If Your Apartment Roommate Has Coronavirus Symptoms, Here's What a Doctor Says to Do

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If a housemate has a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) or is showing symptoms, your living situation can get serious and stressful quickly. The virus spreads most easily in shared spaces, so it’s important to be vigilant and take the right precautions to protect yourself while you care for your housemate.

How to Manage a Coronavirus Case in Your Household

The Centers For Disease Control recommends the following measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within homes:

Here’s the full list of CDC guidelines on taking care of a housemate with the coronavirus, and the currently approved ways to treat the coronavirus.

Related: You Can Still Go Outside While Social Distancing, but You’ll Need to Take Some Precautions

How Can I Manage a Coronavirus Case in a Small Apartment?

When you live in a small apartment, things can be more difficult. You may be sharing a bedroom, a small kitchen, a bathroom, and other close spaces with one or multiple housemates. The closer you are together, the harder it can be to keep away from each other and stop the virus from spreading. But according to Aruna Subramanian, MD, an infectious disease doctor and clinical medical professor at Stanford University, there are still steps you can and should take to protect yourself in a small apartment.

  • Self-isolate as much as possible. “They should try to stay in their room as much as possible,” Dr. Subramanian said. That may mean shifting sleeping arrangements or designating a different area of your apartment to your housemate. Stay at least six feet away from them as much as possible, and if their area has a door, keep it closed.
  • Have them wear a mask. This is especially important if your housemate is around other people (for example, if you’re bringing them meals). You and any other housemates should also wear a mask when you interact with them. “This is to prevent transmission to other people,” Dr. Subramanian told POPSUGAR.
  • Wipe down the bathroom and other shared areas after use by your housemate. Dr. Subramanian recommended wiping down the bathroom doorknobs and the toilet handle after your roommate uses the restroom. You should aim to disinfect any surface they may have touched, including the faucet, countertops, and medicine cabinet. Keep disinfecting wipes in the bathroom and be as thorough as possible.
  • Follow the CDC’s best practices for sharing space with an infected housemate. If you take care of yourself and closely adhere to the recommended precautions, you stand the best chance of staying healthy while caring for your housemate.

POPSUGAR aims to give you the most accurate and up-to-date information about the coronavirus, but details and recommendations about this pandemic may have changed since publication. For the latest information on COVID-19, please check out resources from the WHO, CDC, and local public health departments.

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