'Monitor body temperature, oxygen level; drink lot of water': Centre releases COVID home-care tips

NEW DELHI: Most coronavirus infections are not severe and do not need hospitalisation, the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser said on Friday, prescribing home-care tips for patients.

The PSA advised people not to self-medicate and use antibiotics or any supplements as a means of prevention or treatment of COVID-19, adding that it should be used only if directed by a doctor.

“Majority of COVID-19 patients recover by simply following self-care methods at home,” it said in the manual.

Those experiencing fever, dry cough, sore throat, breathing difficulty, body ache, loss of smell or taste, headache, fatigue, chills, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea must immediately begin self-care measures and get tested, it stated.

“Do not stress or become anxious, as these interfere with the body’s natural response to fight the infection,” it said.

The manual also prescribed to isolate oneself and other family members at home at first sign of experiencing symptoms and immediately wear a mask, preferably two masks.

It has also asked to drink at least 2 to 3 litres of water a day and rest as much as possible.

The body temperature and oxygen levels should be monitored.

“Check your body temperature 2 to 4 times a day. Those with fever are advised to take ONLY paracetamol. If fever persists for 5 days, seek hospital care immediately,” it said.

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The manual said community welfare societies and resident welfare associations might consider investing in some oximeters that families could borrow after thorough sanitisation.

“Monitor your oxygen levels with a pulse oximeter 3-4 times a day. Make sure your fingers are clean (no nail polish!) before you use the oximeter to avoid inaccurate reading,” it said.

Outdoor facing doors and windows should be wide open to maintain air circulation.

“Infection carrying droplets and aerosols, can rapidly accumulate in closed unventilated spaces and increase risk of transmission to others in your home,” it said.

It has also prescribed proning to increase oxygen levels.

If the oximeter reading shows SpO2 levels below 94 per cent, patients in home care are advised to lie prone on their stomachs.

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This will improve breathing and increase oxygen saturation.

As a first step, the patient should begin by lying in prone position on a flat bed for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

As a next step, the patient should switch to lying on the right side for 30 mins to 2 hours.

As a third step, the patient should switch to 30 minutes to 2 hours of sitting up (30-60 degrees).

As a fourth step, the patient should switch to lying on left side for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

The next step should be to switch to semi-proning position for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

The final step should be to return to proning position for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

This should be repeated.

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It cautioned that proning in conditions like pregnancy, deep vein thrombosis, cardiac conditions, spinal or fracture issues should be avoided.

The manual also prescribes to keep monitoring oxygen levels after switching between positions.

If oxygen levels drop below 92 per cent, then a doctor should be consulted to seek hospital care immediately.

It said Covaxin and Covishield were effective against the B.1.617 variant, also known as the double mutant.

“India’s Covaxin and Covishield vaccines both provide immune protection. Vaccination drives in some countries have resulted in 95.8 per cent drop in infection rates in those who have been fully vaccinated,” the manual said.