Dr. Sushmita Roy Chowdhury, shares her experience of living with COVID19 for last 4 months, about the virus and how to fight it, in conversation with News Sense Editor Joydeep Dasgupta. Dr. Roy Chowdhury is one of the frontline Corona Warrior and treating Covid-19 patients at Apollo Hospitals, Kolkata. Here are her important tips, which everyone can follow to fight or to avoid the virus.
Q. How to Understand COVID 19 and it’s Symptoms?
If you are in contact with someone, who is infected and your nose is blocked and you are suffering from body and headache, you have developed a fever and have a stomach upset and have a dry cough and sore throat, it begins with such non-specific symptoms.
This flu can affect people in two ways. Those with influenza-like illness and have a fever for more than seven to eight days, loose motion, body ache, etc. They recover on their own.
The other category is a severe acute respiratory illness. If someone is getting breathless, it is better to check his oxygen saturation level. If the level falls under 93 percent and the temperature is more than 99°F, immediately go to a designated Covid-19 hospital.
If a COVID- Positive person is more than 65 years and has complications such as Hypertension, Asthma, Diabetes, Kidney disease, COPD or is under Cancer treatment, he or she must be hospitalised as they cannot be put under home quarantine.
Q. How to Identify Asymptomatic Carriers?
It is important here to understand that a COVID positive person doesn’t have to cough to infect others. But yes, when a person is coughing, droplets go out with more force. Even when you talk, droplets are produced. That’s why it has been instructed to maintain a distance of two to three meters, even when you are speaking to someone.
Q. What precaution a non-COVID patient should follow while visiting hospital?
One must follow social distance, proper wearing of mask and wear gloves. Unnecessary surface touching and crowded OPD’s can be avoided. Do not neglect other diseases by avoiding their treatment. Most of the hospitals are taking care to separate Covid wards from non-Covid treatment areas. Though every hospital has its own arrangement to maintain all these, but it is advisable to be cautious all the time.
It is important here to mention that cloth masks are no good, neither is N95 needed. N95 masks are only for those who are dealing with high volume virus, such as healthcare workers like us, who are working in Covid wards. Use a simple three-ply surgical mask.
Q. If a COVID patient is discharged from Hospital after 7 days with no clinical complication. Does that person can infect others? In that case what should his or family do?
Even after his or her discharge from the hospital, the patient must maintain 17-21 days of complete isolation. During this home isolation and also in general home isolation, the patient must be confined to a single room with an attached toilet and bathroom, which no other person in the family can use. One has to be disciplined. Wash your own dishes. Do not share your towel with anyone. You cannot go out and have dinner or watch Television with the rest of the family, otherwise, you will infect your family. Wear masks always. Waste disposal, as per the government policy, or as advised by local civic bodies.
Q. In general, what measures one should follow while going out?
Maintain social distance and wear mask properly, not under the nose or above it, otherwise, you are directly giving a chance to the virus to enter your body. The virus has two entry points, your nasal passage and your mouth. Moreover, one shouldn’t touch the mask or the face repeatedly with hands. Some people have a habit of lowering the mask while talking and this is dangerous. We have to learn to speak with the mask over our nose. Carry your own food and water, avoid outside eating.
People like me, who are working in Covid wards for the last four months, should have been infected by now. It is only because we are taking precautions, it has not been able to infect us. This is not such a deadly virus if you take precautions. If it enters our body, no one knows how it will behave. So we have to prevent its entry into our body by taking precautions.
When you return home from outside, leave your shoes outside. Change the clothes and wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or more. Wash the clothes with soap powder and hot water. In this case, the virus is a weak one and has a fat layer that gets washed away by soapy water.
Hope, by all means we can now follow atleast the above mentioned advice from the frontline Corona Warrior in order to avoid and fight the infection caused by Coronavirus or COVID19.