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Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: How To Care For A COVID-19 Patient Safely At Home?

Here are some recommendations from experts on how to take care of a COVID-19 positive patient at home while keeping oneself safe

Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: How To Care For A COVID-19 Patient Safely At Home?
Highlights
  • Those patients who have stable condition can be managed at home: Experts
  • COVID-19 patients must remain fully isolated at home, say experts
  • Experts recommend following strict hygiene while looking after a patient

New Delhi: As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on and the number of new cases continues to be among the highest in the world health authorities in the country and international health agencies like the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have agreed that patients with mild or no symptoms can be self-isolated and treated at home or in a non-healthcare setting. NDTV spoke with experts to learn about how the household can provide care to the COVID-19 patient at home while keeping themselves safe from the highly contagious coronavirus.

Also Read: As The World’s First Case Of COVID-19 Reinfection Confirms In Hong Kong, Experts Say Second Time Infections Are Possible But Rare

Who can be treated at home?

According to Dr. Vishal Sehgal, Medical Director, Portea Medical, a private healthcare firm, the government guidelines allow patients who are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic to be managed at home. He further added,

Patients who have severe symptoms like problem in breathing cannot be managed at home and must seek medical supervision at a COVID-19 centre or hospital as early as possible. However, patients who do not have the risk of developing COVID related complications and have mild symptoms such as fever, sore throat, body ache with normal oxygen saturation and normal respiratory rate can be managed well at home.

He further said that earlier, the government’s guidelines said that COVID-19 patients who have co-morbid conditions which refer to the presence of one or more additional physiological or psychological conditions like hypertension, diabetes, liver-issues among others could be managed only at hospitals or COVID care centres. However later on the guidelines were modified and those patients who had stable co-morbidities were allowed to be managed at home. Similarly, there was an age criterion earlier under which patient below the age of 10 years and above the age of 60 years were to be treated at the hospital only. This criterion now holds true only for those who have severe symptoms while the rest of the people in these age groups can receive the treatment being in home isolation.

Dr Vandana Boobna, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi said that patients can be well taken care of at home. She asserted,

Most patients suffer from asymptomatic to mild disease and recover well and not every patient requires admission and they can be well taken care of at home only, under the guidance of a physician and supporting care of caregiver at home. However, this needs strong vigilance, monitoring and continuum of care under the guidance of a physician.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: Air Conditioners That Recirculate Indoor Air May Increase The Risk Of COVID-19 Transmission, Say Experts

Caring For The COVID-19 Patient At Home

The first step towards taking care of a COVID-19 patient at home, according to experts, is to have them in complete isolation. They recommend the patient to stay in a properly ventilated separate room with a bathroom that is dedicated for the patient only. According to Dr. Sehgal,

Home treatment is applicable to only those households that have a provision of a separate room and a dedicated bathroom for the COVID-19 patient, away from others. The patient is required to stay in isolation for 17 days which includes 10 days of treatment and 7 days of post-COVID quarantine to monitor the symptoms before letting the patient come out.

Dr. Boobna highlighted that while nursing a COVID-19 patient at home, the caregiver must focus on the patient’s liquid intake. She said that adequate hydration is extremely important for faster recovery from COVID-19. Along with proper hydration, she recommends a healthy diet that is rich in proteins and vitamins and proper rest. She also recommends following strict hygiene while caring for a COVID-19 patient at home.

Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: How To Care For A COVID-19 Patient Safely At Home?

Caring for the COVID-19 patient at home

She added that temperature, pulse and oxygen saturation of the patient must be checked twice a day and the physician looking after the case must be kept informed with the statistics.

According to Dr Vivek Pal Singh – Sr Consultant, Internal Medicine, BLK Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi the caregiver needs to ensure that the COVID-19 patient at home has an oxygen level that is more than 96 per cent and respiratory rate less than 16 per minute in the resting state.

Also Read: COVID-19 Explainer: What Is Far UV-C Light, And Can It Kill The Coronavirus On Surfaces?

The Caregiver Must Monitor Their Own Health As Well: Experts

With the COVID-19 patient in complete isolation, the rest of the family members need to go into quarantine, say experts. Dr. Sehgal said,

No person from the house of a COVID-19 patient should go outside the house. This means that the family members need to make arrangements for groceries and other necessary items in such a way that there is no interaction with people outside.

He suggests that there should be only one family member designated with the task of taking care of the patient. While talking about the dos and don’ts to be followed by the caregiver, Dr. Sehgal said,

The caregiver must wear a mask all the time. They should ensure that they have a pair of disposable gloves on while handling the utensils or laundry of the patient. The caregiver must maintain a physical distance of at least six feet from the patient and must enter the room if necessary.

He further said that all frequently touched areas of the house like doorknobs, light switches, TV remotes, cabinets, kitchen counters and other items and places should be disinfected regularly.

Dr. Sehgal recommends that all caregivers and other family members must monitor their own health and vital parameters like temperature, heart rate and oxygen level at least twice a day. In case, any family member exhibits symptoms, they should seek their doctor’s opinion immediately.

Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: How To Care For A COVID-19 Patient Safely At Home?

Caregivers must not forget to monitor their own health too: Experts

According to Dr. Boobna, the caregiver must contact a doctor immediately if he or she experiences any of the following symptoms:

  • Breathlessness
  • Falling Oxygen Levels
  • Nails and lips turning blue
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Drowsiness or mental confusion

Dr. Singh suggested that watching out for symptoms and following precautions is necessary for the family members because they may have come in touch with the patient before being tested positive. He said,

Before being tested positive or being symptomatic, the patient has technically already transmitted the virus among his family members as it is established beyond doubt that COVID has airborne transmission also. So it all boils down to the fact that virus can be there in all family members only a few may show symptoms. So it’s better to be extra careful which is why basic hand hygiene and proper usage of the mask is desirable for the caregiver.

Also Read: Coronavirus Vaccine: Oxford University’s COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate Exhibits Strong Immune Responses, Says The Lancet Study

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.  

World

24,20,23,922Cases
20,36,06,535Active
3,34,95,808Recovered
49,21,579Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 24,20,23,922 and 49,21,579 have died; 20,36,06,535 are active cases and 3,34,95,808 have recovered as on October 21, 2021 at 4:33 am.

India

3,41,27,450 18,454Cases
1,78,831 733Active
3,34,95,808 17,561Recovered
4,52,811 160Deaths
In India, there are 3,41,27,450 confirmed cases including 4,52,811 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,78,831 and 3,34,95,808 have recovered as on October 21, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,96,645 1,825

29,333 1,075

64,27,426 2,879

1,39,886 21

Kerala

48,79,790 11,150

83,333 2,476

47,69,373 8,592

27,084 82

Karnataka

29,84,484 462

9,103 26

29,37,405 479

37,976 9

Tamil Nadu

26,90,633 1,170

14,058 268

26,40,627 1,418

35,948 20

Andhra Pradesh

20,61,810 523

5,566 88

20,41,924 608

14,320 3

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,058 11

112 6

16,87,048 17

22,898

West Bengal

15,82,813 867

7,491 63

15,56,315 795

19,007 9

Delhi

14,39,466 25

310 12

14,14,066 37

25,090

Odisha

10,36,532 559

4,387 106

10,23,849 451

8,296 2

Chhattisgarh

10,05,735 34

185 3

9,91,979 36

13,571 1

Rajasthan

9,54,393 1

38 0

9,45,401 1

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,340 14

176 9

8,16,077 22

10,087 1

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,709 9

82 3

7,82,104 6

10,523

Haryana

7,71,116 15

133 7

7,60,934 8

10,049

Bihar

7,26,036 3

30 12

7,16,345 15

9,661

Telangana

6,69,556 191

3,968 28

6,61,646 162

3,942 1

Assam

6,07,427 308

3,610 25

5,97,859 282

5,958 1

Punjab

6,02,113 32

232 16

5,85,331 15

16,550 1

Jharkhand

3,48,486 25

142 14

3,43,209 11

5,135

Uttarakhand

3,43,773 8

176 1

3,36,199 6

7,398 1

Jammu And Kashmir

3,31,299 78

800 3

3,26,070 80

4,429 1

Himachal Pradesh

2,21,936 110

1,394 46

2,16,815 64

3,727

Goa

1,77,706 47

597 23

1,73,755 70

3,354

Puducherry

1,27,521 42

461 29

1,25,208 71

1,852

Manipur

1,22,970 71

1,360 2

1,19,706 66

1,904 3

Mizoram

1,15,207 741

10,263 505

1,04,548 1,243

396 3

Tripura

84,351 2

95 7

83,440 9

816

Meghalaya

83,158 79

761 21

80,958 58

1,439

Chandigarh

65,312 2

24 1

64,468 3

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,043 12

138 7

54,625 19

280

Sikkim

31,800 17

175 6

31,232 22

393 1

Nagaland

31,659 18

255 8

30,728 10

676

Ladakh

20,886 3

34 0

20,644 3

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,676

2 2

10,670 2

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

0 0

10,314

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,646

7 1

7,510 1

129

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