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What Exactly Does Self-Quarantine Mean?

The coronavirus outbreak has introduced the phrase “self-quarantine” to the masses. But what does it mean, exactly?

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, some people have been asked to work from home and avoid public spaces all together. There’s also those who have been advised to “self-quarantine” after being exposed — or suspected to have been exposed — to someone with the virus in order to prevent the spread of the illness. There’s plenty of confusion when it comes to these terms and the action you’re supposed to take.

Lifehacker explained some of the key differences between “quarantine” and “isolation,” with the main one being that self-quarantine refers to people who’ve only been exposed to the virus and may not be infected. Isolation refers to people who are sick and must stay sheltered, being very careful about the objects they interact with and seriously limiting their contact with others.

When schools and offices close, students and employees are advised to stay home and avoid large gatherings. This doesn’t mean that these people are under self-quarantine, since they can go out to cafes, restaurants and bars (at least for those who live in cities that have not mandated forced temporary closures of the food and beverage industry). Still, it’s suggested that these outings be voluntarily reduced in order to prevent crowds and, thus, the spread of the virus.

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People who have been exposed to the virus or have traveled to a hub of the disease (such as Seattle) should be more careful, including following “self-quarantine” procedures. This is much more strict than simply working from home.

What Does Self-Quarantine Mean?
Photo by Juliana Malta via Unsplash

People who are self-quarantined should steer clear from others, maintaining a minimum distance of 6 feet. While you can go on walks to stay healthy and sane, this means you shouldn’t go to public places like restaurants, bars, cafes or even grocery shopping. Because of this, it’s important to everyone to have some basic necessities at home.

RELATED: Here’s What To Do If The Coronavirus Has You Working From Home

In order to prepare for this, experts recommend stocking up on a two-week supply of water and groceries. That includes soap for hand washing. And when it comes to foods, consider purchasing non-perishables, such as canned foods, grains and pasta. In case you get sick, tissues and medical supplies, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen and cough medicine are important to keep in hand.

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