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Understanding who all are at #HighRiskCOVID19!!

Understanding who all are at #HighRiskCOVID19!!

  • April 5, 2020
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Schools are shut down, markets are closed, no mode of transport and no human being out on the roads.  The scenario which we have heard or read in thriller movies and novels only, where there has been an attack by some aliens or nuclear bomb. But in the present day we are experiencing this lockdown due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and social distancing is the most critical action for controlling the spread of this virus.

During the COVID 19 pandemic, having a strong immune system is just an added advantage to stave off from the virus, COVID-19 appears to affect the older adults and those with underlying health conditions more severely. Oftentimes, people with chronic medical conditions are immunocompromised, they have a weakened immune system that’s less capable of fighting off attacks from bacteria and viruses. Such conditions can arise due to cancer, certain autoimmune diseases or organ transplant. Even normal ageing affects immune system, pregnancy also compromises immunity on temporary basis.

Pregnancy: Going through pregnancy during the COVID-19 pandemic is uncharted territory for expectant mothers and OB-GYN doctors alike. Protecting pregnant women from exposure to the highly infectious coronavirus is now a factor in prenatal care. And with clear evidence that pregnancy can affect a woman’s immune system, it’s even more important to take precautions.

 Due to changes in their bodies and immune systems, we know that pregnant women can be badly affected by some respiratory infections. It is therefore important that they take precautions to protect themselves against COVID-19, and report possible symptoms (including fever, cough or difficulty breathing) to their healthcare provider. However, research is currently underway to understand the impacts of COVID 19 infection on pregnant women. Data are limited, but at present there is no evidence that they are at higher risk of severe illness than the general population. Our expert gynecologist Dr. Soniya Chavan syas,” Social distancing is the golden rule to follow as in routine general population. As pregnancy is in itself an immunocompromised state, they should follow social distancing even when at home along with a balanced diet which includes lots of vegetables, juicy fruits and nuts. If possible take coconut water daily during afternoon, also drink plenty of fluids, 12- 14 glasses of water daily. Practice certain breathing exercises like Pranayaam, which will help them in boosting respiratory system as well as for better tolerance of labour pains. In case of any symptoms of cold or dry cough along with fever for more than 2 days, it’s better to consult the government help line number or undergo necessary tests after consulting your practicing gynecologist”.

Autoimmune Diseases: Autoimmune diseases are the diseases in which your immune system starts fighting against own body cells. Instead of making a strong line of defense against outside infections, it starts attacking the host cells resulting in disfunctioning of the immune system. Rheumatoid arthritis, SLE, multiple sclerosis, systemic vasculitis are some of the autoimmune diseases. For most of these conditions, treatment includes drugs that suppress the immune system to treat the disease and symptoms. Now, the concern is whether that also makes patients more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. The answer is yes, as such patients are immunocompromised, they have higher risk of getting infected. Our expert Dr. Ujwal Ramteke says; “Such patients are advised strictly to maintain social distancing as a preventive measure to avoid viral contamination. As these patients require long term medications, drugs availability should be checked prior in such pandemic situation.  Telemedicine is legalized by medical council in India, in case of any smallest of out the doubt reach to your consultant immediately via voice or video call. Relapse of symptoms is one of the major symptom to be concerned of, reach out your consultant immediately”.

Cancer/ Organ transplant: Cancer patient’s immunity is suppressed, especially in the case of blood cancer or if the patient has undergone any organ transplant like bone marrow or kidney. Chemotherapy used to kill cancer cells can disrupt the immune system. Cancer complications themselves can also make people more vulnerable to the new coronavirus. Although there is no study stating that the patients who has undergone organ transplant become vulnerable to the infection, but as these patients are on immunosuppressant which decreases the immunity and brings them in the zone of being a high risk patient of COVID-19.

Around the globe, people who are immunosuppressed and at a higher risk for developing complications from COVID-19. Those who are immunosuppressed aren’t able to fight the virus as well — additionally, the virus can multiple more readily in their system which makes it easier for them to transmit it to others.

Social distancing is still the number one way to protect those who have a higher risk of infection. It’s a small step but people who have weakened immune systems are relying on others to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  Maintaining proper hygiene like washing hands and keeping a healthy lifestyle can help in protecting.

#HighRiskCOVID19

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