How To Care For A COVID-19 Patient Safely At Home: Explains Expert

man has symptoms of the virus, lies in bed

-Dr. Rajesh Chawla, Senior Consultant, Pulmonary Medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi

The current strain of the covid 19 is more infectious and is spreading even faster. Hence, lowering our guards is not an option. Prevention from this mutation requires more safety and strictly adhering to COVID appropriate behavior. With different symptoms, COVID-19 is being caught by majority of young adults this time with newer symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, body aches, infection in the eyes and high grade fever.

Hence, for COVID positive patients with mild and manageable symptoms who are isolating at home, a proper care regime is very important for the recovery and ensuring that they don’t become spreaders.  This time the spread of infection from one family member to another is very high, hence it is very important to isolate patients properly to contain the spread of virus.

Essential tips for the patients under home quarantine

  • The 16 day quarantine period starts from the day patient tests positive for COVID-19 (receives his/her reports).
  • On being tested positive, the remaining family members of the patient should only take the test after 5 days of the patient’s quarantine period, provided they don’t have any symptoms.
  • Patient’s isolation should be done in a different room that has proper air ventilation and also has a personal washroom attached.
  • Patient should monitor his/her temperature and oxygen levels after every 6 hours.
  • Any kind of strenuous physical exercise should not be done by the patient for 16 days, barring a few important breathing exercises like lying on the belly facing the bed in a prone position(in consultation with your doctor). This breathing exercise is helpful in getting the low oxygen levels up.
  • Patient should not use his/her hands directly for receiving the essentials and food from anybody in their family. It’s good to use a surface for picking things up, rather taking things directly from the hands.
  • Patient’s laundry and vessels should be washed separately by him/her. Also using disposables for serving food is a convenient option.
  • Patient’s diet for the first one week should be light but nutritious. Simple home-cooked vegetarian food is good, seasonal fruits can be consumed. The patient must consume at least 2 liters of liquid in a day. Liquids like coconut and lemon water are highly recommended. Diabetic patients should avoid having sweetened liquids.
  • On facing an irritation in throat, gargles with lukewarm/ saline water are helpful.
  • Patient’s symptoms will vary every day, hence he/she should rest up properly and allow its body to heal.
  • Another RTPCR test should be taken after 10 days of patient’s 16 days quarantine period, as sometimes dead virus shows to be positive in the report.
  • Lastly, the virus requires the patient to be physically isolated not emotionally. Hence the patient should take care of its mental health by either indulging in some meditation or e-connecting with its friends and family.

Being Prepared for an Emergency

While being home quarantine a COVID positive patient and its family should be well prepared for an emergency situation.

  • A patient in quarantine should always keep handy the contacts of its family, doctors, ambulance and health experts. The same should be kept handy by the patient’s family too.
  • Any patient with an existing comorbidity should be extra careful. He/she should be regularly monitoring its blood pressure/sugar levels. Also he/she should keep handy its prior medical reports and be in regular touch with its doctor.
  • For the patients in home quarantine, their families should also follow all stipulated COVID guidelines, as it will help contain the spread of virus within the family members. 
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