Coronavirus cases continue to surge in India, with Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Delhi being the worst-hit states. While businesses resume operations, it is now more probable that you may come across a Covid-positive person in your family or outside.
The government authorities try to trace the close contacts of Covid-19 positive cases as a major containment measure. But if you know you have come in close contact of a Covid-positive person and you are at risk of contracting the virus, here are things you should know and do.
Who is a Close Contact?
You are a close contact and at an increased risk of having been infected in following cases:
1. If you were in a closed environment or had face to face contact with a COVID-19 case at a distance of less than 1 metre, including air travel.
2. You provided care at home to someone who has Covid.
3. You had direct physical contact with a Covid-positive person.
4. You shared eating or drinking utensils with them.
5. A Covid patient sneezed, coughed, or somehow transferred respiratory droplets to you.
The first thing one should do after being informed that they have come in contact with a Covid-positive person, is isolate themselves at home. Healthcare authorities across the world suggest 14 days of home isolation without any interaction with outsiders and limited interaction with those staying in the same house. The 14-day period should begin from your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.
According to a Health Ministry guideline, during home isolation, one should “stay in a well-ventilated single-room preferably with an attached/separate toilet. If another family member needs to stay in the same room, it’s advisable to maintain a distance of at least 1 meter between the two.”
You should not come in close contact with those staying in your house or share utensils, linen or intimate things. You especially need to stay away from elderly people, pregnant women, children and persons with co-morbidities within the household. Only an assigned family member should be taking care of you. Use a mask at all time and urge your family members to do the same while interacting with you. Dispose of masks safely after every six hours.
Watch Out For Symptoms
Monitor yourself for known symptoms of Covid-19, such as fever (100.4âÂÂ¦F), cough, or shortness of breath. The Health Ministry has expanded the list of symptoms of the viral infection to include muscle pain, mucous formation in throat, clogged nasal cavity, sore throat, diarrhoea and loss of taste and smell.
If you observe onset of the symptoms in you or just want to confirm if you are infected, get yourself tested. In every state, there are public and private facilities to get tested for Covid-19.
If your test result comes positive and you are not showing symptoms or only showing mild symptoms, you can continue with home quarantine and test again after a week or so to see if the infection has subsided. You can use an oximeter to monitor your pulse rate and oxygen saturation. The Delhi government has distributed oximeter to Covid-positive people under home quarantine.
You can also choose to get admitted to a healthcare facility if the option is available. According to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, there are three types of COVID dedicated facilities. Makeshift COVID Care Centres for cases that have been clinically assigned as mild, Dedicated COVID Health Centre at hospitals for moderate cases, and Dedicated COVID Hospitals offering comprehensive care primarily for severe category patients.
If you test positive, inform your close contacts about it and direct them to quarantine themselves.
Should You Use Drugs?
While self-medication is advised against, you may contact a doctor on phone to seek medicines to relieve your symptoms. There is no designated drug yet to treat Coronavirus infection. However, the Health Ministry has said, “All close contacts of the confirmed case should be put on Hydroxychloroquine chemoprophylaxis for a period of 7 weeks, keeping in mind the contraindications of HCQ.”
Further, the Health Ministry on June 13 said the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine “should be used as early as possible in the course of coronavirus treatment to achieve any meaningful effects and should be avoided in patients with severe disease.”