How to protect yourself and others after contracting Covid-19 or while awaiting a test result

Dubai Health Authority offers guidance for people isolating following infection

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A Dubai health chief issued a comprehensive guide on how to stay safe and protect others after testing positive for the coronavirus.

A recent surge in infection rates has once again highlighted the importance of following health protocols to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Dr Hind Al Awadhi, head of health promotion and education at Dubai Health Authority, stressed that people who are awaiting test results should assume they have the virus and self-isolate.

Staying at home to avoid work colleagues or classmates is crucial to protect others, until a negative result has been achieved.

“At home, the person who has taken the test should isolate, especially if he has any flu-like symptoms, and he should follow all precautionary measures,” said Dr Al Awadhi.

“If you receive a positive PCR test, your period of isolation will begin from the date of undergoing the PCR test.

“For asymptomatic patients, the period of isolation will be 10 days.”

Advice for Covid-19 patients

If you have any symptoms such as fever, then you should continue your isolation period until you have no fever without using any fever-reducing medicine.

Once the patient has been without fever for three consecutive days and other symptoms have subsided, only then you can end your isolation in 10 days.

If that is not the case, your isolation period must continue.

“The first thing to do is to speak to your family physician in order to assess your medical situation and determine if you can isolate at home,” Dr Al Awadhi said.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES , March 4  – 2020 :- Dr Hend Al Awadhi, Head of Health Promotion and Education Section in the DHA’s Public Health Protection Department  at the DHA office in Festival Office tower in Dubai. (Pawan Singh / The National) For News. Story by Nick Webster

“It is also recommended to monitor your blood oxygen level readings twice daily.

“During home-isolation, if the patient experiences breathing difficulties it is important to seek immediate medical consultation and contact the ambulance if required.”

Remote care 

Anyone requiring a remote consultation with a doctor can access the DHA’s telemedicine service, Doctor for Every Citizen.

Dedicated Covid-19 centres are also open at Al Khawaneej and Al Bada for patients who need medical intervention, such as those with a persistent fever or breathing difficulties.

Recovering patients are encouraged to follow all the instructions given by their family physician, including a healthy diet and adequate fluid intake.

How to protect close contacts

Family members and other close contacts must home-quarantine for 10 days.

It is not mandatory for close contacts to take a PCR test unless they develop symptoms, but it is a good idea to take one if in recent contact with a positive case.

Even in the case of a negative PCR test, close contacts must complete the full 10-day home-quarantine period. This is mandatory.

In home isolation with others

1: Ideally, stay in a separate room and bathroom

2: If you are using a shared bathroom, only leave your room to use the bathroom. Ensure you wear a mask.

3: Use disinfectant wipes or disinfectant liquid to wipe off commonly used surfaces after each use.

4: Clean and disinfect major surfaces such as faucet knobs, door handles and the toilet seat lid on your own to protect other people.

5: Place food for the Covid-19 patient outside the room door in disposable containers and using disposable cutlery only.

6: The Covid-19 patient should collect all the rubbish in a waste bag and ensure it is not infected. Sanitise your hands and use gloves when closing the bag. A house member must wear a mask and gloves and dispose of rubbish bags outside the house in the designated place immediately.

7: The infected person should collect the laundry and place it in a disposable laundry bag in the room. Once washed laundry is removed, the washing machine must be disinfected.

Alternatively, ask your laundry whether it is approved by Dubai Municipality and will accept your clothes.

8: Professional disinfection of the room and bathroom for a Covid-19 patient can take place only after the person has no fever for the last three consecutive days of 10-day isolation.

After completion of isolation

After completion of the isolation period, it is not mandatory to take a PCR test.

But the person should ensure symptoms have subsided and the person is fever-free for the three days prior to completion of home-isolation.

After completion of the isolation period, the person who was infected with Covid-19 should continue to build immunity with immune-boosting food, drink plenty of fluids, eat a balanced diet and continue taking multivitamins as per the doctor’s advice.

Mental well-being during Covid-19

1: First, be in-charge of your health to make sure you are recovering well and that the symptoms you have are manageable from home;

2: Keep in touch with your family physician to feel empowered and in charge of your health and wellbeing;

3: Talk to your family members and friends regularly using digital technology so that you can see them to avoid feeling socially distanced;

4: Rest as much as possible;

5: To avoid stiffness in the body, do some light stretches;

6: Read books that provide positive messages;

7: Try using meditation apps or videos to practise 10 minutes of mindfulness a day.