With the current situations created due to the novel Coronavirus, many people fear if someone in your household started to show COVID-19 symptoms. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that if anyone has seen any related symptoms like fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, they should take medication and follow the guidelines of their local health authority.
According to WHO, the infected person should first isolate themselves as much as possible while staying at home. They should have a separate bedroom because maintaining social distancing is the top priority.
It is necessary to maintain strict hygiene while taking care of the infected person at home. The person should not be involved in any household activities. It is quintessential that the details of the infected person are informed to the health service and call them if the symptoms worsen. Home care can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 so that other people are safe from it.
If there are any older adults or anyone who has any severe underlying medical conditions like lung disease, heart disease, or diabetes, then they are at high risk of being susceptible to severe complications from COVID-19 illness. Such patients should seek care immediately once they see any symptoms start.
Suppose that a person is infected in your house, and you need to take care of them, then below are the 6 steps to protect yourself and others at home as well the community.
Restrict contact with others
One person who is perfectly fine with his health should take care of the infected person. Strictly avoid sharing any personal items with the sick person, such as toothbrushes, towels, bed linen, utensils, or electronic devices. If possible, have a separate bathroom for the person who is suffering from COVID-19. If not, then regularly clean it after the ill person uses it.
It is quintessential to wear a non-medical mask or cover your nose and mouth with a cloth to protect others as well. Avoid contact with animals, as there are reports that depict the transmission of COVID-19 to animals as well.
Older people or the ones with a higher risk of illness from COVID-19 should strictly prevent caring for the sick person. There are a few cases where the house in which you stay is quite small, and you have to be within 2 meters distance with the ill person. During such a time, wear personal protective equipment like a medical mask, disposable gloves, & eye protection.
Before touching the ill person, their environment, and soiled items or surfaces, make sure to wear disposable gloves. Do not reuse medical masks or gloves. Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds after you’re in contact with the sick and after removing gloves, eye protection, and face masks.
After you wash your hands, dry them with disposable paper towels. If you cannot use paper towels, then you can use a reusable towel and replace it once it is wet. In case you have to remove dirt, then use a damp wipe wot clean it and then deep clean it with an alcohol-based sanitizer. Unless you have washed your hands, do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Type of masks to use
Medical masks are a must for COVID-19 patients seeking care at home and also to those you provide them who look after them. N95 respirators are mainly for healthcare workers, so avoid using them for caregiving at home. Because if there is any shortage of the N95 respirators, the healthcare department may face various issues which are not acceptable.
If the medical masks are unavailable, then non-medical masks or face coverings can be used by the sick person if it is tolerable. Covering your mouth and nose will prevent the respiratory droplets coming from an infected person to enter your system. The person directly taking the COVID-19 patients can also wear a non-medical mask or face covering.
To follow strict hygiene, you should follow public health measure like:
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Keep at least 2 meters of physical distance with the sick person.
- Remove the non-medical cloth masks carefully when they’re soiled or damp.
- Wash the masks with hot water and then dry them thoroughly.
- Clean your hands before and after putting masks on and removing them.
- Maintain hygiene
Use a lined container wherein you can place all the used medical masks, gloves, and other contaminated items after they’re adequately disposed of with the household wastes. Place all the contaminated laundry, like the non-medical cloth masks, facial covering, bedding, etc. into a container with a plastic liner and do not shake.
You can use regular laundry soap and hot water to wash them, after which dry them thoroughly. Clothing, linens, bedding, and non-medical masks of sick people have to be washed separately. Clean and disinfect the surfaces like toilets, laundry containers, bedside tables, doorknobs, phones, and television remotes so prevent the infection spread to others at home.
- Regularly track for patient’s symptoms
If the patient experiences mild symptoms during the early stages, there are chances of getting severe symptoms where they may develop severe pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome. The patient may also develop serious symptoms like trouble breathing, persistent pain, or pressure in the chest, confusion, or bluish lips or face. If such problems persist, then it is a compulsion to visit the nearest healthcare center.
Although there is no vaccine found for COVID-19, hospitals can at least provide supportive care for complications that include supplemental oxygen and advanced organ support for respiratory failure.
Along with the patient, you should also take good care of yourself. Always monitor yourself for symptoms. There are many chances that you may also get infected easily while you take care of the infected person. If you are using Aarogya Setu App and find any signs of symptoms, then self-isolate for 14 days from your last exposure. Also, make sure to contact the local public health authority for further instructions.
Make sure to protect yourself from being infected. If you’re the only person staying at home other than the sick person, then situations may get worse, as there will be none others to take care of you two.
- Manage all the essentials
Taking care of COVID -19 patients is not a small task; you have to be super careful. Hence, you should maintain an adequate quantity of supplies for various materials. The necessary supplies include
- Medical masks or non-medical masks or face covering.
- Caregivers should cover their eyes with face shields or goggles.
- Disposable gloves
- Disposable paper towels
- A waste container having a plastic liner
- Enough medicines like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to reduce fever.
- Continuous water supply
- Soap, handwash, and alcohol-based sanitizer are containing 60% alcohol.
- Dish wash soap and laundry soap
- Household cleaning products
- Enough quantity of disinfectants
- Alcohol prep wipes for all the contaminated surfaces.
Have all the essentials mentioned above in adequate quantity to avoid going out for any such reasons.
The entire world is in the process of protecting themselves and their loved ones from this deadly virus. So make sure to follow all the instructions while you deal with any of them who has COVID-19. In case of any emergencies, immediately contact an experienced associate nurse or the nearest health care centers and seek the necessary treatment.