How to NOT infect your family?
Many health care workers are exposed to Covid daily. We all fear not only contract Covid but to infect vulnerable family members at home too. How do you protect your family while having to work with Covid patients every day?
While all precautions are taking in hospitals to protect health care workers by them wearing PPE, it is necessary to create a transition space between work and home – one doctor calls it ”firewalls”:
CONTAMINATION ZONE (Hospital, clinic, ambulance)
CLEAN ZONE (Home)
When you go to work:
- Use a bag that can be wiped down or washed every day or a disposable bag.
- Pack only essentials to take with you – a pen, scissors, stethoscope, cell phone, mask & visor (especially if you make use of public transport)
- Take food in disposable containers if you can.
- Take with you a disposable bag that contains a set of clean clothes and shoes.
- Don’t wear a watch, rings or jewellery.
- Remember every item you take to work, can come back with a virus on it. Minimize what you take.
- Wear appropriate PPE to protect yourself against Covid.
- Practice handwashing – especially before you eat or drink anything at work.
- Practice physical distancing as much as you can.
Before you return home:
- If possible, take off your uniform at work and put on your set of clean clothes and shoes. Put the uniform and your hospital shoes in the bag and tie the bag. Could you put it in the trunk of your car?
- Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser after removing work clothes and before touching clean clothes.
- Disinfect your cell phone, pens, scissors, name tags, eyewear and other work supplies. If you cant does it at work, put it in a plastic bag to disinfect at home.
- Leave what you can at work – in hospitals, there are designated containers to dispose of PPE.
- Handle possibly contaminated items with care.
When you arrive home:
- Never go inside your home with your hospital shoes. Leave them outside or in your garage. If possible, disinfect them by spraying them with a chloride solution, wipe them with alcohol or wash them with soap in warm water (Crocs™). Make sure to clean the top and bottom.
- If you weren’t able to change your working clothes at work, change in an isolated location (garage or laundry room)
- Put your dirty clothes in the washer when you get home and wash with detergent. If you can use hot water, do so. The heat of a tumble dryer will also kill the virus.
- Make sure not to shake the dirty clothes bag. Dispose of it or if it is a washable bag, wash it with the clothing. Use detergent because it kills the virus very quickly.
- Make sure you don’t touch your face. Disinfect your hands by washing them. Disinfect all surfaces in your laundry.
- If you don’t have access to a washing machine and have to wash by hand, keep clothes in the sealed bag till you have time to handwash. If you can, keep the bag separated from your house.
- Take a bath or shower immediately and dress in clean clothes before interacting with your family.
Monitor your health
Take your temperature twice per day.
Notify your health department should you develop any symptoms of Covid:
- Temperature above 38 C° that doesn’t come down if you take Panado tablets.
- Diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting
- Severe headaches
- Body aches and muscle fatigue
- Sore throat
Disinfect your home regularly
Clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces in your home daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, toilets, baths, showers, washbasins, and electronics.