As COVID-19 positive cases are constantly increasing in our country, healthcare facilities have been flooded with positive patients. Among these cases, asymptomatic and mild cases can be managed at home following certain guidelines. In order to reserve beds for moderate and severely ill COVID-19 positive patients, certain states have advised home quarantine for asymptomatic and mild cases which is a welcome step. But the condition of these patients can sometimes rapidly turn grim if the patient is not aware certain warning signs and when to seek hospital help. For such patients online health monitoring by teleconsultants can help vastly in accessing the health status of the patients and provide symptomatic relief. The treating physician can also timely refer the patient to the healthcare facility to avoid any mishap.
WHO SHOULD HOME QUARANTINE?
1. Asymptomatic COVID-19 positive patient
2. COVID-19 suspect
3. Patient with a history of travel in the last 14 days
4. Asymptomatic direct high-risk contact of a confirmed case (needs to be tested between Day 5-10after contact)
5. Patients with fever and cough with acute onset in the last 10 days
6. Patient with mild symptoms of COVID-19 infection
WHAT ARE MILD SYMPTOMS?
1. Congestion or runny nose
5. Mild cough
7. Muscle or body ache
9. Sore throat
WHAT INSTRUMENTS TO HAVE IN HOME QUARANTINE?
1. THERMOMETER:- Many people complain of feeling feverish but do not document their body temperature, which is very important to access if you do really have a fever, or, which grade of the fever you have. For that thermometer is essential.
HOW TO USE IT?
The thermometer measures your body temperature. Body temperature is different at different sites. For a healthy individual normal oral body temperature is 98.6 Fahrenheit or 37 Degree Celcius(C). You should monitor and document your temperature if you feel feverish with date and time every four or six hours at least. This will help the treating physician to better access your health and see if there is any diurnal variation (day and night) in your temperature which is also specific of certain conditions. This can help in better diagnosis and treatment
2. PULSE OXIMETER:- It has already been a regular instrument for quite some time for patients mostly suffering from respiratory or cardiac ailments. A pulse oximeter is a small, lightweight device used to monitor the amount of oxygen in the body. The normal range for a healthy individual fluctuates between 96-100%. It can be an essential instrument if you suspect corona like symptoms. It has been found people suffering from COVID-19 may have less oxygen saturation without them even realizing it. These people have often been termed as happy” hypoxia”.
HOW TO USE IT?
It can be clipped on a finger or toe. Make sure the finger is not wet or cold as it may lead to faulty reading. In case you might have doubts about the suspicious reading you can put the pulse oximeter or a healthy adult individual and co-relate with the same. Also, follow the instructions that come with the instrument. Proper documentation of your vitals holds an important cog in accessing the patient's health condition more importantly in this pandemic where accessing healthcare has taken a toll.
WHEN TO OPT FOR ONLINE MANAGEMENT?
Patients you are asymptomatic or have mild-moderate symptoms can take online consultation and know about their health status by informing their treating physician about their oxygen saturation and temperature fro the comfort of their home. This way they can always keep their health in check. Moreover, the doctor can also refer them to the right facility or even provide first aid if he suspects warning signs like chest tightness, shortness of breathing, or drop in oxygen saturation. Teleconsultation has been an essential tool in providing quality healthcare in this pandemic. The patient can also opt for teleconsultation for any other symptoms because of its fast response and easy availability from the remotest corners of the country. These are the author's own views and not the institution he works for.