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Care of individuals with COVID-19 is 2-fold: support the patient and prevent yourself and others from contracting SARS-CoV-2.
What Is Supportive Care?
At this time, there is no cure for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), although some treatments are being used in severe illness. For patients recovering at home, treatment is mainly supportive. For people with mild symptoms, this means staying well rested, drinking plenty of fluids, and monitoring symptoms. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever or chills, cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, runny nose or congestion, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. Some people have more severe symptoms that require hospitalization.
What Is Preventive Care?
You can be infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) while taking care of someone with COVID-19. Although there is not yet a vaccine to prevent COVID-19, infection is preventable. The most important steps to prevent spread are wearing a mask, maintaining social distance whenever possible, washing hands often, and cleaning and sanitizing the home.
Caring for someone sick (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC])www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/care-for-someone.html
Clinical care guidance (CDC)www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/clinical-guidance-management-patients.html
Ride share guidance (CDC)www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/rideshare-drivers-for-hire.html
Home care for patients (World Health Organization)www.who.int/publications/i/item/home-care-for-patients-with-suspected-novel-coronavirus-(ncov)-infection-presenting-with-mild-symptoms-and-management-of-contacts
Caring for caregivers (American Medical Association)www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/caring-our-caregivers-during-covid-19
JAMA COVID-19 information pagejamanetwork.com/journals/jama/pages/coronavirus-alert
Published Online: August 13, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.15061
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.
Sources: Steinman MA, Perry L, Perissinotto CM. Meeting the care needs of older adults isolated at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. JAMA Intern Med. 2020;180(6):819-820. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.1661
Wolff JL, Freedman VA, Mulcahy JF. Family caregivers’ experiences with health care workers in the care of older adults with activity limitations. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(1):e1919866. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.19866
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Mortenson LY, Malani PN, Ernst RD. Caring for Someone With COVID-19. JAMA. 2020;324(10):1016. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.15061
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