HAP Resource Center

Caring for Yourself or Others at Home after being Diagnosed with COVID-19

Caring for yourself

  1. Stay home and away from public places, public transportation, ride sharing, or taxis
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  3. Follow care instructions from your health care provider and local health department
  4. Pay close attention to your symptoms. If your symptoms get worse, call your health care provider immediately
  5. If you have a medical appointment, call your health care provider’s office and tell them you have/may have COVID-19
  6. Wear a cloth face covering if you must be around other people or animals/pets. If you can’t wear a cloth face covering, try to stay six feet away from other people
  7. Get rest and drink plenty of fluids unless restricted by your doctor
  8. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (sing the Happy Birthday song two times) or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol, especially after interacting with the sick person
  9. Cover your cough and sneezes using the inside of your elbow or a tissue, not your hand.  Throw the tissue out after one use, then wash or sanitize your hands
  10. As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home.  Use a separate bedroom, bathroom, eating area, and trash can, if available
  11. If you are feeling up to it, clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in your bathroom, sick room or your designated area in the home
  12. Avoid sharing personal items with other people in your household, like electronics (such as cell phones), dishes, cups/drinking glasses, towels, and bedding
  13. Let someone else take care of your pet(s)
  14. Use trash can liners

Caregivers—please review the section above

  1. When possible, caregiver(s) should not be someone who is at high risk. Talk to your health care provider for guidance
  2. Help the person who is sick follow their health care provider’s instructions for care and medicine
  3. Make sure the person gets rest and drinks fluids unless restricted by your doctor
  4. Help with grocery shopping and filling prescriptions. Check for possible delivery services
  5. Take care of the pet(s). When possible, limit contact between the person who is sick and their pet(s)
  6. Wear gloves when:
  • ​Touching or having contact with blood, stool, body fluids (saliva, mucus, vomit, urine)
  • While handling dirty laundry
  • ​Dirty laundry from a person who is sick can be washed with other people’s items. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions using the warmest water setting, dry completely using the hottest possible temperate. Clean and disinfect clothes hampers. Wash hands after putting clothes in dryer
  1. Always wash your hands immediately after removing gloves
  2. Wear a cloth face covering when caring for the person who is sick (note: the protective effect is unknown)
  3. Use trash can liners and if possible, have a trash can that only the sick person uses
  4. Use a separate bedroom, bathroom, and place to eat whenever possible.  If this is not possible, have a separate area for the person who is sick
  5. Only clean the area around the person who is sick when needed to limit your contact with the sick person
  6. Clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched often like counters, tabletops, and doorknobs. Use household cleaning sprays or wipes according to the label instructions, keeping the surface wet for several minutes before wiping clean, wear gloves, have good air flow. If you are unsure how to clean surfaces, ask you health care provider
  7. If a bathroom is being shared, the sick person should clean and disinfect the area after each use. If this is not possible, the caregiver and household member should wait as long as possible before entering the bathroom, wear a mask and clean and disinfect the bathroom before use
  8. Make sure that shared spaces in the home have good air flow, such as by an air conditioner or an opened window, weather permitting
  9. Avoid having any unnecessary visitors

When to seek medical attention

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to wake up
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) recommendations may change, please visit the website or check with your health care provider.


Sources:  CDC’s Prevent Getting Sick, If You are Sick or Caring for Someone, Caring for Someone Sick at Home




Topics: Emergency Preparedness

Revision Date: 4/27/2020

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