As stay-at-home orders begin to lift, protecting individuals with weakened immune systems remains a top priority. According to USF Health, it’s possible that COVID-19 is more severe when contracted by someone in the immunosuppressed population. Until a reliable vaccine is developed and widely distributed, immunocompromised individuals should be extra careful. 

Personal Care Assistants (PCAs) are often around people who are vulnerable in this way, so we’ve put together the following tips to help you take extra precautions for yourself and your loved ones. These tips can be followed by a caregiver, as well as the recipient of home care services.

What Does It Mean to be Immunocompromised?

GoodRx provides this definition: “Being immunocompromised means that your immune system is weakened, either by a disease or by a medication. It means you are more likely to get an infection and more likely to have a severe illness if you are infected than someone who has an immune system that is working well (this is known as being immunocompetent).”

People are typically immunocompromised through one of two ways: 

  1. Immunosuppression, which means they are taking medications that suppress the immune system, such as after an organ transplant.
  2. Immunodeficiency, which means they have a condition from birth or have developed it later in life, such as after a disease or illness including cancer and HIV/AIDS.

What to DO

  • We’ve all seen the ads! Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content.
  • Make sure you cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. The best way to do this is with a disposable tissue.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect all objects and surfaces that are touched, such as doorknobs, light switches, mobile devices, car door handles, and steering wheels.
  • If you’re going out of the home, wear a protective face mask. 
  • Continue to take your prescribed medications and follow all the recommendations of your healthcare professional.
  • If you need to seek medical attention, call your healthcare provider before going in. 
  • Continue to take care of yourself through a healthy diet, hydration, plenty of sleep, and regular exercise.

What to LIMIT

  • Unless you reside in the same home, limit contact with people. If you need to go out, avoid crowded public places and stay at least six feet away from others.
  • Non-essential travel should be kept to a minimum. 

What to AVOID

  • If your hands are unwashed, do not touch your face, especially your eyes, nose, and mouth. 
  • Do not go to work if you are sick. 

Find More Home Care Resources and PCA Tips

Best Care wants to see the health of all individuals protected during this COVID-19 pandemic. Visit the resources page on our website for more helpful articles to help you provide the best home care possible!