By Sheila Kun RN, BSN, MS, CPN, FCCP
By now you are totally well-informed of the signs and symptoms of the COVID-19 virus and what to do when you experience major changes in your respiratory system. These are the people that would be hospital bound and they would be under either acute observation or intensive care management. But what if you have symptoms that are mild? Do you know what to do at home? A nurse from the UK offers the following advice which I think would be beneficial for us to know in advance. I abstracted a few helpful hints for your reference. But these home care tips do not replace the advice you get from your primary care provider (PCP). As a matter of fact, you should begin by contacting your PCP first with the onset of symptoms that deviate from your baseline health status.
Things you might want to buy ahead of time:
Do consult your doctor if cough medicine is good for you
Humidifier in the room. (Personally I have not needed it, but my nursing colleagues who had pneumonia before stated that humidified air is helpful).
Get your respiratory medications refilled (an example would be for asthma control). No wonder our clinic was flooded with request for asthma medication refills in March.
Meals: make a big batch of your favorite soup to freeze and have on hand.
Hydrate (drink!) hydrate, hydrate! (Not alcohol or sugared drinks). Filtered tap water is fine. Or make your favorite tea.
For symptom management and a fever over 38 degree c. take Tylenol rather than Ibuprofen. This advice is based on the publication that Ibuprofen, a type of non-steroid, anti-inflammatory medication could enhance the production of the protein of the ACE II receptor. This receptor binds the spike of the Corona Virus.
Lots of rest. You should not be leaving your house! Even if you are feeling better you may be infectious for fourteen days.
Wear gloves and a mask to avoid contaminating others in your house.
Isolate in your bedroom if not living alone, ask friends and family to leave supplies outside to avoid contact.
Sanitize your bed linen and clothes frequently by washing and cleaning your bathroom with recommended sanitizers. No specific sanitizer is mentioned. From searching the internet, it is recommended that you clean the bed linen and clothing with hot soapy water. You might want to gather your dirty clothing in a plastic bag. You removed the clothing to the washer, and dispose the plastic bag. Wipe the clothing basket with disinfectants that contain 70% or more of alcohol, or bleach products.
You DO NOT NEED TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL unless you are having trouble breathing or your fever is very high (over 39 degree c) and unmanaged with medication. 90% of healthy adult cases thus far have been managed at home with basic rest/hydration/over-the-counter meds.
Pre-existing risks. If you have a pre-existing lung condition or chronic illnesses, now is a good time to talk to our doctor about care management that is specific to you.
Children thus far have much less incidence than adults. For those who have a mild case, the home care is similar to the adults except the medication is specific to the pediatric dose.
This nurse from UK did mention certain food that has a higher pH. I decided not to mention it because we have not heard that we can prevent catching the COVID-19 with specific food intake. However, the general principle of good nutrition in building up your immune system does apply.
A quick review of the symptoms that you have heard: Itching in the throat, dry throat, dry cough, high temperature, shortness of breath, loss of taste or sensation of smell. Watch out for the symptoms of Itchy throat and running nose, I have seen a few patients go into the panic mode thinking that they are possible for the COVID-19. In most cases, the test result was negative. And when they fixed their allergy problems, those symptoms disappeared.
Notice that on the news recently, children who required hospitalization did come down with a different presentation of multi-inflammation syndrome; rash, swollen extremities and cardiac complications.
Stay calm and be rational. I think this is the best advice.
Please note that the comments in italic are Sheila’s comments.
Your homework assignment from the Care Ministry this week: stay calm and schedule a daily routine that is healthy and productive.
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