We all will do whatever it takes to comfort our sick loved one.
I do honor the selfless behaviour all of us have but a few simple techniques can protect you, your other family members and people coming in contact with you.
How to take care of COVID patients at home? I have been approached by people for suggestions who knew I have worked extensively on aerosol dynamics, CFD and air purification technologies. After working on air in the best labs of India, I do feel I am qualified enough to give my suggestions in the hope it will help people who need to take care of loved ones with COVID-19.
Please read below to understand the ‘Why’ before we move on to the ‘How’. Please note I will cover how you can have a safer home where chances of disease spread can be minimized in addition to what is already known. Let’s start…
Let’s say a person named Ravi is COVID-19 positive and has high fever. Ravi’s parents will treat him with wet cloth to bring down the fever, no matter how many times he says not to come close to .
With time the number of virus particles in the air in his room is going to increase because with every breath Ravi emits fine water droplets which carry the viruses. Even if Ravi’s parents are wearing PPE and masks while treating him, the chances of transmission will still remain very high. Also, depending on how air flows inside his home, viral particles might go to other rooms and might infect others.
In order to protect others, Ravi changes the room arrangement as shown below and only allows his parents to sit on the blue chair (with masks) and no one can sit on the red chair.
What he did is quite simple but definitely very effective. He placed a table-fan which is facing towards the open or partially open window. While sitting on blue chair the chances of virus-laden water droplets interacting with his parents will be quite less because the viral particles will follow the blue arrow path and will exit the room. Also, chances of viral particles being drifted away to the other rooms is also minimized now. It should be noted that he is not allowing his parents to sit on the red chair because the possibility of viral particle interaction for someone sitting on the red chair will much higher.
In a nut shell, we can throw the viral particles out of the room using a simple fan and a window. We should try to imagine the flow of air and try to remain upstream i.e. You -> person with COVID-19 -> Fan -> Window. Always avoid being downstream i.e. person with COVID-19 -> You-> Fan -> Window . This is how you can make the best possible configuration to protect yourself, other family member and at the same time take care of your loved one with COVID-19.
I have been going out of my home and using these simple techniques to protect my family, for example I would sit beside the open door. Now someone might say what if air comes from outside to inside, then you are exposing your family to viral particles. However that’s not the case, let’s try to understand why.
If I inhale one SARS-CoV-2 virus, I won’t be COVID positive but it needs ~2000–4000 active viruses to be inhaled in short span of time for me to be COVID positive. Now, as the air moves inside the viral particles from my breath (assuming I am COVID positive) will be diluted by simple process of diffusion. The same process when you see someone smoking a cigarette, it dilutes after a few centimeters such that you cannot see the smoke particles but you can smell it.
Therefore, by the time contaminated air with viral particles reaches any of my family members due to diffusion the concentration is much lesser and the chances of inhaling enough viral particles at once will be much lesser.
In the same way, while in a car with your COVID-19 positive loved one, don’t use AC on re-circulation mode. Open the windows instead!!! it will be uncomfortable for many of us but can ensure that other people in car won’t get infected.
If you think it makes sense please do share with others. If you have any questions please do comment. We are at a war against unseen viruses, let’s win it!