At a time when COVID-19, the diseases caused by coronavirus, has been creating havoc all over the world, quarantine has become a much-talked-about word. Quarantine helps to slow the spread of infectious diseases across a population. Quarantining yourself at home means staying at home and avoiding contact with others if you have developed, or been exposed to COVID-19 until the infectious period of the illness is over, or until you know that you have not contracted an illness to which you have been exposed. Some of the ways to cope with such situation are listed below, but you must consult a doctor for more disease-specific details.
You will find it easier to cope with quarantine if you are prepared for its possibility. Try to have a two-week supply of non-perishable food items in the pantry. Stock long-life alternatives to perishable food items, such as powdered and UHT milk, tinned fruit and frozen vegetables. Have a supply of disposable tissues, antibacterial wipes and latex gloves. Check that your first aid kit includes a thermometer. Make sure you have enough of any prescribed and non-prescribed medication you need to last a couple of weeks. Talk with friends and relatives who do not live with you about supporting each other if one household has to be quarantined. For example, agree to drop groceries or other supplies at the front door.
Family quarantine at home
If a family member has an infection and everyone in the household is quarantined, all family members should stay home. Only one adult should look after the sick person. It is best if the caregiver is not pregnant because a pregnant woman is at an increased risk of complications from many infections. Try to keep the sick person in closed-door bedroom and away from other members of the household. If the sick person needs to share a common area with other people, they should try to stay one metre or more from other people to reduce the spread of illness, and wear a facemask. Keep the sick person’s items separate from everyone else’s. Use facemasks to reduce the risk of infection. Make sure the sick person gets plenty of rest, drinks plenty of water and maintains a healthy diet.
Being under quarantine can be frightening, particularly for young children. So, find out everything you can about the infection from reliable sources. Talk to the other members of the family about the infection. Understanding the illness will reduce anxiety. Reassure young children using age-appropriate language. Keep up a normal daily routine as much as possible. Maintain a positive attitude. Think about how you have coped with difficult situations in the past and reassure yourself that you will cope with this situation too. Remember that quarantine would not last for long. Keep in touch with family members and friends via telephone, email or social media.
Being confined to home for an extended period of time can cause boredom, stress and conflict. Take everyone’s needs into account as much as possible when you plan activities. Remember, you do not have to spend every moment of quarantine together. Make sure everyone gets the opportunity to spend some time alone. Plan ‘time out’ from each other. Do not rely too heavily on the television and technology. Treat quarantine as an opportunity to do some of those things you never usually have time for, such as board games, craft, drawing and reading. Accept that conflict and arguments may occur. Try to resolve issues quickly.