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Content on this page was developed during the 2009-2010 H1N1 pandemic and has not been updated.

  • The H1N1 virus that caused that pandemic is now a regular human flu virus and continues to circulate seasonally worldwide.
  • The English language content on this website is being archived for historic and reference purposes only.
  • For current, updated information on seasonal flu, including information about H1N1, see the CDC Seasonal Flu website.

Caring for Someone Sick at Home

Follow the Sick Room Rules

December 5, 2009, 6:00 AM ET

Protect well family members from getting the flu. If the sick person must leave the room to go to the bathroom or to a doctor’s visit, ask them to wear a facemask. sick woman holding tissuesNo facemask at home? Ask the sick person to use a tissue to cover coughs and sneezes.

Follow These 4 Sick Room Rules:

  1. Avoid having other people enter the sick room.

    The sick person should not have visitors other than the caregiver. If visitors must enter, they should stay at least 6 feet away from the sick person.
  2. Cover coughs and sneezes.

    Ask the sick person to cover their nose and mouth with a tissue when they cough and sneeze. Ask them to throw used tissues in the trash.
  3. Choose one caregiver.

    If you can, choose only one caregiver to take care of sick family members. If possible, ask someone else to be the caregiver if you are pregnant or have certain chronic health problems. If you get the flu, it could be much more serious for you.
  4. Keep the air clean.

    Open a window in the sick room, if possible, or use a fan to keep fresh air flowing.
 
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