The only good news is that 81% of Covid patients have mild or no symptoms, and can recover at home. Here’s a ready reckoner for Covid care at home.
First signs of disease
A dry cough, sore throat, fever and runny nose are common early symptoms of Covid-19. Many patients also report loss of smell and taste, headaches, fatigue and body aches. There are some other red flags also, such as breathlessness, falling oxygen saturation, persistent pain or pressure in chest, poor appetite, loose motions, fatigue, weakness or numbness in any limb or face, etc.
In severe cases, Covid progresses from the first symptoms to pneumonia in about five days, and to severe hypoxemia and ICU admission in 7-12 days.
Therefore, careful health monitoring is important. When symptoms arise If you experience Covid symptoms, immediately isolate in a well-ventilated room with an attached bathroom, without waiting to get tested
. The longer you take to self-isolate, the higher the risk of infecting others. If you test positive and are advised home isolation, you will need to monitor your temperature and oxygen level, and keep the district surveillance officer (DSO) informed. The DSO will arrange a follow-up by a surveillance team. You will also need the Aarogya Setu app on your mobile phone. Try to keep at least six feet apart from other housemates. Do not share glasses, towels and mobile phones. If you need to share space, ensure that the room has good airflow.
Checking oxygen level
A pulse oximeter checks the oxygen level in the blood. If you use it in bed or while resting, it won’t detect ‘silent’ or latent hypoxia (low oxygen).
Doctors recommend the ‘six-minute walk test’: note down your oxygen level, walk for six minutes and check again. If the level drops by six points or more seek medical help. You should check temperature and oxygen saturation every four hours.
Ending home quarantine
The health ministry says you will be alright 10 days after the onset of symptoms if you have not had a fever for the last three days. Even after that, you will be advised to isolate at home and self-monitor for seven more days.
If you are asymptomatic, you can be with others 10 days after testing positive.
Recovering after Covid
Once you are free to step out, exercise regularly to improve breathing and build strength. Adequate rest and nutritious meals will also speed up recovery. But watch out for signs of ‘long Covid’, such as a cough that lasts months, hoarse voice, headache, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, and shortness of breath