Hi there,
This is Dr. Kebba Jobarteh. CEO of Antara Health.

If it turns out that you have been exposed to Coronavirus and have to self-isolate for 2 weeks, here are some tips on how to do that safely and effectively.

If you live alone, then just skip to the next section.

Common Living Space

If you live with other people, identify a space in your home, that is as separate from the common living quarters as possible, that is yours. If you can claim a room, great. If there is not a room to claim, then identify a space that is yours. I know it is hard, but try, as much as possible, to limit the amount of back and forth between that space and other spaces.

If you have more than 1 bathroom, claim one as your own and make sure no one else uses it. 

Ask others to cook in the home. If you are the regular cook in the home, this is your opportunity to take a break. Alternatively, you can ask friends to deliver food or use food delivery services if that is an option.

Sleep alone. This might be difficult, but you don't want to be coughing all over your loved ones and putting them at risk. If you must, be creative about creating barriers between yourself and your loved ones.

If you have elderly people living with you in your home, please try to find an alternative living arrangement for the duration of your self-isolation. It is important to keep your elderly loved ones as protected as possible.

Try to keep at least 1 metres (1.5 steps) from other people in your home and make sure they are frequently washing or sanitizing their hands.

Keep the windows open to improve circulation.

Hand Washing and Hygiene

  • The first thing anyone who walks in to the house should do is wash their hands or sanitize.
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Click this link for a detailed explanation of proper hand washing technique.
  • You can also use hand sanitizer (@least 60% alcohol content). Just remember to let it dry for at least 10 seconds before resuming with your activities.
  • Regularly disinfect frequently touched surfaces. These include doorknobs, countertops, tabletops, chairs and anything at all that you spend time touching. It also include computers, TV remotes, mobile phones, tablets and wallets. 
  • Disinfecting is easy. Just add 1 part of bleach to 9 parts of water, mix and clean away!
  • Don't touch your face and be vigilant about others in your household touching their faces. 

The Isolation Part

  • Isolation really does mean isolation. The idea is to stay away from other people in order to avoid infecting them in case you have become infected. The reason isolation is supposed to last 14 days is that it can take up to that long to manifest symptoms. The good news is that if you have not manifested symptoms after 14 days, it is highly unlikely that you are infected!
  • Avoid visitors to your home. If this is not possible, then wear a mask to protect those visitors from possible infection.
  • Isolation does not mean you can not go outside. You can, just do so by yourself and make sure you are at a safe distance from others. It is important to get fresh air and clear your head a few times per day.
  • If possible, ask others to shop for you. Avoid any non-essential appointments and re-arrange your schedule so that any in-person visits that must take place, take place after the 14 days are over.

Other Tips

  • Drink plenty of water and eat as healthily as possible.
  • Social distancing does not mean emotional distancing; use technology to connect widely.
  • Develop clear routines and schedule, 7 days a week, at home — don’t go overboard.
  • Maintain exercise and physical activity, daily if possible.
  • Engage in learning and intellectual engagement — books, reading, limited internet unless that is where you are doing you're learning and reading.
  • Focus on positive family time — it’s important to counter negativity. This might be the first time you and your family have had such concentrated time together. Enjoy it!
  • Take some time to reflect and think. If that means meditating, great, if it means vegetating, great. Just be deliberate about making that part of your day
  • Get back to your reading list or other things you really enjoy doing that you never have time for: Think of what you can do in this situation, and find a way to do it!
  • Limit exposure to television and internet news; choose small windows of time and then find ways to cleanse yourself of any resulting negative feelings or stress

If you are an Antara Member Contact your Health Navigator If:

  • You feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • Your condition gets worse
  • Any difficulty breathing develops
  • Confusion, inability to communicate properly, or any new symptoms

If you are NOT an Antara Member call the emergency hotline if:

  • You feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • Your condition gets worse
  • Any difficulty breathing develops
  • Confusion, inability to communicate properly, or any new symptoms
  • Your symptoms do not start to improve after 7 days

EMERGENCY HOTLINE NUMBERS

+254 729 471 414

+254 732 353 535

TOLL FREE at 0800 721 316

Remember: 

  • Things will get better eventually, and go back to normal; the world is NOT collapsing (don’t go “catastrophic”).
  • Most people are good, and people are going to persevere and help each other
  • You’re tough; you’ve overcome challenges before — this is a new one
  • This is a particularly strange and unprecedented situation; a little humor can help
  • If you’re having obsessive or compulsive thoughts related to the virus or the broader uncertainty, wash your hands ONCE.  Then remind yourself that anxiety is normal in this scenario. But remember that the mind also can also play tricks on us. So try to breathe and move the internal discussion on to something better. 
  • Live in the moment — think about today, less about the next three days, even less about next week. And limit thinking about the next few months or years, for the time being.
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