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How does the Covid 19 pandemic affect our routine life…
..and What should we do about it.
Open any news channel or newspaper- the first thing which you notice is the latest update on Covid19 and its aftermath or progress all over the world.
When I wrote my first article on 7th February 2020, the cases were restricted mainly to China and a few surrounding countries. It was then thought to be an epidemic in China and the rest of the world sighed with relief.
Even as I am writing this article, I find that what was a mere epidemic has become a pandemic. People are moving about wearing face masks. A mask costing Rs. 2/- is quoting anywhere between Rs.20/- to 40/- in Mumbai.
Such is the fear of Covid 19 created by TRP hungry media that patients nowadays are talking about nothing else but the Coronavirus.
What about the public places?
Public places like malls and parks in Mumbai are temporarily closed to avoid contamination and the spread of Covid 19. I guess the same is true for cities in other countries as well. However, hospitals and clinics are open to all concerned.
Some hospitals in other countries are reporting the fate of ER physicians and nursing staff as they are getting overworked and the resources inadequate. ( Read Here)
The situation in India-
In the last 2 months, starting January 2020, in Navi Mumbai (an extension of the old Mumbai) we have been treating cases of upper respiratory tract infection (URTI)with fever.
Cases with fever have risen more than ten folds as compared to previous months. But the recovery has been very good with proper advice and treatment.
Patients have been reporting with a runny nose, sore throat, and fever- signs and symptoms of the common flu or Influenza. But now, with India reporting an increase in the number of Covid19 positive cases, panic has started to set in.
According to the latest news, about 125 confirmed cases with three reported deaths and four cases seem to have recovered- click here for the latest information.
In India, in most places, spring has set in with the arrival of the Holi festival. It is a matter of a few months when the summer season makes its appearance felt. As of today (17/3/2020), the temperature in Mumbai is already 34° C.
The Covid 19 virus is known to be sensitive to high temperatures. So hopefully, the death march of the deadly disease will be halted by Mother Nature.
What about the rest of the world?
Countries having colder climates are more susceptible to the Covid19 disease and its spread. This link shows how many countries are affected and the progress and mayhem caused by the disease- (click here) as of 18/3/2020 7.00 a.m. IST.
If you observe carefully, you will notice that countries above the equator have been affected much more than those below the equator.
What do I advise patients visiting my Clinic?
These days, most of the patients attending my clinic are suffering from colds, coughs, sore throat (URTI) and mild fever. I have been advising them to-
- Drink plenty of fluids- warm fluids like vegetable soups, tea, coffee, etc., help a lot.
- Gargle- with lukewarm saltwater [salt contains iodine], povidone-iodine solution
- Avoid dusty places
- Total bed rest till symptoms subside
- Have medication prescribed to treat URTI.
Should we wear a face mask or not?
This is the most common question I am asked when my patients with fever visit me every day. What I tell them is this-
- If you are using a bike for traveling to work, you should.
- Working in a dusty place? You must use it.
- If you are working in a hospital or in its vicinity, it is necessary.
- If you are traveling by public transport, you can consider using one.
Why should one wear a mask?
I would recommend wearing a face mask for all patients having a cough or cold. Patients having Covid 19 disease may transmit it if they are coughing, through microdroplets.’
These microdroplets, if inhaled, can infect anyone, especially those who are immuno-compromised because of HIV, Aids, Tuberculosis, etc. These patients would be better off wearing a mask.
A face mask helps you block unwanted dust from being inhaled. Research has shown that the Coronavirus is found on the floor or the ground and gets transmitted through the dust.
What are the medicines or vaccines available to treat Covid 19 disease?
So far, none. Scientists and doctors all over the world are working hard to develop a vaccine. But according to the news heard, it may take months to develop one.
In the meantime, some news channel have come out with information that an antimalarial drug-chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine might be worth trying.
Having said all this, I also advise all my readers that they should follow the protocol set by the World Health Organization-click here.
They also have a video to teach people all about Covid19. Click here to see it.
Here are some more sites which can be useful to all-
We are all hoping for a solution to end this pandemic. As in the past, when there was SARS-Cov(2003) and MERS-Cov(2012) scare, physicians all over the world are confident that this Covid19 scare will also pass away.