After spending months, fighting with this pandemic, scientists agree that prevention is the only way to limit the new COVID-19 cases. Everyone who suspects having these symptoms should limit himself from the others to prevent its transmission. But there are two terms associated with coronavirus prevention which could confuse some people. In the question of quarantine vs. isolation, it is necessary to know which one works better.
The idea of preventing new cases is to halt the pandemic. Dr. Clayton T. Cowl who is a certified pulmonologist and chairperson of the Division of Preventive, Occupational and Aerospace Medicine at Mayo Clinic says that it is necessary to know the difference between these two.
Although both quarantine and isolation mean the same thing; which is to isolate the suspected person from the rest. But the deeper meaning of each one of them is different.
For example, quarantine is used for a person who has no obvious symptom and is isolated to know whether or not he is infected. It is a confirmatory protocol for COVID-19 as the symptoms typically appear within 1-2 weeks of being exposed. The two-week quarantine is enough to determine if a person has this virus or not. On the other side, the term isolation means to separate a person with clear symptoms from the rest.
People who are advised to be in quarantine are usually asymptomatic cases. The purpose of doing this practice is to give the person some time for disease pathogenesis if he is infected. It is suggested for people who travel from some high-risk areas to another place. It has to be checked whether or not they are carrying the disease with them. And this quarantine period is enough to determine if they need treatment. Otherwise, they are sent home once the quarantine ends without any obvious symptoms.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised people to follow a 14- day quarantine period if they are traveling from a place with a high prevalence of COVID-19. It is not allowed to meet or sit with any person during this period. If the typical symptoms of coronavirus appear, try contacting the local health care provider immediately.
Isolation, on the other side, is very different. Dr. Cowl says that isolation is usually done for a person to confirm coronavirus symptoms. He is taken away from his family and house and put in isolation. The reason is to limit his contact with other people and save them from the virus while giving the patient some time to heal himself.
As coronavirus spreads through droplets in the air, it is necessary to follow the standard hygiene measures whether someone is in isolation or in quarantine. Following social distancing, wearing a mask, and taking care of personal hygiene significantly reduce the risk of coronavirus to spread.
In the quarantine vs. isolation question, both have their own benefits and reasons. Based on the history and symptoms, he can be sent for any of them. Usually, a doctor evaluates the suspected patient and decides this for him. But a person can also conduct a self-isolation or self-quarantine if he is traveling.
In either way, make sure to take care of the following.
- Live in a separate room.
- Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet.
- Wear a mask all the time.
- Do not unnecessarily touch surfaces.
- Wash hands more frequently.
- Clean the room and surfaces with disinfectants regularly.