How a medical professional couple trounced coronavirus

May 30, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The husband is professor of medicines and the wife is professor of gynecology and obstetrician. For decades, they have been treating patients but never knew that one day they themselves...

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ISLAMABAD: The husband is professor of medicines and the wife is professor of gynecology and obstetrician. For decades, they have been treating patients but never knew that one day they themselves would be struck by a deadly virus.

Prof Mattiullah Khan and Dr Rizwana Chaudhry recently retired from the Rawalpindi Medical University. Both got infected by the Covid-19. They had at least three tests that were negative. But they had all the nightmarish symptoms of the coronvirus.

They were bewildered why their tests show they are not patients when they actually are. Finally, they had the chest CT scan (the most authentic test for Covid-19). It resolved the conundrum, and it transpired they were positive.

They shared how they got rid of the fatal ordeal. It is instructive not only for the coronavirus patients, but also for the general public and the health professionals, who are performing the heroic duty of treating the suffering lot, to learn a lot from their complete guideline to recovery. Here it goes:

If you have symptoms of fever, cough and pains in the body, and your test of coronavirus is positive or even negative as false negative is also very common as I and my wife both had three negative tests but Covid-19 was finally confirmed on chest CT. So if symptoms are believed to be of coronavirus, start taking precautions and do different things along with duas (prayers and invocation) and astaghfar (seeking forgiveness).

The things you need for home management: Thermometer; pulse oximeter [a small wireless thermometer costs Rs3,000], disinfectant solution in spray bottles (1 part bleach or Dettol + 10 parts water); gloves, masks, protective aprons; separate utensils for food better disposable; and hand sanitizers.

Basic precautions and what a caregiver needs to do: One, if it is necessary to go to the room of an infected person, use personal protective equipment (PPE) when getting close to the patient with N-95 mask, goggles or face shield and gloves and dispose of after leaving the room, otherwise complete isolation, don’t enter the room. Leave food outside in disposable plates and spoon; or normal dishes if the patient can wash himself.

Two, frequent use of hand sanitizer before you enter and after you leave that room and apply disinfectant spray to all the handles and knobs of the door.

Three, separate washroom for the positive patient and patient should use spray solution generously after every use. If the number of infected persons is more, then allocate one washroom to all positive people.

Room isolation of patient is of course mandatory. Wash all dirty clothes with standard detergent and warm water.

Besides medication one should awake proning by taking deep breaths for one hour or as much as possible after every three hours. [Proning means lying flat on the belly with the chest and face down, rather than on the back. The technique may prove to help patients who are critically ill to avoid being put on ventilators for breathing assistance].

Laboratory parameters to be done every 72 hours: CBC [complete blood count]; procalcitonin (for super added infections); D-dimer (for coagulopathy and one of most critical) if raised hospitalisation may be required or anticoagulant is necessary; and LDH, Ferritin and CRP (inflammatory markers).

The two doctors also used some herbal things and “domestic tips”: Sana makki Ka kehwa (herb can be found easily from herbalist) with honey, daily; olive oil drops, one in each nostril twice a day; few seeds of Kulvunji twice daily; Neem k pattay ka powder, 1 pinch twice a day for throat irritation; and dates. One should also intake vitamins.

Food: Daily caloric requirement should be achieved. High protein diet. If the patient doesn’t eat anything because of anorexia, then supplements like liquid etc. be used; add fresh fruits and vegetables; use milkshakes; a lot of fluids; and standard roti, rice with “salan” at meal times.

Now most important religious aspect: One should seek divine help, do charity; and don't lose hope. Emotional breakdown is quite common.

In home management, you can manage a patient only to a limit after which you may need hospitalisation.

So coming to alarm symptoms which require immediate hospitalisation: Oxygen saturation reaching or less than 94% on rest; altered mentation; any signs of dehydration; Tachypnea of greater than 25 breaths/minute; visible respiratory distress on rest; symptoms which you may think are worrisome but may just need sometime; a lot of aches and pains; fever spikes (up to a point where these are manageable by Paracetamol); may have few episodes of loose stools but usually self-limiting; some shortness of breath on exertion, walking, going to washroom (looking for oxygen saturation is critical again); development of any rash; and anorexia.

This infection is extremely contagious. Medical guidance must be sought commencing home management.

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