Covid-19 revised guidelines for quarantine: Your complete guide to caring for someone at home

A family member testing positive for Covid-19 may cause a lot of anxiety and worry. But if you are a caregiver, it is essential that you do not panic and also not let your guard down, as per World Health Organization.

In a Twitter post, the global health body reiterated how one can care for a Covid-positive patient at home.

People at high risk include

older adults;
people who are pregnant;
people of any age with chronic medical conditions (such as chronic cardiac, pulmonary, renal, metabolic, neurologic, liver or hematologic diseases); and
people with immunosuppressive conditions (such as HIV/AIDS, patients receiving chemotherapy or steroids, and people with cancer.)

“If someone in your home is not at high risk for severe disease, tests positive for Covid-19, and has no symptoms or mild symptoms, they can usually be cared for safely at home,” reads WHO’s statement.

Here’s what to do as per WHO:

*Identify one household member to be the caregiver. The caregiver should have no high risk factors and the fewest contacts with people outside.
*Prepare a separate room or isolated space for the person with Covid-19 infection.
*Open window(s) to improve ventilation and increase the circulation of fresh air.
*Do not allow visitors and try to avoid close contact of less than one metre.
*Everyone should wear a medical mask when in the same room as the infected person.
*Clean hands frequently using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
*Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

*Use separate dishes, cups, eating utensils, and bedding from the person infected.
*The person with infection should rest; drink plenty of fluids; eat nutritious food; and continue any medications for chronic conditions.
*Get vaccinated as soon as it is your turn.
*Take paracetamol/acetominophen for fever and/or body pain according to instructions. Antibiotics are not effective against Covid-19 infection.
*Monitor the infected person regularly. Call your healthcare provider immediately if there is difficulty in breathing, confusion, chest pain, or loss of speech or mobility.

Covid-19, Covid-19 anxiety, Covid-19 mental health, Covid-19 symptoms Covid-19 patients can use a pulse oximeter to monitor oxygen levels on their own. (Photo: Pixabay)

To check oxygen saturation, Covid-19 patients can use a pulse oximeter. But before using it, one should know how to use it correctly.

*Rest for 10-15 mins before taking measurements
*Rest a hand on the chest and hold still
*Place the oximeter on the middle or index finger
*Keep it in the same place till the reading is stable
*Register the highest result once the reading has been stabilised
*Identify the reading carefully
*Start recording from the baseline and record thrice a day unless you notice any changes in your health
*Consult a medical professional in case of breathlessness or dip in oxygen levels to 93 per cent or less

Experts also suggest that prone position or lying face down on your stomach with deep breathing can help.

“When a patient is in the prone position, due to gravity, air moves up to the air sack. This helps in better distribution of oxygen to the lungs and other parts of the body. There is no adverse effect related to the position, however, we must keep in mind that proning is not the sole solution to improve oxygen level and it should be complemented with other necessary treatments as well,” said Dr Praveen Gupta, director and head of department, neurology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram.

For how long should you isolate?

According to WHO, people with symptoms should stay isolated for a minimum of 10 days after the first day they developed symptoms, plus another 3 days after the end of symptoms – when they are without fever and any respiratory symptoms. As per Indian government’s revised guidelines, asymptomatic patients at home need to quarantine for at least seven days instead of 10 days provided there is no fever for three consecutive days.

Even if you have been vaccinated, it is important that you follow other precautionary measures because vaccination does not fully protect against infection or the possibility to spread the virus, if infected. WHO recommends that you still wear a medical mask and follow prevention measures when caring for someone with Covid-19 infection, even if you are vaccinated.

Even though the Covid-19 vaccines are highly effective against serious disease and death, some people will still get infected or fall ill after they have been vaccinated. There is still a chance you could be infected with the virus and pass it on to other people around you who have not been vaccinated.

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