The Employee Wellness Programme (EWP) at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) recently hosted a webinar on Developing Your Self Care Plan When Tested Positive for COVID-19 on Microsoft Teams.
This webinar was facilitated by Dr Carmen James who is an Integrative Doctor, Health Coach and facilitator.
Her presentation was based on the following topics:
- Home care for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection.
- Tips for managing potential side effects of COVID-19.
- Determining when to seek medical care at hospital.
- Respiratory support, drug therapy and palliative care.
- Vitamins that are best for boosting your immunity.
- Fighting the pandemic fatigue.
As the COVID-19 battle continues, EWP urges the DUT community to stay vigilant, stay safe and protect themselves and others.
Dr James said isolating a COVID-19 patient at home is different depending on one’s home situation. She said not everybody is able to isolate a sick person in a separate room but the sick person should be kept as far as possible from everybody else in the home.
“It is preferable that this person stays in their own room with the door closed. Part of the reason for that, is that when the person positive with COVID-19 is breathing, coughing and sneezing, they release the viral particles in the air. Exposure to the contaminated air is really what we are trying to avoid to prevent anybody else in the home from getting sick. It is important to make sure that the room is ventilated, to avoid having a high concentration of the virus in the room. The fresh air will dilute the viral load in the air,” explained Dr James.
She further added that it was important that people who are positive with COVID-19 within a family use separate cutlery, crockery, towels, cups and so on. Dr James emphasised that it is important to keep everything separate for the sick person, to reduce the number of exposure to secretions from that person. She also advised on, is for the sick individuals to have a designated caregiver, someone to bring them clean linen, food, something to drink or to check in on them, that they are taking their medication. According to Dr James the caregiver must not be too young to understand what they are looking for or at risk of getting the severe disease. She emphasised that is important for family members to continue washing their hands, keeping a social distance and avoiding contact with the sick person.
“It is a very challenging thing to have a person who is positive in your home, who is ill but has to recover behind closed doors. It is not an easy thing, it is a mind-set shift because generally speaking when somebody is ill, our instinct is to rush in and huddle around them and take care of them. Whenever there’s contact between the sick person and the caregiver, both parties should wear a face mask but when the sick person is alone in the room it is not necessary to wear a mask. You might also want to consider other personal protective equipment such as gloves and overalls that you will only use when you are in the room with the ill person and change when you leave the room,” advised Dr James.
Dr James shared the track symptoms which are:
- A temperature higher than 37.5 is considered a fever. Between 37,5 to 38 is considered a low grade fever and above 38 is considered an active fever.
- Oxygen level lower than 94% is too low and if it reaches below 90% that person needs to be assessed by a healthcare professional.
- Some of the danger signs to look out for include difficulty breathing, confusion, dizziness, uncontrolled chronic illnesses, loss of speech or mobility, or chest pain.
She advised people to keep emergency numbers handy in case of an emergency, to also disinfect surfaces in the home, especially in the room where the person was ill, at least once a day. Dr James said when changing the linen, you must wear gloves and don’t bring it towards yourself or fluff it out to avoid spreading the virus in the air.
Some of the treatment for COVID-19, Dr James said is supplementary oxygen, steroids for severely ill patients to be used in a hospital setting, antibiotics are not effective for COVID-19 as they treat the bacterial infections, however some people with COVID-19 will develop a bacterial infection, but this should be stated by one’s doctor. Regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, Dr James said people should remember that it is not a cure, if one gets COVID-19 today getting the vaccine is not going to make one better. She said the vaccination is to prevent one from getting the infection.
When taking supplements for immune support, Dr James advised that people should drink enough water when taking a high dosage of Vitamin C. She said Vitamin C is water soluble, therefore when a person is dehydrated it is going to crystallise in their kidneys, causing kidney stones. Some people are sensitive to it, Dr James said it might upset their stomachs and advised that people should ensure to take Vitamin D3 and when taking Zinc, it must not be more than 20mg a day.
Furthermore, Dr James added that one in five people who test positive for COVID-19 will have symptoms for a period of five weeks or more. She also gave tips on how to overcome the post-COVID-19 syndrome such as resting, developing a sleep routine, taking naps, staying hydrated, taking supplements even after the infection and avoiding using staircases.
TEN TIPS IN TACKLING THE PANDEMIC FATIGUE
1. Manage your expectations, it is okay to take things off your to-do list.
2. Create a routine, have solid morning and night time routine to keep things consistent.
3. Focus on the things you can control to avoid losing touch of what you can control.
4. Find ways to connect with others without necessarily connecting in person, such as joining online platforms.
5. Get help if you need it to ensure that you are not suffering in silence.
6. Continue to follow the COVID-19 guidelines to curb the spread of the virus.
7. Prioritise sleep.
8. Set boundaries for yourself and take some time out.
9. Use stress relieving practises such as deep breathing and meditation.
10. Keep the hope alive, that the world will get through this pandemic.
Pictured: Dr Carmen James.