New Delhi, May 23: Even as recovery rate in India is improving, doctors advise people to take proper care of their body post Covid-19. They also urge that people should not believe on prescriptions available on social media and should consult doctors before taking any medicines as excessive use of medicines is also a concern.
In a conversation with IANS, Dr Ashish Jaiswal, who did fellowship in Pulmonology and Critical Care Disease from the US and Europe, said that if one has tested Covid positive and isolating at home, then they first they need to identify their problems, which they call ‘Long Covid’ or ‘Covid Haul Syndrome’ as it can lasts for months.
Jaiswal, who is with Bharadwaj Hospital in Noida, said that the most common symptom in long haulers are chronic fatigue and body pain and the other most common thing is chest involvement.
“We notice that 60 per cent patients are showing these chest involvement and other 40 per cent are asymptomatic. But we see patches in them too. Usually this patch lessens, but in some cases, it might increase after 13-14 days in post Covid storm. So, these kinds of patients should be really careful,” he said.
“We are also witnessing that 50 per cent patients are reporting ‘Brain Fog’, they feel altered sense, confused, unable to take decisions and loss of appetite too. This brain fog is directly post-Covid syndrome, not depression.
“About 20 per cent of these patients are suffering from depression too. The ones who are in isolation, quarantine or using too much of social media are going through depression,” he opined.
Jaiswal also pointed out that among these 50 per cent of patients have kidney issues and then 5-10 per cent patients are there who require post-Covid dialysis while 40 per cent people face difficulty in doing basic daily chores.
“Actually right now, we have huge number of population which is going through this post Covid syndrome, it has surpassed diabetes, blood pressure now. So, I appeal everyone to be optimistic and positive because 50 per cent of your problems get solved if you are positive,” he said.
Giving tips to people on how to monitor their health, Jaiswal flagged increase in heart rate in isolation. “If its above 100, then you might face heart issues later as in post-Covid, there are so many patients who get heart related issues. Monitor your saturation level. So, if all of a sudden you notice higher heart rate, lowering saturation level, sudden chest pain, and heavy breathlessness, then immediately inform your doctor because these are danger symptoms.”
He said that for those patients who had moderate lung infection and whose CT Score was more than 10-12, then they need to take better care or the ones who had kidney problem or cardiac issues then they also need to take good care in post Covid.
He again reiterated that right now most important thing is to be happy, be positive. “Always remember we are home isolated, not home alone. Whole world is in this together, your family is there. It’s the time when we need to be available for our family if not physically, then virtually to support each other.”
Discussing why people are facing problem during isolation or post-Covid, Jaiswal said: “Problem is people nowadays are taking prescription online from social media. Everyone is following the same prescription. People are unnecessarily taking zinc medicine, which can causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, metallic base, kidney stone.
“Excess use of Vitamin C can cause abdominal cramps, headache and insomnia and excess use of Vitamin D can cause diarrhoea, dizziness, confusion.
“So, the medicine which you can get easily are there, the excess of these medicines are causing problem these days.”
He said that 80 per cent of patients are facing issues because of excessive use of these medicines.
“Without consulting their doctor people are taking ivermectin… it is dangerous for your health,” he said.
He also said that Ayurvedic preparations are no doubt good but excess intake of ‘kadha’ is also creating stomach issues, and diarrhoea.
Citing people getting their blood test and CT scan done without doctor’s prescription, he said: “Don’t go until your doctor asks you for it because there will be no value of that test if there’s no clinical relevance. This will not only increase financial burden on you but will also increase the burden on the system. Doctors will be more burdened.”
“Do not rush to the hospitals if your saturation level is above 92, consult your doctor, stay home because you are doing no good if you are rushing for hospitals. And the biggest loss you are doing is to the patients who actually needs the hospital treatment but couldn’t because you occupied that bed unnecessary,” he said.
He also slammed people unnecessarily stocking the oxygen cylinders at their home.
About diet of Covid patients in home isolation, Jaiswal said: “These kinds of patients need family support the most as that person is going through a lot. The most important role is of diet. Your diet must include lots of fruits, vegetables, less of ‘kadha’, less of masala.”
“You are in convalescent period, you will feel hungry. Second thing is to play brain games, video games. This will help in reducing brain fog. Alcohol and smoking is strictly prohibited for three months. Because it has been observed that the ones who had started doing all these have contracted Covid again. Drink at least 3-4 litres of water, water can be in any form, it can be pulse water, rice water. Just keep drinking water. Take proper care of your sleep. Post-Covid patients must take at least 8 hours of sleep.”
He also said that patients with comorbities or some other old health issues must inform their doctors after recovering from Covid so that they can resume medicine according to doctor’s instructions.
Suggesting how post Covid people should start exercise, Jaiswal said: “The patients who had mild Covid or asymptomatic patients… they can do long walks at home. PT, or yoga will also work. Word of caution is for the ones who were serious or got cardiac issues or chest involvement was there.”
For patients with serious or cardiac issues, he said: “On first day try to do the exercise only for 5 minutes if your saturation doesn’t dip, then repeat it again after every 2 hours. You should not pressure your lungs or heart.”
After doing exercise, immediately rest properly, he added.
“Exercise proning position. Serious Covid patients must do this for at least 4-5 hours daily,” he said, adding that the ones who are still on oxygen, increase your oxygen level while exercising as saturation should be above 90 all the time.
Asked about patients who have severe lung infection can manage themselves at home and what are the precautions they need to follow, Dr Jaiswal said, “If a patient is having excessive breathlessness, unbearable chest pain, saturation level is dipping, heart rate is increasing or a respiratory rate is increasing and have not got their CT Scan done that means their 50 per cent lung is involved.
“If you are in remote area in such conditions, we advise them for steaming or nebulisation. Nebuliser is easily available everywhere. If your saturation is low, then use oxygen. Then there are medications which your doctor will prescribe in such conditions,” he added.