Covid: How to cope with a patient at home?
A family member has been diagnosed with Covid. The person was told to self-isolate at home.
How do you prevent other family members from also becoming infected?
- Wear your mask when you leave your room.
- Wash your hands before and after you used the bathroom.
- Shower or wash daily and put on clean clothes.
- Do not touch other people.
- Practice social distancing by staying in your room for the whole period of isolation.
- Only leave your room to go to the bathroom.
- Eat-in your room – if possible, not with other family members.
- Wash or disinfect your hands before you eat.
- Keep your trash and waste in your room in dedicated containers or bags.
- Sleep/rest as much as you can.
- The patient should preferably stay alone in a room away from other people in the household.
- If it is not possible to isolate the patient in his/her own room, and the person has to share the space with others, practice social distancing as far as possible.
- Limit time in the room with the person.
- Sleep in separate beds.
- Disinfect the room every day by wiping all surfaces.
- Keep clutter in the room to a minimum.
- Keep windows open for maximum airflow.
- Do not leave cleaning products in the room if the room is occupied by a child as well.
- If a separate bathroom is not available, the bathroom must be cleaned after each use by an ill person.
- Keep the window open for maximum airflow.
- Wait as long as possible after the ill person used the bathroom before you clean and disinfect it. The reason for this is for airborne viral particles to settle.
- Wipe down all high touch surfaces.
- Make sure you have the following in your home:
- Paper towels, tissues, toilet paper, soap, a bucket, hand disinfectant that contains more than 70% alcohol, chlorine disinfectant or bleach (Jik), disposable gloves, black bags, spray bottles
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when mixing or diluting cleaning products.
- Use room temperature water when diluting cleaning products.
- If you dilute a cleaning product in a spray bottle, please label it – write the content on it with a permanent marker.
- Never mix chemical products.
- Ensure there is adequate ventilation where you work.
- Wear protective gear like eyewear and rubber gloves when you work with cleaning products.
- Never eat or drink any of these products. They are poisonous.
- Also, don’t bathe in it or wash a pet unless the manufacturer approves it for such use. It can seriously harm the skin.
- Store all products out of the reach of children and pets.
A Covid patient often loses their sense of smell and taste and may have diminished appetites. They are also too tired to do much and might sleep a lot. They can also dehydrate because of diarrhoea and vomiting. If you are taking care of a Covid patient, make sure you prepare healthy meals. It is important to eat sufficient amounts of protein (chicken, meat, eggs) – it helps the body develop antibodies against viruses.
What are healthy options to feed a very sick patient?
- Home-cooked soups – chicken soup, vegetable soup
- Fresh Fruit – apples, bananas, tangerines, oranges
- Fresh Vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes
- Egg dishes
- Protein powder shakes
- Rooibos tea/ water
- Brown bread, oats – for fibre
What should you limit?
Too much sugar, fatty foods, salt and alcohol.
Where should they have their meals?
- The covid patients should preferably eat in their room, away from other family members.
- Wash their utensils separately in hot water and disinfect your hands afterwards.
- Do not touch their utensils and then touch your face.
How to clean and disinfect
- If a covid patient cannot isolate themselves in a separate room, you have to disinfect all surfaces daily.
- Wear protective gear when you disinfect your home, for example, eyewear, gloves, apron and mask.
- Ensure ample ventilation by opening windows and doors if possible.
- Take extra precautions when cleaning rooms with asthma patients in the house. They can be very sensitive to cleaning products, and it can trigger an asthma attack.
- 1/3 cup of bleach on 4.5 litres of water is sufficient to use as a disinfectant.
- A bleach solution is effective for disinfection for up to 24 hours.
- Keep a Covid patient’s trash in a separate bag and tie it before disposing of it.
- Keep laundry in a separate dedicated bag.
- Wash your hands after disposing of trash.
Linens, clothing and other items
- Store all laundry of a Covid patient in a separate tied disposable bag till you have time to wash it.
- Handle laundry with gloves and discard the gloves after use.
- Wash your hands immediately after you discard the gloves.
- Wash laundry on a hot cycle if possible with detergent.
- Detergent kills the virus quickly.
- The heat of a tumble dryer also kills the virus.
- Do not shake dirty laundry. This will minimize the risk of spreading the virus through the air.
Hand hygiene and other preventative measures
- Avoid touching the patient as far as possible.
- Don’t touch your face when working with a patient.
- Wear protective gear when working with a patient – gloves, eyewear, apron, mask.
- If your hands are visibly dirty, wash them for more than 20 seconds with soap and water. If not, use a hand sanitiser than contains about 60-70% alcohol.
- Remember to keep alcohol-based sanitisers away from open flames or fires.
- Store them out of reach of children or pets.
There is no treatment for Covid except to boost your immune system. Good products to take are:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- For headaches: Disprin
- For vomiting and diarrhoea: Ask your doctor or pharmacist what would be best to rehydrate.