Should you quarantine if you have the flu?

Published: Dec. 22, 2022 at 12:29 PM EST
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AROOSTOOK COUNTY, Maine (WAGM) - The word quarantine has been connected with Covid since the pandemic began, but doctors have been recommending people isolate when sick for years.

Stephanie Gillis, the Director of Primary Care at Northern Maine Medical Center says, “And I think definitely during acute illness, if you’ve got uncontrolled symptoms. So if you have an uncontrolled cough, congestion, if you have a fever, you need to be at least 24 to 48 hours without fever medications, without a fever. But if you have symptoms that aren’t controlled, it’s best to to stay home until you’re well enough to be able to do normal, reasonable activities without having an uncontrolled cough or a cough that might come up out of the blue, and you might not be able to cover that cough or keep a mask on comfortably. There’s not a strict definition on an isolation period other than 24 hours, at least after your last fever without medicines to help reduce the fever. But again, I think most of us with these respiratory illness the last thing we want to see is one on top of another. And we have been seeing that in some cases. And so if you’re ill and having symptoms best to stay home, if at all possible.”

Kris Doody, the CEO at Cary Medical Center adds, “You know, it’s interesting you asked that question, Kelly, because I mean, if I think back to even being a, a young child, the youngest of eight, if there was a sick child in the house, you know, mom tried to keep us away from the other, so the others didn’t get sick. We never called it quarantine or isolation back then, but that’s essentially what it was, you know, and even early in my nursing career, we often isolated people from other patients or, you know, encouraged people to stay away just to try to prevent the spread of disease. And I think with Covid that kind of took on like a negative, unfortunately a negative tone. And this is no different than other infectious diseases that we’ve been dealing with over the years. And the reality is, there are people in our community who we really want to be careful, some of our elderly that are fragile, some of our young children. We want to be very careful and try to prevent the disease from spreading.