Here are 5 important points of care for COVID-19 caused by the novel strain of Coronavirus 2019-nCoV (also called SARS-CoV-2):
- Clean hands frequently– Wash hands with soap for 20 seconds or use alcohol (at least 70%) based disinfectant hand rub or sanitizer. This is of utmost importance as soon as returning home from outside, after touching objects in public space, using the washroom, and before eating, handling food, or touching any parts of the face. (See handwashing technique below)
- Cover nose and mouth while coughing/sneezing with disposable tissues, napkins, handkerchief, or elbow/sleeve, and wash hands or use sanitizer immediately thereafter. Discard used tissues in a closed bin. If using handkerchiefs or non-disposable cloth, wash after use in warm water and detergent.
- Do not spit anywhere in public or outdoor spaces.
- Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, or mouth as much as possible.
- Mask should be worn when in public places. A homemade/purchased double layer cloth mask (washable/re-usable) is practical, safe, and economical for general public use. Disposable triple-layer surgical masks (changed 6 hourly and immediately when wet) with colored (or darker) side, can also be used but should be disposed of carefully in closed bins after detaching the ear loops. An N95 mask is recommended if suffering from cough, cold, or fever, while visiting a healthcare facility, caring for an ill or symptomatic person, and by close family contacts of suspect/confirmed COVID-19 cases.
- Visor/face-shield can be worn for added protection when going to more crowded or exposed public places like shops, public transport, hospitals, etc.
- Avoid contact with cases suffering from fever, cold or cough.
- Avoid contact with people who have returned from COVID-19 countries, in the last 14 days.
- Avoid shaking hands or hugging socially.
- Stay home as much as possible. Avoid all non-essential travel, social visits, and being in large groups or crowded places.
- While outside for essential work, keep a distance of at least 1 meter (preferably 2 meters or 6 feet) from other people.
- If you have come back from overseas travel from any country where cases of COVID-19 are present or have been possibly exposed to a COVID positive case, a 2-week self-quarantine to observe for symptoms is a must. If symptoms appear, inform your country’s health-line number for getting tested.
- Do not panic, or spread panic or fear. Do not forward or share medically non-validated or unconfirmed news, articles or guidance on COVID-19
- Always follow and adhere to your government’s health advisory and recommendations.
- Respect and cooperate with Health Care Workers and ensure their smooth functioning and duty execution. This is not only in hospitals, health centers, and labs but also in your premises, residential complexes, and locality during sanitization, quarantining implementation, or contact tracing activities and collecting swab/blood for testing.
SELF AND FAMILY CARE
- Drink water regularly (a glass every half hour or so). Be well hydrated at all times.
- Eat a nutritious and healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and nuts, including spices like turmeric, garlic, basil, and ginger. This helps to maintain optimal digestion, weight, and build immunity.
- Preferably consume all meat only after cooking, and avoid unprotected contact with wild/farm animals.
- Nutritional supplements containing Vitamin B complex with Zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Vitamin D may also be taken especially in case of nutritional deficiency or dietary restrictions.
- Put in place a regular exercise regimen for at least half-hour daily like stretching exercises, walking on treadmill, cycling, yoga, or aerobics. Every morning take a few deep breaths and hold for 10-15 seconds and release. Practice simple breathing exercises.
- Spend time with family members especially children and guide them on hygiene, social responsibility, and care.
- Get 8 hours of regular sleep on most nights.
- Indulge in relaxing and de-stressing hobbies like music, dance, reading, puzzle-solving, crafts, painting, and indoor games.
- To maintain a healthy mental state in addition to physical fitness, define a daily routine allotting time for house-work, professional work, exercise, relaxation, rest, hobbies and family time.
- Reach out to and stay connected with people, especially if staying alone.
- Do not ignore or delay seeking medical consultation for health problems. Use telephonic/video and online consultation facilities to get timely medical guidance. Take all medicines regularly.
- Take special care of the elderly in the house, and those with medical issues. Keep emergency and health-line numbers handy, and ensure they are getting their medication on time.
- Keep the home clean and well ventilated.
In addition to taking precautions and care, one should be aware and have correct knowledge about the following with respect to COVID-19:
- Causative Virus: Global and National Disease Scenario
- Routes of Spread
- Testing for infection
- Management and Treatment available
- Advisories and Recommendations of your country’s Government and Health administration.
Advisory and guidance for India: https://www.mohfw.gov.in/index.html
Also see: COVID guidance for mental health.
Further Detailed Reading-