COVID-19 mostly (around 80% cases) causes mild or even asymptomatic disease which can be easily managed at home. One in five of infected people will require hospital care. Around 15% of infected people require oxygen to get the energy. Among them, 5% become critically ill with COVID-19 induced acute respiratory distress syndrome and require ventilator support in the hospital. Ask A Doctor if you can stay at home and look after yourself.
How can we look after oneself at home?
If you think that you have coronavirus-like symptoms during this pandemic, it is important to look after your physical and mental health. Due to lesser availability of testing kits in some countries, their availability is restricted for severe cases. Here are 5 simple steps to deal with coronavirus at home:
Step 1: Drink plenty of warm fluids like water, tea, coffee, green tea. Ginger, turmeric powder, black pepper can be boiled in water or tea and sipped slowly. It helps soothe the throat, dissolve the mucous and excrete the toxins. Avoid juices and sugary drinks. Avoid alcohol as it can cause dehydration.
Step 2: Self-isolate at home from rest of family as well. Take adequate rest as demanded by your body. Exercise daily but avoid strenuous activity. Self-isolation is needed for at least 1 week after recovery from all symptoms. Frequent washing of hands, clothes, and bathing with soap and water is enough to kill this virus. Other disinfectants and sanitizers have also become available for this purpose.
Step 3: Can take over-the-counter medicines to treat some of the symptoms. Can take paracetamol for fever however other pain killers like ibuprofen are avoided (unless recommended for another condition). If there is breathing difficulty, then bronchodilator inhaler or syrup should be used to breathe. Breathing techniques (commonly taught in yoga classes like pranayama) are especially helpful in taking deep breaths and build energy. Cough suppressants can reduce the intensity of cough. Antibiotics like amoxicillin are being commonly prescribed for suppress superinfection with bacteria during lung infection. This is a new virus and a cure has not been developed for this infection. The aim of management is to help in recovery of the infected person and limit his contact with other people.
Step 4: Medical attention should be sought is symptoms are worsening or symptoms have not improved within 2 weeks. Other medical and dental appointments should be cancelled. Venturing outside house should also be avoided.
Step 5: Mental health should not be ignored during this infection. Many rumors can go around and can cause unnecessary fear in the mind of person. Staying in contact with positive thinking people and reading and listening to good material is important. Prayer and meditation can help boost the confidence. All creatures who take birth will die one day and death should not be feared. Isolation should be viewed as a service to other’s good health. It should not be taken as punishment.
On a final note, COVID-19 is just another virus and we can win over it. All we need to do is to look after ourselves during this pandemic.