Table of contents:
Video: In An Epidemic: What To Do If Someone Gets Sick At Home
In an epidemic: what to do if someone gets sick at home
Yesterday, closing the laboratory for an indefinite, possibly very long period, I thought that we all - physiologists, immunologists, virologists, microbiologists and epidemiologists, along with surgeons and infectious disease specialists - have unique knowledge …
Yesterday, closing the laboratory for an indefinite, possibly very long period, I thought that we all - physiologists, immunologists, virologists, microbiologists and epidemiologists, along with surgeons and infectious disease specialists - have unique knowledge … an incubator and a water bath, pulled out the plugs of all centrifuges, scales, stirrers and other things, my hands did it, and my head was spinning that the University of Cambridge had been quarantined many times in 800 years. Those epidemics of plague have passed, and this one will pass … And yet this is the twilight of mankind, and no matter how many times they come, and whatever name they bear - cholera, plague, foot and mouth disease, AIDS, COVID19 - the invisible enemy is terrible and paralyzing, it seems that he is everywhere and can attack at any moment. But in fact, in war as in war, the enemy also has Achilles' heels,you just need to know them and build both a strategy and tactics.
So, what if someone starts coughing in the house and has a fever? And do you suspect it might be COVID19? How to minimize the likelihood of infection for everyone else, but at the same time be able to care for the sick?
1. Give the sick person a separate room on a weekly basis. If your apartment consists of one room and a kitchen, move to the kitchen and leave the room for him. Remove from this room all the things that you may need - your clothes from the closet, from the table - a computer, etc. Wipe the removed items with a cloth soaked in detergent, then wipe dry. It is very important. Where there is water, infection lasts longer.
Therefore, rule number one is to wipe everything dry. Rule two - if you are afraid that the patient touched the clothes, then it can be ironed - the virus dies at 56C or 133F.
1a. After you have isolated the sick person in a separate room, disinfect the entire house if possible. Do not vacuum in any way, only wet cleaning with disinfectants, see point 7. It is better to remove carpets from all rooms right now, so as not to suffer later. For those with carpeted floors, only hot steam vacuuming. Quartz and other UV lamps will help you a lot if you have them. Ultraviolet C light (any radiation wavelength from 100 to 280 nm) perfectly kills the virus. While the UV is on, you should be in another room. Go out the door and close the door.
2. There should be a lot of drink in the patient's room - thermoses with hot water or a kettle. Lots of large cold water bottles. A lot, because when you are sick you need to drink a lot, and you shouldn't run there with every cup.
3. Get a double bag in the room to collect garbage (napkins, food leftovers, etc.). In England, the collection of the rubbish of patients with COVID19 occurs separately from the main garbage, in Russia I do not know. Either way, the trash should be very tightly packed and tied up when you throw it away. Garbage is a source of infection for you and for other people.
4. Set up a double bag for collecting dirty laundry in the room. The virus, as already mentioned, dies at 56C or 133F, so wash the patient's clothes at 60 degrees and above. If your items can withstand this wash temperature, you can wash them with the patient's items.
5. All medicines must be in the room. Most likely, the infection will get stuck in the trachea or bronchi, so collect everything you usually use for bronchitis in a separate box and place it in the sick room. And all the medicines you use to treat colds, and all the antipyretics - collect everything and take it to this room. Do not run around the house and into the sick room with every pill or spoonful of medicine. Put the herbs-ants for brewing tea in the patient's room too.
6. Give the patient a set of dishes and also keep it in the room. Not one cup-plate-spoon, but several. A person is sick - do not be greedy:), he will not do with one cup. When he gets dirty a lot of dishes, take them to wash them (don't run around the house with every dirty spoon, I beg you!). The dishes can be washed along with your dishes in the dishwasher if it washes with water above 56C or 133F. If you wash the dishes in the sink, pour boiling water over the sick person's dishes for 5 minutes, then wash with detergent. Then disinfect the sink.
7. About disinfectants. The detergent washes away the virus well. Bleach is good, it also perfectly kills this virus. And of course, 70% alcohol is also great, it kills this virus in 30 seconds. An article appeared on the Bioarchive that the virus also kills ordinary vodka, but it has not yet been reviewed. They will review it - we will know for sure. In the meantime, you can use vodka if there is no alcohol, detergent and bleach, but suddenly there is vodka;). Just do not confuse it - use it externally, not internally;). And wipe all surfaces after vodka dry.
8. If you are impatient to wash the floor in the patient's room (it would be better if you refrain from any cleaning in his room, I swear), but if it is, then wipe the surfaces with detergents and disposable rags and napkins. And throw them in the same double garbage bag that is in the sick room.
9. But it is necessary to ventilate the patient's room. And not to open the window, but to arrange a real draft. Let the patient lie under the covers for 3 minutes. Do not stand in this draft yourself - it blows out the infection, you do not need to cling to it.
10. How to enter the sick room? Oh, get ready, this is a whole process, you will always need 3 minutes for it. A robe with long sleeves on the inner side of the carnation. Preferably not fluffy. Place gloves nearby. And if you are so unlucky in life that you have excellent eyesight, then sunglasses. All other bespectacled people can and should use their day vision devices;) - remove the lenses until better times. And the mask, of course. Because it is unlikely that your patient will agree to be in a mask all the time, 24 hours a day. If he agrees - honor and praise to him, it will be happiness. But old people and children are intractable. They feel stuffy, ticklish, painful, uncomfortable to cough and sleep in a mask, and they can be understood. So put on the mask yourself. We entered the room, put on gloves, a robe, glasses, and a mask. Children should like such a ghost very much. Wouldn't it hurt to have a scarf on your hair? Men, this outfit will suit you very much too! Now you can read a book to them, measure the temperature, dilute a seagull, make a cough massage, feed and sing a song. It would be better if you didn't sit there for a long time, but how will it turn out …
11. How to leave the sick room? In reverse order:). Take off your sunglasses, kerchief, robe, gloves, mask, leave them in the room on the door on the nail and go out. [The mask is good to throw in the double trash bag, and the gloves too if you have a supply of disposables. It would be better to make a transitional gateway from the patient's room to the common space and keep a robe, etc. there]. As you left - immediately go to the bathroom, wash your face, glasses and hands with soap and water. And eat the candy, you are a fine fellow, you are almost a microbiologist, virologist, physiologist and immunologist put together! Keep it up!
12. The general rule for all recreational items is that whatever gets into the patient's room is gone. Books cannot be taken out of his room at all. And stuffed toys too. Do not tolerate anything made of fabric, cardboard and paper. Do not run around the house showing everyone his child's drawing. The child recovers, the virus dies in 2-3 days - then you will boast. It would be better not to endure washable toys either, but if you are impatient, wash them with soap or bleach. Or vodka - what do you have there for such cases. Aipads and other computer toys would be better if it were his individual too. But if you really need to endure, then wipe with 70% alcohol. Not vodka. If there is no alcohol, you can't stand it. Once again, what fell into the patient's room was gone.
13. Bathroom and toilet - there is an ambush. It is good when the patient has his own bathroom and toilet. Because the nasty virus lives in the intestines as well as in the lungs. Therefore, if it so happens that you and the patient share the bathroom and toilet, then you will have to wash the toilet with bleach every time after him, and the bath and sink - also with bleach or detergent. Wipe both handles and switches with disposable napkins. And get him separate towels, and heat them at 60C or higher.
14. And the last thing. Both you and the patient should sleep well. Nothing can ruin your immune system like bad sleep. Therefore, use all the sedatives that you usually take if you are nervous and cannot sleep. I manage with valerian.
I don't think the list is complete. I will add it if I remember or read something.
Do not be ill. And if you get sick - fight!
Ulyana Bashtanova, Senior Researcher
Faculty of Chemistry
University of Cambridge