Long story, as short as possible.
Last Thursday, my wife (48) started with a light case of sniffles. We’ve been isolating quite hard, so we assumed it was some kind of cold (it had been a chilly week). By Saturday she had headaches and thought it better to have a quick test, and yes, she had Covid.
So, right away she isolated in our teenage boys bedroom and we cut off all contact, save to give her food, talking through the door, that’s it. Neither me (50) nor the kids (16, 12, 8) had any symptoms.
Yesterday (Wednesday), after a bit of sniffles and headache, I took the test, and yeah, I’m positive. So we pulled her out of the bedroom and are quarantining in the house.
So, right now the adults are confirmed (nearly asyntomatic). We haven’t tested the kids, nor do we plan to (if I got infected, I can’t imagine they’re not; also, no way we can take them to a testing center and risk exposing people to me and my wife).
Can we just live and interact normally as long as we don’t leave the house? Is there anything particular we should do? I looked around online, but I only see guides for families where some members are infected, and none that assumes all members are infected.
I’ll be grateful for any pointers.
Long story, as short as possible.
At this point, you may as well assume that the entire household, pets included, are infected. Since you report that no one is suffering significant signs and symptoms, just isolate and monitor everyone for temperature and change in condition. If someone in the household needs non-emergency medical treatment, try telemedicine first or call ahead and get instructions if in-person treatment is required, and otherwise rest and stay away from people until symptoms subside and at least a week has passed with no recurrence.
There is the unlikely potential that someone in the household could have or develop a antibody resistant variant that could cross-infect other members and extend the infectious period but assuming you are sharing bathrooms and kitchen space it isn’t as if you can really do anything about that. Wearing even surgical grade masks in an unventilated space all day probably isn’t going to ultimately protect you. And since you’ve already tolerated one infection without serious effects, the odds are pretty good that another variant or strain wouldn’t be significantly worse even if it was resistant to you the antibodies you’ve already developed.
Hopefully you all continue to have mild symptoms and acquire some resistance. Good luck to you.
Thank you for your answer! It pretty much confirms what I expected intuitively. I should have mentioned that an acquiantances told my wife we should still try to remain as isolated as possible to stop the virus from “intensifying”. It doesn’t sound right to me (and trying to isolate in theses circumstances seems like both a fool’s errand and a huge stressor), but I’m open to the idea that I’m wrong.
IANAD. In addition to temperature checks, you might want to see if you can get a pulse oximeter delivered. There are cases where people seem to be doing fine, then have a sudden respiratory collapse because oxygen levels have gotten quite low without the person knowing. Monitoring for oxygen levels dropping seems warranted to me.
As far as quarantining, viral load seems to play a role, I think. It seems like you might want to increase ventilation in the house. But I don’t know if that’s right. Just a guess.
ETA: That may be the “intensifying” your friend refers to. It is a thing to be concerned about, I think. I’m just not sure of the exact steps you should take.
Using a pulse oximeter is a good recommendation, but make sure to get one that is FDA approved, e.g. from a reputable medical supply company, not Amazon or relying on a wristband fitness tracker. However, if you have no other significant signs and symptoms and no problems with excessive fatigue or effort, your blood oxygen level is probably okay.
Ventilating the house is a good idea, anyway. Unless someone is actively aspirating infected aerosols (e.g. coughing or choking) it probably isn’t going to increase airborne viral concentrations enough to matter in terms of severity, but getting a flow of fresh air (and sunlight if possible) is generally good for both physical and mental health as well as diluting any pathogens that might be building up in still air.
Just to be clear, none of the above is medical advice, I am not a doctor, and so forth. If you have actual medical concerns you should of course call a doctor or medical hotline and follow their guidance.
Yeah, I rely on Amazon for a lot of things, but there are certain things that I’d order from places with much tighter supply chains. Even having a friend pick one up from Walgreens and drop it outside your door would work.
I’m not sure you need an FDA-approved or FDA-cleared one from a medical supply place, as opposed to a reputable one that’s labeled for nonmedical use.
Also, in the phenomenon I was referring to, people don’t notice feeling short of breath. The things that make us aware of being hypoxic are not being triggered.
Don’t automatically assume they are. My wife tested +++ 3 times in a weekend - two quickies at work and a confirmation one at the test center. She did not develop anything more than a few sniffles more than she already had. She did not isolate in the house. Me and the two boys were quarantined with her – no work or school. We all tested negative the second week, one tested to go back to work, one for visiting a compromised friend, and me for a dr visit next Monday.
That raises an interesting question: If you’re already infected, can continued exposure to others’ output make you sicker?
The higher the viral load, the more your immune system has to fight off, but I don’t think incidental exposure is going to increase that much. And there is always the possibility that a household member has a different variant that may provoke a different immune response. In general, though, I would be more concerned about exposing someone else, or alternatively getting exposed to a second pathogen like influenza that could then compound the ailments into a life-threatening condition.