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Dubai: No one is safe from COVID-19 until everyone is safe, and if one believes in this, every resident must act responsibly and take precautions once he or she tests positive or comes in close contact with a positive individual. Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has issued clear guidelines for those required to isolate or quarantine at home, as the case may be.

But first, when do you need isolation and when do you need to quarantine?

According to the guidelines issued by the Centre for Disease Control, isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who, may have been exposed to a contagious disease to prevent possibility of further transmission. It is likely that such an individual may develop symptoms later. Therefore, such people need to keep to themselves with minimum interaction outside.

The period of isolation for a confirmed COVID-19 individual is 10 days and this is counted from the day of the positive rt PCR (Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction test) report. The isolation ends after completing the 10 days with improvement in symptoms and no fever for three consecutive days at least, without any fever reduction medication.

DHA guidelines stipulate as under:

Home isolation

• Two positive family members must use separate closed spaces to isolate, preferably with separate toilets and bathrooms.

• Wear a three ply mask at all times to reduce chances of transmission

• Wash your hands frequently and use sanitisers to prevent spread of infection.

• Use disposable plates and cutlery.

• When a family member places a meal outside the room of a positive family member, he or she should be wearing adequate personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, shields and must discard these once interaction with the positive family member is concluded.

• The isolated patient must carefully dispose the plates, cutlery, masks, and tissues, in closed garbage bags that can be taken out of the home into public bins for disposal. Do not dispose any article of personal use in an open bag as that increases the chance of transmission.

• Patient must wash clothes and bathe in the washroom of the closed room.

Home quarantine

Quarantining yourself at home means staying at home or a hotel and avoiding contact with others for a certain period, usually 14 days. Only those living in the same household can remain at home; friends and relatives, who do not belong to the immediate family, are not allowed to visit.

• If the person in home quarantine develops COVID-19 symptoms then those living in the same household will be considered to be in contact with a confirmed case and so should be home quarantined as well.

• Keep in touch with the local health authorities who in any case closely monitor cases. In Diubai, positive patients isolating at home and the relatives who are not positive but in quarantine, receive receive regular calls from the DHA monitoring team. The team members supervise the recovery process and ask the relevant questions about the individual’s health and wellbeing

• Follow all COVID-19 protocols.. This includes frequently washing hands, using hand sanitisers, maintaining at least a distance of two metre from another family member.

• Designate items for exclusive personal use. Use disposable plates, cutlery. Items such as knives, forks, spoon, plates, combs, toothbrush and towel must be of the disposable variety to as much possible extent.

• Sleep in a separate/ partitioned room and use a separate toilet.

• To keep in touch all quarantined and isolated family members can make video calls or chat through social media channels.

• After completion of 14 days in quarantine without developing any symptoms, it is safe to continue with normal life and go back to school or home.

How to keep emotionally strong through home quarantine

• Maintain a daily routine and think positively, remember that the quarantine period will soon pass.

• Maintain your relations with others through social media channels. This will help in maintaining sound mental and emotional health

• Work from home, exercise and give your children fun activities, chores or homework.

• Use this period to do things that you never had the time to do like drawing and reading.

How to stay healthy when confined at home

With minimum movement, adding on a few kilos of weight is very likely. The DHA advises that people must cut out high calorie food such as chocolates, cakes, chips and other junk food, eat light and low calorie meals as lesser amount of energy is dispensed when a person is at home with fewer chances of movement. Weight gain occurs when there are more calories consumed by a person than he or she, can burn.

• Stay hydrated; drink at least eight glasses of water per day.

• Eat a well-balanced meal including foods that supply the body with energy such as whole grains, rice, pasta, fresh vegetables and fruit ( especially those rich in vitamin C) such as guava , Kiwi, oranges, lemon, to build strong immunity . Add foods rich in anti-oxidants such as nuts, green tea etc. With everything possible on delivery apps, it is possible to order fresh produce online.

• Children in particular should eat foods that promote growth such as eggs, meat, fish, and dairy products

• If you are opting for canned meat, choose healthier options such as canned tuna and sardines

• Do not forget to maintain a light routine of regular home workout. The recommended amount of exercise per day is a minimum of 30 minutes for adults and 60 minutes for children.