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LETTER TO EDITOR
J Edu Health Promot 2020,  9:132

Infection control measures for homes of coronavirus disease 2019 heroes


1 Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India
2 Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, New Delhi, India
3 ICMR Advanced Centre for Evidence-Based Child Health, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India
4 ICMR Advanced Centre for Evidence-Based Child Health, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research; Department of Pediatrics, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research; Evidence Based Health Informatics Unit, Regional Resource Centre, Department of Telemedicine, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India

Date of Submission29-Mar-2020
Date of Acceptance01-Apr-2020
Date of Web Publication28-May-2020

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Meenu Singh
Department of Pediatrics, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Sector 12, Chandigarh - 160 012
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jehp.jehp_282_20

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How to cite this article:
Sharma M, Chauhan A, Singh M, Singh M. Infection control measures for homes of coronavirus disease 2019 heroes. J Edu Health Promot 2020;9:132

How to cite this URL:
Sharma M, Chauhan A, Singh M, Singh M. Infection control measures for homes of coronavirus disease 2019 heroes. J Edu Health Promot [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Jul 16];9:132. Available from: http://www.jehp.net/text.asp?2020/9/1/132/285150

Sir,

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is very contagious and data showed that on average, each infected person transmits the infection to further 2.2 individuals.[1] On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared COVID-19 as a pandemic.[2]

There is no evidence-based prophylaxis and cure for this novel disease. As prevention is key to avert the spread of pandemic, globally, measures (social distancing, lockdown, enhanced surveillance, and contact tracing)[3] to reduce person-to-person transmission have been employed to control the COVID-19 outbreak.

The onus lies on the COVID heroes – the frontline health-care personnel, sanitary staff, defense personnel, airline staff, media persons, essential commodity suppliers, and others involved in the mandatory operational modalities. Infection control measures for family members when taking care of heroes are a farfetched thought as they are categorized to be the general population, but is it so? Should these people not be considered as one of those who may be given due attention – both medical and moral? But, the necessary preventive and precautionary measures for the family members of heroes from themselves are missing in most of the guidelines even in the available published literature on COVID-19.

Preventive measures should emphasize minimal or no crossover between belongings of COVID heroes used at workplace and those at respective homes. Decontamination of phone and laptops may be highlighted. Ensure an appropriate setting and adequate provisions for COVID heroes in their own homes; a separate, well-ventilated, single room with en suit e facilities (i.e., hand hygiene and toilet facilities) should be provided to them. If staying in a separate room is not feasible, 1 m distance from the COVID heroes may be maintained, e.g., family members should sleep on a separate bed.

Awareness on standard precautions among family members of COVID heroes, particularly hand hygiene either cleaning hands with a household soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (between 60% and 95% ethanol or isopropanol),[4] need to be empahsised. The importance of covering nose and mouth with a bent elbow or paper tissue when coughing or sneezing and immediate disposal of paper tissue in a dustbin with a lid and then performing hand hygiene may be emphasized to the families. Materials utilized for covering the mouth/nose may be discarded. If to be reused, wash using regular soap or detergent and water, preferably at 60°C. Family members may wear a mask that covers their mouth and nose if sharing room with COVID19 heroes. There should be no reuse of disposable gloves or masks. Family members may be given instructions about when and where to seek care if they suspect symptoms, transportation to use, and precautions to be followed.

Environmental controls may include dedicated eating utensils, linen and toiletries for the COVID19 heroes. These items may be cleaned with soap and warm water after every use and may be reused. Clean and disinfect areas on routine basis that are commonly handled in the room, such as bedframes, side tables, and other furniture items. Regular soap or detergent should be used for cleaning. After rinsing, disinfectant containing 0.1% sodium hypochlorite, equivalent to 1000 ppm, may be applied. Ethanol (70%) can be used for surfaces that cannot be cleaned with bleach. Disinfect washroom and toilet seats at least once daily with disinfectant containing 0.1% sodium hypochlorite. Clean the COVID hero's clothes (e.g., aprons of health personnel) linen and towels using regular household soap/detergent and warm water or machine wash at 60°C–90°C. The waste generated should be disposed as per the prevailing local method of disposing general solid waste.[5]

COVID19 heroes are the first contacts of the patients infected with this highly contagious disease. Therefore, it becomes important to avoid inadvertent disease transmission to their family members when living under the same roof. In a nutshell, COVID heroes need to take care of themselves and their family members in a holistic manner. On the family's part, they may be informed of the added risks and associated preventive measures, additional to the moral and emotional support that they might need to provide to COVID heroes.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Cascella M, Rajnik M, Cuomo A, Dulebohn SC, Di Napoli R. Features, evaluation and treatment coronavirus (COVID-19). StatPearls; 2020. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32150360. [Last accessed on 2020 Mar 28].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
WHO. WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the mission briefing on COVID-19-11 March 2020. WHO; 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-opening-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-covid-19---11-march-2020. [Last accessed on 2020 Mar 27].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Pung R, Chiew CJ, Young BE, Chin S, Chen MI, Clapham HE, et al. Articles investigation of three clusters of COVID-19 in Singapore: Implications for surveillance and response measures. Lancet 2020;395:1039-46.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Reynolds SA, Levy F, Walker ES. Hand sanitizer alert. Emerg Infect Dis 2006;12:527-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Health E, In SM, Industries P. Central Pollution Control Board, 2014; 2020. p. 4.  Back to cited text no. 5
    




 

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