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How to care for someone who has coronavirus from home

Healthcare 5 min read

Getting infected with COVID-19 could be really frightening. I think having to be admitted to an isolated care facility is the scariest thing ever. One cannot see or make contact with any family members or friends, meaning we’re all alone.😥😥 A lot of people who do get exposed will show only mild symptoms which allow them to be cared for whilst at home. Self-isolation can stop the spread of COVID-19 and help protect people who are at risk of getting seriously ill.

How to care for someone who has coronavirus from home

Below are a few guidelines and home recommendations to follow if you are caring or planning on caring for someone from home.

  1. Monitor for emergency signs
  2. Prevent the spread of germs
  3. Treat symptoms
  4. Seek advice and carefully consider when to end home isolation.
  5. Stick to strict hygiene when looking after someone with coronavirus.
  6. Try your best to keep them apart from other members.
  7. Make sure you inform your health services and call for emergency help if symptoms worsen.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the first step you should take is to isolate the person as much as possible within the home. The ideal way should be for them to have their own bedroom. But let’s be realistic here for a second. Many of our people live in very small homes and sometimes it's difficult to let a person have their own confined space. So if this is the case, try to maintain as much distance between the person and others within the home.

“Let’s be practical. OK, you can have your own bedroom... and take all the precautions you need. But if it’s in a developing country, like for instance where I grew up, if it’s one room where there is a big family, like five or seven people in one room, how do you implement that? That’s why we say we don’t have a one-size-fits-all solution.”- WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

So what do I do.?

Well, according to WHO someone with COVID-19 symptoms should stay in a well-ventilated single room that has enough windows and a door that can be opened. One should try and avoid shared spaces as much as possible. Also, places like your kitchen and bathrooms should be well ventilated at all times. The rest of the family should stay in a different room if possible and try to maintain a safe distance of at least 1 meter from the person who is sick as well as sleep in separate beds.

How to care for someone who has COVID-19 at home
Photographer: Trent Szmolnik | Source: Unsplash

It’s very important that only one person who is in good health with no underlying chronic medical conditions take on the role of caregiver. NO one else and we mean NO one else should visit or come in close contact the patient until they are completely symptom-free.

The person taking up the role as a caregiver should at all times:

  • Wash their hands with soap and water every time they come in close contact with the patient, as well as before and after preparing food, before eating, after using the toilet, and whenever hands look dirty.
  • After washing their hands it is recommended that they use disposable paper towels to dry them as well as use it to close the tap used and then discard of it in the bin immediately after. If you don’t have this available, make use of a clean cloth or towels but make sure you replace it frequently and no one else uses it besides you.
  • WHO recommends that you and the patient both wear a medical face mask at all times.

For the patient, the following should be followed at all times:

  • Make use of separate household items such as cups, dishes, towels, bed linen and blankets. This must not be shared with any of the remaining members in the house.
  • All the above-mentioned items should be washed separately with soap and water.
  • All surfaces and objects that have been touched by the patient should be cleaned and disinfected at least daily. Studies have shown that the virus can survive on hard surfaces for up to 72 hours. Here is a detailed guide from The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how to disinfect your home.
  • If you a mother and need to breastfeed your baby, WHO says it is ok to do so should you choose to but you have to make sure that you practice respiratory hygiene during feeding like wearing a mask, washing your hands before and after touching your baby. Also, make sure you routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and items you have touched.
  • A vital part of recovery is to make sure that you get enough and proper rest in a bed, eat healthy nutritious food and maintain a steady intake of fluids.
  • If you feel that your symptoms are getting worse, make sure to let the caregiver know as this could lead to pneumonia. So if you are having difficulty breathing, contact a health professional immediately for help.

Here is some advice on how to self-isolate as a household

Please keep in mind that the following advice could vary based on where you are in the world as different countries have different rules that one must follow.

WHO says “Anyone with a fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek attention and follow the directions of local health authorities.”

We all know by now that COVID-19 is spread by droplets released into the air or that lands on surfaces, when coughed or sneezed by an infected person and for this reason self-isolation within the home is so important. Please keep in mind that once one person in your home is infected it's super important for everyone else in the house to stay indoors and to avoid contact with anyone outside. When you have any symptoms such as a high temperature or a new continues cough you should not leave your home for a minimum of seven days, if you have to makes sure you keep a safe distance of at least two meters from other people around you at all times.

A final word before we go

Believe it or not, there are many people out there hiding their symptoms in fear of social stigma, please don’t, rather stay home and seek online help. Also, please don’t discriminate against people who have been infected. If you need help without leaving the house try out the Memo Health Assistant App. You can download it from the Google PlayStore here or from the Apple AppStore here.