6-min Walk Test To Monitoring Pulse: An Expert's 9-Step Guide For Covid-19 Patients

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India on Tuesday recorded 2,59,170 new Covid-19 cases and 1,761 deaths, the highest single-day casualties. As Covid-19 positive cases continue to rise at an alarming rate, here’s a low-down on all the protocols you should follow and precautions you must take to protect yourself against the virus.

In an interview with News18.com, Indian Medical Association (IMA) President J.A. Jayalal pointed to nine steps that might help you if you test positive for Covid-19 infection. Here’s what he said:

STEP 1: When an individual feels that he has come in contact with a Covid-19 positive individual or been exposed to the virus in some way, or he experiences symptoms such as fever, headache, sore throat, loss of smell or taste, he/she should first self-isolate himself in the house, avoid mingling with the public, take rest and have good night sleep. During this period, it is advised not to seek help from anyone who is not a medical professional.

STEP 2: The next step is to go to a convenient nearby centre to do the RT-PCR test and follow the Covid-appropriate behaviour while doing so. As you wait for the result, continue to self-isolate, which can only be done if there is a particular room with an in-built restroom available in the house in which one has chosen to self-isolate.

During self-isolation, keep your clothes and used materials separately. Bleach your clothes before washing them individually. Avoid contact with others, and always use a mask when in the presence of a family member. Eat nutritious homemade food. Sleep well and try to sleep in the prone position (stomach in the cot) for a minimum of two hours and take deep breaths.

People can also indulge in hobbies they like. Drink plenty of water and eat vegetables of their choice. If you meditate or practice mindfulness, it can also be effective in keeping you calm. During this time, stay in constant touch with your healthcare provider, keep updating your Aarogya Setu app, and keep away from too much negative news. If you feel discomfort, seek medical help immediately.

STEP 3: If tested positive, subject yourself to baseline investigation like ESR, CRP, TC, DC, Ferritin, D-Dimer, and continue your routine medication if you have any co-morbid conditions. Also, get all your family members tested.

STEP 4: If your test values are within normal and your symptoms are mild, you have to continue your care under home isolation. However, keep in contact with health care professionals and follow their advice.

STEP 5: It is advisable to do regular physical exercise. Brisk walking, skipping, treadmill walks are all fine as long as they are within your maximum tolerable limit. However, if you feel more body pain, or is extremely tired, do not exert more. Also, always try to do breathing exercises regularly, and if one can do yoga, you should continue with that.

From the third day onwards, one needs to do more important home tests. An excellent example of it is the 6-minute walk test. Begin by measuring your oxygen level with an oximeter. The ideal oxygen saturation is 96 to 100. After that, walk around for 6 minutes, and remeasure your oxygen level. If the oxygen level falls more than 5 points, you are prone to respiratory infection and likely to need hospital care.

STEP 6: Apart from exercising, please check your pulse, temperature, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation and blood pressure at least once in eight hours schedule. If you have diabetes, check the blood pressure twice a day and have your medication. Continue to maintain eight hours of sleep and a minimum of two hours prone position sleep.

STEP 7: Other red flags which indicate that you may need hospital care are if your pulse rate is more than 100 persistently, your temperature remains above 100 for more than three days, and you have a severe headache or continuous diarrhoea.

It is also a bad sign if the CRP is above 10, Lymphocyte is less than 20 per cent, Ferritin and D-Dimer are high or if you have uncontrollable Sugar, Hypertension, Renal failure or Obesity.

STEP 8: A good rule of thumb is not to panic and take a medical practitioner’s advice on whether you should get admitted to a hospital or not. If you get admitted again, do not try to get Remdesivir or increase your oxygen saturation. Not everyone needs these things. In fact, only 10 – 15 per cent are likely to need it, and if you are one of them, then your doctor will surely prescribe it. Therefore, do not force it unnecessarily.

STEP 9: After doing all the baseline investigations on day one, the tests should be repeated on Day 5. The raising CRP is a dangerous sign. Until you test negative again, you must continue to isolate yourself if you are at home. If at the hospital, follow the medical practitioner’s advice.

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