Quarantine: what it is, how long it lasts and how to maintain health

Quarantine is one of the public health measures that can be adopted during an epidemic or pandemic, and which aims to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, especially when they are caused by a virus, since the transmission of this type of microorganisms happens in a much faster.

In quarantined situations, it is recommended that people stay at home as much as possible, avoiding contact with other people and avoiding frequent indoor environments with little air circulation, such as shopping malls, stores, gyms or public transport, for example. Thus, it is possible to control the contagion and reduce the transmission of the infectious agent, facilitating the fight against the disease.

How long does the quarantine last?

The quarantine time varies according to the disease you are trying to fight, being determined by the incubation time of the infectious agent responsible for the disease. This means that the quarantine must be maintained for as long as it can take for the first symptoms to appear after the microorganism enters the body. For example, if a disease has an incubation time of 5 to 14 days, the quarantine time is set at 14 days, since it is the maximum time necessary for the first symptoms to be noticed.

The quarantine period starts from the date of the person’s last contact with a suspected or confirmed case, or from the date of the person’s departure from the place where many cases of the disease were identified. If during the quarantine period the development of signs and symptoms related to the infectious disease in question is observed, it is important to communicate to the health system to follow the necessary recommendations, including guidance on the need to go to the hospital to make the diagnosis .

How quarantine is performed

Quarantine should be done at home, and it is recommended to avoid contact with other people as much as possible, which includes not going to other closed environments, such as shopping malls and public transport, for example, to reduce the risk of transmission and contagion between people. people.

This precautionary measure should be adopted by healthy people who do not show signs or symptoms of the disease, but who are in a place where cases of the disease have already been identified and / or who have been in contact with suspected or confirmed cases of the infection. Thus, it becomes a little easier to control the disease.

As it is recommended that people stay at home for a specified period, it is recommended that they have a “survival kit”, that is, an adequate amount of supplies for the quarantine period. Therefore, it is recommended that people have at least 1 bottle of water per person per day to drink and perform hygiene, food, masks, gloves and first aid kit, for example.

How to maintain mental health during quarantine

During the quarantine period it is normal for the person who is closed at home to feel several emotions at the same time, especially the negative ones, such as insecurity, feeling of isolation, anxiety, frustration or fear, which can end up damaging mental health.

Thus, it is very important to take some measures that help to keep mental health up to date, such as:

  • Maintain a routine similar to what was done before: for example, put the clock to wake up in the morning and dress as if you were going to work;
  • Take regular breaks throughout the day: they can be breaks to eat, but also to walk around the house and get the blood to circulate;
  • Maintain communication with family or friends: this communication can be easily done through calls on the cell phone or using the laptop for video calls , for example;
  • Try new and creative activities: some ideas include making new recipes, changing the layout of the rooms at home or practicing a new hobby , such as drawing, writing poetry, gardening or learning a new language;
  • Do at least one relaxing activity a day: some options include doing meditation, watching a movie, doing a beauty ritual or completing a puzzle.

Check out these and other tips in the following video:

It is also important to try to maintain a positive attitude and know that there are no right or wrong emotions, so talking about emotions with others is an equally essential step.

If you are in quarantine with children, it is also very important to include them in these measures and participate in activities that are preferred by the youngest. Some ideas include painting, making board games, playing hide and seek or even watching children’s movies, for example. Check out other habits that can help maintain mental health in quarantine.

Is it safe to go outside during quarantine?

During quarantine, being outdoors is an activity that can contribute a lot to mental health and, thus, is something that can continue to be done, since most diseases do not spread easily through the air. Thus, it is very important to be aware of the way of transmission of each disease.

For example, in the most recent case of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was recommended that people only avoid indoor spaces and crowds, as transmission occurs through contact with saliva droplets and respiratory secretions. Therefore, in these situations it is possible to go abroad, just being careful not to be in direct contact with other people.

In any case, it is always advisable to wash your hands before and after leaving the house, as the chances of touching any surface on the outside are high.

How to take care of the body during quarantine

Taking care of the body is another fundamental task for those who are quarantined. For this it is important to maintain the same hygiene routine as before, even if it is not necessary to be in contact with other people, as hygiene not only helps to keep the skin free of dirt and unpleasant odors, but also eliminates a good part of microorganisms that can cause infections, such as viruses, fungi and bacteria.

In addition, it is still very important to maintain regular physical exercise, as this is the best way to maintain cardiovascular health. For this, there are some workouts that can be done at home:

  • 20 minute full body workout to gain muscle mass ;
  • Buttock, abdominal and leg training (GAP) of 30 minutes ;
  • Training to define the abdomen at home ;
  • HIIT training at home .

In the case of the elderly, there are also some exercises that can be done to maintain joint mobility and prevent the degradation of muscle mass, such as doing squats or going up and down steps. Here are some examples of exercises that can be done in this situation .

Also watch the following video and learn what to do to not put on weight during quarantine:

How should the food be

During quarantine it is also very important to try to maintain a healthy and varied diet. Therefore, before going to the market it is recommended to check what you have at home and then make a list of all the products you need to buy for quarantine. It is very important to avoid buying excess products, not only to ensure that everyone is able to buy food, but to avoid wasting food.

Ideally, preference should be given to foods that do not spoil easily or have an extended shelf life, such as:

  • Canned: tuna, sardines, corn, tomato sauce, olives, vegetable mix, peach, pineapple or mushroom;
  • Frozen or canned fish and meat;
  • Dry foods: pasta, rice, couscous, oats, quinoa and wheat or corn flour;
  • Legumes: beans, chickpeas, lentils, which can be canned or packaged;
  • Dried fruits: peanuts, pistachios, almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts or hazelnuts. Another option may be to buy butter from these fruits;
  • UHT milk, as it has a longer term;
  • Frozen or preserved vegetables and vegetables;
  • Other products: dehydrated or confectioned fruit, marmalade, guava, cocoa powder, coffee, tea, condiments, olive oil, vinegar.

In the case of having elderly people, babies or a pregnant woman at home it is also important to remember that it may be necessary to buy nutritional supplements or powdered milk formulas, for example.

In addition, a minimum of 1 liter of water per person per day must be calculated. If drinking water is difficult to find, it is possible to purify and disinfect the water using techniques such as the use of filters or bleach (sodium hypochlorite). See more details on how to purify water at home to drink .

Is it possible to freeze food for quarantine?

Yes, some foods can be frozen in order to increase their shelf life. Some examples are yogurts, meats, bread, vegetables, vegetables, fruits, cheeses and ham, for example.

To properly freeze food it is important to place it in portions in a plastic freezer bag or in a container, placing the name product on the outside, as well as the date on which it was frozen. Here’s how to freeze food properly .

How to clean food before eating?

Hygiene when cooking is another very important task during quarantine periods, since it eliminates microorganisms that may end up being ingested. The most essential step is to wash your hands with soap and water before handling any type of food or product, however, it is also recommended to cook all foods very well, especially meat, fish and seafood.

Foods that can be eaten raw and that are out of packages, such as fruits and vegetables, must be washed very well in peeled or, soaked for 15 minutes in a mixture of 1 liter of water with 1 tablespoon of sodium bicarbonate or bleach (sodium hypochlorite), which must be washed again with clean water afterwards.

Difference between quarantine and isolation

While in quarantine measures are taken by healthy people, isolation involves people who have already been confirmed with the disease. Thus, isolation aims to prevent the person with the disease from transmitting the infectious agent to other people, thus preventing the spread of the disease.

Isolation can happen both at the hospital and at home and starts as soon as the infection is confirmed through specific tests.


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