Union Health Ministry’s fresh guidelines for home isolation

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Patients in home isolation can end the quarantine after 17 days of onset of coronavirus symptoms and no fever for 10 days as per the revised guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Health.

According to the new guidelines, patients with mild coronavirus symptoms will need no further testing after the home isolation period is over. Earlier, according to the earlier guidelines issued on April 27, the home isolation could be ended after a certificate issued by a surveillance medical officer declaring a patient free of infection.

The new guidelines say that the person should be clinically assigned as a very mild case/pre-symptomatic case by the treating medical officer to become eligible for home isolation. The ministry said that such cases should have the requisite facility at their residence, including a 24x7 caregiver for self-isolation and also for quarantining the family contacts.

The caregiver should wear a triple layer medical mask appropriately when in the same room with the ill person. The front portion of the mask should not be touched or handled during use. If the mask gets wet or dirty with accretions, it must be changed immediately. Discard the mask slier use and pertain hand hygiene after disposal of the mask.

"A communication link between the caregiver and hospital is a prerequisite for the entire duration of home isolation. The caregiver and all close contacts of such cases should take hydroxychloroquine prophylaxis as per protocol and as prescribed by the treating medical officer," the guideline said.

The guidelines also adds that the patient should regularly inform his health status to the district surveillance officer for further follow up by the surveillance teams. Besides, it calls for downloading the Arogya Setu App on mobile and it should remain active all the time (through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi).

Dos and don'ts

Immediate medical attention must be sought if there are serious signs or symptoms including difficulty in breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, mental confusion, developing bluish discolorations of lips/face develop or if is advised by treating medical officer.

He/She should avoid touching own face, nose or mouth. Hand hygiene must be ensured following contact with an ill person or his immediate environment.

Hand hygiene should also be practiced before and after preparing food, before eating, after using the toilet and whenever hands look dirty. Use soap and water for handwashing at least for 40 seconds. Alcohol-based hand rub can be used if hands are not visibly soiled.

After using soap and water, use of disposable paper towels to dry hands is desirable. If not available, use dedicated clean cloth towels and replace them when they became wet.

Avoid direct contact with body fluids of the patient, particularly oral or respiratory secretions. Use disposable gloves while handling the patient. Perform hand hygiene before and after using gloves.

Avoid exposure to potentially contaminated items in his immediate environment (eg. avoid sharing eating utensils, dishes, drinks. Used towels or bed linen).

Utensils and dishes used by the patient should be cleaned with soap/detergent and water wearing gloves. The utensils and dishes may be re-used. Clean hands after taking off gloves or handling the used item.

Use a triple-layer medical mask and disposable gloves while cleaning or handling surfaces, clothing or linen used by the patient. Perform hand hygiene before and after removing gloves.

The caregiver will make sure that the patient follows the prescribed treatment.

The caregiver and all close contact will self-monitor their health with daily temperature monitoring and report promptly if they develop any symptom suggestive of COVID-I9 (fever/cough/difficulty in breathing).

Instructions for the patient:

Patient should at all times use a triple-layer medical mask. Discard mask after 8 hours of use or earlier if they become net or visibly soiled.

Mask should be discarded only alter disinfecting it with 1 per cent Sodium Hypochlorite.

Patient must stay in the identified room and away from other people in the home, especially elderlies and those with co-morbid conditions like hypertension, cardiovascular disease, renal disease etc.

Patient must take rest and drink a lot of fluids to maintain adequate hydration.

Follow respiratory etiquettes all the time.

Hand must be washed often with soap and water for at least 40 seconds or clean with an alcohol-based sanitiser.

Don't share personal items with other people.

Clean surfaces in the room that are touched often (tabletops, doorknobs, handles, etc) with 1 per cent hypochlorite solution.

The patient must strictly follow the physician's instructions and medication advice.

The patient will self-monitor his/her health with daily temperature monitoring and report promptly if develops any deterioration of symptoms (with inputs from Livemint)

Image Credit: MU Health Care

 

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