As the second wave of Covid-19 continues to rage on, it is of paramount importance for everyone to remain alert and vigilant. Its indeed our responsibility toward ourselves and to our fellow citizens. Covid has affected each and every family in our neighborhood and so, being well prepared at home is crucial.
THINGS TO DO AT HOME:
Step 1: The first step of preparedness for every household is having adequate quantity of masks available at home. These can be cloth masks or surgical masks. While venturing out, wear a double cloth mask or one cloth and one surgical mask to ensure maximum protection at public places
Step 2: Another important device that every household should have is a digital thermometer. One should check the temperature of all individuals at home daily or check the temperature of the ones who experience some malaise, bodyache, fever or fatigue. Any axillary temperature more than 99.3 is considered as fever. So, this patient needs immediate attention and further evaluation. In this pandemic, every fever is Covid unless proven otherwise. Hence all fever patients should be tested for Covid.
Step 3: The third important device is a Pulse Oxymeter. It is essentially needed in patients who are home quarantined or taking treatment at home. If Pulse Oxymeter reading goes below 93% then one must visit a Covid care center or a hospital. Those patients who are availing Covid treatment at home should meticulously monitor body temperature and oxygen saturation using a Pulse Oxymeter and inform their care giving physician at intervals of 6hours
Step 4: We recommend a six-minute walk test for patients who are getting treated at home and whose oxygen levels are normal at room air and during resting. We recommend the patient walk in room for 6 minutes at a normal pace and recheck the oxygen levels. If oxygen levels drop after the walk, then it’s a sign of Early Hypoxia and this patient should look for beds in the hospital, or get an oxygen concentrator at home with the advice of their doctor. This test diagnoses Early Hypoxia as well as gives the patient some time to look for more medical aid.
PREPAREDNESS FOR HOUSING SOCIETIES:
I recommend all the housing societies that they should procure Oxygen Concentrators and some beds in their clubhouses. This will help them provide oxygen to Hypoxic (oxygen level less than 94%) patients till they get a hospital bed; this is a lifesaving measure. Here are some preparedness measures for housing societies:
• An emergency holding medical area should be created at the society’s clubhouse/ office/ Gymnasium; this designated area must have an attached bathroom and must function as an isolation area
• Have a simple mattress and pillow placed where the person could lie down
• Arrange for a Pulse Oximeter to measure blood oxygen saturation of the patient
• Arrange for an Oxygen Concentrator machine (which can be rented) to give up to 5liters per minute of Oxygen to a patient. Don’t get Oxygen Cylinders, they should be strictly reserved for hospitals
• Arrange for Hand Sanitizer, a box of gloves, N95 masks, normal masks and an Infrared Thermometer
• Follow local municipal COVID norms
• Following the guidelines of the BMC is a must. If there are more than 5 cases in a society then all members must restrict from venturing out. Society must follow the sanitization norms from time to time. Screen all visitors, house help, cooks, and caretakers of the elderly, coming into the society. Groceries for members can be ordered from one particular vendor to avoid too many people coming to the society
• Moreover, if you are 18 and above, get yourself registered for vaccination. This will give you immense immunity to fight the virus if you get infected
The author is Director, Emergency Medicine, Fortis Hospital, Mulund.