If you have to get tested for coronavirus and you test positive, but your symptoms are mild, you have to be isolated in your home or at your place of residency. If your symptoms are more severe and you need medical care, you will be hospitalized and quarantined according to the current hospitalization order.
The course of COVID-19 is most frequently mild or moderate and the patient does not need specific treatment or hospital care. For specific recommendations about symptomatic treatment during the convalescence, you should contact your general practitioner or treating physician.
For further information on preventing disease transmission and protective measures for decreasing the viral load, read the following article: General protective measures in case of COVID-19 infection.
Attention! Delta and omicron infections rarely cause loss of taste or smell, and vaccinated patients show mainly mild and general symptoms; therefore, it is hard to differentiate the COVID-19 infection from common cold or allergy.
However, the elderly and patients with certain chronic diseases are prone to develop more severe symptoms when infected with COVID-19. Hence, their condition needs to be monitored with special care and general protective measures should be complied.
Course of action in case of isolation at home
People in isolation have to organize their logistics primarily by themselves with the help of their relatives and contacts. If it is not feasible, help is available: Ask for help.
Recommendations for restriction of disease transmission:
Separation of infected individuals from other family members within the same household is recommended, if possible.
People in isolation should stay in a specific “sick room” separated from other rooms with well-closing doors and proper ventilation.
Separate bathroom and toilet are advised if feasible. If this is not possible, thorough cleaning and disinfecting are essential after each use.
It is advised for family members to use separate utensils (e.g., towels, plates, glasses, mugs, silverware, etc.). Thorough cleaning and disinfecting are essential after each use.
Masks and gloves have to be worn by each family member contacting the patients and patients also have to wear masks when leaving their “sick room”.
Regular handwash and disinfecting the objects and surfaces (doorknob, switches) contacted with the patient are also recommended.
The infected person should cover their mouths and noses with tissue paper when sneezing and coughing for preventing the dissemination of germs.
The patient’s waste -including tissue paper and face masks- has to be discarded in sealed bags and placed into the refuse bin.
Monitoring the patient’s condition
Continuous monitoring of the symptoms is essential during isolation. Based on the course of the disease, the need for treatment, the presence of risk factors and the patient’s own environment (a family member is at increased risk for severe illness), the need for hospitalization is individually determined by the treating physician.
Body temperature needs to be controlled and recorded twice a day. Fever and temperature changes help monitoring the patient’s condition. Over-the-counter painkillers, antipyretic drugs (containing acetaminophen or other NSAID drugs) or cold pack might be used for relieving symptoms and discomfort.
If the patient requires hospital care, or home isolation is not possible, hospitalization and quarantine regulations will be implemented according to the current hospitalization order. Both the caregiver family members and the patient have to learn to recognize alarming symptoms.
The early recognition of the following symptoms can save the patient’s life, therefore, if the patient presents any of these, seek emergency medical attention!
Breathing difficulties: The number of breaths the patient takes in a minute should be counted. A healthy adult’s respiratory rate is 12-20/min. Control body temperature if respiratory rate is above 20. Shortness of breath at rest and shallow, fast breaths implicate respiratory failure.
Heartrate changes: persistently high, above 90/min heart rate (heartbeats/minute) might also refer to disease progression (tachycardy).
Inadequate fluid intake: if the patient does not drink enough, or his/her urine output decreases largely (dehydration), consult your general practitioner!
If you have a blood pressure monitor or a pulse oximeter, heart rate can be easily checked.
Pulse oximeters provides information not only on the pulse, but also on the oxygen content of the blood, which is an important indicator of the respiratory system. Blood pressure monitors and pulse oximeters can be purchased in pharmacies.
If you do not have any of the aforementioned automatic devices, you can determine the heart rate by gently touching the artery located on the side of your neck or on the interior surface of your wrist: hold your fingers on the artery and count the number of pulses for 30 seconds. Double the number so that you get the number of heartbeats/minute.
If the patient’s state progrediates, the following symptoms might develop:
- skin turning cold, clammy or marbled;
- newly presented confusion;
- discoloration of the lips;
- coughing up blood.
If someone is experiencing any of these symptoms, call 112 immediately and ask for emergency medical help!
When seeking for help, tell the dispatcher that the patient has COVID-19, and has been isolated at home.
If you need hospital care
If your symptoms are so severe that you need hospital care, it is important to prepare a “hospital kit” carefully. You should be prepared for a seven to fourteen-day-long stay in the hospital when assembling your package.
We advise to pack in your “hospital kit” as follows.
Personal presents, statements and medications:
- Social Security Card | European Health Insurance Card;
- identity card | passport;
- residence card;
- contact details of relatives and acquaintances whom the patient wishes to be notified;
- cardiopulmonary resuscitation and mechanical ventilation refusal statements, if the patient wishes to make an advance directive (note: different legal measures apply to this in different countries);
- card confirming participation in a clinical study;
- previous hospital documentations (discharge summaries, outpatient reports, lab work results);
- X-ray, CT and MRI results;
- list of medications with exact doses need to be taken;
- currently used medications and dietary supplements.
- toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss;
- false teeth and necessary paraphernalia;
- shower gel, soap;
- hand sanitizer;
- paper tissues, toilet paper, wet wipes;
- shaving kit;
- face-cream, body lotion;
- comb, hairband;
- cuticle shears, nail clipper or nail file;
- creams preventing complications (decubitus) of long-term bed rest;
- sanitary pads;
- incontinence liners and incontinence liner-fitting underwear.
Cutlery (plastic, disposable), liquids:
- paper napkins and paper towels,
- silverware (spoon, fork, knife – with blunted tip, unsuitable for stabbing);
- glasses, mugs, plates;
- bottle with a bottle cap, straws;
- dishwashing liquid, sponge;
- bottled water (preferably more).
Protective equipment, clothing and textiles:
- disposable or washable masks (preferably more);
- more sets of pajamas, nightgown;
- two sets of towels.
Other personal articles:
- deaf-aid, backup battery;
- eyeglasses, spectacle-case, wipes;
- other medical aids.
Keep in touch with the hospitalized relatives, if possible. During a longer hospital stay, it is very important for the patients to be assured of that they can count on their relatives and their relatives are waiting for their recovery and home coming.
Tablets and cell phones might help patients in this stressful period. With the authorization of the treating physician, distracting the patients’ attention from their condition is strongly advised.
Take care of others and comply with the epidemiological protective measures so that fewer people need to prepare a “hospital kit”.