COVID is no longer just a datapoint on Worldometer or an interesting topic for debate. Its round the corner and could knock at your door any day. Bangalore wakes up daily to see its worst fears coming true. We seem to be headed the Delhi & Mumbai way. After months of lockdown the preparedness as usual has been sloppy. Two days of 800 + cases and newspapers say almost all beds are gone – I wonder how !
So what do you do when COVID comes home?
Frankly at this point there seems to be 3 things that you can do
- Pray that it doesn’t come knocking at your doorstep
- If you are Rich keep money ready (Minimum 10 lacs)
- And hunt out all the contacts you have in Hospitals / Sr Govt officials in Bangalore
I searched a lot for guidelines / process document on how to tackle COVID but could find nothing. No documented process from the Govt, No clear steps on any Hospital website. All the information was on Social Distancing / Do’s & Donts. Nothing about how to tackle COVID when it attacks.
I finally managed to get valuable information from a Sr Doctor which is the basis of the BLOG. I have consolidated all this information in a FAQ format. Its simple, its got all that you need – so please share this with friends and family.
Life goes on – so lets see how well prepared we can be given the circumstances. Here are a few steps that you could follow.
How do I know if I have COVID ?
COVID affects people in different ways. Most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization
Most common symptoms: Fever, Dry cough, Tiredness
Less common symptoms: Aches and pains, Sore throat, Diarrhoea, Conjunctivitis, Headache, Loss of taste or smell, A rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes
Serious symptoms: Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath, Chest pain or pressure, Loss of speech or movement
CDC Recommends : Seek immediate medical attention if you have serious symptoms. People with mild symptoms who are otherwise healthy should manage their symptoms at home. On average it takes 5–6 days from when someone is infected with the virus for symptoms to show, however it can take up to 14 days.
If I have mild symptoms and decide to wait for a few days before going for a COVID test what self medication can I follow?
You can take the regular home medicines like Paracetamol/ Crocin / Dolo 650 etc. Also heart patents and Sr citizens can take their regular medicines (But do check with your physician to be double sure). Do regular steam inhalation & gargle with Betadine.
There is a mixed view on Ibuprofen. Initial days of COVID it was a strict no no. Some lab experiments have shown that ibuprofen may boost the amount of ACE2 receptors that the virus uses to infect cells and this could make the virus spread faster. But this opinion seems to be changing. To be on the safe side avoid Ibuprofen. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/what-to-know-about-ibuprofen-and-covid-19.
Do not self medicate with HCQ or other COVID drugs that you see on the Internet.
When do I go for a COVID Test ?
It varies. If you have serious symptoms or you see your oxygen levels falling (Oximeter reading below 95) you must get a check done. To get a COVID test you need a doctor prescription.
There are two options
You go to a Fever Clinic – Most large hospitals have a Fever Clinic. Its a walk in. You meet the doctor and if he feels you need a COVID test he will direct you to the testing centre. https://www.karnataka.com/govt/covid-19-testing-fever-clinics-in-bangalore/
If your friend or family member is a doctor they can also prescribe a COVID test and then you can schedule a Home appointment with Apollo Clinic. The Lab Assistant conducting the test will be fully protected with a PPE suit. (https://www.apollodiagnostics.in/details/covid-19-rt-pcr-bengaluru/)
What is Hypoxemia
Hypoxemia is a below-normal level of oxygen in your blood, specifically in the arteries. It is a sign of a problem related to breathing or circulation, and may result in various symptoms, such as shortness of breath.
Hypoxemia is determined by measuring the oxygen level in a blood sample taken from an artery (arterial blood gas). It can also be estimated by measuring the oxygen saturation of your blood using a pulse oximeter — a small device that clips to your finger.
Normal arterial oxygen is approximately 75 to 100 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Values under 60 mm Hg usually indicate the need for supplemental oxygen. Normal pulse oximeter readings usually range from 95 to 100 percent. Values under 90 percent are considered low.
While going to the fever Clinic or for a COVID test do I need to wear a PPE?
A PPE is not a normal plastic covering you from head to feet. There are standard procedures on how to wear and remove a PPE. Even doctors struggle with it. If not properly done the PPE can be the source of spreading infection. So think twice before getting yourself a PPE.
Yes a fever Clinic / Test centre could be a hotbed of COVID. So protect yourself as well as possible. Also carry some snacks / water – you dont know how long your wait time is going to be here. Unfortunately there is no process of getting an appointment slot and avoiding the crowded waiting room.
What happens once you report COVID Positive?
All COVID positive reports are sent to the Govt / ICMR. From then on they will call you and direct on next line of action. Not all COVID cases are immediately hospitalised. With increasing cases many are advised Home Quarantine if facilities exist. The apartment / House gets sealed. In some cases the entire floor is sealed. There is no clear rule book on this.
- Get an Oximeter at home
- While there is no proof – Pranayam could help in increasing Oxygen content. Try testing your oxygen levels before and after 30 min of Pranayam to see if there is any difference
- A healthy nutritious diet helps in building immunity. Vitamin C / Fruits / Vitamin D Sachets once a week – all these could definitely help, even in normal days.
Information Source : Sr Doctor at Bangalore with 30+ years of experience.