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When Should You Self Quarantine?

March 24, 2020
Medically reviewed by Susan Kerrigan, MD and Marianne Madsen

During times of pandemic, such as the current COVID-19 outbreak, one of the stricter measures taken to contain the spread of the virus is self quarantine. According to the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, self quarantine involves measures such as “using standard hygiene and washing hands frequently, not sharing things like towels and utensils, staying at home, not having visitors, staying at least 6 feet away from other people in your household.”

With these standard measures, a self quarantine generally lasts for about two week’s time after which, if you don’t experience any symptoms, you are free to return to normal daily life. If you experience symptoms during self quarantine that you suspect are related to COVID-19, or you are confirmed to have it, then you continue with isolation–a stricter measure of containment.

Now that you know the what, let’s get down to the when: current Bureau of Infectious Disease Control guidelines include automatic self quarantine regulations if you have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed, or if you have returned from a country with a level 3 travel advisory for COVID-19. You may choose to self quarantine if you suspect you have symptoms related to COVID-19.


If you have any questions as to your status and what precautions you should take, contact your local health department for guidance.

Ashely Alker, MD, MSc

“If you have a fever and respiratory symptoms, you should self quarantine for 14 days.”

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