How to Quarantine with Someone who is Immunocompromised

When it comes to the novel coronavirus, the entirety of our population needs to play it safe. However, there are two major groups of people who are more at risk to the illness: those who are elderly, and those with underlying medical conditions.

After returning home from college, I knew I had to do my part to ensure that my immunocompromised family member remained safe.

Here are some tips for those who share a roof with someone who is deemed at risk for the virus.

  1. 1. Wash your hands & disinfect surfaces often

    a bottle of clorox, hand sanitizers and a container of lysol wipes sit on a wooden table

    Because your situation is unique and you want to ensure maximum safeness, you should wash your hands more times a day than you think. It is also crucial to make sure that frequently touched surfaces are receiving proper methods of disinfection. We have been using the Lysol disinfectant spray, which is available in most convenient stores and online. 

  2. 2. Reduce amount of outside exposure

    Empty store shelves

    Due to the shelter-in-place order that went into effect in California on March 19, our family has abided by the strict policy to leave the house only for essential services. When we do need to leave, we avoid sending the immunocompromised person. Upon arrival home, the person who went out should follow all necessary safety precautions.

  3. 3. Be careful with items delivered

    It is essential to be overly protective regarding items delivered to the house. The New England Journal of Medicine states that the virus can be found in aerosol particles for up to three hours, cardboard surfaces for 24 hours and plastic and stainless surfaces for three days. To play it safe, you should follow these incubation periods. After opening received packages, remember to wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds.

  4. 4. Hold off interacting with friends (even if you are social-distancing)

    Kellyn Simpkin-Two Girls Walking

    The stay-at-home order has left Americans feeling confused on whether or not a socially-distanced activity is acceptable. Health experts have advised that out of caution, you should avoid these circumstances at all costs. If you are looking out for your immunocompromised family member, you should hold off on even small group interactions at this time. After over a month sheltered-at-home, we are all itching for human interaction. However, the minimal socialization time you might have with friends is not worth putting your family member at a serious risk.

  5. 5. Remember that your situation is unique


    Times like these have placed everyone in different circumstances. Regardless of what others are doing during this time, recognize that your family situation is unique. Follow the news, abide by the policy guidelines and do your part to ensure your family members and surrounding community remains safe.

With these guiding tips, you can do your part in ensuring your immunocompromised family member remains healthy and safe. As difficult as this might be, these small short term adjustments will increase the probability of a better outcome for both the patient and family.