Caregiver Information

Caregivers Must Take Extra Caution

It is vital that caregivers practice good hygiene and stay healthy so they can fulfill their duties and help to prevent the spread of infection to themselves and those they care for.

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53 million caregivers in the U.S. provide unpaid care to family, friends or neighbors who need assistance due to the effects of aging or a disabling condition.2

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Caregivers have 23% more stress hormones, which have been shown to negatively impact immune function.4,5

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47% of caregivers care for someone with a condition that puts them at increased risk of severe health complications.3

Steps caregivers can take to protect themselves and those they care for from infection

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Follow CDC guidance—wear a face mask in public and practice social distancing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.6
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Get plenty of sleep—adequate sleep has been shown to boost the immune system.7
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Avoid touching your face. Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue and ensure those you care for do the same.8
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Wash your hands regularly with soap for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water isn’t available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.9
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Sanitize your nose and encourage others to do so regularly with a product formulated to kill germs in the nose.

“Caregivers: Steps To Stay Healthy And Reduce The Spread Of Infection” Reference List

  1. CDC. (2020). People at High Risk for Flu Complications.
  2. National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. (2020). Caregiving in the U.S. 2020 Report.
  3. National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. (2020). Caregiving in the U.S. 2020 Report.
    Note: This statistic factors in “old age,” surgery and wounds, cancer, stroke, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease and breathing issues as the illness/problems that can lead to increased risk of severe complications.
  4. Vitaliano, P., Zhang, J. & Scanlan, J. (2003). Is caregiving hazardous to one’s physical health? A metaanalysis. Psychological Bulletin, 129(6): 946-972.
  5. Webster Marketon, J. I., & Glaser, R. (2008). Stress hormones and immune function. Cellular immunology, 252(1-2), 16–26.
  6. CDC. (2020). CDC Calls on Americans to Wear Masks to Prevent COVID-19 Spread.
  7. Besedovsky, L., Lange, T., & Born, J. (2012). Sleep and immune function. Pflugers Archiv : European journal of physiology, 463(1), 121–137.
  8. CDC. (2020). Coughing and Sneezing.
  9. CDC. (2020). When and How to Wash Your Hands.
  10. Kwok, Yen Lee Angela, et al. (2015). Face touching: A frequent habit that has implications for hand hygiene. American Journal of Infection Control, Volume 43, Issue 2, 112 – 114.
  11. Huang, S., Septimus, E., Kleinman, K. et al. (2013). Targeted versus universal decolonization to prevent ICU infection. New England Journal of Medicine, 368, 2255–2265.
  12. Mullen, A., Wieland, H.J., Weiser, E.S., Spannhake, E.W., & Marinos, R.S. (2017). Perioperative participation of orthopedic patients and surgical staff in a nasal decolonization intervention to reduce Staphylococcus spp surgical site infections. American Journal of Infection Control, 45(5), 554–556.
  13. Jimenez, A., Sposato, K., Leon-Sanchez, A., et al., (2019) Reduction of Hospital-Onset Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Bacteremia in an Acute Care Hospital: Impact of Bundles and Universal Decolonization; presented at ID Week: