How to protect yourself from contracting Corona and 3 Myths to steer clear of for Covid treatment!
These are perilous times. Corona virus has impacted billions of people around the world. Millions and millions of people are in a situation of some sort of lock down.
At this point in time it is quite clear that, some countries have been hit worse than others e.g, USA, Italy and Spain have endured thousands of deaths but the situation in Subcontinent seems relatively better. India, Bangladesh and Pakistan have not seen as many cases as have been noticed in Europe and North America. There are many theories about it.
Let’s enlist these hypotheses
1. People in Subcontinent have stronger Immunities hence they are doing better against Corona virus.
2. BCG vaccination (which is given in Pakistan to provide immunity against Tuberculosis) provides immunity against Corona virus.
3. Enough people are not being tested hence, the number of positive cases is low.
Of these three, the first two are anecdotal. Pakistanis and Indians travel all over the world without any problem but when a foreign visits here, there is some form of ‘delhi belly’. Now this may make sense in theory, there may be other factors at play e.g there may be direct irritation of stomach lining because of strong spices, that are used in these parts of the world or there may be cases of food poisoning.
The second hypothesis is still being studies and it is too early to say anything with absolute certainty.
The third hypothesis is the only one, which we know is true and we hope for the other two to be true. In Pakistan, the population is around 200 million but the people tested are less than 25 thousand at the time of writing of this text. Presently, there is a fear of Corona and there is an ocean of false information that is being spread. Some of this information is being spread by well meaning albeit less aware of the situation innocent people and others are just spreading false news for the sake of it.
I have two cases in mind.
First was a doctor whose video went ‘viral’ in which he was advising to wash the fruits and vegetables with detergents. Now, this may seem okay but the thing is that detergents can seep through the surface of fruits and vegetables. This can lead to ingestion of such harmful chemicals. It is not advised, to wash these edible products. Cold running tap water is enough to wash away most of the harmful organisms from the surface of fruits. In addition, there is no evidence to suggest that corona virus can spread through the food. The rout of spread is the inhalation of the virus to the respiratory tract.
There are many WhatsApp messages, which are being spread around. Some are saying to drink hot water, some are saying that ablutions and Sajda makes immunity stronger. There is no evidence to back these claims. These are fabricated stories, which exploit simple people. We are trying to burst some most common myths.
Myth 1. Drinking hot water kills corona virus
Explanation: There is no evidence to suggest that.
Myth 2: Inspiring warm air, hot weather or going to Sauna kills the virus.
Explanation: There is no evidence to suggest that inspiring warm air or hot weather kills the virus. On the contrary, despite of warm weather in many countries virus has spread in those countries. This leads to the conclusion that the warm weather no affect on the virus. Another related thing is steam inhalation. Steam inhalation will not kill it and if someone else inhales the air expired by the infected person they may also get infected so it’s a no no.
Myth 3: Vitamin supplements help against Corona.
Explanation: Some companies are selling vitamins claiming that they help body fight against Corona by boosting immunity. There is no evidence to suggest that, this is true. The vitamins do not boost immunity and in any case, we don’t want our immunity to be boosted, rather we want a perfect balance of all the cells involved in immune reactions. Popping extra vitamins might not really protect you against Corona.
Consider 5 workers working at the construction site and we keep providing more material to them. Does that help in making the building faster? NO it does not. It would be great if drinking hot water and and inhaling warm sauna air would do the job but unfortunately this is not the case but there are other things that you can do in order to help your immune system fight the best fight. The water, warm or cold, passes through the oropharynx to the esophagus. Oropharynx is also attached to the wind pipe, which is covered by a lid when we drink water so water is not washing away the bacteria or viruses.
If we go to sauna which is heated up to 90 degrees, will it kill the virus? Certainly not. The reason is that when we inspire air we inspire tidal volume which mixes with the air already present in our bronchi and the temperature of the air is lowered. The air is cooled before reaching the alveoli and it happens in every breath. If we were to inhale hot air without already cool air present in our system, it will ‘fry’ our lungs. End result – Sauna does not protect you from contracting Coronavirus!
While, warm water and hot air/weather may not help us but there are somethings which we can do to help ourselves.
1. Sleep – First thing is sleep
We should all try to sleep 7-9 hours each night preferably at the same time. According to some reports, sleeping less than 6 hours decreases the number of Natural Killer cells in our system. These are the cells that help our body fight the bad germs. Sleep can protect, so do it now!
2. Exercise regularly
Quarantine is no excuse to avoid exercise. There are many workouts, that can be done indoors. Going for a jog is also an option if you live in an area where you can avoid coming in six feet of someone during a jog. Exercise can protect, so start now.
3. Eating healthy is also very important
We can avoid unhealthy foods. Garlic has shown to have antimicrobial properties. Oranges and other fruits have a lot of vitamins. These are good habits and may help you get healthier but they will not prevent you from getting infected. But healthy foods can protect, so add them to your diet now!
4. You must avoid meeting people and try to maintain a distance of six feet from everyone if possible.
Some coughs and sneezes can travel across the distance of six feet so it may not be sure shot protection but this is a workable distance. There have been instances where people have hosted parties thinking we will maintain a distance of six feet from everyone. This is absolutely unwise to do so because as previously mentioned that it is an arbitrary number and such gatherings can be and should be avoided. They are not necessary for your survival and should be avoided. Protect yourself and others by keeping a safe distance!
5. This is a time to avoid spreading false information.
Please do not spread a whatsapp message before checking its medical authenticity. Please check the instructions of local authorities. These are testing times and we must believe in evidence presented by reputed authorities rather than believing half-baked theories put forward by people exploiting our insecurities. protect yourself and your loved ones by reducing anxiety build-up through false information.
Fellow health care workers are requested to share their thoughts on the treatment and pool testing. The person penning this down is working in an infectious ward at a hospital in Finland, where more than half the patients are corona positive. Patients are started on Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and antibiotics when they present with respiratory symptoms and the samples are sent for testing. If the patients are negative for influenza virus, the Tamiflu (basically an influenza medicine) is stopped and antibiotic cover is given depending on the symptoms and inflammatory markers. If Corona is positive, patient is treated symptomatically without any specific treatment. We monitor breathing rate, oxygen saturation, systolic blood pressure, level of consciousness and body temperature. (National early warning score) If patient is symptom free for 7 days and inflammatory markers , e.g c-reactive protein are low, then two pcrs are done at an interval of 24 hours and if both are negative then patient is considered corona free and discharged from the hospital.
What is pool testing?
Pool testing means that the sample from many different individuals are combined and a pcr test is done. If the test is negative then all people are corona free but if the test is positive then individual pcr will done of all the people so that we know who is infected and who is not. This will greatly speed up the process. There was a case, in which samples from different indiviuals were mixed and a pcr was done and it was postive hence ,pcr of the all indivuals were done but they all turned out negative. Now, this could be because of multiple reasons e.g , sample contamination or recovery of the patient from the infection.