In these Coronavirus times, they say you cannot be too careful. They also say you cannot live in fear. You have to find a balance between being careful and being fearful. And you could still end up being Covid-19 positive.
With the rising number of Covid-19 cases (India at 92 lakh cases, 1.35 Lakh deaths reported as I write), and the earliest estimate of a vaccine being deployed in India being sometime in 2021, we’ve all probably heard someone say, most of us will get infected one day or the other.
Well, that one day, was the 9th of October for me, as I tested positive for SARs-CoV-2 (Coronavirus, or Covid-19). That’s the bad news, and the good news for me, because hopefully now as I have recovered from Covid-19, I am supposed to be relatively immune to the threat that all of us are facing today.
How did I, (the CEO of Being Careful, as my son, calls me) get infected?
Well, I stayed home for 6 months and didn’t even leave my gate. None of my family members went out much after the unlock, and we always sanitised everything, and always wore masks in the company of others.
But I made the fatal mistake of getting a carpenter to come home and fix a few shelves in my work-from-home space. I accepted his excuse of “change-in-weather” for his light cough. And I didn’t insist on him going to another hospital when the first hospital turned him away from being tested because he only had one light symptom.
When the carpenter’s work got extended, I sent him away and asked him to send someone else. But behind my back, he went to work at another apartment in my condominium. And the other carpenter he sent, revealed that he lived in the same room as the first carpenter, after spending two hours in my house.
Both their temperatures was well below 98.4 degrees, as per the records of my Condo gate’s entries. So either they didn’t have fever, or the reading was inaccurate. And their dodgy, evasive behaviour prior to, and post my infection, confirm my suspicions, that they’re the ones who infected me.
So I got Covid-19. And I got the full range of textbook Covid-19 symptoms to play out through me.
I have to admit, I got away lightly, compared to what many others I know went through with the virus.
Immunity and luck of the draw aside, I’d like to share some of my learnings. And a list of things that helped me and my family get through the illness and our quarantine.
What to do, when someone in your family ends up being Covid-19 positive.
Firstly, don’t panic. Be calm, isolate yourself within your house, and get immediate professional medical attention. If you cannot or don’t want to go to a hospital, you must get an online consult with your doctor immediately.
If you do not have a doctor, you can find one via various online portals like 1mg.
My first port of call was the Government’s Covid-19 Helpline Number 1075.
You will also find every State’s helpline number on the MoHFW here.
My call to the 1075 Helpline (via Aarogya Setu), was picked up in the second ring. The lady who responded, quickly put me through to a Doctor. The Doctor heard my symptoms and instantly provided me with a list of things to do, along with medicines to start taking immediately. He also said that a Government Doctor will visit my home in the next 24 hours!
I then called up a chest and asthma specialist, who has been treating me for years, for asthma and breathing problems (yes, I have comorbidities).
Then I watched the following video and shared it with my daughter who had tested being Covid-19 positive with me (some shelves were installed in her room too). I also shared the video with my wife and son who tested negative. (Please do watch the video.)
Inform everyone you’ve come into contact with recently, about you being Covid-19 positive, so that they can watch out for symptoms and get themselves tested.
I immediately informed my Condominium Office via phone and email, and my wife sent out messages to the various WhatsApp groups of our Condominium, to give them a heads up, and let them know we’re going into quarantine.
It is very important you think through the room you’re going to quarantine yourself in, and all the things you have inside (and what others at home might need later), because once you go into quarantine for at least 14 days, you have to minimise what comes out of the room once you’re inside.
How to choose a room, and planning for your Covid-19 quarantine
- Choose a room with an attached bathroom that no one else will use during your quarantine, preferably with a window or balcony to let in natural air and/or light.
- Remove all unnecessary furniture, linen, or other household things that family members will need, and anything you might contaminate that’s not washable/sanitizable, because you’d probably have to throw it away (following Covid-19 waste disposal protocols) later.
- Carry your prescribed medicines inside with you along with your prescription, and take responsibility for having them as prescribed on time. Also, keep some throat lozenges for your throat, and any other medicines you usually consume.
- Take essential medical equipment into the room. A thermometer and an oximeter are a must! Plus anything special that you require regularly. I took my asthma inhaler and spacer with me as well.
- Organise to receive fresh clothes every day. Ask someone to make a complete stack of your clothes for 14 days – from outerwear to innerwear – and keep them outside the room. Keep only 1-2 days’ fresh clothes inside with you, because you don’t want to be opening cupboards or handling uncontaminated clothes when you’re infectious. Plan it in a way that someone will place fresh clothes outside your room daily, so you can take them in when you need a change.
- Take in small quantities of snacks along with tea bags or coffee, for you to have whenever you want, without having to ask for it from outside and increasing contact with others. Remember, neither you nor your family should consume your unused snacks/condiments when you get better, so keep only what you can consume fully inside the room.
- Don’t forget Water. This one time I’ll recommend bottled drinking water packs, because your usual glass/plastic water bottles will have to leave the room and be handled by others, in order to be refilled. And you don’t want that to happen.
- Plan for in-room dining. Take a couple of mugs, plates, and cutlery items inside, which you can wash out yourself. And order some small biodegradable disposable plates, glasses, and cutlery to use and throw, as per Covid-19 waste management protocols.
- Other essential items must include an electric kettle to make hot water for steam inhalation; to make the aforementioned tea/coffee; and to wash out any reusable crockery or cutlery you keep inside the room.
- Keeping your room clean and safe. Keep small quantities of dishwashing detergent, clothes detergent, surface sanitisers, and hand sanitisers, along with relevant scrubs, tissue boxes, and toilet rolls if needed.
- Waste management stuff. Garbage bags and two dust bins – one for food waste and other room stuff, and one for your used tissues, and masks.
- Masking yourself. 95 Masks, please get plenty, and change them every day. You may be alone in the room, but you will need it every time you open the door to receive food, or hand over garbage for disposal.
If you don’t have any or some of the things listed above, you can order them on Amazon.in, or your local delivery service. I’ve shared some links to essential quarantine products I bought and used, here.
Some Covid-19 Symptoms and Challenges you can expect…
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