Corona virus & Quarentine : why should it be done??
Even if you’re doing everything right, like washing your hands and practicing social distancing, you may still find yourself in a situation where you’re concerned you’ve been exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19).
You don’t feel sick or have symptoms, but maybe you work in the same office as someone who is a confirmed COVID-19 case, attended a party or large gathering where someone was later confirmed to be positive for COVID-19 or traveled in an airplane seated next to someone who was coughing. Understandably, you’re concerned.
An epidemic is a good time to be on high alert, but self-quarantining is only necessary if you’re reasonably suspicious that you’re infected with the virus. Public health officials can help you decide what you should do.
Since it can be disruptive to your personal and professional life, the decision to self-quarantine isn’t one to make without knowing the facts. Here’s what you need to know about who should self-quarantine and how to do it right.
Who should self-quarantine
Right now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends self-quarantining only if you have a high or medium risk of exposure to the new coronavirus.
You’re at high risk of exposure to COVID-19 if you:
- Live with, are intimate with or care for someone who has symptomatic COVID-19 and you haven’t followed the recommended precautionary steps to prevent transmission of the virus
You’re at medium risk of exposure to the new coronavirus if you:
- Have traveled from a country with widespread or ongoing community spread
- Travel on a cruise ship
- Have come into close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 and is symptomatic (close contact means two seats in either direction on an airplane)
- Live with, are intimate with or care for someone who has symptomatic COVID-19 and you have consistently followed the recommended precautionary steps to prevent transmission of the virus
If you’re healthy, don’t have any symptoms and don’t fall into one of the risk categories above, you don’t need to self-quarantine — but you should continue to practice social distancing and monitor yourself for signs and symptoms, like fever and cough.
How to self-quarantine
Based on what’s currently known about how long symptoms last, the recommended length of quarantine is 14 days. The goal is to prevent potentially spreading the virus by separating yourself from other people long enough to determine whether or not you’re infected and showing symptoms.
The CDC recommends taking the following steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
Don’t leave your house unless absolutely necessary
You’ll need to restrict your activities outside of your home, including going to school, work, public areas or using public transportation. Only leave the house if you need to see your doctor and you have called ahead to discuss and plan your appointment.
Separate yourself from the people and pets you share your home with
If possible, stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom. While there are no reports of transmission of the new coronavirus to pets, it’s recommended that you limit contact with animals until more is known about the virus.
Wash your hands often
Practicing proper hand hygiene can help prevent the spread of the virus. Wash your hands after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing. In addition, avoid touching your face.
Don’t share your stuff
Avoid sharing the following items with people or animals in your home:
- Dishes, drinking glasses and utensils
- Towels, including hand towels in the kitchen and bathroom
Disinfect commonly touched surfaces every day
Early evidence shows that the new coronavirus can live on surfaces — for hours or even days in some cases.
At least once per day, be sure to clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces around your home, including:
- Bathroom fixtures
- Door knobs
Monitor your symptoms
Twice a day, take your temperature to check for a fever. Also, take note if you’re beginning to cough or experiencing shortness of breath.
You may or may not experience COVID-19 symptoms (coughing, fever and shortness of breath) during your quarantine. If you do begin experiencing symptoms:
- Wear a mask when you’re around people or using common spaces in your home
- Cover your coughs and sneezes and immediately wash your hands afterward
- Contact your health care provider or use telemedicine to seek guidance from home
Use telemedicine or call ahead before seeing your doctor
If you begin experiencing symptoms and/or need medical advice from a health care provider, consider trying telemedicine first. If you need to go to your doctor’s office, let your care team know ahead of time that you may have COVID-19. This will help the team take the precautionary steps needed to protect other people from being exposed to the virus.
By carefully following these tips, along with guidance from the CDC and public health officials, you can help slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect your friends and loved ones, as well as those most at risk of severe infection.
Concerned you may have COVID-19?
- If you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you can speak to a Virtual Urgent Care provider 24/7. The provider will be able to help you determine if testing is needed and advise you on what to do next.
What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?
Isolation and quarantine are public health practices used to protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease.
- Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
- Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. These people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms.
History of Quarantine
On This Page
The Middle Ages
The practice of quarantine, as we know it, began during the 14th century in an effort to protect coastal cities from plague epidemics. Ships arriving in Venice from infected ports were required to sit at anchor for 40 days before landing. This practice, called quarantine, was derived from the Italian words quaranta giorni which mean 40 days.
Early American Quarantine
When the United States was first established, little was done to prevent the importation of infectious diseases. Protection against imported diseases fell under local and state jurisdiction. Individual municipalities enacted a variety of quarantine regulations for arriving vessels.
State and local governments made sporadic attempts to impose quarantine requirements. Continued outbreaks of yellow fever finally prompted Congress to pass federal quarantine legislation in 1878. This legislation, while not conflicting with states’ rights, paved the way for federal involvement in quarantine activities.
U.S. Public Health Service Officers, like those shown in this image taken circa 1912, wore uniforms while performing quarantine station duties beginning in the late 19th Century. Photo courtesy of the National Library of Medicine.
Late 19th Century
Outbreaks of cholera from passenger ships arriving from Europe prompted a reinterpretation of the law in 1892 to provide the federal government more authority in imposing quarantine requirements. The following year, Congress passed legislation that further clarified the federal role in quarantine activities. As local authorities came to realize the benefits of federal involvement, local quarantine stations were gradually turned over to the U.S. government. Additional federal facilities were built and the number of staff was increased to provide better coverage. The quarantine system was fully nationalized by 1921 when administration of the last quarantine station was transferred to the U.S. government.
Public Health Service Act
The Public Health Service ActExternalexternal icon of 1944 clearly established the federal government’s quarantine authority for the first time. The act gave the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) responsibility for preventing the introduction, transmission, and spread of communicable diseases from foreign countries into the United States.
Reorganization and Expansion
This PHS cutter ship was used to transport quarantine inspectors to board ships flying the yellow quarantine flag. The flag was flown until quarantine and customs personnel inspected and cleared the ship to dock at the port.
Originally part of the Treasury Department, Quarantine and PHS, its parent organization, became part of the Federal Security Agency in 1939. In 1953, PHS and Quarantine joined the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW). Quarantine was then transferred to the agency now known as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1967. CDC remained part of HEW until 1980 when the department was reorganized into the Department of Health and Human Services.
When CDC assumed responsibility for Quarantine, it was a large organization with 55 quarantine stations and more than 500 staff members. Quarantine stations were located at every port, international airport, and major border crossing.
From Inspection to Intervention
After evaluating the quarantine program and its role in preventing disease transmission, CDC trimmed the program in the 1970s and changed its focus from routine inspection to program management and intervention. The new focus included an enhanced surveillance system to monitor the onset of epidemics abroad and a modernized inspection process to meet the changing needs of international traffic.
By 1995, all U.S. ports of entry were covered by only seven quarantine stations. A station was added in 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia, just before the city hosted the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. Following the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic of 2003, CDC reorganized the quarantine station system, expanding to 18 stations with more than 90 field employees.
The Division of Global Migration and Quarantine is part of CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases and is headquartered in Atlanta. Quarantine stations are located in Anchorage, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, El Paso, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Newark, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. (see contact lists and map).
Under its delegated authority, the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine is empowered to detain, medically examine, or conditionally release individuals and wildlife suspected of carrying a communicable diseases.
Signs like this one, for the El Paso Quarantine Station, identify the Quarantine Station facilities located in airports and at land border crossings.
The list of quarantinable diseases is contained in an Executive Order of the PresidentExternalexternal icon and includes cholera, diphtheria, infectious tuberculosis, plague, smallpox, yellow fever, viral hemorrhagic fevers(such as Marburg, Ebola, and Congo-Crimean), and severe acute respiratory syndromes.
Many other illnesses of public health signficance, such as measles, mumps, rubella, and chicken pox, are not contained in the list of quarantinable illnesses, but continue to pose a health risk to the public. Quarantine Station personnel respond to reports of ill travelers aboard airplanes, ships, and at land border crossings to make an assessment of the public health risk and initiate an appropriate response.
Staying at home can make us lazy and make us prey of different non communicable disease and we have to do regular home-based exercises.
Examples of home-based exercises
To support individuals in staying physically active while at home, WHO/Europe has prepared a set of examples of home-based exercises.
Knee to elbow
Touch one knee with the opposite elbow, alternating sides. Find your own pace. Try to perform this for 1–2 minutes, rest for 30–60 seconds, and repeat up to 5 times. This exercise should increase your heart and breathing rates.
Support your forearms firmly on the ground, with the elbows under the shoulders. Keep the hips at the level of the head. Hold for 20–30 seconds (or more, if possible), rest for 30–60 seconds, and repeat up to 5 times. This exercise strengthens your belly, arms and legs.
Touch your ears with your fingertips and lift your upper body, keeping the legs on the ground. Lower the upper body again. Perform this exercise 10–15 times (or more), rest for 30–60 seconds, and repeat up to 5 times. This exercise strengthens your back muscles.
Place your feet at hip distance with the toes pointing slightly outwards. Bend the knees as much as feels comfortable, keeping the heels on the ground and the knees over (not in front of) the feet. Bend and stretch the legs. Perform this exercise 10–15 times (or more), rest for 30–60 seconds, and repeat up to 5 times. This exercise strengthens your legs and glutes.
Side knee lifts
Touch your knee with your elbow, lifting the knee to the side, alternating sides. Find your own pace. Try to perform this for 1–2 minutes, rest for 30–60 seconds, and repeat up to 5 times. This exercise should increase your heart and breathing rates.
Place your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Lift one arm forward and the opposite leg back, alternating sides. Perform this exercise 20–30 times (or more), rest for 30–60 seconds, and repeat up to 5 times. This exercise strengthens your belly, glutes and back muscles.
Plant your feet firmly on the ground with the knees over the heels. Lift the hips as much as it feels comfortable and slowly lower them again. Perform this exercise 10–15 times (or more), rest for 30–60 seconds, and repeat up to 5 times. This exercise strengthens your glutes.
Hold onto the seat of a chair, with your feet about half a meter away from the chair. Bend your arms as you lower your hips to the ground, then straighten the arms. Perform this exercise 10–15 times (or more), rest for 30–60 seconds, and repeat up to 5 times. This exercise strengthens your triceps.
Interlace your fingers behind your back. Stretch your arms and open your chest forward. Hold this position for 20–30 seconds (or more). This position stretches your chest and shoulders.
With the knees on the ground, bring your hips to your heels. Rest your belly on your thighs and actively stretch your arms forward. Breathe normally. Hold this position for 20–30 seconds (or more). This position stretches your back, shoulders and sides of the body.
Sit comfortably on the floor with your legs crossed (alternatively, sit on a chair). Make sure your back is straight. Close your eyes, relax your body and progressively deepen your breathing. Concentrate on your breath, trying not to focus on any thoughts or concerns. Remain in this position for 5–10 minutes or more, to relax and clear your mind.
Legs up the wall
Bring your hips close (5–10 cm) to the wall and let your legs rest. Close your eyes, relax your body and progressively deepen your breathing. Concentrate on your breath, trying not to focus on any thought or concern. Rest in this pose for up to 5 minutes. This position is meant to be comfortable, relaxing and de-stressing.