Caring for a sick household member

If you are caring for or living with someone who has respiratory symptoms — possibly COVID-19 — you are considered a ‘close contact.’  Here are some helpful tips.

Keeping your healthcare provider informed

Your health care provider will give you special instructions about how to monitor your own health, what to do if you start to feel sick and who to contact.

Hand washing often

Wash your hands with soap and water after each contact with the infected person.

When to wear a mask and gloves

Wear a mask and gloves when you have contact with the person’s saliva or other body fluids and when providing direct contact care. Dispose of gloves and mask after use. Take off the gloves first without touching the outside of the gloves, and wash your hands with soap and water before taking off your mask. After taking off your mask, wash your hands again with soap and water before touching your face or doing anything else. Dispose of both in a wastebasket lined with a plastic bag.

Visitors to your home

It is okay for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off necessities, but during these COVID-10 times, it is a good idea to minimize visitors to your home. 

Sharing household items

Do not share dishes, drinking cups, utensils, towels, bedding or other items with the person who is sick.

Regularly touched items 

These include things such as toilets, sink tap handles, doorknobs and bedside tables on a daily basis.


Contaminated laundry should be placed in a laundry basket with a plastic liner. Wear gloves and mask when handling.

Touching waste

Take care to not touch used tissues when emptying waste baskets. Lining the wastebasket with a plastic bag makes waste disposal easier and safer.

Trusted information sources

For more specific advice on how to care for a household member with COVID-19, take a look at BC Lung's list of trusted information resources

Page Last Updated: 24/01/2021