The coronavirus scare has engulfed the planet currently way more than the infection itself. Although we might not be exposed to viral particles, we are now being sensitized with the word “quarantine” on a daily basis. More and more people are considering it to be a lifestyle suited in times of the COVID 19 crisis.
Although the word sounds somewhat sinister, it is no curse. However, there needs to be a line drawn between conditions where quarantine is necessary and pure, panic-driven frenzy.
What is quarantine and how is it relevant to the novel coronavirus?
Quarantine is a measure taken to isolate a sick or infected person or someone suspected of having caught an infection when there is an outbreak of contagious, communicable diseases. This is done to contain the spread of the infection. The novel coronavirus or COVID 19 infection, having originated in Wuhan Province of China, has now propagated its way into 80+ countries. Positive cases are springing up every day in different parts of the world. The virus is transmitted via droplets of mucus or saliva of an infected person when he or she coughs or sneezes. Due to its easy transmission route, the virus, as well as the panic surrounding it, has currently penetrated the very fabric of scrutiny and vigilance of various countries. Quarantine and the process of isolation are key in handling the spread of the infection, thereby reducing the mortality rate caused due to the coronavirus.
Who needs a hospital quarantine?
- A person tested positive with coronavirus with unmanageable symptoms at home like fever, cough and breathing difficulty that might need further evaluation and treatment at a hospital
- A person belonging to the older age group, especially over 60 years of age and having tested positive with symptoms. It has been noted that this is a high-risk group
- A person who has tested positive and has pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma, TB, or has chronic comorbidities
What about self-quarantine?
When do you need self-quarantine?
If you have had a recent history of travel to an area with an outbreak or have been exposed to someone suspected of having the infection and you have developed symptoms such as fever or cough. If you have recently travelled from another country and screening has been done, you might be directed by the Embassy to put yourself on semi-voluntary quarantine at home. If you have already returned from the hospital after recovering from the coronavirus infection and testing negative, you may be put on self-quarantine as a precautionary measure.
When to advance from self-quarantine to hospital isolation?
If you are sick and you notice your symptoms worsening with shortness of breath or if you notice any of your family members showing signs of the sickness, then it is important to reach out to a hospital or helpline numbers so that you can be placed in an isolation ward until recovery. (Helpline number for coronavirus information and medical help in India: +91-11-239780460)
Why is it important to not get scared?
It is a lesson learnt by mankind over the ages. The most appropriate measures taken during such health crises stem from the knowledge and a sense of mindfulness, and not from fear and hearsay. The coronavirus cases are over 80% mild and 14% severe. The fatality increases in patients with pre-existing risks like old age, associated comorbidities and pre-existing health conditions. Moreover, it has been found that most patients recover from the disease, and testimonials from such patients help build courage and boosts morale during times of panic.
How do you gear up for self- quarantine?
Preparation for self-quarantine in your house involves appropriate stocking up (and not hoarding) of supplies- essentials being health and hygiene products such as adequate prescription medicines, health records, tissues, personal protective equipment, sanitizers, soaps, disinfectants for surfaces, etc. Food supplies such as canned goods, water cans can come in handy. Isolation may not be easy, so even comfort food like chocolates can be of help if you do not have symptoms.
How can you take care of your mental health during self-quarantine?
While you can continue maintaining hand and respiratory hygiene, keep a watch on how you are feeling, talk often with friends or mental health professionals. Physical isolation can be strenuous and distressing. You might be prone to anxiety during this time, as you may feel more disconnected from the world around you. On a brighter side, there may not be a better time to binge Netflix and really chill.
Stay safe, educated and away from unnecessary triggers and misinformation as it is vital to recovery. If you are experiencing symptoms like cough, fever, sore throat or breathing difficulties, it is advised that you consult a doctor as soon as possible. Get your symptoms assessed by top doctors on your phone on the MFine app.