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  • Writer's pictureDr. Mrinmayee Koltharkar

What is Social Shielding?

Updated: Nov 3, 2020

Shielding is a practice used to protect extremely vulnerable people (because of their existing health conditions) from social contact for 12 weeks by staying at home.

Who should be shielded?

* Patients with impaired or compromised lung conditions (e.g., COPD, Asthma, ILD, Bronchiectasis, lung cancer, Cystic Fibrosis, Pulmonary Hypertension, Sarcoidosis etc.)

* Transplant patients

* Cancer patients

* Patients on Immunosuppressive medicine (Prednisolone, Methotrexate, Azathioprine, Cyclosporine, Sirolimus, tacrolimus, received intravenous Cyclophosphamide, Rituximab or Infliximab in last 6 months)

* Patients who are elderly or have other comorbid conditions like diabetes, hypertensions are at higher risk for more severe disease.

How to practice Social Shielding?

*Avoid: Avoid leaving your house

Avoid attending any gatherings

Avoid shopping or travelling and, when arranging food or medication deliveries, these should be left at the door to minimize contact

Avoid visiting clinics & hospitals (prefer Tele-consultation or tele-rehabilitation or Call the doctor home)

Avoid Visitors

*Educate: Clinicians should educate the practice,

Hand washing with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol

Avoid touching eyes/nose/mouth,

Coughing etiquette’s (cough or sneeze on tissue paper or corner of elbow)

Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Knowing the difference between Coronavirus and Exacerbation (flare-up) of your condition. Typically exacerbations of COPD and asthma are not associated with a high fever whereas signs of COVID-19 include a high temperature and a new continuous cough.

* Practice Healthy lifestyle to avoid corona virus

1. Exercise: Following a regular schedule of Deep Breathing, Yoga, Aerobic & strengthening exercises at home. Try pulmonary exercise videos that are available online

2. Diet: Follow immunity boosting diet which can consist of Vitamin C enriched food, Ginger tea, Turmeric milk, good protein and antioxidants food as permitted. Zinc, Vitamin D3 & Calcium supplements would further benefit

3. Fluid: Fluid intake should be around 2-3 liters minimum unless restricted. Prefer having hot beverages over cold. Consuming hot/ warm water would further benefit.

4. Sleep: A good quality sleep of 8-10 hrs would further boost immunity

5. Gargle & Steam inhalation: Hot water preferably salt water gargling would keep throat infections away & steam inhalation will keep the nasal passages clear. There is no evidence that gargling and steam inhalation would kill coronavirus but it will keep other respiratory infections away.

6. Smoking & Alcohol: People who smoke are five times more likely to get flu and twice as likely to get pneumonia. Quitting smoking is one of the best ways to protect yourself from viral infections, including coronavirus.

7. Stress: Staying at home can be frustrating and boring & may further increase your stress levels. Try these simple things to stay active,

- Spend time doing things you enjoy. This could be reading, cooking or listening to the radio or watching TV (positive & funny shows or movies)

- Practice Meditation

- Pick up a new hobby

- Keep your windows open to let in fresh air, get some natural sunlight if you can

8. Air purifiers: Most commercially available air purifiers are high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. They can remove many particles from the air, but coronavirus is too small to be affected. It won’t hurt to have air purifier but won’t help kill the coronavirus either.

9. Air Condition: Home AC units do not pose any additional risk of Covid-19 infection when people are isolated & where no one is infected. However, coronavirus can spread within spaces that are centrally air conditioned (shopping malls & some modern apartments) especially if an infected person is inside such spaces.

Please don’t believe in Rumors & fake news. Rely on reliable source only. Stay Safe, Stay at home!

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