What Happens When You Are Quarantined and What’s the Difference Between Isolation and Quarantine?
Governments use quarantines to stop the spread of contagious diseases. Quarantines are for people or groups who don’t have symptoms but were exposed to the sickness. A quarantine keeps them away from others so they don’t unknowingly infect anyone. Quarantines may be used during:
Outbreaks: When there’s a sudden rise in the number of cases of a disease.
Epidemics: Similar to outbreaks, but generally considered larger and more widespread.
Pandemics: Larger than epidemics, generally global in nature and affect more people.
While isolation serves the same purpose as quarantine, it’s reserved for those who are already sick. It keeps infected people away from healthy people to prevent the sickness from spreading. While not all quarantines are the same, look to the CDC for how best to do your part. Currently, the CDC recommends:
Make it a staycation: Avoid leaving the house unless absolutely necessary. That means no work, school or church and saying no to your cousin’s bat mitzvah.
Call ahead: While your local or state health department will most likely keep tabs on your health, you may need to see your doctor, too. “First, try a virtual visit. Or at least, call ahead first, so that the medical facility can take steps to prevent others from getting infected,” says Dr. Gordon.
Worried about Fido? At this time, the CDC says there’s no evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19. But it may still be good to still use caution. If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, avoid “petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked and sharing food [during a coronavirus quarantine],” recommends the CDC.
Have your own stuff: Don’t swap unwashed “dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels or bedding with other people or pets in your home,” says the CDC.
Wash, rinse, repeat: “Hygiene is an integral part of this, even at home. Handwashing should be your first line of defense when under quarantine,” relates Dr. Gordon. “And don’t forget to cough or sneeze into your elbows or a tissue that you then throw away.” Being cooped up inside may seem unbearable. But the time WILL pass, and your forced staycation may save lives.