Covid in UAE: When should infected patients go to the hospital and where?

Posted on 13-01-2022

Residents are advised to keep a tab on their health and quarantine at home following a positive result

While many people report experiencing only mild symptoms after getting infected with Covid-19, UAE doctors have advised residents to keep a tab on their health and quarantine at home if they test positive.

For mild symptoms, including fever and cough, healthcare specialists say home isolation is best. Painkillers (such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, acetaminophen), cough suppressant syrups and zinc and vitamin C supplements can help with the symptoms.

However, if symptoms worsen and hospitalisation is required, patients are advised to enter the hospital from the emergency ward.

Dr Anum Iqbal Hafeez, general practitioner at Thumbay Clinic, Dubai, said Covid-positive patients must contact their healthcare provider if they develop shortness of breath; experience pain or pressure in the chest or upper abdominal region; lose vision or feel a sudden change in their mental state; experience uncontrollable bleeding, vomiting or diarrhoea; cough blood; or feel unusually sleepy and lethargic.

Doctors at private hospitals will monitor the case and direct the patient to the nearest Covid care facility.

But even if symptoms are mild, Dr Hafeez said infected patients should make a note of all the places they visited before testing positive and inform the people they have interacted with.

"One should avoid visiting public places and leave their home only to get medical care," she said.

Dr Ahmed Al Mansoury, pulmonology consultant, NMC Royal Hospital, Sharjah, said that patients should have an oximeter handy to check saturation levels and monitor the intensity of the infection.

If patients' saturation levels fall below 94 per cent, they must contact their healthcare provider.

Those who have been fully vaccinated, are under 65 years and don't suffer from any chronic illnesses can monitor their condition at home. Dr Anum advised patients to adhere to the following guidelines:

• Stay away from friends, family members and others as much as possible.

• Stay in a specific ‘sick room’ if possible.

• Use a separate bathroom, if available.

• Monitor symptoms and measure temperature regularly.

• Maintain high levels of hygiene by washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains 60 to 95 per cent alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.

• Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

• Maintain a daily routine, including showering and getting dressed.

• Eat healthy meals and stay hydrated.

• Rest, keep up your fluids, and treat pain and fever symptoms with over-the-counter medications if needed.

• Get plenty of sleep.

• Avoid excessive use of alcohol and tobacco.

• If you have access to an oxygen monitor, use it three times a day or more if you have trouble breathing. Don’t rely on a smart watch or phones for oxygen monitoring.

For families:

• Make sure that shared spaces in the home have good airflow, such as by an air conditioner or an opened window, weather permitting.

• Avoid sharing household items with the patient. After the patient uses these items, should wash them thoroughly or a good practice is for meals to be provided to the patient by leaving them outside patient’s room. Disposable plates and utensils can also be used for maximum protection.

• Clean all “high-touch” surfaces, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables, every day.

• The patient should wear a face mask when around other people. The number of caregivers should be limited for patients who require assistance. Ideally, the person who is assigned should be in good health and should have no underlying chronic conditions.

• All household members should stay home and visitors should not be permitted.