In a virtual address, leading doctors of the country — Dr Randeep Guleria, Dr Devi Shetty, and Dr Naresh Trehan — talked in detail about COVID-19 precautions, symptoms, oxygen saturation, hospitalisation, and other related issues, as people across the country find themselves battling a grave crisis amid the second wave of the pandemic.
In a video that was streamed by ANI, Dr Devi Shetty, Chairman, Narayana Health, talked about the symptoms that one should look out for. “If you have any symptom like body ache, cold, cough, indigestion, vomiting — I have one important message — get yourself tested for Coronavirus. Don’t panic if you get COVID19 positive report,” he said.
He added that there is a possibility that one might be asymptomatic. “If so, the doctors will tell you to stay at home, isolate yourself, wear a mask and check your oxygen saturation every six hours,” he added.
“Most will have symptoms like common cold, sore throat, etc. Over 5-7 days, they’ll recover with symptomatic treatment,” Dr Randeep Guleria, director, AIIMS Delhi, also said.
Amid states facing a shortage of medical oxygen, the doctors stressed that it should be used judiciously; every patient may not need it. “We have enough oxygen if we use it judiciously. I want to tell the public that if you don’t need oxygen then don’t use it as a security blanket. Waste of oxygen will only lead to depriving someone who needs it,” Dr Naresh Trehan, chairman, Medanta, remarked.
One need not worry if the oxygen saturation is above 94 per cent, Dr Shetty assured. “But if it is falling after exercise, then you must call a doctor. It’s important you get the right treatment at the right time.”
The medical experts emphasised that every COVID-19 patient need not rush to the hospital. “Unnecessary rushing to the hospital will only lead to chaos… Most of the people will recover without hospitalisation. Don’t rush to hospitals because in doing so you are denying someone more serious of his or her right,” Dr Guleria stated.
Dr Trehan also added that there is “no such thing as preventive hospitalisation”. “Less percentage of the population requires hospitalisation. The hospital beds should be utilised judiciously. We must take responsibility for this.”
More than 85 per cent of patients will recover without steroids or serious medicines like Remdisivir and other drugs, Dr Guleria stressed. He said that only a certain per cent of patients require convalescent plasma.
“We’ve now made a protocol that Remdesivir is to be given not to everyone who tests positive. Only after a doctor has looked at test results, symptoms, comorbidities, it’s to be given. Remdesivir isn’t a ‘Ramban‘,” Dr Trehan mentioned.
With reports of some people testing COVID-19 positive even after the second dose of the vaccine, some doubts have been raised on its efficacy. Dr Guleria, however, said, “People say what is the use of getting COVID vaccine because we know someone who had taken the vaccine but still got COVID-19. I want to reiterate that you can still get the virus but it will lessen the severity of the virus.”
Even after being vaccinated one should continue to follow COVID-19 protocol and wear masks. “The vaccine prevents you from getting the disease in the form of severe illness. It may not prevent you from getting the infection. Important to understand that even after the vaccine we may have a positive report, it is why important to wear a mask even after the vaccine.”
The doctors also urged citizens to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour to break the chain of transmission; they should wear masks, avoid crowds and practise social distancing. One should make sure that the air in a closed room is well circulated since the virus can float in the air for a long time.