In these difficult times wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, we can expect more difficult days for sure. We have all had better times before the coronavirus pandemic stopped the world in its tracks.
As the virus sweeps across the globe, we are all struggling to adapt to a new normal. People have been forced indoors, business activities have been severely impacted and the world economy has nosedived.
Digital and print media is full of dos and don’ts on safety and hygiene. How can we make sense of so much information? The guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) are clear about safety. Read on to learn about 3 ways to be safe during this pandemic.
Self-isolation for Asymptomatic Patients at Home
As per WHO guidelines, infected patients with respiratory issues or other co-morbidities should be isolated in a medical facility as soon as possible. Individuals who are mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic can self-isolate at home.
In such cases, patients and their family members should be educated about personal hygiene and the treatment protocol. The patient should be accommodated in a well-ventilated room in the house, with a dedicated bathroom.
Their utensils and clothes should be kept separate. The rest of the family must maintain distance from the patient and avoid staying in the same room as them. The patient should wear a medical face mask at all times, and should change it daily.
Face masks and other waste generated by the patient should be disposed of in a separate bin. The disposal of this biomedical waste lies in the sanitation authorities. The WHO advises that health care personnel should review patient health by phone, and if feasible, through daily visits.
Caregivers Need to Follow Protocol as Well
For a confirmed but asymptomatic patient self-isolating at home, a dedicated caregiver should take charge of their care. The caregiver should not have any co-morbidities. They must wear a mask and maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from the patient at all times.
Out of every 10 people diagnosed with COVID-19 in the US, 8 are above the age of 65 years. People with age-related illnesses, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s in community living will need assisted care if they get infected.
The caregivers should check with the local health authorities in advance for protocol if they fall ill. They should be aware of when and where to seek medical care and the precautions that will need to be taken.
And most important of all, they should have a back-up caregiver on standby in case they fall sick.
Getting Your Workplace Prepped for COVID-19
As the world reopens cautiously, it is vital that employers put in place Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to ensure hygiene in the workplace. Fighting the pandemic on the work front is critical to keep the economy running.
To ensure that SOPs are followed, employers will need to monitor workplace behavior regularly. The WHO guidelines suggest that all surfaces – floors, doors, doorknobs, tables, chairs, telephones, and keyboards – are cleaned by disinfectant regularly.
Sanitizers should be placed at prominent spots to encourage their use. Hand-washing facilities should be readily available for all, including the maintenance staff. Washing one’s hands with soap and water is the most effective way to prevent transmission and to kill the virus.
Employers Need to Promote Safety
Employers should promote good respiratory hygiene in the workplace with posters. They should ensure that face masks/disposable face tissues are readily available.
If anyone is running a fever, they should inform their supervisor and stay at home. Regular briefings (with physical distancing) should be conducted for the same. If possible, teleconferencing can be used instead of in-person meetings.
People all over the world are pinning their hopes on a vaccine being found for the coronavirus. Till that time, we have to live with the reality that this virus exists among us. Our best bet is to follow the hygiene and treatment protocols as recommended by the WHO.