How to Treat COVID-19 at Home: Caring For Yourself and Others
Now that the highly contagious Delta variant is already in the Philippines, more and more people are eager to know what to do if you have COVID-19.
This no longer comes as a surprise, especially if you’re experiencing symptoms or caring for a loved one with the virus.
If you’re sick with the virus or are looking after a COVID-positive patient at home, read on. Find out how you can treat the virus and manage your stress while going through this difficult time.
What to Do If You Have COVID-19: Caring for Yourself
Most people with COVID-19 only experience mild symptoms and can recover at home. Symptoms may last a couple of days to about a week, and treatment includes fluid intake, over-the-counter medicines, and rest.
However, people with existing medical conditions and older adults need to consult with their doctors immediately at first sight of symptoms. Such factors contribute to a greater risk of becoming seriously ill with the virus.
For this reason, it’s important to listen to your doctor’s recommendations about home isolation and care. If you have concerns or questions regarding treatments, don’t hesitate to ask your physician.
Here’s what to do if you have COVID-19 and are advised to care for yourself at home.
1. Monitor your oxygen levels
Your doctor will likely recommend using a home pulse oximeter, especially if you have risk factors for severe illness. This plastic medical device is attached to a finger to measure how much oxygen is in your blood.
A reading below 92% increases the need for hospitalization. If your doctor advises you to use a pulse oximeter, it’s crucial to use it properly. You should also know when a reading prompts the need to call a doctor.
2. Take care of yourself
Don’t leave home, except when you need to get medical care. Also, avoid visiting public areas.
Get plenty of rest and keep yourself hydrated. Over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, can also help you feel better.
3. Watch out for worsening symptoms
Mild symptoms can be treated at home, and they usually disappear after a few days. So, carefully monitor yourself if your symptoms are worsening.
If you’re feeling worse despite home treatments, inform your family about your situation. Also, watch out for any other severe or concerning symptom that might need immediate medical attention.
4. Call your local emergency number for warning signs
If you experience warning signs, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Emergency signs include:
- Persistent chest pressure or pain
- Trouble breathing
- Bluish face or lips
- Pale, blue, or gray-colored skin, lips, or nail beds (depends on skin tone)
- Inability to stay awake
- New confusion
What to Do If You Have COVID-19: Caring for Others
If you’re sick with COVID-19, it’s not only essential to care for yourself but others as well. You can prevent the virus from infecting your loved ones and spreading further by observing a few practices.
1. Avoid contact
Keep yourself isolated in a room, away from other household members and other people. Apart from self-isolation, also avoid using ride-sharing services, taxis, and other public transportation.
2. Keep spaces well-ventilated
Proper ventilation plays a crucial role in treating and preventing the spread of COVID-19. Open your windows to have good air circulation.
3. Limit your movements
Avoid sharing spaces in your home as much as possible. If sharing spaces is inevitable, limit your movements, and make sure shared areas are also well-ventilated. Also, stay at least two meters or six feet away from your household members.
4. Clean often-touched surfaces
Door knobs, electronics, counters, and light switches are just some examples of often-touched surfaces. Make sure to keep them clean and sanitized. Additionally, avoid sharing household items like bedding, towels, dishes, and electronics.
5. Practice proper hygiene
Always wear a face mask when you’re near others, and change your face mask every day. If a face mask is unavailable, cover your nose and mouth with your elbow or a tissue when sneezing or coughing.
Also, wash your hands with water and soap frequently. You can also use an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
How to Protect Yourself While Caring for Someone with COVID-19
Knowing how to care for yourself and others if you have COVID-19 is one thing. Understanding how to protect yourself if you’re not the one infected with the virus is another.
If a family member is sick with the virus and you’re the one in charge of caring for them, here’s how you can protect yourself.
1. Clean your hands frequently
Keep your hands clean by washing them frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important after you’ve been in close contact with the sick person.
2. Wear a face mask
If you have to be in the same room as the sick person, wear a face mask. Replace your mask once it gets wet or dirty. Dispose of the used mask properly and wash your hands.
3. Clean your home frequently
Cleaning sprays or wipes help clean often-touched surfaces like tabletops and doorknobs. But avoid cleaning the separate bathroom and room of the sick person. Set aside utensils and bedding that only the ill person can use.
4. Avoid inviting unnecessary visitors
Don’t allow unnecessary visitors in your home until the ill person is fully recovered. This will help prevent the further spread of the virus and keep others safe as well.
5. Care for yourself
Caring for a loved one who is sick with COVID-19 can feel overwhelming and stressful. For this reason, it’s also essential to care for yourself. Below are some ways you can stay in top shape while caring for a sick family member:
- Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet and stay hydrated.
- Stay physically active.
- Get plenty of rest and sleep.
- Meditate or do yoga.
- Keep a daily routine, including showering and getting dressed.
- Avoid vices, including excessive tobacco and alcohol.
- Take a break from social media and COVID-19 news.
- Do more of the activities that you enjoy.
- Connect with friends and share your feelings.
Getting sick with COVID-19 can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. But with a few healthy practices, you can get better and come out stronger.
If you’re not the one infected, caring for yourself while caring for a sick loved one can help you cope with stress. It will also be beneficial in supporting your loved one’s recovery.
* Cover Photo/Thumbnail Photo from Pexels