we are going to be most likely to go to what we call normal,” Figueroa-Castro said. “We want people to have the vaccine because we want to decrease the chances of a serious case of COVID-19. The vaccine is very effective.”
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have an effectiveness between 94-95%. The shot is roughly 50% effective after the first dose, that’s why two shots are recommended.
The CDC recommends individuals wear a mask, stay at least six feet apart, avoid crowds and wash hands often. The more steps you take, the more you are protected against COVID-19.