What preventative measures should people take to avoid infecting others that they are in contact with, such as family members, who are more vulnerable (elderly and/or individuals with underlying health conditions) to the virus?

In particular, what should be done when someone needs to leave home regularly for work, despite having contact with vulnerable people at home?

  • Check with local or global authorities on public health, for example the WHO.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Mar 26, 2020 at 16:59
  • You should be able to find information about this here mscbs.gob.es/home.htm
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Mar 26, 2020 at 17:36
  • 1
    Since this has been re-opened, I removed the personal component of the question so that it can receive a general answer.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Mar 26, 2020 at 23:35

1 Answer 1


If your relative stays at home without contact with anyone from the outside world, they have zero risk of getting the disease. If a relative living in the house needs to leave daily they risk exposure and getting the infection. The relative at home now has a non-zero risk of getting infected.

If the relative at home is independent then they should be left to live alone, and the working relative move in with someone else. If that's not possible, then another person not known to be infected should move in with her, and the working relative moves out.

If the working relative is the main carer for the relative at home, and the above choices are not possible, then they have to manage the situation as though they already have the virus.

The recommendation is that you are not going to transmit the infection to someone who remains at a 6 foot distance away from you, and if inside that distance for less than 10-15 minutes. So, that stops viral droplets from one person passing to the next.

Viral nuclear droplets form when aerosols develop, eg flushing the toilet, so the toilet lid needs to stay down when flushing, and keep windows open. Even better still use different bathrooms, or build a composting toilet away from the bathroom shared with the other person. If you're not able to not share bathrooms, then all the surfaces needs to be wiped down with .1% solution of bleach after each use of the bathroom, and left to dry for 10-30 minutes. Each door knob needs to be disinfected. There can't be any shared eating utensils. And most importantly the hands need to be washed for a minimum of 20 seconds using a soap/detergent.

Even if people live together, studies in China showed that cross infection was not inevitable, but closer to 20% of households had transmission.


  • Although this was not my question, thank you for your answer. +1 Commented Mar 27, 2020 at 2:33
  • Regarding food cooking, would there be a problem in eating the food cooked by the person that goes to work outside? Commented Mar 27, 2020 at 2:35
  • Well, I presume that the working person needs to wear a face mask when preparing food. Make it simple. the food is eaten with a spoon from a bowl. And the bowl can be wiped down with a soap/water before being held. Commented Mar 27, 2020 at 2:38
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    I think there's also going to be a very big difference in risk between preparing a cooked meal vs. a cold meal such as a salad or sandwich. Personally, I'm avoiding cold prepared meals made by others.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Mar 27, 2020 at 14:45

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