With lockdown measures slackening and most of us returning to normal life, South Africa’s Covid-19 diagnoses are soaring.
With the cumulative number of confirmed Covid-19 cases exceeding 100 000, many of us can say that we know someone – or heard of someone – who’s been affected by the novel coronavirus.
Many of us would also readily admit that our worst nightmare would be finding out that one of our close relatives has tested positive for the virus.
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Cape Town resident Leila Amien admits that when it came to her elderly parents she knew, “every part of their being was frightened” when they discovered she’d tested positive.
Leila lives with her parents but testing positive meant she had to move out of the main house and isolate in the cottage.
She says after the initial shock of her diagnosis had faded, “they [her parents] tried to show me what bravery looked like in the face of a very uncertain condition”.
Leila took to Facebook to share an adorable clip of her parents keeping her entertained while she recovered from the virus.
“Every day my parents insist that I open my curtains for communication while my dad entertains me with dance moves. I can see my OCD mom scanning my room to see if it’s clean,” Leila wrote.
“Every hour they knock on my door to see if I’m alive and every time I answer they ask me why I'm not sleeping.”
Leila added that her family had established a new mealtime system to make sure she stayed nourished as she battled the virus.
“We have this trolley at home called the ‘Covid trolley’ and four times a day, they knock on my door, push this trolley packed with food in my room.”
She joked that when they’d do the daily drop off, she’d time their footsteps and open the door just as they left the food to watch them “run for their lives”.
The young woman also says her parents gave advice of taking vitamins and natural herbs to help her heal faster, none of which worked.
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In the hilarious clip, Leila’s mom tries to convince her to tape an onion on her chest to kill the virus.
“My parents haven’t once shown sadness or fear from the moment I was sick right up until the moment I no longer had symptoms,” Leila says in her Facebook post.
“I’ve never seen so much strength and bravery in two people before, especially two old ballies.”
What to do if a close family member test positive?
While social distancing initiatives can help prevent further spread Jaimie Meyer, Yale Medicine’s infectious disease specialist provides guidelines on how to care for and cohabitate with someone who’s sick with virus.
One of the first steps to take is locking down the home by not allowing visitors in unless they have an essential need to be there.
The US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that while you can assist family members with their basic needs, you should be making very little, if any, physical contact with them.
“If possible, designate a bedroom and bathroom for their use only,” Dr Meyer instructs, adding that good air flow is also key. “Close the door but open a window to improve the ventilation of the space.”
Dr Meyer adds that if you do have to make contact, make sure the individual has their mouth and nose covered.
“If you can’t get your hands on a surgical mask, a scarf or shirt can work just fine as makeshift masks.”
You should also avoid using the same household items as the infected person.
“You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or other items,” instructs the CDC. “After the patient uses these items, you should wash them thoroughly.”
When cleaning the patient’s room or bathroom, extra care should be taken to sanitize potentially contaminated surfaces. The CDC advises that all of this should be done while wearing gloves, which should be disposed of after use, so you can wash your hands immediately.
Dr Meyer explains that people can come out of isolation when: “At least seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared, it’s been at least three days without a fever (without use of medications), and respiratory symptoms are improving.”