My Dear Friends especially the non medical friends,
Certain facts about COVID which I thought you all ought to know
1) COVID RTPCR positive cases:
If you have tested positive, there is no need to repeat a test. Chances of false negatives are much higher than false positives. So don’t try to confirm. If you test negative on retest immediately after having tested positive assume you are still positive. Retesting is not required later on to check if you have become negative unless there is an official documentation required.
Isolate yourself from your family and home quarantine your family members. If you have other family members who are positive you can stay together with them. Even your toilet-bathroom cannot be shared with your non COVID family members. If you cannot isolate yourself or do not have the facilities go to a quarantine centre to protect your family.
Take treatment and guidance from your physician and not from friends, relatives or WhatsApp forwards. Don’t listen to people who have no knowledge about medicines. There are only a few medicines which truly help in COVID. Leave it to the judgement of your treating doctor. There are no medicines or foods that can boost your immunity whether it is Allopathy, Homeopathy, Naturopathy or Ayurveda. They are a big hoax. You are born with normal immunity. If you had any defective immunity you would not have survived to get COVID. No amount of Kaadha, arsenicum, Zinc, multivitamin, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Steam inhalation, Gargles help. At best they have a placebo effect and correct any deficiencies if there are any present in your body. They certainly do not help in getting rid of COVID.
These drugs or medicines are not commonly needed and mostly you will not die if you do not get them. There are only certain specific indications of using these drugs. Leave it to the judgement of the treating physician. But don’t panic if you cannot get them.
5) Monitoring at home:
If you are under home isolation you have to keep a regular check on your vital parameters, mainly your Oximeter readings, heart rate, temperature and breathlessness every 6-8 hours. Keep a check on your oximeter readings 6 hourly pre and post 6 minutes walking in your room. If there is a drop of 3 in the readings you may need hospitalization and oxygen. This is probably the most important thing to do. Ignore this at your own peril and risk.
6) Diet in COVID:
Plenty of liquids is a must. For an adult it is imperative to consume 2.5-3 litres of liquids in any form except alcohol. There are no dietary restrictions. Eat healthy food and whatever you like. Appetite is poor in COVID so you need to eat the food you like. Only it should not be grossly oily our spicy to cause gastritis. Don’t eat junk food or cold items like ice creams or bottled soda or alcohol. The so-called immunity boosters Kadhas and Chywanprash and Desi medicines have caused more problems than solved. They may cause gastritis, diarrhea, vomiting etc and you may land up in the hospital unwarranted.
7) Personal Hygiene:
Of Course you can take a daily bath even if you have fever. It will definitely not cause pneumonia. It may just make you feel better.
8) CT Scan:
There is no need for a CT scan immediately on diagnosis unless you have
delayed a diagnosis or have low Oximeter readings and have become oxygen dependent. A CT scan is not a substitute for a RT PCR. Do not do a CT scan to diagnose COVID. It may not show COVID changes in the first few days. Usually there is no need to repeat a CT scan unless medically indicated. Don’t repeat it just find out if you have been cured. Radiation exposure with one single CT scan is equivalent to more than 100 X-rays. Remember that.
Don’t rush for hospitalization the moment you are diagnosed. Usually hospitalization is not required for the first 5 days. Hospitalization is required only if your oximeter readings drop below 94 for oxygen therapy or there are any other complications. Keep on checking your oximeter readings as advised earlier. It is always wise too enlist your name in the waiting list of a hospital once you are diagnosed.
10) Breast Feeding:
Mothers who have tested positive can continue breastfeeding. They
have to avoid unnecessary handling or restrict themselves to minimal handling of the baby and wear a mask all the time when they are handling the baby and maintain strict hand hygiene and social distancing.
11) COVID positive parents and their children:
If you have a child or toddler who
cannot stay without you than it is better to keep the child with you but take
precautions as underscored in point 5. Please remember it is safer for the children to be with their parents than with their grandparents as they may be potential asymptomatic carriers and transmit the infection to their grandparents which may prove fatal.
12) COVID in children:
Children mostly have mild symptoms and can be managed with symptomatic treatment. In the second peak many children are getting affected though they have not obviously come in contact with a COVID positive adult. In a rare case they may have a rare complication of COVID called PIMS or MIS-C which is classically seen only in children. So keep a watch on the COVID positive children for at least a month for an appearance of rash, swelling of lips, red eyes, etc. Again don’t assume that nothing can happen. Keep in touch with your pediatrician.
Till date the best method of protection is Sanitization Masking and Social
distancing. There is no substitute. An appropriate mask should be worn. N95 are best followed by 3 ply surgical masks depending on your area of travel or working. For non medical persons they may not be required. You can use special cloth masks with special certified interwoven fabric to prevent COVID transmission. But they have to be certified. Wearing fancy cloth masks or simple cloth masks or tying handkerchieves are of no use. Only COVIdiots use them. Of Course they may be better than nothing but they are the least helpful. Please note COVID is for real and prevention of COVID is not a fashion parade. Don’t fool yourself. Remember your masks should cover both your nose and mouth. Don’t give silly and lame excuses
that you feel suffocated or cannot breathe. Don’t you dare lower your mask when you are talking. Don’t risk other people’s lives because of your stupidities.
You must take the vaccines. In Allopathic medicine every medicine we prescribe has an effect and a side effect. No medicines are prescribed if the side effects are worse than the effect or the disease. As of today the only protection against COVID is Vaccines and SMS. Don’t be choosy. Take whichever vaccine you get. Beggars cannot be choosers. Remember all vaccines irrespective of the brand or country of origin protects you almost 100% from death or severe disease. There may be a small chance of you getting infected despite vaccination but it is slim. As of today you have to take both the doses even if you had COVID in the past or became positive after the first dose. The current recommendation is to take the second dose
whenever it is due after your quarantine period is over or a month after the infection whichever is later.
15) Health care professionals:
Your health care friends are busy saving lives. Every life
is important. They are trying their best. Don’t get upset if they are unable to help you. If they are unable to get a bed for you in a hospital it is beyond their control. If they don’t answer your calls they may be busy elsewhere. Don’t curse them. They are not God. They need your blessings, prayers and gratitude. Remember they are neglecting their family too. They are not minting money as some people are falsely propagating. They are fighting a war against an unknown enemy with depleted infrastructure and facilities. If they die their family will not get any pensions or gratuity from the government. Nor are they going to get any awards or rewards it Padma Shri
and no politician is going to visit their family too offer condolences. They are doing it of their own volition. There is no guarantee that they or their patients will survive but they are trying their best. So please have some empathy and sympathy.
16) Lastly some borrowed lines from some unknown authors:
It’s Normal to talk to your plants, wall, fan in quarantine… Come to the Hospital only if they talk back.
17) And finally what my father always used to advise me :
If you want to get kicked, get kicked by a horse not by a donkey. Don’t believe anything which is forwarded on WhatsApp and by quacks. Listen to health care professionals. Most importantly DON’T PANIC. Most of the time you will get away if you are not stupid or act stupidly.
Best of luck to all of us.
Dr. KP Sanghvi,
Senior Consultant Neonatologist and Pediatrician