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Coronavirus lockdown: How to handle self-isolation

By Stella Naigino

Added 1st April 2020 11:09 AM

Self-isolation has been one of the measures taken by the health ministry to stop the virus from spreading.

Coronavirus lockdown: How to handle self-isolation

One with the coronavirus should be self-isolated for at least 14 days

Self-isolation has been one of the measures taken by the health ministry to stop the virus from spreading.

COVID-19    ISOLATION    

Worldwide, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has caused mayhem leading to deaths, quarantines, depression, and self-isolation, among others.

The pandemic spread around the world so fast, nobody ever expected it would cause such damage.

Self-isolation has been one of the measures taken by the health ministry to stop the virus from spreading.

Among the interventions being promoted by the health ministry to control the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is self-isolation.

This should be undertaken by people with symptoms and those who have been to high prevalence countries.

Symptoms include cough, flu, difficulty in breathing, sore throat, and fever.

Besides having those symptoms, tests have to be carried out before a case of COVID-19 is confirmed. But before one undergoes the tests, the health ministry encourages people with such signs to self-isolate.

"This requires one to stop living with his family, friends or relatives in the same place and also limit the number of visits he gets from other people," Dr. Henry Mwebesa, the Director-General of Health Services at the health ministry, says.

Meanwhile, others opt to stay in their family homes but isolate themselves in a room where family members cannot reach them.

Mwebesa notes that whichever way one chooses to self-isolate, they need to have a support team that helps them cope with the situation.

Speaking on national television on Wednesday last week, Mwebesa said over 400 Ugandans had been on self-isolation in different parts of the country, but after being tested and confirmed COVID-19 negative, they have joined their families.

Self-isolation

Dr. Allan Muruta, the commissioner for public health, says self-isolation is when someone with signs and symptoms of the virus is kept indoors and barred from interacting with other people.

"This person should never mix with other people or even engage in a social gathering as this puts those he or she interacts with at the risk of catching the COVID-19 virus," Muruta warns. 

He adds that this should be done to protect those you live with from contracting the coronavirus.

Experts say since self-isolation is done to protect those you live with and other people from contracting COVID-19, there are certain measures that should be followed below.

Follow rules

"Ensure that you are self-isolated for at least 14 days and if symptoms persist, have tests of coronavirus conducted on you.

This should go hand-in-hand with treating the cough, sore throat and flu or any other signs that the victim could be suffering," Muruta says.

 atients infected with the coronavirus must wear face masks to avoid spreading it Patients infected with the coronavirus must wear face masks to avoid spreading it

 
Get contacts

Muruta notes that it is also important that while on self-isolation, one keeps himself equipped with all that he might need.

One of those things is the contacts that you might call in case your health status deteriorates while still on self-isolation.

This could be the number of the health ministry, family members or your doctor.

He notes that one of the numbers Ugandans can call is 0800303033/0800203033.

Minimise visitors

"Minimise the number of visitors that you get and let only people attending to you visit you for a reason.

Let them visit when they have brought you food, or to check how you are progressing with your health," Murata says.

Don't share utensils

Murata notes that people who are self-isolated should never share utensils.

Also, stay away from cooking or getting involved in doing house chores for at least 14 days.

Mwebesa says it is also important that a person who has been self-isolated stays indoors but in a well-ventilated room to allow proper air circulation.

Wear protective gear

"First, the distance that you stand at while talking to others should be not less than two metres and always wear a mask on your mouth.

Even those you are communicating with face-to-face should wear protective masks," Mwebesa says.

Mental health

Being in self-isolation or quarantine is likely to take a toll on the mental wellbeing of an individual, Mwebesa notes.

He adds that such people are likely to get frustrated, especially because they are not in direct contact with their families.

Therefore, he advises those in self-isolation to focus on their mental well-being by seeking support and also doing things that make them happy.

Connect with family

Mwebesa notes that much as you have isolated yourself to protect those you love from getting infected, it does not mean that you cannot connect with them.

This can be achieved through talking to them on phone, email or social media.

Research

Mwebesa notes that it is always important that even as you are self-isolated, you should research about your health situation so that you get the correct information to avoid fear and also discover ways of dealing with your situation.

Hobbies

Joseph Musaalo, a counsellor at Uganda Christian University, Mukono, encourages people who have been self-isolated to occupy themselves with things that they like instead of worrying.

These may include listening to music, reading or watching movies.

Exercise

Musaalo says even when you have isolated yourself, you can still devise means of working out to pass time and also to keep fit.

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