You may have been hearing of the Omicron variant for a while now. While it is not safe to dismiss the Omicron variant as ‘mild’ and let your guard down, it is equally important to know the most commonly reported symptoms of infection with the Omicron variant.
Scratchy sore throat
Loss of appetite
Research also suggests that shortness of breath and a loss of smell/taste is not usually associated with the Omicron variant.
However, if you test positive for COVID-19, are asymptomatic/have mild symptoms and are eligible for home isolation, note that the Indian health ministry has recently updated its guidelines.
Take a look at the revised guidelines for home isolation for COVID-19 patients.
Patients Eligible For Home Isolation
The patient should be clinically assigned as mild/asymptomatic by a treating doctor.
The patient should have enough space at home for their isolation and for quarantining the family contacts.
A fully vaccinated caregiver should be available 24/7.
Elderly patients (aged 60 and above), those with co-morbidities, and immunocompromised individuals may be allowed home isolation only after proper medical evaluation.
Family members of the patient should follow all home quarantine guidelines.
Instructions For The Patient
The patient should:
Isolate in an identified, well-ventilated room.
Use a triple-layer medical mask, to be discarded after 8 hours of use or earlier, if wet or soiled.
Discard the mask after cutting it into pieces and putting it in a paper bag for at least 72 hours.
Wear an N-95 mask if the caregiver enters the room.
Take rest and maintain hydration.
Follow respiratory hygiene at all times.
Follow appropriate hand washing etiquette.
Not share personal items with others.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in the room.
Monitor their blood oxygen saturation and temperature regularly.
Report any deterioration in symptoms to the doctor promptly.
Instructions For The Caregiver
The caregiver should:
Wear a triple-layer medical mask regularly and an N-95 mask when in the patient’s room.
Change the mask if it gets wet or dirty and discard the mask after cutting it into pieces and putting it in a paper bag for at least 72 hours.
Maintain hand hygiene measures at all times.
Avoid touching their face, nose, or mouth.
Use disposable gloves while handling the patient and wash hands before and after touching gloves.
Avoid direct contact with the patient’s body fluids.
Avoid sharing utensils, drinks, and used towels/linen with the patient.
Use a triple-layer medical mask and gloves while cleaning or handling surfaces or items used by the patient.
Safely and effectively dispose of disposable items, masks, gloves, and contaminated biomedical waste generated during the patient’s care.
Treatment For Mild/Asymptomatic Cases in Home Isolation
Be in communication with the treating doctor and promptly report any deterioration of symptoms.
Continue the medications for other co-morbidities after consulting the treating doctor.
Utilise teleconsultation facilities.
Follow the symptomatic treatment for fever, running nose, cough, etc.
Avoid undertaking tests and treatment based on misinformation.
Not self-medicate, get blood investigation, or radiological imaging without consulting their doctor.
Avoid self-administration of steroids as they are not indicated for mild disease.
Refrain from generic sharing of prescriptions.
Seek immediate medical help in case of low oxygen saturation level or shortness of breath.
Patients may end home isolation when at least 7 days have passed since testing COVID-19 positive and they have no fever for 3 successive days. No re-testing is needed.
If the patient has a high fever (more than 100° F for more than 3 days), difficulty breathing, pain in the chest, severe fatigue, or muscle pain, it is advisable to consult a doctor immediately and follow their instructions.
1. Mohfw.gov.in. 2022. [online] Available at: <https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/RevisedHomeIsolationGuidelines05012022.pdf> [Accessed 7 January 2022].
2. Gavi.org. 2022. How do the symptoms of Omicron differ from previous COVID-19 variants?. [online] Available at: <https://www.gavi.org/vaccineswork/how-do-symptoms-omicron-differ-previous-covid-19-variants> [Accessed 7 January 2022].
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