How to Be There for Loved Ones Who Get Covid-19

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Ever since we had our experience with Covid-19, I’ve been thinking about this post. Not because I want to tell people what to do, but because I know it’s really hard to be apart from loved ones right now, and especially so if they’re in full-on quarantine or sick with Covid-19.

You might feel powerless to help your loved ones because they’re in quarantine, but there are lots of ways to be there for someone without actually being there in person.

Here are some ideas based on how people helped us and how you might be able to help your friends and family when they have a confirmed case of Covid-19.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and this is not medical advice. I will link to my sources when sharing claims about what helps, but you or your loved one should consult a doctor to determine the best course of treatment.

You might feel powerless to help your loved ones because they're in quarantine, but there are lots of ways to be there for someone who has Covid-19 without actually being there in person.
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Check In

I know this might seem obvious, but just check in!

Getting Covid is going to impact everyone differently, but it’s never a bad idea to let someone know you care about them. Just sending a text, postcard, phone call, or email to let them know you’re thinking of them is a nice gesture.

Depending on the situation and whether they have symptoms, they may be feeling scared, guilty that they could have been infecting others without knowing it, grossed out by their own germs, or just plain sick.

There’s no wrong way to feel and, during such an emotional year overall, it’s no surprise that actually getting the illness we’ve all been working so hard to avoid might trigger an emotional response.

All you have to do is check in and let them know they aren’t alone—and if they are physically alone, that might mean checking in multiple times.

Acts of Service

When I was feeling too sick to move, and Dustin was in the hospital, my mom came over and rolled my trash bins to the curb (and returned the next day to put them back). I know that’s such a small thing, but it was SO helpful in the moment because putting out the trash had become a daunting idea.

Think of other things like that that you may be able to help with from the outside of your friends’ home. One friend offered to mow our lawn or spray a wasp’s nest for us.

Obviously these will vary greatly depending on living situations and your loved one’s symptoms—there might not be much you can do for a friend in an apartment, and for an asymptomatic friend putting their trash out might be weird.

But if your friend has a house, think through little ways like this that you can make a big difference. One thing you unfortunately might not be able to do is walk their dog—dogs have been shown to carry the virus and should remain in quarantine if they’ve been exposed.

Pro tip: If you do drop something off, be sure to ask if they’d like you to grab the mail for them to save them the trip to the end of the driveway.

Bring Groceries or Treats

Just because you can’t give them a hug doesn’t mean you can’t bring them something and leave it by their door.

Remember, if they have been diagnosed with Covid-19, they have to go into quarantine, so they can’t even go to the grocery store. And even if they have friends or family living close by, anyone they’ve seen in the prior week or two might also be going into quarantine because of their contact with them.

So, even if you aren’t the closest friends or you think their local family would likely be helping, it’s still really nice to offer to bring something.

If they’re feeling pretty good, ask what groceries they need. If they’re sick, the might appreciate things they don’t have to prepare, like pre-made or homemade soup.

You might also bring a favorite meal or coffee drink just to keep spirits high—two weeks isn’t a long time, but it drags on.

Even if you don’t live close by, you can offer to order them something on door dash.

What to Include in a Covid-19 Care Package

We received a couple of care packages and drive-by dropoffs, so I thought I would share what we most enjoyed receiving. These are mostly ideas if your loved one is sick because that was our situation. (And if you want to bring a care package to an asymptomatic loved one that seems a little more straightforward to me.)

If you have additional ideas, be sure to drop them in the comments so we can all benefit!

Health Items

If someone is sick with Covid-19, they really need to have a thermometer and a pulse oximeter. Both are easily available at Walgreens, so it’s a nice thing to throw into your care package. You can check in to be sure they have them, or maybe you know for sure your friend wouldn’t have these things, but we really appreciated receiving these two items.

(For what it’s worth, oral thermometers are more accurate than the forehead one, which is what we had before all of this. When Dustin’s fever spiked and we really had to keep an eye on it, we switched to oral after someone dropped it off.)

You might also want to drop off immune boosters to help them get better faster: Vitamin D and Zinc are recommended for Covid-19. We also appreciated that a friend dropped off Emergen-C.

Covid-19 has been correlated with an increase in blood clots, so maybe bring baby asprin for them to start taking after they’re doing better.

Just don’t drop off elderberry, a common product in immune boosters, as it increases severity of symptoms.

Favorite Snacks

Whew, that felt heavy, how about throwing in some fun stuff? Depending on how they’re feeling, they may or may not have much appetite.

If a friend isn’t really sick or is asymptomatic, bring over some of their favorite snacks and treats to make them smile. If they’re missing a certain season, bring them a pumpkin spice latte or peppermint mocha.

For sick friends, consider bringing packaged snacks and treats so they can enjoy them when they’re feeling a little better/have their appetite back.

Fluids

When you are sick, it’s so important to keep fluids in your system but water can get a little boring. So don’t just focus on food, but bring fluids as well to help them mix it up while they stay hydrated.

Some ideas of beverages to bring:

  • Tea bags (throat coat is a must if they’re coughing—I’ve gone through about 3 boxes so far!)
  • Gatorade
  • Sprite
  • Liquid IV
  • Ginger Ale
  • Coconut Water
  • Naked Juice or Fruit Juice

A Candle or Happy Maker

One care package we got had a seasonal candle in it, and I swear I burned it all day everyday for like 3 weeks.

Throw in a small gift that’s just plain fun—a book, a magazine, a decorative object, some flowers, even a pretty face mask for when they can leave quarantine. Something to make them smile!

If they have a kiddo, you might even grab a small new toy to give them a few minutes of entertainment and buy mom and dad the slightest break.

It’s Hard to Ask for Help

The final point I’ll leave you with is this. We had dozens of people reach out and say “let us know if you need anything!” Which obviously is so sweet and kind and very appreciated. There’s nothing wrong with that.

But, for the most part, the ones who actually helped were the ones who didn’t leave it up to us to ask—the people who said “I’m going to the grocery store, what do you need?”, “I’m sending you doordash, what do you want?” or “We’re on our way with a care package, it will be by your door in 10 min.”

Just a reminder that it’s hard to ask for help, so if you truly want to do something kind for someone who has been diagnosed with Covid-19, just do it! Be specific and don’t make them ask.

That’s all of my tips for helping someone who has Covid-19. Let me know in the comments if you have any other ideas!

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