By DR M.J MANAKA · Jul 1, 2020

Stay Safe 

and Stay Positive 

A guide to managing mild COVID-19 

disease at home 

The most commonly reported COVID-19 symptoms are: 

• new continuous cough 
• fever 
• fatigue 
• muscle aches 
• headaches 
• shortness of breath 
• loss of appetite/taste/smell 
• diarrhoea 

If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, or if you have 
symptoms but cannot get tested, this is what you should do: 

• Do not go to work 
• Do not use public transport 
• Do not go to public places 
• Do not go shopping 
• Do not visit anyone 
• Do not attend religious gatherings 
• Do not have visitors in your home 
• Do not leave home unless you 
need medical care 

• Do stay at home for 14 days 
• Do stay calm 
• Do ensure you have family 
members on hand who can help 
you to get shopping and things you 
may need 
• Do keep connected to people you 
care about by phone and video 

If you test COVID-19 positive, you should isolate 
• Separate yourself from other people in your home, in a well-ventilated 
bedroom. Your family should not stay or sleep in the same room as you. 
• Use a separate bathroom. If you have to share a bathroom, clean after 
every use. 
• Avoid sharing items and the same spaces with other people and clean 
surfaces often. 
• Stay at least 1.5 metres (3 steps) away from other people in the home. 
• Wear facemasks to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. 
• Cough or sneeze into the fold of your elbow. Alternatively, cover your 
mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and dispose of 
tissue in a dedicated bin. 
• Clean your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or with 
alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60-95% alcohol. 

If you do not isolate yourself correctly, you may infect others. 

What is the difference between isolation and 

• You have tested positive for the virus or 
you have symptoms and likely have 
• You need to avoid contact with other 
people for 
• 14 days after your test if you have no 
• 14 days after your symptoms started if you 
have mild disease 
• 14 days from the last day you needed 
oxygen if you have been treated in hospital 
with severe disease 

• You do not need to re-test to confirm you 
are negative to de-isolate 

• You have been in close contact with 
someone with the virus and you don’t 
have symptoms and haven’t tested 
• You need to avoid contact with other 
people for 14 days after your exposure to 
the person with COVID-19 
• If you do not develop symptoms you can 
de-isolate after 14 days 
• If you develop symptoms you are 
considered to also have COVID-19 and 
then you need to isolate for 14 days from 
the start of your symptoms 

What is a close contact? 

• Face-to-face encounter with a probable or confirmed case 
• Within less than one (1) meter 
• For more than 15 minutes 
• Both were not wearing masks 

You are at greatest risk for severe disease if you: 

• Are older than 60 years 
• Are overweight 
• Are unfit 
• Have multiple medical conditions 
• Have medical conditions that are 
not well controlled 

• The following medical conditions 
put you at greater risk: 
• Hypertension 
• Diabetes 
• Chronic kidney, heart and lung 
• Cancer 
• HIV 
• TB 

Those at risk need more careful monitoring 

• Make sure your underlying medical conditions are 
well controlled. Take your hypertension, diabetes 
and other medicines correctly and on time. 
• Monitor your blood pressure and sugar. If you are 
diabetic it is a very good idea to get a home device 
to measure your sugar. 

• Consider getting a pulse oximeter. This is an easy-to- 
use device which measures the oxygen saturation 

(level) in your blood and helps to identify early on 
when you are in need of medical attention. 
• The oxygen saturation should always be greater than 

Strengthen your immune system 

• Eat healthy meals, drink water, sleep well, get plenty of rest but also 
remember to stay active. 
• Stop smoking! 
• Take the following vitamins: 
• zinc 200mg daily 
• vitamin D 50 000iu once off 
• vitamin C 1000mg daily 
• vitamin B complex 1 tablet daily 
• Do not take steroids or hydroxychloroquine or any medicines you have 
heard of in the media. Many of these treatments have not been proven to 
work or are reserved for seriously ill patients who are being treated in 

Use the usual cold and flu remedies to relieve 
your symptoms 

• Take Panado for fever and pain 
• Drink warm honey and lemon water or use lozenges to relieve sore throats 
• Do warm water and salt gargles twice daily 
• Steam or use a humidifier with eucalyptus or Vicks as dry air is not good for 
your lungs 
• Traditional remedies like black seed, turmeric, ginger and other natural 
substances known for their anti-inflammatory properties are not harmful 
and may help 

If you feel a little short of breath 

• Sleep on your stomach for as much as possible with 
your head turned to the side (prone position) 
• It helps to prop a pillow lengthwise underneath your head and chest for this 
• You can also cycle between laying on your belly, on your side and sitting up 

1. 30 minutes – 2 hours: laying on your 

2. 30 minutes – 2 hours: laying on your 
right side 

3. 30 minutes – 2 hours: sitting up 4. 30 minutes – 2 hours: laying on your 
left side 

Then back to Position 1 

Breathing exercises to clear your lungs 
and improve flow of oxygen 

Take a deep breath in through the nose. 
At the end of it, hold your breath for five seconds. 
Then breathe out through the mouth. 
Do this five times — five breaths total. 
Next, take a sixth deep breath in, then at the end of it 
cough strongly — covering your mouth when you do so. 
The six breaths plus cough at the end represent once 
cycle. Repeat this cycle twice. 

You can also blow up a balloon as 
breathing against resistance helps to expand 
the chest. 

Breathe in through your nose and breathe out at least 
twice as long through your mouth, with pursed lips. 

Lie on your back. Bend your knees. 
Breathe deeply through your nose, allowing your 
chest and belly to expand. 
Breathe out through your mouth at least twice as 
long as your inhale. 
Perform for 1 minute. 
Then, rest for 30 seconds. 

The idea is to get the lower part of your lungs to expand so that any 
mucus that’s collecting there can be dislodged and coughed out 

When should you seek medical help? 
• If your symptoms are worsening or have not improved after 7 days 
• If you become confused or have difficulty concentrating 
• If you develop a new fever or your fever returns 
• If you develop chest pain 
• If you are diabetic and your sugar level is very high or very low 
• If your breathing becomes difficult, and the number of breaths you take in 
one minute (respiratory rate) is more than 25 
• If your oxygen level on the pulse oximeter is lower than 92% 

Do not go to your GP’s rooms 
Call the doctor or arrange a virtual medical consultation 
Or call an ambulance and go to the hospital

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