Patient Education for Covid-19

If you have been given a diagnosis of Covid-19, care is generally supportive and similar to that advised for other acute viral illnesses:

  • We advise that patients stay well hydrated, particularly those patients with sustained or higher fevers.
  • Cough that is persistent, interferes with sleep, or causes discomfort can be managed with an over-the-counter cough medication.
  • We advise rest as needed during the acute illness; for patients without hypoxia, frequent repositioning and ambulation is encouraged. In addition, as the patient recovers, we encourage all patients to advance activity as soon as tolerated.

There is NO NEED for antiviral treatments, corticosteroids or antibiotics.

Self isolation procedures – If you have symptoms of coronavirus OR you have received a positive coronavirus test result, the clear medical advice is to immediately self-isolate at home for at least 7 days from when your symptoms started.

Consider alerting the people that you have had close contact within the last 48 hours to let them know you have symptoms of coronavirus COVID-19.

After 7 days, or longer, if you still have symptoms other than cough or loss of sense of smell/taste, you must continue to self-isolate until you feel better. You do not need to self-isolate if you only have a cough or loss of sense of smell/taste after 7 days, as these symptoms can last for several weeks after the infection has gone. All other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the household became ill.

If you live with others, then everyone else in the household who remains well should end their isolation after 14 days. If anyone in the household becomes unwell during the 14-day period, they should arrange to have a test to see if they have COVID-19. If their test result is positive, they must follow the same advice for people with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms – that is, after 7 days of their symptoms starting, if they feel better and no longer have symptoms other than cough or loss of sense of smell/taste – they can also return to their normal routine. However, if their test result is negative, they must continue with isolation as part of the household for the full 14 days.

The following advice should be given to a person self-isolating to reduce the possible transmission to others:

  • Patients should stay in a specific room and use their own bathroom (if possible). Patients should avoid unnecessary travel and unnecessary contact with other people.  If they live in shared accommodation (university halls of residence or similar) with a communal kitchen, bathroom(s) and living area, they should stay in their room with the door closed, only coming out when necessary, wearing a surgical mask if they do so.
  • Where contact is unavoidable, the patient should wear a surgical mask, and maintain a distance of at least 1 metre (preferably 2 metres) from other people.
  • Patients should clean their hands with soap and water frequently. Alcohol-based sanitizers may also be used, provided they contain at least 70% alcohol.
  • Patients should practice good cough and sneeze hygiene, by using a tissue, and then immediately discarding the tissue in a lined trash can, followed by washing hands immediately.
  • Patients should not have visitors in their home. Only those who live in their home should be allowed to stay.
  • Patients should avoid sharing household items like dishes, cups, eating utensils and towels. After using any of these, the items should be thoroughly washed with soap and hot water.
  • All high-touch surfaces like table tops, counters, toilets, phones, computers, etc. should be appropriately and frequently cleaned.
  • If patients need to wash laundry at home before the PCR results are available, then they should wash all laundry at the highest temperature compatible for the fabric using laundry detergent. This should be above 60° C. If possible, they should tumble dry and iron using the highest setting compatible with the fabric. Disposable gloves and a plastic apron should be used when handling soiled materials if possible and all surfaces and the area around the washing machine should be cleaned. Laundry should not be taken to a laundrette. The patient should wash his/her hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling dirty laundry (remove gloves first if used).
  • Patients should know who to call if they develop any worsening symptoms, so that they can be safely reassessed.