What is self-quarantine? How and when should you?

In this time of the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing, the term ‘self-quarantine’ has been used widely to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes self-quarantining as staying at home and avoiding contact with other people and animals as an effort to stem the spread of the virus.

Specific to the COVID-19 pandemic, 14 days is a typical self-quarantine duration.

How to properly self-quarantine

Those in self-quarantine must stay inside their home and avoid all contact with others, while also avoiding:

  • Going to work
  • Taking public transportation
  • Running errands
  • Allowing visitors inside
  • Sharing household items with other people in the home

As much as it’s possible, stay in a room separate from everyone else in the house, while also using a separate bathroom. Also avoid interaction with pets.

While in self-quarantine, continue to:

  • Cover all sneezes and coughs
  • Wash hands often
  • Disinfect all high-touch surfaces frequently

Continue to monitor symptoms while in self-quarantine. In a recent interview, McLaren Macomb director of emergency medicine Dr. James Larkin said those in self-quarantine can control their fever with Tylenol or Motrin.

Should symptoms get worse, such as it has become difficult to breathe, seek prompt medical attention. Wear a mask to avoid infecting healthcare personnel.

The effects of self-quarantine

Read more about coping with the effects of self-quarantine here.

When to self-quarantine

Those who are either instructed to self-quarantine or decide to do so on their own are those who:
  • Have been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Have been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Displaying symptoms of COVID-19
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Runny nose