Project Description

COVID-19: Caring for a sick person at home

Caring for a sick person at home

Many people with COVID-19 have a mild illness, like a cold or flu, with some of these signs: fever, chills, dry cough, tiredness and weakness, not wanting to eat, muscle or joint pain, sore throat, stuffy nose or headache. Sometimes there is diarrhea or vomiting.

Unless danger signs develop, rest, fluids and care at home are all that the person needs. Usually with coronavirus, signs of illness begin 3 to 5 days after infection, and serious problems may appear after 2 to 7 days of milder illness. The illness may last for 2 or 3 weeks. It may take longer to get all your energy back.

To care at home for someone who may have coronavirus, the main things needed are rest and sleep, drinking a lot of water, teas and broth to loosen congestion and avoid dehydration, and paracetamol or aspirin to lower fever. If the person can eat, give simple, healthy foods. Antibiotics will not cure coronavirus because they work against bacteria, not viruses. Keep the person separate from the rest of the family as much as possible, to prevent the virus from spreading.

Anyone with danger signs should go to a health facility for emergency help. People with greater risk – adults over 55, anyone with heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes or cancer – should speak with a health worker, perhaps by phone; they may need testing and treatment if they develop a dry cough, mild chest pain or early signs that breathing is more difficult. The worst danger of COVID-19 is severe pneumonia, which can turn into Acute Respiratory Distress — not being able to breathe — which can cause death. Always call your doctor, health authority, or the hospital before going for care. They can tell you how to go safely and avoid being infected by others or infecting them.

Download the full guide below:

English guide
French guide
Spanish guide