How to protect yourself during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Ways to protect yourself from Covid-19:

Today we are dealing with an unprecedented crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic which has no proven medication or vaccine. The CDC states that people with comorbidities such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma as well as pregnant women appear to be at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. With a pre-existing medical condition, the immune system may be compromised, thus making it harder to fight the viral infection and lead to delayed recovery.  Considering this, it becomes extremely important for all of us to build our immunity as this is the best weapon that we have to fight this virus right now. So we asked Doctor K. K. Aggarwal, President CMAAO, President of the Heart Care Foundation of India and Editor and Chief-Medtalks to know  what kind of precautions we all must take 

  • Housing Society

Every house particularly those with people with comorbid conditions must have a pulse oximeter. RWA’s and societies should keep one common oxygen concentrator for anyone that may need it.

  • Diabetics

It is important for people living with diabetes to keep their blood sugar under control. High blood sugar levels can interfere with the potential of the white blood cells to fight infection. Do not share your blood testing lancet, insulin needles, or inhaler with anybody else.  

Gargle with povidone-iodine or warm saline or turmeric hot saline.

From the kitchen

  •  People with diabetes, specifically, should opt for foods with a low glycemic index such as vegetables, whole wheat products, etc. Limit the intake of fried foods, as well as foods high in sugar, carbohydrates and fat.
  • Go for lean proteins (eg. fish, meat, eggs, milk, beans etc.), green leafy vegetables and 2-3 servings of fruits a day.

  • Limit sodium intake; low sodium intake can decrease cardiovascular disease risk. Include all 7 colors and 6 tastes in your diet.
  • Herbal teas, black coffee, green tea, black tea are powerful antioxidants. Replace white sugar with jaggery, honey or stevia. Limit alcohol intake and avoid smoking. Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water.
  • Senior Citizens

Take your medications as prescribed. Do not discontinue any medication without your doctor’s advice. Keep your levels under check – your blood sugar, blood pressure and asthma under control. Keep your nose, eyes, and mouth moist with saline water to avoid any irritation. Use tear eye drops for dry eyes due to persistent computer use. After every 20 minutes of computer use, do eye exercise for 20 seconds. Gargle with povidone-iodine or warm saline or turmeric hot saline.

  • Allergic Patients

 Avoid any triggers that may worsen your condition. For instance, asthma patients should avoid triggers like smoke, pollution, dust mites, pollen, stress, etc., and must limit the use of disinfectants that can trigger an attack. Asthma patients should avoid undertaking the cleaning and disinfection tasks themselves.

  • Pregnancy

Pregnant women whose due date is approaching should prepare for delivery and make arrangements to reach the hospital. Never miss your prenatal care appointments and keep a vigil on symptoms like pain in the abdomen, bleeding watery discharge, and severe headache. Immediately contact your doctor if any such symptoms develop. Take all the prescribed supplements such as folic acid and vitamin D.

  • For mental health

Sound sleep – It is important to get at least 7 hours of sleep at night to strengthen the immune system and reduce the stress level as much as possible.

Relaxation and mindfulness – Everyone should learn progressive muscular relaxation and mindfulness meditation. Avoid sympathetic and deep nasal and chest exhalation exercises during the COVID times. Most breathing techniques prolong exhalation and decrease minute ventilation.

Call your doctor immediately if you develop any concerning or new symptoms.