We know right now is a scary time to be sick. Many of us are cautious, not just for our own health, but also the health of those closest to us. To help, today we’re sharing information from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BC CDC) on best practices to keep those around you safe. 

First, ensure you’re safe:  

Since we’re not healthcare professionals, it would be inappropriate for us to provide specific medical advice about what to do when you’re sick. Instead, we’re sharing some recommendations from the BC CDC, and you should also continue to follow any advice you have received from healthcare providers and authorities to keep yourself safe. 

If you are showing symptoms, you can use the BC CDC’s COVID-19 self-assessment tool to help determine whether you need further assessment for COVID-19 testing by a healthcare provider or at a collection centre.

And, if you need medical help or advice, the BC CDC recommends these resources: 

  • If you need medical health right away, you can seek urgent care at an urgent care clinic, emergency room or call 9-1-1.  
  • You can call 8-1-1 any time to talk to a nurse at HealthLinkBC and get advice about how you are feeling and what to do next. 

To protect those outside of your household: 

Stay home and self-isolate. According to the BC CDC, you should stay home for at least 10 days after the onset of symptoms (you can find more detailed information on ending your isolation on the BC CDC’s website).  

This means you should not be going to work, stores or any other public places. It also means you should not have visitors to your home. If you need someone to drop off necessities, have them leave the items outside your home so the drop off can be contact free.  

If you need to leave home for medical care, call the medical facility ahead of time so they can prepare for your arrival.  

To protect others within your household: 

To the best of your ability, if you are sick, avoid contact with others in your home. You can consider staying and sleeping in a separate room from other people in your home, and if you have one, you can also use a separate bathroom from others in your home. 
 
If it’s not possible to be in separate rooms, ensure that shared rooms have good airflow (you can open windows to help) and keep your distance (at least 2 metres) between yourself and others. 

Some additional habits recommended by the BC CDC include:  

  • Covering your coughs and sneezes. Ideally with a tissue, but your upper sleeve or arm works too.  
    • Wash your hands immediately after you cough or sneeze. 
    • Properly dispose of tissues, etc. (throw them in a lined garbage can and tie up that trash bag before adding it to household waste), and again, wash your hands afterwards. 
  • Washing your hands often. Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and if possible, dry your hands with a paper towel and throw it away after use. 
  • Not sharing household items. Do not share dishes, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding or other shared belongings. After using any of these items, wash them with soap and water. 
  • Flushing the toilet with the lid down. The virus that causes COVID-19 may be present in stool, so this helps to ensure that the virus isn’t spread. Also, ensure you are washing your hands with soap and water each time you use the bathroom. 
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently. Follow this process to keep high touch surfaces (i.e. counters, doorknobs, tabletops, toilets, sinks, taps, etc.) clean and disinfected: 
    1.  First, use water and detergent (such as dishwashing soap) or common household cleaning wipes to clean surfaces.  
      • When you’re cleaning, it helps to apply firm pressure. 
      • Do this at least once a day. 
    2. Next, use a store bought disinfectant or diluted bleach to sanitize the surface. 
      • the BC CDC recommends a ratio of one-part bleach to 50 parts water (that’s around 20ml of bleach to 1 litre of water). 
      • Allow the surfaces to remain wet for one minute. 
      • Do this at least twice a day. 
  • Wearing a face mask. Wearing a face mask can help stop the spread of COVID-19 by containing your respiratory droplets.  
    • You should wear a face mask when you’re in the same room with other people and when you get medical care. 
    • If your mask gets wet or dirty, change it and wash your hands. 
    • Masks like N-95 respirator masks should be saved for healthcare workers. 
  • Limiting contact with any pets. If possible, have another household member care for animals (this is for the safety of other household members, and the animals). If you’re the only option, then you should wash your hands before and after interacting with your animals, their food, or their supplies. Additionally: 
    • Avoid close contact with your pet (i.e. snuggling or letting them sleep in your bed). 
    • Restrict your animal’s contact with individuals outside your home for the duration of your illness. 

We hope this was helpful, and if you’re sick right now, we hope you feel better soon! 

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Look through all of our COVID-19 related information on our website.       

This is an evolving situation and information is changing all the time, so go to the source for updated information. 

Where do we fit in? Yes, we are a provincial regulator. We are responsible for some very specific transactions in BC. We aren’t experts on COVID-19. We won’t – and shouldn’t – ever give medical or legal advice. But we are in a unique circumstance right now and we want to help people navigate the current reality. We don’t have all the answers, but we will do our best to share information from reliable sources, put it in ways that are easy to digest and understand, provide referrals and help you navigate this situation.     
 
About Consumer Protection BC: We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.