Husband has a fever. What next?
November 19, 2020 1:20 PM   Subscribe

Husband came home from work with a fever. It's a tiny house and we -- me + teenager -- have all been on top of each other every day since forever. Is there any point now in trying to segregate my husband? We don't have a particularly easy way to do it -- yes, we can put him in my kid's room but it's a tiny house. The bedrooms are right next to each other. I'm thinking no matter what it is -- Covid or regular flu or whatever -- we've all been exposed already. Am I wrong? Help.
posted by BlahLaLa to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Yes! It’s still worth it to try. He should wear a mask except in his room and really try to exchange your air.
posted by pairofshades at 1:31 PM on November 19, 2020 [20 favorites]

Best answer: possibly, but viral load appears to make a difference with COVID. It's definitely not the case that everyone always catches it who's been exposed (true for flu as well) and certainly not the case that everyone catches it at the same level of severity. I'd set him up in a separate room, and put cleaning stuff in the bathroom and kitchen for him to wipe down after every use. And I'd open every window you can.
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:32 PM on November 19, 2020 [24 favorites]

Worth it to try. Covid calculator says you have a 50% chance of catching it if you share a household. Try to not catch it.
posted by aniola at 1:37 PM on November 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Masks for everyone all the time, he stays in a room with a door you can close, and since you probably only have one bathroom, it needs to be wiped down after every use. It's not a foregone conclusion that you've all already got it! Think of how miserable it will be if you all do come down with it at once. Even if you can just stagger when you get it, it'll be easier to deal with.
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:38 PM on November 19, 2020 [16 favorites]

Shower & brush teeth at opposite ends of the day.
posted by aniola at 1:42 PM on November 19, 2020 [3 favorites]

Yes, still a good chance you won't get it. All wear masks and sanitize things often. He stays in a bedroom as much as possible. In my cousins' household of 5, the dad did not get it and one son (13) did not get it. The mom, aunt, and other son (11) did get it. Considering the parents sleep in the same bed and tween boys are inseparable, I think it is amazing 2 escaped it.
posted by maxg94 at 1:42 PM on November 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

A CDC study found that the household transmission rate for COVID was 53%, meaning it's not inevitable that you'll all get infected.

Viral load is highest from a few days before symptom onset to a few days after — so if your husband has COVID he is still in the middle of the period with the highest viral load. Definitely worth it to isolate as much as possible. (Worth noting that viral load is not necessarily the same thing as contagiousness, but they are related.)
posted by mekily at 1:43 PM on November 19, 2020 [7 favorites]

If it is not too cold, open the window in his room and stick a box fan pointing OUT in the window. You could try to stick a draft stopper under the door to the room as well. If you only have one bathroom, wipe it down before anyone else uses it after him and have the bathroom exhaust going all the time. This may be overkill, but if you're going to be doing his laundry, you might want to wear gloves and a mask when handling his dirty clothes and his dirty dishes.
posted by AceRock at 1:43 PM on November 19, 2020 [6 favorites]

In addition to avoiding getting sick, it's theorized that the more virus you're exposed to, the sicker you'll get, if you get sick. So it's worth it to try to limit your exposure even though you've already been exposed.
posted by beandip at 1:44 PM on November 19, 2020 [7 favorites]

If it helps your decision, my husband and I decided that if one of us started showing symptoms, although the other was quite likely to also contract it, we'd start a self-isolation and masking protocol to hopefully extend the amount of time that one of us was at least somewhat healthy and able to take care of meals, etc. for the other and the cats.
posted by telophase at 2:14 PM on November 19, 2020 [6 favorites]

Well, is he getting tested? Have you checked other symptoms? I know it seems easier to throw up your arms, but if he does have Covid, it would be much better if you did not get it at the same time. Also, he should get tested so he can alert his coworkers, etc. And then you'll know if you need to isolate. Good luck.
posted by bluedaisy at 2:22 PM on November 19, 2020 [3 favorites]

You're wrong. Viral load matters. Suggestions:
- Get an air purifier ASAP for his room Wirecutter has grow HEPA filter reviews.

- He isolates in one room, except for going to the bathroom. If you have more than one bathroom, separate who uses which one. Meals are delivered to and picked up from his room (by you, sorry).

- Everyone wears masks all the time. If you can get surgical or N95 masks, use those.
posted by medusa at 2:24 PM on November 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

hopefully extend the amount of time that one of us was at least somewhat healthy and able to take care of meals, etc. for the other and the cats.

This is super important. Even if you do get it, wouldn't it help to delay when you get it?
posted by medusa at 2:25 PM on November 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you for all the input. His work knows, and he's being tested later today. Not sure how long it takes to get results. We're implementing your suggestions.

Also, FWIW, he has worn an N95 mask since day one, with a fresh one every day. Hopefully this is just some random illness. A girl can dream.
posted by BlahLaLa at 2:34 PM on November 19, 2020 [8 favorites]

Do you know anyone with an unused living space? Some people have bugged out. AirBnB or hotel?

It would not be a terrible idea for everyone to take Vitamins C & D, normal supplemental dose has no downside except slightly expensive pee, may help.

How's his sense of smell? That seems to be a strong indicator.
posted by theora55 at 2:34 PM on November 19, 2020 [3 favorites]

Sorry you are going through this. Test results can come back instantly (but have a high false negative rate) or in a week. Can you camp? Sleep in the garage or a car? Anything to get away from him, assuming he is capable of caring for himself in the meantime. Reducing your exposure as others have noted is still worthwhile. It does seem that cough is the big symptom, runny nose is uncommon, so you might be in the clear anyway. This is why test turnaround time and contact tracing are so important, because the uncertain period is important to transmission.
posted by wnissen at 3:20 PM on November 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

Yes, there's a chance you could avoid it, and it's worth the effort. Good luck. I'll be thinking of you.
posted by Dashy at 6:25 PM on November 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

My roommate got it (asymptomatic, but tested positive) and he immediately set up an area in his room (2nd floor) and I set up one in my basement, with cleaning supplies etc. we avoided each other during quarantine, kept up on cleaning, and he masked up when he left the room. We also kept windows open and fans going the whole time, even when it got a little chilly. I tested negative both times I tested, and quarantine is over now. I know it’s anecdotal, but it’s very possible to share a household and not get infected. Just be super careful.
posted by esquandolad at 2:27 AM on November 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

Anecdata, but my husband had it early on, and we had the same mindset (I was already exposed, nowhere to hide in our small house). We didn't bother separating at all, and I didn't get it (continually tested negative). I mentioned it to my physician at my physical a few months later, and she said she had heard of more families who didn't infect each other than did.
posted by bluloo at 1:26 AM on November 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Just an update to say that we blessedly got the test results and it's negative. So this is just a garden-variety flu or something. We will still take reasonable household precautions but wowee feels like we dodged a bullet. Thank you for the support.
posted by BlahLaLa at 11:42 AM on November 21, 2020 [10 favorites]

Response by poster: A final wrap-up to say that though Mr. BlahLaLa was indeed quite sick with something flu-ish, neither Kid nor I got sick. So your suggestions really helped! Thank you.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:29 PM on December 9, 2020 [5 favorites]

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