If you have a family member or roommate who’s been diagnosed with coronavirus, protecting yourself while you care for them is a top priority.

The key is constant hand-washing and practical social distancing, medical professionals said.

Across the U.S., thousands of new COVID-19 cases are being identified every day. In Alabama, as of Wednesday morning there are 283 cases, most concentrated in Jefferson County.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, most people who get sick with coronavirus will have mild symptoms and can recover at home. Those who are ill should:

  • Drink plenty of fluids (water, sports drinks, electrolyte drinks, soup, tea)
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Take over-the-counter medicines to help with symptoms

Dr. Richard Friend, dean of the University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences, said if you’re treating someone with the illness, you’ll want to:

  • Keep them in a separate part of the house from the rest of the family so no one else is exposed
  • Wash hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds
  • Disinfect regularly used surfaces like countertops and door knobs daily
  • Wash laundry thoroughly
  • Avoid having visitors
  • If you have access to a health mask, make sure the person who is ill wears one when someone who is not ill is in the same room

Monitor the ill for signs their condition is worsening, and consult a doctor if their condition does not improve. Problematic symptoms include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • Confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face
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