Takeaways from the webinar with leading Pulmonologist Dr Aditya Agrawal on Covid-19 scare
Seniors Today hosted a webinar on Thursday, June 4, 2020 with leading Consultant Pulmonologist Dr Aditya Agrawal given the Covid-19 scare. As we are progressing towards easing the lockdown directives, senior citizens need to be extremely careful and should stay indoors as much as possible.
Dr Agrawal spent quality time with a cross-section of readers most of who included senior citizens and answered many questions. Some of them were very basic and then there were others who posed doubts about more complex medical conditions.
Here are key takeaways from the webinar that will guide you into the new normal.
1. Seniors are more vulnerable to Covid-19 – Most individuals develop several diseases as they age – high blood pressure, diabetes, heart diseases, and like. Hence the chance of severe infection rises. When a senior experiences symptom such as fever which does not come down with paracetamol, followed by difficulty in breathing, it’s a sign they have developed a moderately severe infection.
2. Covid-19 causes a wide range of symptoms – In severe cases, the virus causes a wide range of symptoms which may not be specifically related to lungs. It can affect your heart, brain or muscles which may cause a stroke or other neurological problems.
3. Understand how the virus spread – The virus spreads when one comes in contact with respiratory droplets of an infected person – cough, sneeze, these particles settle on the surface. For instance, if you get in an elevator and perhaps the person ahead of you had the infection. S/he may have coughed inside and have left behind a lot of germs. If you come in contact with these droplets, chances of you getting infected rises if you don’t wash your hands immediately with soap and water for 20 seconds or 70% alcohol-based sanitiser. It is best to limit contact with any surface, unfamiliar places, or unknown sources, also you need to refrain from meeting people you don’t know.
4. Seniors can step out of their homes – Gradually the lockdown will be lifted but that does not mean we get carried away and socialise. The Covid-19 situation is yet to be controlled. However, this shouldn’t stop you from stepping out of your home. You will not get coronavirus if the infected person passes by you. It only spread from respiratory droplets. You can go for your walks – you body needs exercise but avoid socialising. Maintain social distancing do your workout and get home. Avoid gatherings, you may meet few people – who you trust.
5. People with uncontrolled comorbidity are to stay home – If you wish to step out, you need to keep yourself healthy. As well as it is extremely important to take adequate precautions. If your BP, sugar… are not under control avoid stepping out.
6. Part-time maids are best avoided – Given the circumstances it would not be ideal to have your part-time help over. They may carry the virus from one house to the other – every human is a potential carrier of the virus. It is best that to get your hands dirty and keep your home clean.
7. Covid-19 does not spread through air – There is no mutation of the virus yet. It does not spread through air; it spreads though respiratory droplets. Also, the intensity of the virus does not reduce as it spreads.
8. A caregiver can stay if… – It is important that your caregiver takes adequate precautions and maintains good hygiene levels as well as follows social distancing. If the caregiver for the elderly follows the guidelines and if you trust them only then let them care for your loved ones.
9. A double layered cloth mask will suffice – N95 masks are meant for healthcare professionals because they come across a lot of infected people through the day. For people, a two-three layered cloth mask will do the job – the virus does not penetrate the cloth. Whichever mask you use it is important how you handle your mask – make sure once you wear a mask, do not touch it as your hands may have the germs. Also, keep in mind that it is mandatory for people with the infection to wear a mask as opposed to healthy people.
10. Avoid wearing mask while exercising – Wearing a mask while exercising can be dangerous to your health. While exercising you will be exhaling more carbon dioxide and the mask will block the adequate supply of oxygen. This could lead to respiratory failure.
11. Public transport is best avoided – Avoid unnecessary travel. It would be best to travel in your vehicle than a public transport. Chances of you getting infected in a public transport is higher – for instance if the previous traveller had the infection and was coughing, the droplets would have stuck to the surface and you may come in contact with it unknowingly.
12. The virus does not survive more than 72 hours – Any object that comes from outside or unknown sources it is best to keep them aside for 2-3 days. The virus does not survive more than 72 hours on any surface. So, if you go grocery shopping it would be a good idea to keep things away for a day without touching them. For vegetables and fruits you can use food detergent – avoid using potassium permanganate or alcohol-based sanitizers – it will not only harm your health.
13. Avoid takeaway food unless you are sure – The person handling your food could be asymptomatic or has an infection. If they transmit the droplets through container, or vessels then the risk of infection rises. It is best you eat home-cooked meals for now.
14. When to seek help – If you get the early signs of the virus – fever, cough, headache, weakness, muscle pain or diarrhea, immediately seek medical help. Do not wait for it to progress – it progresses really fast with time. If you begin to feel breathless that means a part of your lungs has developed Covid-19 pneumonia or you are having a serious effect of the infection on your heart.
15. Contact government hospitals for beds – If in case you don’t find beds in private hospitals immediately dial the helpline number provided by the government. Government hospitals are large and they will help you in the crisis situation.
16. Wearing gloves is unsafe – Gloves is meant for people handling Covid-19 patients. There is no need to wear gloves while grocery shopping because while wearing the gloves you end up touching all the surfaces – the false sense of protection. Then you end up touching your phone, clothes, mobile – forgetting that the glove’s surface is covered with germs. It is safe to wash hands as often than wearing gloves.
Maintain social distancing, personal hygiene and exercise for good immunity. Try not to stress as stress can lower your immunity and make you more vulnerable to the virus. If you would like to consult with Dr Aditya Agrawal you may contact him on his clinic number 09022163859.