The top priorities when you have a contagious disease are getting help for yourself and preventing the spread of the illness to other people.

If you have contracted the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), or think you have, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide the following guidelines to protect your loved ones and your community.*

What should I do to help keep my loved ones safe?

While in your home, you can take the following steps to protect your family and friends from possible exposure:

  • Stay in a separate room, away from your family members and pets, and use a separate bathroom if possible.
  • Wear a facemask if you are able.
  • Cover your face with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Wash your hands frequently, using proper cleansing technique (scrubbing hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, washing between fingers and under nails, before rinsing under running water).
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Don’t share dishes, cups, eating utensils, towels, or linens with others.
  • Disinfect high-traffic surfaces such as doorknobs, switches, toilets, and keyboards.

How can I protect others in my community?

The simplest measures you can take to reduce the risk of spreading the virus in your community include:

  • Stay home unless it’s to receive medical care.
  • Call your doctor before seeking treatment to inform them of your exposure and symptoms. You’ll receive instructions on how to get medical help without exposing others to the virus.
  • If you have to go outside, avoid stores, crowds, public transportation, taxis, or any other spaces where you might come into contact with other people.
  • Take note of your symptoms and any changes so you can inform your healthcare provider.
  • If you have to call 911 for any reason, let the dispatcher know that you may have COVID-19.

The CDC says that ending your home isolation should be done in consultation with your doctor and local health departments.

Gregory Cosgrove, MD, the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation’s Chief Medical Officer, underscores the importance of proper care with COVID-19 for people with chronic lung disease:

“The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation medical team is actively monitoring the evolving outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus to evaluate the potential health implications for the pulmonary fibrosis (PF) community in the USA.”

For more details, visit the CDC’s COVID-19 information site.

*US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020, February 21). What to do if you are sick with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) [Fact Sheet].