From the Editor
As new COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Uganda, individuals found to be COVID-19 positive who are asymptomatic are requested to stay at home in self-quarantine or isolation for at-least 14 days.
Self-quarantine can however cause additional stress and challenge the mental health of citizens.
According to the guidelines for home-based care from the Ministry of Health, an isolation room should have a clean water source for handwashing, soap and other hygiene products. It should be well ventilated providing the patient with fresh air that has enough oxygen. Wearing a mask is unnecessary if you are in a room alone so as to facilitate breathing freely.
Available scientific information shows that COVID-19 attacks the lungs by reducing their efficiency to take up sufficient oxygen required by the body. However, experts advise that the room should be disinfected before occupation.
Do’s and dont’s while in isolation
Do physical exercises: Experts recommend regular physical exercise in order to keep the body strong and able to fight infections. Sedentary behavior and low levels of physical activity can have negative effects on the health, well-being and quality of life of individuals. Exercise increase blood flow and enhances oxygen levels, but also breathing in and keeps lings exercised.
Another big risk you face while in quarantine is decline in emotional health. Many people are having issues with anxiety and depression due to loss of social support and fears about COVID-19, but exercise can help mitigate these issues. When you exercise, your body boosts production of endorphins which diminish pain and elevate mood.
Drink a lot of water and a proper diet
The main diet focus for COVID patients is to consume foods that would help rebuild muscle, immunity and energy levels. Whole grains, oats or amaranth are rich sources of complex carbohydrates. Chicken, fish, eggs, soya, nuts and seeds are some good sources of protein. Healthy fats like walnuts, almonds, olive oil, mustard oil are recommended during these days. To boost one’s immunity, one should take turmeric milk once a day.
Drink enough water while in isolation and avoid caffeine and alcohol. Paul Kasenene -a nutritionist says, with the COVID-19, a healthy diet is one of the most important things to keep your immunity strong. Whenever you drink, Dr Kasenene says ensure its something that will boost your health and immunity such as; water ( add lemon, cucumber, ginger), Green tea especially matcha, veggie smoothies, if fruit juice -ensure its whole, fresh with no sugar, as well as millet/sorghum drinks.
Sugar suppresses infection-fighting immune cells called lymphocytes for up to 5 hours after consumption. That’s why sugar is linked to low immunity and higher risk of infections and cancer -Dr Kasenene says. He recommends all to aim to eat fruits high in Vitamin C in this period including guavas, oranges, lemons, pawpaw, pineapple and mangoes. Start your day with water and fruit. Have at least 2 servings with breakfast and another 2 during the day.
Consumption of Antioxidant Vitamins and Minerals should be encouraged especially Vitamin C and Vitamin D.
Watch your symptoms
Follow the advice of your doctor and public health authorities on symptoms as it is advisable to stay in contact with a heath professional. Look out for emergency warning signs for COVID-19 to get emergency medical care immediately if you have; trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, abnormal body temperature or fever, among others.
Experts advise that the patient should move out of the room and have at least 30 minutes of sunshine everyday especially in morning hours. Sunshine will provide Vitamin D which is vital in strengthening immunity. However, experts also recommend a designated care giver who can regularly monitor the patient’s behavior and provide help in times of need.
Stay in contact with family and health professional
While in isolation, patients are advised to be able to communicate with friends and relatives and share their experience on how they feel. The doctor’s contact is vital during isolation and regular updates on personal feelings relating to health are paramount. However, one should avoid negative information that can cause stress.
Sleep -enough sleep
Sleep is essential for maintaining our health and mood. Sleep can also boost our immune function and help us deal with stress. During sleep, experts say, the immune system releases proteins called cytokines. Certain cytokines are important for fighting infections and inflammation, and help us respond to stress. For adults, achieving between seven and nine hours of sleep per night is the goal.
Finally, Pray. Prayers work and are important during this period. Read the Bible if you are a Christian. Read books and watch movies with encouraging content. You will finally overcome and return to social lifestyle.
The information here has been compiled from interviews and selected sources deemed to be credible