The Be Well Medical Team have put together a protocol that provides advice for patients and their caretakers on how to manage a mild case of Covid-19 through self isolating at home.
This protocol is meant for patients
- who have Covid-19 symptoms or are a high-risk person after close contact with a Covid-19 patient and are awaiting a test (result); or
- who are Covid-19 positive with no or mild symptoms; or
- who have been dismissed from a hospital or a quarantine facility but are still potentially Covid-19 contagious for other people
If you stay at home for the reasons above, notably when having flu symptoms, you are advised to call your doctor to make an action plan.
The doctor will firstly determine if your symptoms and medical condition indeed allow for treatment at home.
The symptoms you can expect to appear include fever and respiratory symptoms; coughing, sore throat, shortness of breath. Other symptoms of mild illness can include a runny nose, headache, muscle or joint pains, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of sense of smell, altered sense of taste, loss of appetite and/or fatigue.
The action plan will be developed with your doctor. The plan could include regular self-diagnostics such as temperature and/or oxygen saturation checks. The doctor could provide, or recommend that you buy, diagnostic devices (e.g. thermometer, pulse oximeter) for self-use, if required.
The doctor could advise you of medicines that may be appropriate to manage your symptoms.
You may also be asked to fill out a daily symptom checklist. Depending on your symptoms the doctor might propose a regular call. This will help the doctor to track your symptoms and determine whether your management plan needs changing.
If your symptoms worsen you should immediately call your doctor.
Symptoms which might indicate a need for immediate hospitalization are severe shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, blue lips or face, pain or pressure in the chest, cold and clammy or pale and mottled skin, confusion, fainting, difficulty waking up, passing no urine or a lot less urine than usual, or coughing up blood.
To support your recovery, try to get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids and eat well.
Isolating At Home
Staying at home, unless you need to leave to get medical care. You must always call ahead before arriving at your medical center. However, in most cases you will be able to receive medical care using telehealth (VDO or phone consultations) while medicines can be delivered to your home. If you need a doctor or nurse (e.g. for blood sampling) consultation they could visit you at home (using protective clothing).
Living in a separate room, preferably well ventilated, away from other people in your household. Use a separate bathroom, if available, that others do not use. Pets should not stay in the room with the patient.
Ensuring others do not enter your home unless they are providing necessary medical or personal care. The people who usually live in your house with you can continue to stay in the house with you. However, they are considered to be close contacts and are also required to isolate (see below).
Having groceries and other essential items delivered to your home. As all household members will be in isolation, it is important to arrange delivery of groceries and other essential items.
Strictly observing hygiene measures e.g:
- Stay at least 2 meters away from people living in your house.
- Clean often-touched surfaces in your separate room and bathroom, such as doorknobs, light switches, electronics and counters, every day.
- Avoid sharing personal household items, such as dishes, towels, bedding and electronics.
- Wear a face mask when near others. Change the face mask each day.
- If wearing a face mask isn’t possible, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or elbow when coughing or sneezing. Afterward, throw away the tissue or wash the handkerchief.
- Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Protecting People In Your Household
Keep your hands clean and away from your face: Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in close contact or in the same room as the patient. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Avoid direct contact with the patient’s bodily fluids: Wear disposable gloves and a face mask when providing care and when handling stool, urine or other waste. Wash your hands before and after removing your gloves and mask. Don’t reuse your mask or gloves.
Wear a face mask: If you need to be in the same room with the patient wear a face mask and stay at least 2 meters away. Don’t touch or handle your mask while you are using it. If your mask gets wet or dirty, replace it with a clean, dry mask. Throw away the used mask and wash your hands. Preferably assign one (preferably young & healthy) person in the household to have close contact with the patient.
Avoid having unnecessary visitors in your home: Don’t allow visitors until the sick person has completely recovered.
Clean your home frequently: Every day, use household cleaning sprays or wipes to clean surfaces that are often touched, including counters, tabletops and doorknobs. Avoid cleaning the patient’s separate room and bathroom. Set aside bedding and utensils for the patient only to use. Wear disposable gloves.
Be careful with dishes: Wear disposable gloves when handling dishes, cups or utensils used by the patient. Wash the items with soap and hot water or in the dishwasher. Clean your hands after taking off the gloves or handling used items.
Be careful with laundry: Don’t shake dirty laundry. Use regular detergent to wash the patient’s laundry. Use the warmest setting you can (min. 60°C). Wash your hands after putting clothes in the dryer. Thoroughly dry clothes. If you are handling clothing that has been soiled by the patient, wear disposable gloves and keep the items away from your body. Wash your hands after removing the gloves. Place dirty gloves and masks in a waste bin with a lid in the patient’s room. Clean and disinfect clothes hampers and wash your hands afterward.
Caregivers and other people in the household who have had close contact with the patient need to remain in quarantine for 14 days after their last close contact with that person. Household contacts who are not providing care may choose to move to another location to complete their quarantine. This may allow them release from quarantine at an earlier date than if they choose to stay.
However, caregivers don’t need quarantine if:
- they have been fully vaccinated and have no symptoms of Covid-19.
- they have had Covid-19 within the last three months, recovered and remain without symptoms of Covid-19.
When To End Isolation
The doctor will advise you when self isolating at home is no longer required. The doctor might decide to have you undertake another test. Generally, the recommended protocols are:
- Symptomatic patients with mild disease (not requiring hospitalization for Covid-19) can be de-isolated 10 days after the onset of their symptoms, provided their fever has resolved and their other symptoms are improving.
- Asymptomatic patients can be de-isolated 10 days after their test.
However, with a negative test you could de-isolate earlier.
Being Covid-19 infected and self isolating at home can be stressful and can create anxiety, notably if you live alone. The following are some ways to look after your mental health over this time.
- Keep in touch with friends and family. Maintain contact with loved ones via telephone, email and social media or by using video technologies like WhatsApp and Zoom.
- Develop or maintain a daily routine. This could include showering and getting dressed each day, having regular mealtimes and exercising (within your home or garden).
- Learn more about Covid-19 from trustworthy and credible sources. Understanding more about the virus might help you feel less anxious.
- Use the time to do new things. Time in isolation can provide an opportunity to try activities like crafting, drawing or reading.
- Spend time outdoors. If you have a private courtyard, balcony or garden, spend some time there each day to get some fresh air.
Speak to our doctors if your mental health worsens or you have any concerns. Phone 02 111 6644 or email us by clicking HERE