April 19, 2020
Covid 19 is a disease caused by SARS COV 2 virus, or Coronavirus as we know it. Coronavirus is a type of virus and this is 7th known type of it, which can affect human. One of the commonest cause of common cold is Coronavirus.
Why is the disease so aggressive?
Viruses always keeps on evolving and mutating and reorganizing themselves to create a new structure. Now this new structure if is able to cause a grave disease (like the current one) it will stay, rests will just go unnoticed.
To a new virus, human body will not have any previously developed resistance, due to LACK OF PREVIOUS EXPOSURE (as it is a new virus). So the disease spreads rapidly.
How does it spread?
Disease spreads by Droplets and Fomites.
Droplets are respiratory secretions with the virus in it. Droplets can be generated during,
1. Normal Respiration
2. Speaking/ Crying/ Shouting
5. Respiratory procedures (nebulization, intubation etc.)
These droplets are heavy, so will stay in air for short time and short distance to finally fall on something. So if someone comes in it’s travelling range he/ she can get infected.
When the droplets fall on something the object becomes FOMITES. On the surface the virus can stay alive for various duration, upto around 24 hours, depending on the surface. These fomites are another source of infection.
What does it affect?
Covid 19, as most of us now are aware, affects respiratory system the most. Commonest presenting symptoms are, Cough, Running nose, Fever, Body ache, stomach upset etc. In severe cases it causes Pneumonia, respiratory difficulty, breathlessness and multi organ failure and possibly death.
However one must remember, more than 50% patients will be asymptomatic and rest majority will be only mildly symptomatic. Only 5- 10% will develop severe disease.
How to treat?
Exact treatment is yet unavailable. However based on previous experiences at various locations many drugs are being used with variable benefits.
Who are at more Risk?
Elderly people and those with co morbid conditions (like diabetes, blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, cancer, etc) are at very high risk for severe disease and fatal outcome. If you fall in any of these category or have any such person in your family, YOU SHOULD BE EXTRA CAUTIOUS.
How to Prevent?
Now, this is the most important part for all of us.
We don’t know exactly how the virus originated, we don’t fully know the exact pathophysiology of the disease and we also don’t know how is it treated.
BUT WE DO KNOW HOW IS IT PREVENTED!!
Vaccine is in stages of development and we don’t know when will it be available. But surely it is going to take some time.
So how can we prevent it?
1. SOCIAL & PHYSICAL DISTANCING
Keep distance of more than 2 meter and you cannot get the droplet directly.
Hands carry maximum germs. We touch many surfaces like railing, door knob, handle, lift switch and many more. Invariably and inadvertently, we also keep touching or own face multiple number of times. Virus cannot cross intact skin, but can very easily enter mouth, nose, eyes and cause infection.
So the most effective way to prevent would be FREQUENT HAND WASH.
You need to wash your hands whenever and wherever possible with SOAP & WATER for minimum 20 seconds. And when handwash is not possible one can use any alcohol based handrub form 20 seconds or more. Remember this will effectively wash away all viruses and can save you.
Do this as the first thing you enter the house. Make all kids do it.
3. AVOID TOUCHING SURFACES WHEREVER POSSIBLE
like, one can climb stairs without touching railings. Use your imaginations. Say, only one person can open the door and let everyone get in or out.
4. COUGHING AND SNEEZING ETIQUETTES
Avoid coughing and sneezing in public. Always use handkerchief, tissue, etc. Dispose off the tissues properly. If you don’t have both, cough/ sneeze in between your arm and forearm with face down. This will help to reduce the spread.
5. ISOLATE YOURSELF
If you have cough, coryza and fever you should isolate yourself and seek medical attention. Strictly avoid going in crowds.
Mask is being made compulsory at many places and cities by government. Effective use of mask can help reduce the spread.
Note while using masks.
a. Do not use medical masks. Save them for healthcare workers. Simple clothe mask can be used. Clean, wash and dry daily.
b. Ensure adequate air seal. Both mouth and nose should be covered.
6. LOCK DOWN
Lock down is a method of forcing SOCIAL DISTANCING to control the spread.
Why do we need Lock down?
Lockdown, slows down the spread of disease. This reduces the number of patients. Thus healthcare system can cope up with the disease load and small number of patients can be treated effectively, with good outcome.
It is very important to help government in efficient implementation of Lockdown. PLEASE GET OUT ONLY WHEN IT IS EXTREMELY NECESSARY.
7. STAY HOME, STAY SAFE
Dear Families, these are difficult times and with little help from each one of us, we can surely overcome this.
MEDIPOINT HOSPITAL, continues to give it’s emergency services with due precautions and as per GUIDELINE FROM GOVERNMENT AUTHORITIES. One can contact 9850622422 for any advice.
Dr. Vinod Shelar can be reached on whatsapp number 79 72 357 627, for any information.
Dr. Vinod Shelar, MD
Pediatrician & Neonatologist