Ask Dr. Tessa: Staying Home

!Read the Latest Information on Coronavirus for Hair Professionals. COVID-19 Updates


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An image of AHP members taking covid testQ. If I have a fever or get sick, how long should I stay at home before returning to see clients?

It is important to stay home and away from other people if you have, or think you might have, COVID-19. Testing is becoming more widely available, so I highly encourage you to contact your health-care provider and ask about testing. Some jurisdictions are offering free testing, so I would also contact your local health department to determine if this is an option in your community.  

Current US recommendations for when you can be with others if you think you may have had COVID-19 and experienced symptoms are:

  • 3 days with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications like acetaminophen or nonsteroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen, aspirin or naproxen, AND
  • Improvement of symptoms1 (cough, fatigue, muscle, or body aches), AND
  • 10 days since symptoms first appeared

An image of AHP members cleaning
If you had a test for COVID-19 that was positive but had no symptoms, you can return to work after 10 days have passed since you were tested. If you have a weakened immune system due to a health condition or medication, you might need to stay home for longer than 10 days. It is important that you talk to your doctor for more information.

When you return to work, ensure you wear a surgical mask or cloth face covering2 at all times. Wash your hands3 with soap and water frequently and use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.  Remember hand sanitizer does not get rid of all types of germs and is not as effective as handwashing, so use it only when handwashing isn’t an option.


An image of coffee cups with smiling facesFinally, it is incredibly stressful to deal with an illness during a pandemic. These days, the news is a nonstop cycle of devastating information. Add social isolation and concerns about finances into the equation and you can slip into a dark place. I highly recommend taking steps to “fill up your cup” as my young son learned in kindergarten. Check in with loved ones more frequently than you would normally.  Is it just me or has the art of the phone call been revived? Take care of your emotional health.4 My “fill-up-my-cup” strategy of late is to watch inspiring videos on YouTube: Brené Brown—love her!      


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Symptoms of Coronavirus,” last updated May 13, 2020, accessed June 2020
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19,” last updated May 23, 2020, accessed June 2020
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives,” last updated March 16, 2020, accessed June 2020
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Taking Care of Your Emotional Health,” last updated September 2019, accessed June 2020


Please be sure to always work within your scope of practice as determined by your state and to adhere to all local and federal rules and regulations regarding COVID-19 protocols. To learn more about returning to your practice or to access free resources to assist you with reopening, access the BACK-TO-PRACTICE GUIDE!

An image of Tessa CrumeAbout the Author:

Dr. Tessa Crume is an Associate Professor in the Epidemiology Department at the Colorado School of Health at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Her research focuses on the development and utilization of public health surveillance systems to understand the burden of disease. She has been an academic researcher since 2011, before which she worked for a decade as an applied epidemiologist at the state and federal level, analyzing surveillance data and evaluating public health impact. Dr. Crume has taught the core epidemiology class at the Colorado School of Public Health for nine years.


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