Awareness is the only way to stay safe and fight COVID-19: Dr Kamlesh Upadhyay
Jainul Ansari, Ahmedabad: As India and the world battles COVID-19, the disease has thrown up more questions than answers. When will the pandemic end? Can you get re-infected? If yes, what is the probability of re-infection?
In a talk with Gujarat Exclusive, Dr Kamlesh Upadhyay, HOD, Medicine Department, BJ Medical College, clarifies the myths surrounding the disease.
Across the world, the cases of re-infection in a COVID-19 patient is minuscule at best, said Dr Upadhyay. He said as per the available research, the process of destroying the virus from the body is a slow one and when the virus is not completely eliminated we think of it as re-infection.
He said every testing, be it RT-PCR or Antigen, employs different ways of detecting the virus. The COVID-19 infection found in lungs is far more severe than the one found in the nose. He said it is only when the genetic makeup of a virus is studied in detail and it appears to be different is when you can ideally call it a case of re-infection.
He said the belief that if infected once, the patient will mandatorily get re-infected is a myth.
“Messages are doing the rounds of social media stating that antibodies will last in the body of a recovered patient only for three months and post that immunity goes down making him/her susceptible to the disease. Such information is wrong and without any scientific foundation,” said Dr Upadhyay.
The herd immunity has also increased which helps battle the disease more effectively. What we need is awareness and not fear. Even a person who has recovered from COVID-19 needs to wear a mask, maintain social distancing and wash hands often, he said.
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Safety lies in awareness
If a patient suffered an infection in the lungs then he/she should continue with spirometry exercises, yoga and pranayam to strengthen their lungs.
Steps to stay safe- Always wear a mask. Continue to wear it even if you have been infected and recovered from corona.
– Always maintain adequate distance.
– Regularly wash your hands and face. Gargle with hot water.
– Carry on with steam inhalation with or without Vicks.
– Whenever possible, take a bath every time you go out and return home.
– Control diabetes, BP and cholesterol
– Those above 40 years with a family history of BP, diabetes and cholesterol should get tested for the disease irrespective of whether they display the symptoms or not.
– Senior citizens are particularly susceptible due to their advanced age.
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– As COVID-19 makes inroads into new areas, reports of the number of cases in earlier infected areas are on the decline. This means herd immunity is being developed. Herd immunity develops area wise.
Govt’s plan of action
The government is increasing the testing to identify more positive cases. Early detection can help in preventing the spread of the disease and also provide treatment in the initial stages of the disease. As to why COVID-19 cases were on the rise in India while it was on the decline in some other countries, Dr Upadhyay said we have a large population and the density is also high. Moreover, he said, many patients are asymptomatic and hence they end up unknowingly infecting others.
The three stages of the spread of the virus
3. Community Transmission
He said at present we are in the cluster stage and are slowly moving towards community transmission. But if we are careful and continue to be more aware we can successfully break the chain as far as the spread of the disease is concerned, he said. He added it will take the country at least a year and a half to get control over COVID-19.
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