Here's what recovery from coronavirus looks like
April 17, 2020 | Farah Jassawalla

Here's what recovery from coronavirus looks like

COVID-19 needs no introduction. It has gotten hold of the world by a storm, leaving healthcare systems and medical protocols in many countries overwhelmed, inadequate, and exhausted. Most countries, including the US, UK, Italy, Spain, Germany, and France, are preparing or undergoing significant health and economic crisis as a result of COVID-19. Experts predict that India, Pakistan, and other South Asian countries face a similar dilemma due to delayed and insufficient responses to the rise of COVID-19 in their respective countries.
There appears to be mass hysteria and misunderstanding regarding how coronavirus is treated and how recovery takes place, so this article will try to clear some of those doubts.

What does COVID-19 do?

COVID-19 attacks the respiratory system and organs surrounding it, causing infected people to experience, at times, flu-like symptoms as well as common symptoms of viral diseases. Common symptoms tend to include conjunctivitis (eye infection), dry coughing (with breathing difficulty), headaches, and fever. Once COVID-19 enters the body, it slowly infects the walls and lining of the lungs and eventually blocks air passages in the lungs. This makes it difficult for oxygen to travel to red blood cells for respiration, so the amount of oxygen in the blood decreases. If left untreated, it causes the lungs to collapse, and respiration continues to decrease, eventually causing death.

How is it treated medically?

Hospitals only administer coronavirus victims that experience breathing difficulty as those patients are at the risk of dying or suffering long-term damage. If a victim experiences breathing difficulty, a few tests are performed to determine how badly the lungs are infected so appropriate treatment can be provided. Treatment methods mainly include ways to reduce or relieve symptoms using painkillers and other medications (usually over-the-counter medicines). If the condition of the lungs, as per tests, is severe, then breathing or oxygen support through ventilators is provided to prevent the lungs from collapsing. Using ventilators allows the lungs to continue respiration at normal levels while giving the immune system more time to fight off the infection.

Can it be treated at home?

Four out of every five coronavirus-infected persons do not need medical care or treatment, so the majority of coronavirus patients can self-isolate and self-treat themselves at home. If you are infected, you must isolate yourself in a room and treat yourself through relevant methods:
· If you have a headache or fever take paracetamol (Panadol)
· You can also foment (place warm cloth) your forehead if you have a fever
· Use artificial tears to avoid dryness of eyes or compress eyes with icing pack if you have conjunctivitis

What does the future hold for coronavirus treatment?

At this moment, most health experts and government officials hope that a vaccine will be available soon so that the impact of coronavirus can be reduced significantly. However, it appears that it will take another 12-18 months before a vaccine is fully developed, tested, and distributed for use. As a result, tests are being performed to determine how effective current antiviral medications are against coronavirus. Tests done on two antiviral prescription drugs Favilavir and Chloroquine have shown promising results in treating coronavirus. In fact, Favilavir has been approved for use against coronavirus in China and South Korea as they have been found to reduce some symptoms. Researchers are pushing to form and test more antiviral medicines so that some form of cure for coronavirus can be created to avoid future outbreaks.
What precautions do you need to take?
As the World Health Organization has advised:
·      Wash your hands properly for 20 seconds regularly
·      Avoid touching any part of your face
·      Avoid going out of home, gathering unnecessarily or visiting crowded places
·      Cover with your elbow the sneeze or cough
·      Avoid handshakes or other forms of unnecessary contact with other people
In addition to these precautions, if you begin to experience two or more symptoms of coronavirus, please contact a doctor for screening and get a few tests done to check the status of your lungs. It is always better to be safe than sorry, so please take this coronavirus outbreak seriously and practice the advice mentioned above.

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Farah Jassawalla

Farah Jassawalla is a graduate of the Lahore School of Economics. She is also a writer, and healthcare enthusiast, having closely observed case studies while working with Lahore's thriving general physicians at their clinics.