Isolation Vs. Quarantine: The Dilemma during the Pandemic

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People often use some words in their daily scenario which seem to be the synonyms of each other, yet they are different. Their actual meaning is entirely different to what and where, with reference they are spoken.

Sometimes it confuses the listener while other times it misleads the information projected to them.

As per present, some of these word duos include epidemic-pandemic, isolation-quarantine, and so on.

What people know are the similarities while they ignore the basic key differences in them!

Isolation and Quarantine are used by people to refer to separating people in various ways due to the spread of a disease. On the contrary, there is an important distinction between quarantine and isolation.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) quarantine is explained as-

“… the separation of a person or group of people reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease but not yet symptomatic, from others who have not been so exposed, to prevent the possible spread of the communicable disease.”

And, isolation is explained as-

“the separation of a person or group of people known or reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease and potentially infectious from those who are not infected to prevent spread of the communicable disease. Isolation for public health purposes may be voluntary or compelled by federal, state, or local public health order.”

Let’s take a reference!

In this present pandemic of Covid-19, some people are isolated while some are quarantined. Here, people who are separated from their known’s who are suffering from Coronavirus are termed as “isolated”. While others, who are said to be at home in order to prevent from the disease are “quarantined”.

Quarantine can be termed as a “strict isolation” whereas isolation has no context with being quarantined. Quarantine is a period, originally 40 days of detention imposed upon every living as well as non-living creatures and structures, disease in the defined place, when suspected to have any contagious disease. It is the measure taken to usually stop or avoid a spread of infections or infectious diseases. The person quarantined may or may not have any direct contact with the infected person. The people can be quarantined in their own residences as well as the places they are living in.

Contradictory, isolation is a wide concept. There can be numerous reasons for a person to be isolated. This varies from avoiding social interaction due to shame or depression, willing to spend extended periods of time alone, Lacking important social or professional relationships to keeping a pace with an infected person. Isolation when talked in terms of avoiding an infected person refers when the person isolated has a direct contact with the diseased person. It is the action people take with the motive to restore to a good mental health and sometimes to be safe from the outspread sickness. The people placed in isolation are given special care, with precautions taken to protect uninfected people from exposure to the disease.

There are  three types of isolation whereas quarantine is a single term and single type.

The three categories of isolation includes- 

  • Contact isolation
  • Respiratory isolation
  • High isolation

Let’s get into a brief about these:

  • Contact isolation is used to prevent the spread of diseases that can be spread through contact with open wounds. Health care workers making contact with a patient on contact isolation are required to wear gloves, and in some cases, gowns.
  • Respiratory isolation is used for diseases that are spread through particles that are exhaled. Those having contact with or exposure to such a patient are required to wear a mask.
  • Reverse isolation often involves the use of laminar air flow and mechanical barriers to avoid physical contact with others.
  • High isolation involves: gloves, protective eyewear, a waterproof gown, and a respirator, not simply a surgical mask.
  • Strict isolation refers to the isolation centre for infections that can be spread through air.

Isolating people in a structured room equipped with a special lavatory and care-giving equipment, and a sink and waste disposal.

The other commonly used relative terms are “self-isolation” and “self-quarantine”. Elucidating, “self-isolation” is voluntarily or under some guidance, quarantining oneself to prevent infection of oneself or others, while “self-quarantine” is restriction on the movement of people and goods which is intended to prevent the spread of disease or pests.

Winding up, quarantine is a movement done to prevent people who are  exposed to disease on the other hand, isolation  is a movement where people  who are confirmed to be infected or are in close contact with a diseased person are kept separated from the healthy population. 

Stay Safe, and Stay Home! 

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