Households with recuperating patients urged to take measures

Experts have stressed the importance of taking basic measures in households with patients recuperating from coronavirus, as the omicron outbreak has led to a surge in the number of people self-isolating at home.

“Although it is believed that most omicron patients have mild symptoms, there have been cases of people who had severe sore throats that made it difficult to swallow or suffered from diarrhea,” said Norio Ohmagari, director of the Diseases Control and Prevention Center at the National Center for Global Health and Medicine. “In order to prevent dehydration while recuperating at home, it is important for patients to drink plenty of water and get enough nutrition.”

Hiroki Ohashi, vice president of the Japan Primary Care Association, stressed that room ventilation is an effective way to mitigate the spread of the virus in households with recuperating patients. “Even though it’s cold, ventilation is very important,” he said.

According to Ohashi, patients should isolate in a room with a window, and the window should be opened fully for a few minutes twice an hour to let in fresh air. He also advised everyone in the household to wear masks indoors.

The number of people taking care of the patient should be kept to a minimum, and people with chronic illnesses or pregnant women are advised to limit contact with the patient.

If the patient is a young child who is unable to wear a mask, those taking care of the child should wear a face shield in addition to a mask.

It is also advisable to regularly disinfect toilets, sinks, and doorknobs used by patients with alcohol or kitchen paper soaked in sodium hypochlorite bleach.

Ohashi stressed that carers should keep a close eye out for sudden changes in the patient’s health.

“If a patient is unable to eat or drink, or if they feel breathless, please consult a doctor or public health center,” he said.

Contact information for consultation centers in each prefecture can be found on the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry website.