The novel coronavirus pandemic has 2,97,083 confirmed cases in Bangladesh with a death toll of 3,983. And it is unlikely to stop anytime soon. The risk of contracting the virus remains high as everything has reopened and the government has relaxed the lockdown.
So, if someone in your home contracts Covid-19, how will you take care of the individual without infecting yourself?
First, if a family member of yours exhibits a latent symptom of the virus, assume that your family member has caught the virus, even if they haven't. Get yourself tested immediately, even if you are not displaying any symptoms, as you could be an asymptomatic carrier of the virus.
Even though testing has become more readily available, the results might take a while, which is why you should not wait for results if symptoms are prominent.
In this case, please consult a doctor and admit any sick individuals to the hospital if possible.
If not, then follow these ground rules without fail:
- Immediately isolate the person who is showing the worst symptoms–like fever, breathing problems, dry cough, weakness or sudden loss of taste and smell–among other signs that the World Health Organization (WHO) has listed.
- If possible, isolate the patient in a separate room, with a bathroom, which will lessen the probability of spreading the virus.
- If a space is shared, then try to place the patient in a well-ventilated room with good air circulation so that it might help remove respiratory droplets from the air.
- Maintain a distance of six feet at all times.
- The patient needs to be in complete isolation which implies, eating separately, sleeping in a different bed or space.
Consider the patient's immunity and age before setting up home care for Covid-19 patients. For example, patients with health complications and in old age are more prone to death than others.
A caretaker needs to be more cautious than anyone as the individual will be most likely to be at risk of becoming infected.
If you are a caretaker, these are the proper rules to maintain:
- Wear a proper mask at all times when you are in the vicinity of a sick individual and avoid touching your eyes and face at all cost.
- Wear disposable gloves while cleaning dishes, or the patient's bodily fluids; anything that might have come in contact with the patients.
- Throw out gloves and anything else that is disposable in a sealed trash bag.
- Use separate bed covers and clothes dedicated for the patient if possible and clean them with laundry detergent and hot water.
- Also, use different dedicated utensils and wash them thoroughly for reuse.
- Try to dry your hands with a disposable paper towel, as it lessens the chances of spreading the virus through a cloth. Throw out the gloves and paper towels along with anything else that have been in contact with the patient in a sealed trash bag.
- Practice everyday preventive actions: clean hands often; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; and frequently clean and disinfect surfaces.
Now that we have covered some of the preventive measures, we now need to look at the basic needs to taking care of patients:
- Always be aware of the patient's needs and symptoms.
- Be in contact with a doctor as you might need to shift to a hospital if the situation escalates.
- A Covid-19-infected patient needs plenty of rest, proper food and plenty of fluid to remain hydrated.
- Along with the physical aspect, the mental aspect of the patients should also be looked after as panic might make them feel wearier than they are.
- Keep them comfortable and entertained while keeping your distance. Good books and occasional video chats with friends and family will lift their moods.
- If the patients can walk, place their food and other necessities outside their door or at a safe space for them to retrieve it.
- It is of utmost importance not to use over the counter medicine without doctors' consultation as it might cause harm.
- Don't let the patient take more than the recommended dose of any medication, Keep track of what the sick person has taken and when.
It is also of utmost importance that the caregiver does not have any underlying health complications as it might jeopardise their health.
Visitors should not be allowed in the home until the person has completely recovered, shows no signs or symptoms of Covid-19.
Monitor the patient at all times, and stay connected with a doctor. Since distance is of utmost importance, you can ask the patients to call you if they feel worse or need anything.
One cannot emphasise how important it is always to clean everything as much as possible to lessen the spread of the virus.
Cautionary measures should still be implemented after recovery as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines state that if someone has had Covid-19 isolation and precautions can generally be discontinued ten days after the onset of symptoms.
The CDC also states that people who have been around someone with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 should stay home for 14 days after that exposure.
Disclaimer: This article has been prepared with the recommendations from WHO and CDC.