Important update: Healthcare facilities
CDC has updated select ways to operate healthcare systems effectively in response to COVID-19 vaccination. Learn more
UPDATE
Given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant, CDC has updated the guidance for fully vaccinated people. CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place.
UPDATE
The White House announced that vaccines will be required for international travelers coming into the United States, with an effective date of November 8, 2021. For purposes of entry into the United States, vaccines accepted will include FDA approved or authorized and WHO Emergency Use Listing vaccines. More information is available here.
UPDATE
Travel requirements to enter the United States are changing, starting November 8, 2021. More information is available here.

Caring for Someone with COVID-19

Caring for Someone with COVID-19
Updated Apr. 30, 2021

People with COVID-19

People with COVID-19 get sick in different ways.
Some people with COVID-19 feel fine.
Some people with COVID-19 feel sick.

Stay away from people with COVID-19 when you can.
People with COVID-19 should stay in their own room.
People with COVID-19 should clean their own room.
People with COVID-19 should use their own bathroom.
People with COVID-19 should clean their own bathroom.
Protect yourself if you must help a person with COVID-19.
Wear a mask if you must help a person with COVID-19.

Help People Sick with COVID-19 with Basic Needs

Help the sick person drink lots of water or juice.
Help the sick person get lots of rest.
Help the sick person do what the doctor says.
Help the sick person get medicine.
Help the sick person with grocery shopping.
Help the sick person get things they need.
Keep pets away from the sick person.
Take care of pets for the sick person.
Most people with COVID-19 feel better after a week.

Protect Yourself from COVID-19 When Sharing Bathrooms

Protect yourself if you must share a bathroom with someone with COVID-19.
Wait as long as possible to use a shared bathroom after a person with COVID-19.
Wear a mask when using a shared bathroom after a person with COVID-19.
Clean before using a shared bathroom after a person with COVID-19.

Protect Yourself from COVID-19 When Eating

Stay away from people with COVID-19 when eating.
People with COVID-19 should eat in their room.
Use gloves you can throw away to handle dishes used by people with COVID-19.
Wash dishes in the dishwasher when possible.
Use hot water to clean the dishes when needed.
Take off the gloves when finished.
Throw the gloves away.
Wash your hands.
Dry cleaned items completely.

Wear a Mask to Protect Yourself from COVID-19

Wear a mask around people with COVID-19.
People with COVID-19 should wear a mask around others.
Put the mask over your nose.
Put the mask over your mouth.
Put the mask under your chin.
Make the mask snug on your face.
Make sure breathing is easy.
Masks may feel different.
Practice wearing a mask.
Practice will help you get used to wearing a mask.

Wear Gloves to Protect Yourself from COVID-19

Wear gloves around people with COVID-19.
Wear gloves you can throw away.
Wear gloves to take care of people with COVID-19.
Wear gloves to clean things that are touched often.
Get help to disinfect things if needed.
Keep your hands off your face.
Keep your hands off your nose.
Keep your hands off your mouth.
Take off the gloves when finished.
Put the gloves in the trash.
Wash your hands.

Wash Your Hands Often

Wash your hands before touching your face.
Wash your hands when you get home.
Wash your hands before you make food.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Wash your hands after you use the bathroom.
Wash your hands after you blow your nose.
Wash your hands after you sneeze.
Wash your hands after you cough.
Wash your hands after you care for a sick person.
Wash your hands after you touch an animal.
Wash your hands after you touch your mask.
Use hand sanitizer if that is all you have.
Rub the hand sanitizer all over your hands.
Rub your hands until they feel dry.
Washing your hands with soap and water is best.

Clean Often

Clean to help slow down COVID-19.
Clean to remove dirt and germs.
Clean things that are dirty.
Clean things that are touched often.

Clean for People with COVID-19

Clean for people with COVID-19 only if you must.
Wear a mask to clean for people with COVID-19.
Wear gloves to clean for people with COVID-19.
Wear gloves you can throw away.
Use soap and water or other cleaners to clean.
Clean things that are dirty.
Clean things that are touched often.
Disinfect things after cleaning.
Be careful using disinfectant.
Get help disinfecting if needed.
Take off the gloves when finished.
Throw the gloves away.
Wash your hands.

Clean electronics that sick people touch.
Clean dirt or dust on electronics.
Get help to clean electronics.
Get help to disinfect electronics.

Protect Yourself Doing the Laundry

Wear gloves you can throw away to do the laundry.
Use a bag you can wash for dirty laundry.
Avoid shaking items before washing them.
Use a washing machine when possible.
Use warm or hot water when possible.
Take off the gloves when finished.
Throw the gloves away.
Wash your hands.

Protect Yourself When Doing the Dishes

Use gloves to wash the dishes.
Use a dishwasher when possible.
Use hot water to clean the dishes when needed.
Take off the gloves when finished.
Throw the gloves away.
Wash your hands.
Dry cleaned items completely.

Protect Yourself When Taking Out the Trash

Use gloves you can throw away to take out trash.
Use gloves you can throw away to remove trash bags.
Take off the gloves when finished.
Throw the gloves away.
Wash your hands.

Stay Home After Caring for People with COVID-19

Stay home for 14 days after caregiving is done.
Watch for ways COVID-19 can make you feel sick.
Get help if you are worried about how sick you feel.
Tell someone that you need help.
Call your doctor if you are worried about how you feel.
Call 9-1-1 or the emergency department if you need help.
Tell the operator that you need help.
Tell the operator you need help with COVID-19.

Original Guidance: Caring for Someone Sick at Home


Development of these materials was supported by a grant from the CDC Foundation, using funding provided by its donors. The materials were created by the Center for Literacy & Disability Studies, Department of Allied Health Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation at Georgia Tech. For more information about how these materials were created, refer to the Guidelines for Minimizing the Complexity of Textpdf iconexternal icon.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided subject matter expertise and approved the content. The use of the names of private entities, products, or enterprises is for identification purposes only and does not imply CDC endorsement.

Project funding ended 9/30/2021. All edits after that date are completed solely by CDC.