Navigating the pandemic
Navigating the pandemic - a doctors observation
Lockdowns, isolation, quarantine, daily infection rate, death rates, vaccines, food deliveries, etc, has dominated our lives in the last year. Covid 19 has certainly taken the lives of many people and many, many more have fallen ill. But beyond that it has taken a toll on all other people, in the form of mental anxiety as well as physical health.
So what can each person do to bring themselves to a better state of health and wellness to withstand the pandemic and quickly recover as we come out of the pandemic?
Know the facts from the right sources
The illness enters the body through the nose, eyes, or mouth, and then proceeds to the lungs. This is why we are advised to avoid touching your face or to be in crowded situations in which particles expelled through coughing and sneezing might be inhaled. Also to wear a mask that covers our nose as well as our mouth while out and around others. Keeping a distance while interacting with others. And regularly washing or sanitizing your hands if you are out and handling money, people and in public transport
Most people who get COVID 19 are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. If you are tested positive but feel well, stay calm and seek instructions from your family doctor via telephone and area PHI/ MOH. Stay home and stay in a separate room from others in the house.
Older age (over 60 and particularly over age 70) are at the highest risk for severe illness with COVID-19 or even death. If you have elders at home, protect them from being exposed. Even if they don’t go out, you or others in the house may be asymptomatically bringing the illness home. So everyone needs to take precautions when going out
Wearing a mask properly, keeping the distance, and hand sanitizing definitely slows and stops the pandemic
If you have been exposed ( which means you have been with a covid + person without a mask, in close contact), stay home and separately from others at home and get advice from your family doctor on what to do next, via telemedicine. Its best not to go to the hospital or clinics as you may expose many others. Take advice first over the phone from your family doctor and then act accordingly
If you have any of these symptoms- fever, runny nose, cough, body pains, and extreme fatigue- there is a high possibility of COVID 19- stay home and away from others in the family, and get advice from your family doctor via telemedicine. Remember when many people with COVID 19 are aymptomatic, there is a high chance for anyone to acquire the disease unknowingly. And it is not a crime to have COVID. In a pandemic of this nature, anyone can get it. So don’t hide it, but seek advice and protect others and be a person who tried to stop the spread.
Get vaccinated. Find out what vaccines are being given and take them. Any vaccine is better than none. All of them help to reduce the severity of the illness and helps reduce transmission.
Everyone above the age of 18 can be vaccinated. Especially the older people and those with other medical conditions.
After vaccination you still need to remain vigilant and follow distancing, sanitizing, and wearing a mask. Why? Until at least 60 to 70% of the population is vaccinated, it’s still possible to continue to transmit and get Covid infection even after vaccination. Although those who are vaccinated would be less likely to fall terribly sick. But you could transmit to those who are not yet vaccinated. Also, the covid 19 variants may still be able to escape the vaccination safety net. So being careful is still needed until much more people are vaccinated. It is imperative to have a faster vaccination drive
Those who are on medications for other illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma and cancers should continue to take all their medicines. Keeping these diseases in good control is important to keep the body strong and protect yourself against covid 19. So ensure that your medicines are up to date, and that you continue to follow up regularly with your doctor, either in person or via telemedicine.
Keep your immune system strong and mental health sharp- Eat nutritious simple food and avoid junk food and too much of foods that are full of simple carbohydrates such as sugars, sugary food, potatoes and refined flour products. Exercise daily for at least 30 mins. Practice breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, mindfulness, gratitude or any hobbies that can relax your mind. These are proven to relax as well as strengthen our mental health
Focus on others in the family and help each other with the issues each may be facing.
Do something to help others, however small it might be. It gives you strength and satisfaction which in turn drives the focus away from the doom and gloom
Despite everything, mankind has beaten many odds, and beating this pandemic should not be hard if everyone stays smart and strong. Follow the science, don’t propagate false information. And use the advancing technologies such as telemedicine, apps, delivery services to ensure you are always connected.
Be the one to stop the spread!
Consultant Physician at Healthy Life Clinic