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  • 2:53 PM, Thursday, 17 Jun 2021

COVID 19

The COVID 19 (SARS CoV2) disease, a pandemic that originated as a minor outbreak in the city of Wuhan, China in December 2019, has rapidly spread worldwide affecting the health, social and economic conditions of millions in a dreadful manner.

At present the world is facing the devastating second wave of the pandemic. Governments, Health care services, Research organizations and all related departments across the globe are working relentlessly to subdue the pandemic as well as to provide people with medical care, food, shelter, financial support, awareness, and vaccinations to the extent possible.

In these difficult times, it is necessary that we understand about the disease, and it’s modes of transmission. Learning about the preventive measures and strictly practicing them can help overcome the pandemic crisis.

The COVID 19 (SARS CoV2) disease is caused by Coronavirus /SARS-CoV-2 virus strain.

Transmission:
  • Respiratory Droplet transmission: The virus travels in respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, sings or breathes near you (within six feet). This is thought to be the main way COVID-19 is spread.
  • Airborne Transmission: When the virus travels in small respiratory droplets that linger in the air for minutes to hours from an infected person who is more than six feet away or has since left the space. This method of spread is more likely to occur in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation.
  • From close contact (touching, shaking hands) with an infected person.
  • By touching surfaces that the virus has landed on, then touching your eyes, mouth, or nose before washing your hands.
Symptoms of COVID 19:
  • Fever
  • Cough (Dry cough more than productive)
  • Sore throat (severe and common with new variants/strain)
  • Body ache and joint ache (severe and common with new variants/strain)
  • Headache (severe and common with new variants/strain)
  • Rigor/Chills (common with new variants/strain)
  • Loss of smell and taste
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Diarrhea with or without fever (severe and common with new variants/strain)
  • Redness of eyes with or without excessive tears
  • Skin rash
  • Discoloration of fingers and Toes, may appear as redness or like minor injury closer to nail
  • Nausea /Vomiting
  • Brain Fog /confused mental state

Please be aware that a COVID 19 patient can be presented with one or more symptoms, or could even be asymptomatic yet be infectious.

Effect of COVID-19 on Pregnancy:
  • Pregnant women do not appear more likely to contract the infection than the general population. However, pregnancy itself alters the body’s immune system and response to viral infections in general, which can occasionally be related to more severe symptoms and this is expected to be the same for COVID-19. So Pregnant women should strictly follow COVID -19 preventive measures and discuss in detail with consulting gynaecologists regarding care, preventive measures and protocols to be followed during pregnancy, delivery/labour and breastfeeding.
  • Reported cases of COVID-19 pneumonia in pregnancy are milder and with good recovery.
  • In other types of coronavirus infection (SARS, MERS), the risks to the mother appear to increase in particular during the last trimester of pregnancy. There are case reports of preterm birth in women with COVID-19 but it is unclear whether the preterm birth was always iatrogenic, or whether some were spontaneous
  • Pregnant women with heart disease are at highest risk (congenital or acquired).
  • The coronavirus epidemic increases the risk of perinatal anxiety and depression, as well as domestic violence. It is critically important that support for women and families is strengthened as far as possible; that women are asked about mental health at every contact
Transmission:
  • With regard to vertical transmission (transmission from mother to baby antenatally or intrapartum), emerging evidence now suggests that vertical transmission is probable, although the proportion of pregnancies affected and the significance to the neonate has yet to be determined.
  • At present, there are no recorded cases of vaginal secretions being tested positive for COVID-19.
  • At present, there are no recorded cases of breast milk being tested positive for COVID-19.
Effect on Foetus:
  • There are currently no data suggesting an increased risk of miscarriage or early pregnancy loss in relation to COVID-19.
  • There is no evidence currently that the virus is teratogenic. Long term data is awaited.
  • COVID-19 infection is currently not an indication for Medical Termination of Pregnancy.
Preventive Measures
Preventive Measures for COVID 19 and General Advisory:
  • Wear Mask / double masking / N95 – For proper use of mask, and its disposal, see details below which include links to videos.

    Note: Copyrights to all videos belong to You-tube and the respective channels, they have been linked here solely for creating social awareness and for educational purposes.
    N95 mask - https://youtu.be/zoxpvDVo_NI

    Benefits of double masking: Double masking technique provides a better filtration and protection from COVID 19 /SARS CoV2 virus. The filtration rate from double masking can be up to 90% while single surgical mask /cloth mask only provides filtration rate less than 70%. Always sanitize your hands before wearing masks. https://youtu.be/UQnzjxIaFbU

  • Hand and respiratory hygiene Hand hygiene - https://youtu.be/s7jgc7-EwNg
    Hand rub https://youtu.be/B3eq5fLzAOo
    Respiratory Etiquette: https://youtu.be/2yLfIm7pKEU
  • Social distancing - https://youtu.be/Ep8n3BaGoiQ
  • Wash your hands often. If soap is not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Vaccination – get vaccinated if there are no contraindications
  • Avoid crowded spaces especially with poor ventilation conditions. Daily keep the room windows open for some time, this will promote fresh air circulation and prevents stagnation of any micro droplets or aerosols in higher concentration. Can use exhaust fans or air purifier if there is presence of adult /child having allergy, risk of falling or air outside is polluted.
  • Stay self-isolated at home if you are feeling ill with symptoms that could be COVID-19 or have a positive test for COVID-19 and seek medical help.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • If you are a care taker of COVID 19 positive patient in home isolation, wear N95 / double mask, face shield and try to reduce your exposure time while attending to the patient’s needs.
  • Maintain your basic personal hygiene.
  • Make sure you sleep well (8-10 hours)
  • Eat well – don’t skip any meal. Include plenty of fruits, nuts, dairy products, and vegetables in your diet. If non vegetarian, include meat, eggs and fish along with the above mentioned in your regular diet.
  • Continue Medications for chronic medical conditions/ Lifestyle diseases or any ongoing medical treatment as prescribed by your doctor, only stop or change medications/treatment after discussion with your consultant.
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes daily – minimal work outs that could be done in your rooms or open space, brisk walking or cycling will also do, if continuous 30 Minutes session is not feasible it can also be divided into 3 sessions of 10 minutes. Quit smoking habit.
  • Get sunlight exposure for at least 10 – 25 minutes daily during the period between 10 am-3pm. Avoid over exposure as it may lead to sunburn or skin malignancy.
  • Keep yourself well hydrated, drink up to 2.5-3 litres of water daily more than 3 litres only if you feel thirst.
  • Be social but always maintain your safe distance and avoid crowd gathering especially in a contained space or use internet or phone to communicate. Be supportive to elderly people and children, take adequate care and measures to reduce their risk of exposure.
  • If possible donate for /provide Food, water or shelter for those in need but ensure that you maintain the COVID 19 preventive measures in the process, feed stray animals which doesn’t pose as a threat, this must not be followed as an advisory but rather as An act of kindness and compassion.
  • Try to avoid stress, tension, anxiety as much as possible for your mental and physical well-being.