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What happens if you suspect a COVID-19 infection and post a COVID-19 diagnosis?

Posted by curiehealth on May 18th, 2020

A diagnosis with COVID-19 can be daunting and difficult to accept. However, with a global mortality rate of less than 3% and over 80% of those with the infection being asymptomatic, it is best for one to stay positive and focus on the recovery.

Once we develop symptoms of COVID-19 such as a cough, fever, sore throat, loss of taste or smell , headache or body pain; it is best to contact the helpline number. In India, the ‘1075’ number is the toll- free helpline number for COVID-19.

After assessing your symptoms and history through the call, you would either be required to self-quarantine at home until further symptoms develop or visit one of the government approved COVID-19 testing centres.

At the test centre, a doctor evaluates your symptoms and history and approves the test to be conducted if needed. A quick, 5-10 minute PCR test is conducted and this involves a painless throat swab. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, additional tests such as blood investigations or radiological investigations such as a CT chest/abdomen maybe taken.

Once your test results are revealed, (some tests take up to 2-3 days and self-quarantine, hospitalisation or institutional quarantine is advised during this waiting period depending on severity of symptoms) you would be informed confidentially about the results.

Mild cases:

If one does not show any symptoms or shows very mild symptoms and there are no co-morbidities or risk factors (such as diabetes, hypertension, cardia disease, old age, immunosuppression, etc.) , the person is advised to self quarantine at home.

Self quarantine at home:

  • A person suspected with this infection or is tested positive, should stay in a separate, well ventilated room with adequate facilities such as a toilet and access to the phone in case of emergencies.
  • Avoid using an air conditioner to prevent spread of infection to others in the house.
  • One main care giver should be appointed to take responsibility to provide the necessary needs for this person with protective equipment such as gloves and mask.
  • The infected person should always wear a surgical mask and change to a new mask every 5-6 hours.
  • Hand washing and sanitizing should be practiced frequently.
  • Adequate water should be consumed and nutrient rich food should be taken to build immunity.
  • medications as prescribed by the doctor should be followed.
  • In Tamil Nadu, the government provides COVID-19 positive patients with additional vitamin supplements and ‘Kabasura Kudineer’ that should be taken to improve immunity and reduce worsening of the disease.
  • minimum contact with other family members should be maintained at all times and movement outside the room should be restricted.
  • The house should be cleaned with bleach at least once a week and metallic surfaces should be cleaned using alcohol.
  • symptoms should be monitored closely, communication with treating doctor should be maintained and immediate medical assistance needs to be sought if symptoms worsen.

Moderate cases:

these patients are quarantined in a government facility. Rules to be followed are very similar to those followed at home quarantine with additional support and help from healthcare professionals. Medications and food will be as supplied by the institutional authorities.

Severe cases:

These patients are hospitalized and treatment is given by doctors and other helathcare professionals in the hospital. Constant monitoring of vitals and supportive medication and drugs are prescribed until recovery.

Once a patient is infected, strict quarantine measures and treatment regimens are followed until the patient tests negative for COVID-19 in two consecutive PCR tests in a 24-hour duration.

Patients are advised to follow social distancing for a maximum of 14 days following a recovery.

From the above, it is evident that though COVID-19 is a potentially fatal disease, the symptoms are not always severe and with the right treatment and support, a patient can recover completely. Also, research so far suggests that a patient who has been infected with COVID-19 will most likely not be re-infected with this virus.

It is important to understand that all COVID-19 positive patients do not need to be hospitalized. This is to avoid overcrowding at hospitals, reduce chances of re infection or cross infection and most importantly, reserve the essential medical supplies to critically ill patients who need it.

Therefore, anyone having symptoms or worried about their health need to consult a doctor before getting tested. Patients in home quarantine also need to be in touch with a doctor periodically to discuss symptoms and recovery. For these instances, telemedicine is of major importance and one can consult a doctor from anywhere , at anytime!

Curie is a one of a kind telemedicine platform and acts as the best place to consult a doctor online during these times. Download the Curie app

Also See: Covid 19, Self Quarantine, Positive Patients, Over 80, Symptoms, Covid, Quarantine

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