Depending on your lifestyle, the Coronavirus could feel like a major threat to you, or not such a big deal. If you work at a restaurant and have roommates then, you’re probably pretty worried. You have to be around people to make a living, and then when you get home again. If you’re a single individual who lives alone and works from home, then you have a pretty clutch situation right now. You can just have all of your essential items delivered and really hole up until this thing passes. Regardless of what you do for a living, there is one particular demographic that’s in a sticky spot: live-in significant others. I am taking all the precautions I can to stay healthy, but I don’t know for certain that my live-in boyfriend is doing the same. I don’t know if he’s using hand sanitizer after pumping gas and wiping down his grocery carts with those antibacterial wipes stores keep by the front door now. I don’t know if he’s turning down hugs and handshakes. And if he isn’t, then it’s almost like all of my efforts to stay healthy are useless.
At the end of the day, I come home and kiss, hug, and share dishes and towels with my partner. So his habits affect me. My boyfriend does assure me that he’s taking precautions, but we can’t guarantee everyone he interacts with is. Ultimately, the moment you live with someone, it feels that your chances of contracting the virus double because the person you share a home with could drag that virus right into your confined space. We need some precautions for those with infected, live-in partners. Because they’re just stuck. Here are ways to try to remain healthy if your partner gets Coronavirus. This won’t guarantee you don’t get it, but it’s worth it to take every step you can to stay healthy.
Don’t let him in the kitchen
Your infected partner should not go in the kitchen. Not for a glass of water. Not for a snack. Not for his medication. The second he does that, he might touch all of the surfaces that you do, from the microwave handle to the refrigerator door to the drawer with the silverware. The kitchen is a no-fly zone for him right now.
Deliver his food to his door
Whatever your partner needs, deliver it outside of his closed bedroom door. Text him to let him know when it is there, and only after you have stepped away. It’s best if he keeps most of his trash and soiled items inside the room where he’s staying for now, as those could be contaminated. For now, things should mostly only go in that room, but nothing (and nobody) should come out of it.
Sleep in separate rooms
If you have more than one bedroom, absolutely sleep in separate rooms. Even if you have kids, you can sleep in the room with them. In fact, you may be safest with them, as the CDC says reports on Coronavirus cases in children are limited. If you only have a one-bedroom place, move yourself to the couch for now. The infected individual should be quarantined to a closed room.
Use separate bathrooms
If you have more than one bathroom, have a strict rule that you two are to stay to separate bathrooms. Do not go in his bathroom for any reason. If you realize you forgot your toothbrush in there, it’s time to just go buy a new toothbrush. And do not let him get anything he needs from your bathroom. Deliver that to his door.
If you have just one bathroom…
If you only have one bathroom, you are admittedly in a tough spot. Ask that your partner only go in the bathroom on an absolute need-be basis. Since he is bedridden right now and not going out into the world, he doesn’t really need to shower every day. Ask that he use hand sanitizer before entering the bathroom, and that he wear a mask when in the bathroom. You should use hand sanitizer after using the bathroom, and regularly wipe down the surfaces like the toilet flusher, shower door, and faucet.
Wear gloves in your home. While you are, ideally, keeping your partner out of shared spaces, there is just no knowing if he touched something before he presented symptoms. If you have a shared bathroom, wear gloves while cleaning the restroom. If you have to collect things from outside his door like food trays or trash, wear gloves.
Consider disposable dishware
While it may not be the most environmentally friendly option, you have to put your health first right now, so consider getting disposable dishware. It could be for the best that no cup or fork your sick partner puts his mouth on is ever used by another person in your home again. So consider feeding him on disposable dishware for now.
Wear a mask
You know to wear a mask while you’re out and about, but you should also wear one in your home if you struggle to remember not to touch your face. If your partner absolutely needs to exit his room, keep clean masks and gloves by his door for him to put on. Have him dispose of them immediately when he’s done using them.
Keep him away from remote controls
While he is home sick, there may not be much for your partner to do besides watch movies. But don’t let him into the common area to watch the television. You don’t want him touching the remote controls. He’ll need to just watch programs on his laptop, in bed, for now.
Do not have visitors over
Do not allow anyone to visit. Even if they promise they don’t mind that your partner is sick, you have to do what you can to stop the spread of this virus. You don’t want people coming into your home, picking up the virus, and taking it out into the world. Certainly keep the elderly and those with compromised immune systems away from your home.
Stay home from work yourself
Though you may feel fine, you should also stay home from work, and away from crowded spaces. Unfortunately, you may pick up the virus from your partner, not show symptoms for a long time, and take it to other people. It’s for the best that both of you quarantine yourselves right now.
Keep your pet from him
If you two have a pet, keep your pet away from your partner. No matter how much your pet paws and cries at the bedroom door to see your partner, keep him away. Your pet could kiss your partner, then kiss you. Your partner could pet the animal, who then goes directly to you for pets. Animals can easily become contaminated and spread the virus.
Do his laundry on high heat
Wash your partner’s sheets, towels, clothes and any other laundry on high heat. If your drier has a disinfectant or sanitization setting, use it. Wear gloves and a mask when handling his laundry. Clean it separately from your own laundry, or the laundry of anyone else in the household.
Take excellent care of yourself
Make your own health a priority. Eat a nutrient-rich diet. Don’t drink alcohol. Don’t smoke. Take your vitamins. Get plenty of sleep. Cancel any strenuous plans. If you also become sick—even of something other than Coronavirus—then you cannot take care of your partner.
Stay with a healthy friend
If you and your partner are comfortable with this, you may consider just staying with a healthy friend until your partner is better. You don’t want to abandon him, of course, so stay in touch throughout the day. You can deliver him care packages of food and medication to the front door of your home.