With a sudden surge in covid cases, the Healthcare system overwhelmed and shortage of hospital beds, oxygen and medicines, rushing to hospitals is not the only option if you have covid. Even the medical practitioners are recommending home isolation and advising home treatment to deal with Covid. If you have coronavirus disease and you’re caring for yourself or a family member with COVID-19 at home, you might have several questions. How do you understand if there is an emergency? When to isolate or How long is isolation necessary? What measures can you take to prevent the spread of germs? Here’s what you need to know and essential Home Care Tips for COVID-19.
Know the most common symptoms of Covid
The deadly coronavirus doesn’t affect everyone in the same way. This disease has brought along different and varied ranges of symptoms. Before getting tested for the virus, one must be fully aware of its symptoms. Most people suffer from mild to moderate symptoms and can be recovered easily.
The most common COVID symptoms are:
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Body pain
- Loss of smell and taste
However, these are mild symptoms and mild symptoms usually go away between 7 and 14 days. While the other symptoms you should not ignore and which needs immediate attention and doctors advice are:
- Runny and stuffy nose
- High temperature
- Chest pain and shortness of breath
- Pale, grey or blue-coloured skin
If you experience these symptoms, you may want to contact your nearby doctor right away without wasting time. This is important if you want to keep yourself and your family protected from the infection. Also, there are some cases where people are asymptomatic or not having any symptoms.
When to Isolate At Home?
If you feel any of the above symptoms isolate immediately. A simple act of caution will reduce the spread and lives. But,
before rushing into any decision first get yourself tested. Look out for your symptoms and reach out to a doctor on the phone so that they access your condition and advise you the best. Doctors are advising most people to follow home isolation and manage the symptoms, if not serious. You should isolate yourself when:
- When you’re asymptomatic
There are such situations where you have come in contact with a COVID positive but have no noticeable symptoms. It is best to get yourself tested as you still may be a carrier of the infection and may put other people’s lives at risk. So, if you test positive, isolate yourself from others until your report is negative.
- People with mild symptoms
Patients with mild symptoms can easily recover at home. The symptoms which fall under the mild category are fever, cough, sore throat, muscle pain, nausea, diarrhea, and loss of taste and smell.
- Patients with moderate symptoms
The other category that too can be isolated at home includes patients with moderate illness for example if you have the above symptoms and evidence of lower respiratory during your CT scans but your saturation of oxygen is more than 94 percent.
PS: Don’t get the chest CT scan done by yourself, instead proceed only after the doctor’s advice. A doctor will tell you to get this test done only if a patient’s symptoms are suggesting a lung disease, your doctor will tell you to get this test done. not everyone needs to go for this test. So, only get this test done when your health expert suggests.
At-home treatment for Covid 19?
Do not panic if you contract the virus. If you test positive, isolate yourself immediately in a well-ventilated room and sanitize your surroundings. Stay away from your family members to avoid coming in contact with them. Ensure that you do not share any common space or household items. You can get over it easily and recover from this muted virus by following Home Care Tips for COVID-19.
- Don’t self medicate, Seek medical advice: Do not engage in any medications without your doctor’s approval. Consult a doctor and follow the treatment they suggest. People suffering from the virus might feel better in about a week. The treatment is geared towards relieving pain and includes rest, fluid intake and a few medications to ease your symptoms. Fever, cough and body ache will persist despite medications. Kindly tolerate it for a few days. There won’t be any benefit in rushing to your doctor for it again and again when in isolation.
- Keep checking your oxygen level: It’s important to keep an eye on your oxygen saturation levels regularly using a pulse oximeter. Persistently SPO2 value below 94% definitely requires oxygen support and hospital admission. Keep checking it every six hours or more frequently if you feel your breaths coming in too fast. You just have to put your finger in, press the button and wait to see your oxygen level and pulse rate appear on the screen. The typical healthy range for oxygen saturation is between 95% and 99%.
- Monitor your temperature: Keep a check on your temperature every six hours. Persistently high temperature may need a concern. So, use a thermometer and see if you have developed a fever or if the fever is subsiding or increasing. It might be a useful practice to note down temperatures so it’s easier to keep track.
- Eat healthy: Eat nutritious meals even if you are unable to smell or taste them. There is no food known to treat or cure COVID-19 but healthy food will help you recover fast. Fresh fruit and vegetables are also important for health and keeping the nutrient level in check. The disease robs the key nutrients from the body if you do not consume healthy food. It is important to eat nutrient-rich, immunity-boosting foods and drink fluids rich in antioxidants.
- Staying hydrated during the course of your infection is of utmost importance. You have to intake plenty of fluids, especially if the fever is high. The symptoms such as fever, coughing, Diarrhoea, and vomiting can easily impact individuals’ fluid intake and contribute to dehydration if fluids are not consumed while recovering.
- Try Proning: If a person’s oxygen level drops below 94% and medical attention is not imminently possible, proning at home is recommended as a beneficial breathing aid. Proning refers to a thumping therapy at the back or chest continuously. Avoid this for an hour after meals. Follow proning as per comfort level and as many times as it feels bearable. You may adjust the pillows if you need to alter pressure areas.
However, don’t neglect the emergency signs and carefully monitor for worsening symptoms. If symptoms appear to be getting worse, contact the doctor as soon as possible.
Essentials you must-have for at-home covid treatment
There are a few essentials you should keep with you to be prepared to take care of yourself at home if you have mild symptoms from COVID-19.
Mask: Covid is spread due to droplets when we cough or sneeze. It makes it essential to wear a face mask to keep your mouth and nose covered when coughing or sneezing. If your mask gets wet or dirty, you need to replace it with a clean and dry mask. You will need to change your mask every 8 hours. So, stock up packets of masks so you can change the face mask each day.
Hand Sanitizer: We come in contact with several things when we are out or even after coming home. The tabletops, doorknobs, grocery bags, other essentials. Your virus may get transferred to others when you both come in contact with the same surface. So, always keep your hands clean to prevent spreading COVID infection. However, washing hands with soap and water is considered the most effective way to destroy the disease-causing pathogens. But when it’s not possible, a sanitizer is the best option. Have enough hand sanitizer stocked up containing at least 60 percent ethanol or isopropyl alcohol.
Disinfectant: It is good to keep a disinfectant with you to wipe down the surface you tend to touch a lot. Covid is said to spread through the surfaces. The doors, cellphones, tabletops, and many other surfaces in our home are often touched and are developing lands of bacteria and viruses. You should clean them often with a good disinfecting cleaner, containing 7.5 percent hydrogen peroxide.
Tissues: Tissues can be used for several purposes like covering your mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing, wiping your face, cleaning surfaces. Keeping tissues handy and using them often is the best solution to restrict your exposure to the virus. One of the major ways Covid transmits is through the viral droplets spread by coughing, sneezing, or spitting. Have plenty of tissues stocked up in your home to help prevent transmitting it to other people in your family.
Pulse Oximeter: Doctors usually advise the use of a pulse oximeter to many covid patients, especially if the ill person has risk factors for severe illness. A pulse oximeter is a clip-like electronic device that sticks to a finger. The device can help check oxygen level by measuring how much oxygen is in the blood. A reading of less than 92% indicates risk and prompts a call to the doctor, increasing the need for hospitalization. Make sure you have a pulse oximeter and know very well how to use the device properly.
Thermometer: If you doubt you have a mild case of COVID-19 you may experience fever. You’ll need a thermometer to keep checking your temperature twice a day. You will have to isolate yourself at home for at least 14 days from the onset of symptoms until symptom-free and fever-free.
Vitamin C and D: Keep the stock of Vitamin C and D at home as these are proven to be beneficial against fighting any kind of viral and to cure deficiencies related to it. You can take vitamin C and vitamin D as well as zinc in small doses. There is no harm in taking small doses of vitamin and zinc but consuming too much of them is not required at all
Cough syrups: Many people with COVID-19 have a strong cough. Keep cough medicines, syrup in stock in case you need them. Consuming honey or cough drops with honey as its ingredient may also help to relieve coughs.
Paracetamol: The most useful medicine to decrease headaches, body aches, and fever. Paracetamol is widely used to treat coronavirus symptoms and is usually recommended as the first-line of treatment for most people.
Do I have to follow any specific diet?
As such there are no dietary restrictions. You can eat whatever you want. Make sure you eat healthy to avoid digestive issues. It is vital to eat foods rich in nutrients and drink fluids rich in antioxidants. Try to include garlic, avocado, orange pineapple, banana, kinu, mango, lime or lemon in your diet. These have high ph levels and help in combating the virus.
Avoid ice cream, cold beverages so that you don’t catch a cold and cough. Avoid too much kadha. Oily and spicy are allowed unless you have vomiting or gastritis.
If you are diabetic or Hypertensive you can follow your diet as before.
Important things to keep in mind
Maintain a daily routine, including showering, avoid COVID-19 news, Focus on enjoyable activities. Caring for yourself can help you cope with stress and help you recover fast.
Open windows to keep air circulating. Keep your space well ventilated. Do a lot of breathing exercises to keep your lungs healthy. Taking steam inhalations and doing gargles with warm water are also advised for lung health.
You do not have to refrain from normal activities until unless you have the warning signs like shortness of breath and low oxygen levels.
Don’t get Vaccinated for COVID for a minimum of 6 weeks ideally 8 weeks after you are Cured.
Make sure that you have a list of emergency contacts like family, friends, neighbours and co-workers who can reach out to you, and resources to get prescribed medicines or food delivered if possible.
When To Go To The Hospital?
There are usually three stages: mild, moderate and severe. As mentioned above, patients with mild and moderate symptoms can be recovered at home with Home Care tips for Covid 19. There are a lot of patients taking up beds because they are scared to deal with it at home. Most probably the symptoms might last for 5 to 7 days, and the patient having the virus might feel better in about a week. One should go to the hospital only if your symptoms continue to worsen.
One should only seek hospitalization when patients start to experience trouble breathing, persistent chest pain, mental confusion, bluish lips, inability to stay awake, if the CT scans show increased patching in the lungs. Along with this, there are few vital signs one should look out for like pulse, oxygen saturation level and temperature. You must watch out for these emergency symptoms and seek medical attention.
Warning signs you should not ignore
These are the signs that indicate worsening of symptoms and might need immediate attention:
- When the oxygen level on the pulse oximeter drops below 94%
- When there is shortness of breath
- When the skin starts looking pale and lips or face turn blueish
- A feeling of disorientation increases
- Fever of more than 101 F persists for three days
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- Slurred speech
- Unable to wake up or stay awake
However, aged people and people of any age with existing medical conditions should consult the doctor as soon as symptoms start. These people are at bigger risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19.
When to end isolation or quarantine
Usually, the isolation period ends if at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms started. However, the standard quarantine period one should follow is for 14 days. If you are still confused about when you should end the isolation and be around others, you can ask your doctor. If you have a weakened immune system your doctor will suggest you the best. It would be better to quarantine for 14 days and watch for common signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Although a few symptoms might last for weeks or months after recovery and don’t need isolation. However, you will need a long aftercare routine post recovering from Covid 19.
Safety measures to follow when caring for COVID patient
- Avoid direct contact with the infected person. Avoid sharing space with them. Wear disposable gloves and a triple layer face mask when near them or when providing care. Discard the mask every 8 hours.
- Wash your hands after providing the care or use a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol. Avoid repeatedly touching your face (eyes, nose and mouth).
- Keep the bedding, clothes and utensils for the infected person aside. Always be cautious while cleaning their laundry and utensils. Wash them with warm water. When dealing with them wear disposable gloves and keep the items away from your body. When you remove your gloves you should wash your hands again.
- Clean your home frequently. Use household cleaning sprays or wipes to clean surfaces that are often touched, including counters, tabletops, light switches, electronics and doorknobs.
Wear a mask, keep social distancing, and wash your hands frequently even when you have come out of Covid. You should still practice Covid 19 appropriate behaviour and follow all precautions with Home Care Tips for COVID-19, otherwise you might get reinfected and might not be in a position to cope with the Third Wave..!!