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Caregivers, families of Covid patients should take Hydroxychloroquine, says Health Ministry

Caregivers, families of Covid patients should take Hydroxychloroquine, says Health Ministry

With more and more patients being treated in home-isolation due to the surge in Covid-19 infections in India, the Health Ministry has issued new guidelines for such cases which include instructions to caregivers and close family members.

The fresh guidelines endorse the use of the anti-malarial drug Hydroxychloroquine as a safeguard against Covid-19. “The caregiver and all close contacts of Covid-19 patients should take Hydroxychloroquine prophylaxis as per protocol and as prescribed by the treating medical officer,” the guidelines state. 

Earlier a study carried out by Indian Council of Medical Research had underlined the benefit of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as prophylaxis (treatment taken to prevent a disease), showing that the sustained use of the anti-malaria drug along with the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) was associated with a significant decline in risk of Covid-19 infection rate by up to 80% among the health care workers.The health ministry guidelines also state that a communication link between the caregiver and hospital is a prerequisite for the entire duration of home isolation. The caregiver should be available to provide care on 24 x7 basis.

Patients eligible for home isolation

According to the rules, in order to be eligible for home isolation the  patient should be clinically assigned as mild/ asymptomatic case by the treating Medical Officer.  Asymptomatic cases are laboratory confirmed cases not experiencing any symptoms and having oxygen saturation at room air of more than 94%. 

Mild cases are patients with upper respiratory tract symptoms (&/or fever) without shortness of breath and having oxygen saturation at room air of more than 94%.

Such cases should have the requisite facility at their residence for self-isolation and for quarantining the family contacts.

Elderly patients aged more than 60 years and those with co-morbid conditions such as Hypertension, Diabetes, Heart disease, Chronic lung/liver/ kidney disease, Cerebro-vascular disease etc shall only be allowed home isolation after proper evaluation by the treating medical officer. 

Instructions for family members

• Masks used by patients / care givers/ close contacts during home care should be disinfected using ordinary bleach solution (5%) or sodium hypochlorite solution (1%) and then disposed of either by burning or deep burial.

• Used mask should be considered as potentially infected.

• Only an assigned family member should be tasked with taking care of such person

• Avoid shaking the soiled linen or direct contact with skin

• Use disposable gloves when cleaning the surfaces or handling soiled linen

• Wash hands after removing gloves

• Visitors should not be allowed

Clean and disinfect toilet surfaces daily with regular household bleach solution/phenolic disinfectants

Clean the clothes and other linen used by the person separately using common household detergent and dry.