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Home care – What you need to do!

© UNICEF/Create!

1. Give sick people a separate place at home.
Keeping a sick person away from others will reduce the transmission of the flu virus to other healthy members in the household.

It can also protect the sick person from getting infected with other disease causing agents.

What you need to do:

§ Keep the sick person in a room separate from the common areas of the house. Keep the sickroom door closed.

§ Keep this room well-aired by making use of natural breezes from doors and windows.

§ If possible, set aside a separate bathroom for the sick person. This bathroom should be cleaned daily with household disinfectant.

§ Unless necessary for medical care, persons with the flu should not leave the home when they have a fever or during the time that they are most likely to spread their infection to others up to 7 days after they get sick.

§ If persons with the flu need to leave the home for medical care, they should cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing and wear a loose-fitting (surgical) mask if available.

§ Have the sick person wear a surgical mask if they need to be in a common area of the house near other persons. They should be at least 1 metre away from healthy people.

2. Assign a single caregiver to a sick person.
Assigning only one person from the household will minimise the number of people in contact with infected respiratory droplets. If possible, this person should be someone who has recovered from a similar recent illness. Pregnant women should not be assigned to look after a sick person.

What you need to do:

§ The caregiver must always cover their mouth and nose when coming into contact with the sick person.

§ When holding small children who are sick, place their chin on your shoulder so that they will not cough in your face.

§ The caregiver must wash their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub every time after contact with the sick person.

§ Everyone else in the household should also clean their hands often, using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.

§ There should be good ventilation in shared household areas (e.g., keeping windows open in restrooms, kitchen, bathroom).

§ Check with your healthcare provider to see if some persons in the home, such as the caregiver, should use antiviral medications.

§ Monitor yourself and household members for flu symptoms and contact your health care provider if symptoms occur.

§ Assign the mother as the caregiver if her breastfed infant is sick.

3. Give plenty of fluids to the sick person.
Fever, fast breathing and heavy discharges from the nose and mouth increase water loss from the body. Loss of appetite, diarrhea and vomiting also increases water loss. Excessive water loss can result in serious complications.

What you need to do:

§ Ensure the sick person drinks as much as she or he can.

§ Use “sweet waters”, fruit juice, soup and/or oral rehydration salts.

§ Continue to breastfeed sick infants unless the clinical condition of the mother does not permit this.

4. Recognise danger signs and seek prompt care.
Severe cases of influenza including pneumonia need to receive prompt care to maxmise the chance of recovery. Danger signs include: 38° Celsius for two days; difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, severe chest pain; bluish or purplish lips; coughing up blood or blood like sputum; dizziness and difficulty to stand up; seizures; and persistent diarhoea and vomitting.

What you need to do:

§ Observe the sick person closely and ensure he or she receives immediate medical attention if they show any of the danger signs.

 

 

 

 

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