In view of the rising number of Covid cases and to ease the increasing burden on the healthcare system, home isolation under the medical supervision of asymptomatic and infected persons with mild symptoms is generally advised as of now. However, misunderstanding and wrong interpretation of this method have resulted in escalating the Covid conditions and even fatalities.
People are generally happy to get cured in the home environment as they are wary of the clinical complexities of being admitted in a hospital or a treatment centre. So, when the mild symptoms become worse, people wait a bit in the hope that things would turn for the better in due course by continuing with the medication already being administered. So there begins the first mistake. Let us count five cardinal errors that are usually committed by people while under home isolation.
» Failure to adhere to home isolation norms completely: Isolation means completely cut off from the rest of the family. The person should be spending the days and nights in a well-ventilated room with an attached bathroom. It’s not spending a few hours in a room and then coming out to enquire about rest of the world. Doing that undermines the whole purpose of the isolation. The person should be in home isolation for as long as the health expert recommends.
» Neglecting breathing rate: Even though no symptoms appear at first, it is important to monitor the breathing rate. There is a simple method to check this - keep the hand on the chest and count how many times the chest rises in one minute. If the count is between 16 and 24 it's normal. Above 24 is moderate and more than 30 is a severe condition. The tendency to cough, while laughing or speaking, should also be taken seriously. Each such development should be clearly and immediately shared with the doctor.
» Failure to act on the basis of oxygen levels: Close monitoring of the oxygen level using a quality oximeter and conveying the variations to the doctor and following instructions is very important to save oneself from a dangerous situation. By now it’s very clear to all that the lowest normal Oxygen saturation percentage level is 94 and that it’s time to act if it goes down even a single notch and fails to climb up before it’s too late. Follow the doctor’s instructions immediately if any such variation is noticed.
» Self-medication: The disease has been plaguing the world for more than a year now and the treatment protocols are quite common. So, there are many who try to use medicine out of hearsay or by sourcing information from the internet. This is the most dangerous practice. Always consult a doctor, whether a private medical practitioner or a government health expert contacted through Disha when symptoms, mild or serious, appear.
» Tendency to hide the condition initially: Last but not the least, it is the infected person’s tendency to hide the exact conditions; like difficulty in breathing, headache, sore throat, fatigue and so on that make things worse later. People are afraid of this novel Coronavirus and hence are hesitant to admit the presence of related symptoms initially. But that is a wrong move. One should openly convey the exact physical condition when the person herself or the near and dear ones notice related discomforts.
There are many other factors that need to be taken care of but let me wind up for now. And, not being panic is the need of the hour. By adopting a sensible, cautious, calm, timely and peaceful approach to follow the instructions of relevant medical experts the scourge of novel coronavirus can be resisted.
Information courtesy: Dr. Sreejith, Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Kozhikode Medical College.