How do you live with a vulnerable person?
Text updated on 2020-05-03
In order to protect a vulnerable person with whom one lives, several measures can be useful, to be adapted according to the possibilities and the size of the dwelling.
To enter the dwelling, everyone must wash their hands for 20 seconds. If people entering the dwelling are returning from a professional place where they have interacted with many people, it is also preferable to take a shower. Leave your shoes in the entrance.
To interact with the vulnerable person, keep a distance of 1.5 m - 3 m. Wash hands before direct contact with the vulnerable person. Wear a mask when talking in the same room as the vulnerable person. Try to have an open window to provide fresh air if you are in the presence of the person for more than 10 minutes. Replace the mask immediately if it is contaminated. Wash your hands after removing the mask. Do not raise your voice in order to avoid more moisture release from your mouth, turn your head to cough or sneeze.
For sleep, provide a well-ventilated single room for the vulnerable person and ventilate this space by opening the windows for 30 minutes in the morning, at noon, and in the evening.
For bathing, the vulnerable person should wash his or her teeth and body ideally in a different bathroom from others in the home, or alternatively, thoroughly clean the bathroom, toilet, and sink before each use by the vulnerable person. If possible, dedicate one garbage can with a closed bag for the vulnerable person and another for others.
- Everyone should wash their hands before eating, after going to the bathroom, and when the hands appear dirty. After washing hands with soap and water, it is best to use disposable paper towels to dry hands. If none are available, wipe them with a clean, dry cloth towel and replace it when wet.
- Avoid direct contact of the vulnerable person with objects potentially contaminated by others, such as toothbrushes, dishes, food, drinks, towels, bath towels, bed sheets, etc.
- Use regular household disinfectants containing diluted bleach (sodium hypochlorite) to regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched objects, such as bedside tables, bed frames, and furniture from another bedroom.
- Clean and disinfect bathroom and toilet surfaces before the vulnerable person uses it and at least once a day.
- Use ordinary detergent and water to wash the vulnerable person's clothes, bed sheets, towels, etc., or wash them in a washing machine at 60-90ºC with ordinary detergent and then dry them completely.
- Put other people's sheets in laundry bags. Do not shake clothing from outside that may be contaminated to avoid direct contact with the skin and clothing you are wearing.
In general, avoid the vulnerable person from cleaning surfaces and washing potentially contaminated clothing themselves.
- Wash hands before and after food preparation,
- The vulnerable person's food should be prepared by him or herself or, if prepared by someone else, cooked or fried to avoid the risk of transmission.
- The vulnerable person must eat at a distance of 2 m from others, and without facing another person.
- Paper towels are preferable to cloth towels, but if you use them, make sure that the vulnerable person's towel is kept isolated from others and protected from any risk of contamination.
- Wash dishes with detergent.
- Use gloves when removing garbage bags, and when handling and disposing of waste. Then wash your hands.
- Prevent the vulnerable person from taking out the rubbish or shopping. If you are taking groceries home for the vulnerable person, wash them with detergent before taking them into the home or placing them into the fridge or freezer.
- Door handles, fridge handles, stair railings, computer keyboards, piano keys, switches, TV remote control, keys are all objects that can be manipulated by many people and, thus, carry the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
- Disinfect and discard masks used to cover the nose and mouth, or wash them properly after use (for example, wash tissues with soap or detergent and water for at least 5 minutes).
It is not advisable for a vulnerable person to take care of children, especially if they have contact with other people. Children typically have weaker symptoms than adults, but they can catch and spread the virus. It is also more difficult for children to follow barrier gestures.
The epidemiological study in China of 105 cases of COVID-19 and their close contacts revealed that secondary transmission of SARS-CoV-2 occurred in 64 of 392 household contacts (16.3%). The secondary attack rate in children was 4% compared to 17.1% in adults. The secondary attack rate among household contacts with self-quarantined reference patients since symptom onset was 0%, compared to 16.9% among contacts without quarantined reference patients. The secondary attack rate for contacts who were spouses of index cases was 27.8%, compared with 17.3% for other adult household members.Li, W., Zhang, B., Lu, J., Liu, S., Chang, Z., Cao, P., ... & Chen, J. (2020). The characteristics of household transmission of COVID-19. Clinical Infectious Diseases.
In Shenzhen, according to an epidemiological study of 391 cases of COVID-19, the percentage of household contacts (those sharing an apartment, room, or bed) who were later confirmed to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 was estimated at 15%.Bi, Q., Wu, Y., Mei, S., Ye, C., Zou, X., Zhang, Z., Liu, X., Wei, L., Truelove, S. A., Zhang, T., Gao, W., Cheng, C., Tang, X., Wu, X., Wu, Y., Sun, B., Huang, S., Sun, Y., Zhang, J., Ma, T., ... Feng, T. (2020). Epidemiology and transmission of COVID-19 in 391 cases and 1286 of their close contacts in Shenzhen, China: a retrospective cohort study. The Lancet. Infectious diseases, S1473-3099(20)30287-5. Advance online publication.
Near a patient COVID-19 in Singapore who had a cough and a mild form of the disease, the SARS-CoV-2 virus was found in significant quantities on the following items: stethoscope, toilet bowl, light switches, bed edge, chair, door handle, sink, window.Ong, S. W. X., Tan, Y. K., Chia, P. Y., Lee, T. H., Ng, O. T., Wong, M. S. Y., & Marimuthu, K. (2020). Air, surface environmental, and personal protective equipment contamination by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) from a symptomatic patient. Jama.
In a hospital in China, SARS-CoV-2 was found in significant quantities on shoe soles and on the floor. It is not known whether these viral particles were infectious. It is advisable to leave your shoes at the entrance to your home.Guo, Z. D., Wang, Z. Y., Zhang, S. F., Li, X., Li, L., Li, C., ... & Zhang, M. Y. (2020). Aerosol and surface distribution of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in hospital wards, Wuhan, China, 2020. Emerging infectious diseases, 26(7).