Young, Old and In-Between: When All Live Together, Virus Threat Grows

Multigenerational households face special challenges

Residents living in households with their own children, plus grandparents and grandchildren, need to be especially cautious during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. People over the age of 60 and those with compromised immune systems face the highest risk, and the virus can spread quickly among family members in the same home.

The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County offers the following guidance to these multigenerational households:

  • Stay at home and away from crowds.
  • Make sure you have access to several weeks' worth of medications and supplies.
  • If out in public, keep at least 6 feet from others, and do not go to places where people are sick.
  • Wash hands frequently.

If someone in your home does get sick with the virus, take the following steps:

  • Call DOH-Hillsborough at (813) 307-8000 and ask to speak to someone in Epidemiology.
  • As best as possible, isolate the sick person in a separate bedroom with its own bathroom, and away from others.
  • Use over-the-counter medications, including pain and fever relievers, diuretics, antihistamines, and antidiarrheal products, to help with symptoms.
  • Make sure the ill person drinks a lot of fluids to stay hydrated, rests, and stays home.
  • Have the sick person wear a facemask, if available. If the person is unable to wear a covering, the caregiver should wear one when in contact with that individual.
  • Monitor for emergency signs, including trouble breathing, continual pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, and bluish lips or face.
  • Avoid having unnecessary visitors.
  • Do not share personal items, such as phones, dishes, bedding, or toys.
  • Take care of the emotional health of your family, including yourself.

During the pandemic, it also is critical that everyone in the home continues to practice good handwashing methods and refrains from sharing household items, such as dishes, towels, and bedding.
In addition, clean and disinfect doorknobs and commonly touched surfaces with standard household disinfectants daily, and avoid touching your face. Cover any cough or sneeze with the inside of your elbow or a tissue, and throw the tissue away immediately.

Photo: Multigenerational families that live together have to take special precautions to protect themselves against COVID-19 and take care of family members who may get the coronavirus..