India continues to experience daily surges to its COVID-19 tally. Access to hospital beds and COVID-19 centres continues to be a challenge in Mumbai, as is the case with much of India.
Considering the immense strain on local healthcare systems, a number of state governments have permitted COVID-19 positive people with mild and no symptoms to isolate at home, subject to age, health, co-morbidity and other basic criteria, such as access to a separate, well-ventilated room with attached toilet, and a dedicated caregiver, among others.
A majority of mildly infected people have opted for home quarantine. According to a recent report, over 9 lakh people were in home quarantine in Maharashtra, and a little over 40 thousand in institutional quarantine. Being able to recuperate while in the care and company of family has a beneficial effect on mental wellbeing, while ensuring good quality and free of cost care and support. Government-appointed medical teams guide patients and family on protocols, and monitor the patient on a daily basis, ready to act in any emergency.
That said, not every asymptomatic and mildly infectious person is eligible for home quarantine. On July 2, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) released the latest home isolation guidelines that clearly define eligibility, medical attention and period of isolation for the affected, along with instructions for caregivers and family members.
In addition to home-quarantine guidelines and medical advice, here’s a list of supplies one needs when quarantined at home. Items like thermometer and oximeter will be available with medical teams that visit quarantined homes, but having your own is useful when there’s no help at hand in a medical emergency, and you can’t step out to buy or borrow. Once quarantined, no resident of the home will be allowed to leave, except in a medical emergency and other stipulated situations.
Disclaimer: Please be advised the inclusion, use and efficacy of home quarantine supplies (products) in this story is based on information available publicly, and does not constitute medical advice for clinically diagnosed COVID-19 patients recovering at home. Mumbaikar.com does not validate or endorse the products, or make commercial gains of any nature through purchases made via links provided to external sites.
Aarogya Setu app
It’s mandatory for anyone clinically diagnosed with COVID-19 to install Aarogya Setu app. The app should remain active at all times. To do so, enable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 24/7 on the patient’s mobile, and also turn on location tracking.
1% Sodium Hypochlorite solution
MoHFW guidelines suggest limited use for this solution – disinfecting discarded face masks and cleaning frequently used surfaces like tabletops, door knobs, handles, and so on. Alcohol-based sanitisers, the same ones you use to disinfecnt hands, work equally well in disinfecting surfaces.
Should you prefer Sodium Hypochlorite, be careful when handling it. Excessive and improper use and contact with skin can be hazardous. Concentrated 1% Sodium Hypochlorite solution is available with pharmacies, and Amazon and Flipkart. The solution strength varies depending on use; be sure to buy products labelled 1% strength.
The general advice for home-quarantined persons is to wear a triple layer medical mask at all times. MoHFW guidelines state that face masks should be disposed after 8 hours of use or earlier if they become wet or visibly soiled. They also instruct that masks should be discarded only after disinfecting with 1% Sodium Hypochlorite solution.
It’s advisable to store disposed masks and gloves used by the infected and caregiver in a closed container or re-sealable plastic bag that’s closed properly. Hand over these with household garbage in the same container/bag to ensure safe and responsible collection and handling.
Caregivers should always ensure the patient is wearing a mask before entering their room. Details on wearing, handling and disposing masks are available in Annexure II of MoHFW guidelines linked earlier in this story.
These are useful when handling items, personal effects and vessels used by the patient, and for avoiding direct contact with body fluids. Gloves are also useful when using Sodium Hypochlorite solution to disinfect items used by the patient and cleaning surfaces. Disposable gloves are available in bulk packs of up to 100 pairs.
Handwash and sanitiser
Stock up enough handwash and sanitiser to last 2-3 weeks. Patients and caregivers will need plenty of alcohol-based sanitiser to disinfect surfaces, gadgets, appliances and items used during home quarantine, and handwash to disinfect hands. MoHFW guidelines include detailed instructions on hand hygiene using sanitiser and soap.
Every household has one. If you don’t, buy one pronto from your local pharmacy or get it online from Amazon, Flipkart, and 1mg and others. An old-fashioned mercury thermometer or a basic digital one will work just fine. You might want to keep more than one thermometer at home, sparing one for the affected family member and for the affected family member.
An optional item to have for the home-quarantined, a Pulse Oximeter is a medical device that uses a non-invasive—no pricking, no blood—method to measure the oxygen level (oxygen saturation) of blood. In plain English, a pulse oximeter measures how much oxygen your red blood cells are carrying, simply by putting your fingertip to it.
The device can detect even minor changes in blood oxygen levels, and therefore, is useful in monitoring the health of COVID-postive patients, especially since oxygen level is a key health indicator in such cases. The device is compact, lightweight, inexpensive and easy-to-use, and will be useful beyond COVID-19 to indicate heart and lung health and other conditions brought on by low blood oxygen levels. Order a pulse oximeter from Amazon or Flipkart. Watch this short video showing how to use a pulse oximeter.
Food, medicines, groceries and essentials
Every resident of a home is put under quarantine, no matter how many test positive. The housing society is the first point of contact for help with getting food and supplies for quarantined residents. One can also receive goods ordered online if your location is not within a containment zone. If a patient or family member is taking prescription medicines for other medical issues, order at least two-week’s worth of these medicines, food and other essentials.
Lastly, if you or a family member is in home quarantine as you read this story, we wish you a speedy recovery. If you know someone in home quarantine, showing COVID-19 symptoms or awaiting test results, do share this story with them.