Guwahati, Monday, January 18, 2010
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H1N1 patients prefer home to hospital
Staff Reporter
 GUWAHATI, Jan 17 – A section of people infected by the Influenza A (H1N1) virus prefer to stay in home isolation, which according to doctors requires well monitored and careful treatment of the patient and others in the house if the disease has to be contained.

At present three patients are in home isolation in Guwahati alone, and undergoing treatment.

“There is nothing wrong if a patient or guardian wishes for home isolation, but a strict regime has to be observed,” said a doctor with first hand experience with several H1N1 cases. It is not just isolation, but more of a quarantine during which contact with the patient is kept low and safe.

According to doctors, home isolation can be recommended in 80 to 85 per cent of the patients suffering from the virus, provided they maintained the safe practices. However, in 15 to 20 per cent of cases, they have to be kept in strictly controlled isolation wards of hospitals.

According to Dr HK Das of the Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital, home isolation does not increase the risk of transmission. “Chances of it spreading during proper home isolation are not high. By limiting exposure of the patient it can actually deter the spread to other human beings…but all safe practices must be adopted,” he noted.

According to information provided by authorised government channels, “Persons in home isolation and their household members should be given infection control instructions like frequent hand washing with soap and water, use of alcohol-based hand gels containing at least 60 per cent alcohol”.

When the patient is close to six feet of others, she or he should wear a face mask, or handkerchief or tissues. Moreover, ideally a single household family member should act as the caregiver for the patient.