As a massive ‘second wave’ of the COVID-19 pandemic is sweeping across the nation, pulling ourselves together is the right step to take forward. While following the COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) such as wearing a mask, using hand sanitizer, washing our hands, and maintaining social distancing is of utmost importance in this span of time, staying strong both physically and mentally is also the key to fight against the virus.
As you might be aware that the number of covid positive cases are increasing at an alarming rate every day. If you or anyone in your family, close friends, or neighbors are tested positive for COVID, the first step is to NOT PANIC. COVID-19 is a respiratory infection, just like flu, which requires prompt medical attention and home care along with isolation.
So if you are wondering what to do if you are COVID positive, here we bring practical ‘home-care tips’ for mild COVID-19 positive patients based on our discussion with the various experts from the reputed institutes and analysis of the MoHFW guidelines, WHO and CDC.
1. Isolate. Rest. Restore Health.
Isolate, but stay connected: Maintain a daily routine, read books and take out time for self-care. Stay in touch with your loved ones through audio/ video calls.
Take rest, but stay active: Walk in your room for at least 15-20 min a day. Staying active will improve blood circulation and prevent clotting.
Eat well & take fluids: Eat easy-to-digest food. Take plenty of fluids (3-4 L/day). Have warm water, turmeric milk, kadha and soup at least once daily.
2. Keep In Touch With Your Doctor
Share all your test reports and vitals with your doctor. Take doctor’s advice over:
– Home care protocols
– Emergency care
– Hospitalizations, if needed.
3. Keep Thermometer And Pulse Oximeter By Your Side
Maintain a log of your temperature, oxygen saturation & pulse thrice daily or as advised by your doctor. Also, record blood pressure and blood glucose readings if you are on hypertension and diabetic medications.
4. Know The Symptoms Of Covid-19
Known symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, sore throat, and loss of smell/ taste. However, doctors are observing some additional new symptoms in the second wave, such as:
– Pink eyes (conjunctivitis)
– Body ache
– Stomach upset (diarrhea & vomiting)
All of these symptoms can be in various permutations and combinations. If you have any of these symptoms, then get tested. And as you wait for your test results, do
– Isolate yourself, so you don’t infect your family in case you are positive
– Watch out for worsening of symptoms
– Monitor your health parameters- most importantly temperature and oxygen saturation
5. Watch Out For These Warning Signs
Get immediate medical help on seeing these signs
– Difficulty in breathing
– Decrease in oxygen saturation (SpO2 < 95%); below 90% is alarming
– High-grade fever/severe cough, particularly for >5 days
– Mental confusion
Please note: A low threshold should be kept for those with any of the high-risk features such as age > 60 yrs, comorbidities like diabetes, and other immunocompromised states.
6. Breathe Better With The Following Tips
– Lie down flat on your abdomen/tummy (also known proning). Do this for a few minutes in the day – may be beneficial for improving ventilation and making breathing easy in mild cases.
– Practice breathing exercises to improve your breathing capacity.
– Blow balloons to boost lung capacity. Blow 2-3 breaths, hold for a while and exhale.
7. Take Medicines But Do Not Self Medicate
– Take medicines for relieving symptoms. For example, paracetamol for fever can be taken with a minimum gap of 4-6 hrs between two doses. Some patients may benefit from blood thinners or steroids, but DO NOT take these without your doctor’s advice.
– Supplements for immunity. Take supplements containing Zinc and Vitamin C for boosting immunity.
Remember, your doctor will suggest the right course of treatment. Do not self-medicate.
When To End Home Isolation?
If you were symptomatic: 10 days after symptom onset, plus at least 3 additional days without symptoms.
If you were asymptomatic: 10 days after a positive test for SARS-CoV-2.
Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery. In such cases, you need not delay the end of isolation.
Is re-testing required after the home isolation is over?
Not required. According to WHO, patients whose symptoms have resolved may still test positive for the COVID-19 virus by RT-PCR for many weeks. Despite this positive test result, these patients are not likely to be infectious and therefore are unlikely to be able to transmit the virus to another person.
In a nutshell, even though your repeat RT-PCR test may come positive after the isolation period, you will not transmit the infection to people around you. Avoid misinformation about COVID-19 and keep yourself informed with our concise booklets compiled by the team of expert doctors with verified information from sources such as WHO, CDC, & MoHFW.
Links to all e-books: https://www.1mg.com/coronavirus-covid19
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Varun Gupta, Senior VP, Medical Affairs, 1mg)
1. Guidelines for Home Isolation of very mild/pre-symptomatic COVID-19 cases. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Updated Containment Plan for Large Outbreaks. https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/UpdatedContainmentPlanforLargeOutbreaksofCOVID19Version3.0.pdf
2. Clinical Guidance for Management of Adult Covid-19 Patients_23.04.2021. https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/COVID19ManagementAlgorithm22042021v1.pdf
3. Revised Discharge Policy for COVID-19. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/ReviseddischargePolicyforCOVID19.pdf
4. Criteria for releasing COVID-19 patients from isolation. https://www.who.int/news-room/commentaries/detail/criteria-for-releasing-covid-19-patients-from-isolation