Union health ministry issues post-Covid protocol for recovered patients
14 September 2020
The union ministry of health and family welfare has called for a holistic approach for follow-up care and well-being of all post- Covid patients as the recovery period is likely to be longer for patients who suffered from more severe form of the disease and those with pre-existing illness.
It has been observed that after acute Covid-19 illness, recovered patients may continue to report wide variety of signs and symptoms, including fatigue, body ache, cough, sore throat, difficulty in breathing, etc.
Recovered patients should make it a habit to continue Covid-appropriate behaviour (use of mask, hand and respiratory hygiene, physical distancing).
They should drink adequate amount of warm water (if not contra-indicated).
Take immunity promoting AYUSH medicine - to be practiced and prescribed by a qualified practitioner of AYUSH.
If health permits, regular household work to be done. Professional work to be resumed in graded manner.
Practice Yoga, exercise
Daily practice of Yogasana, Pranayama and Meditation, as much as health permits or as prescribed.
Breathing exercises as prescribed by treating physician.
Daily morning or evening walk at a comfortable pace as tolerated.
The health ministry has recommended a balanced nutritious diet, preferably easy to digest freshly cooked soft diet, adequate sleep and rest and avoiding smoking and consumption of alcohol as a minimum requirement.
Medications should be as advised by the doctor for Covid and also for managing comorbidities, if any, and should inform the doctor about all medicines that the individual is taking (allopathic/AYUSH) so as to avoid prescription interaction.
Patients post-recovery should continue self monitoring health at home, including temperature, blood pressure, blood sugar (especially, if diabetic), pulse oximetry etc (if medically advised).
If there is persistent dry cough / sore throat, do saline gargles and take steam inhalation. The addition of herbs/spices for gargling/steam inhalation. Cough medications, should be taken on advice of medical doctor or qualified practitioner of Ayush.
They should also look for early warning signs like high grade fever, breathlessness, Sp02 < 95 per cent, unexplained chest pain, new onset of confusion, focal weakness, the ministry said.
On the community level, recovered individuals may share their positive experiences with their friends and relatives using social media, community leaders, opinion leaders, religious leaders for creating awareness, dispelling myth s and stigma.
Community based self-help groups, civil society organisations, and qualified professionals should extend support for recovery and rehabilitation process (medical, social, occupational, livelihood).
Experts like psycho-social professions, peers, community health workers, counsellors also, If required, offer mental health support service, conduct group sessions of Yoga, meditation etc. while taking all due precautions like physical distancing
The first follow-up visit (physical/telephonic) should be within 7 days after discharge, preferably at the hospital where he/she underwent treatment.
Subsequent treatment/follow up visits may be with the nearest qualified allopathic/AYUSH practitioner/medical facility of other systems of medicine. Poly-therapy is to be avoided due to potential for unknown drug-drug interaction, which may lead to serious adverse events (SAE) or adverse effects (AE).
The patients, who had undergone home isolation, if they complain of persisting symptoms, will visit the nearest health facility.
Severe cases requiring critical care support will require more stringent follow up.
The Protocol is not meant to be used as a preventive / curative therapy.
This is part of the centre’s Covid-19 response and management in the country, which is being carried out in close coordination and collaboration with the state/UT governments. Several strategic and calibrated measures have been taken for the prevention, containment and management of Covid-19.