Breathing exercises, vitamins and gymnastics: expert gives guidelines for treating coronavirus at home
How to treat coronavirus at home? What subtleties people need to be aware of? What preventive measures they need to follow in order not to get infected with a dangerous virus? The ‘Kazakh TV’ channel correspondent asked a professor of the Asfendiyarov Kazakh National Medical University Lyazzat Yeraliyeva these and other questions that currently concern Kazakh residents.
Ms. Yeraliyeva, please tell us what should be the first actions of a patient with suspected coronavirus? How should he behave? Should he first consult a doctor or immediately call an ambulance?
First of all, a person should know all his coronavirus symptoms. He also should know that coronavirus infection proceeds in two distinct phases. This is the pre-respiratory period and the respiratory period. The pre-respiratory stage, which is before sings of damage to the respiratory tract appear, lasts up to nearly a week. There is only one treatment at this stage. In general, the disease stops developing at this stage among the young people. Most importantly, in no case a patient should panic during the pre-respiratory phase – most fears and symptoms are born in our head! No need to call an ambulance right away. It is important to prepare a checklist with possible COVID-19 symptoms. Symptoms of coronavirus include fever, nasal congestion, muscle pain, loss of smell, chest pain, cough, weakness and more. It is recommended to track and draw out the appearance of coronavirus symptoms by day. What is it for? In order to monitor the progress of the disease and understand if there is an improvement or vice versa if your health condition gets worse and you enter the respiratory stage. It is necessary to control yourself and observe the standard breathing rate per minute. Normally, a healthy person makes up to 20 breaths per minute. There should be no difficulty in breathing during movements or some kind of physical activity. All this should be written on the checklist. If a person is sick for more than seven days, he has a dry cough, chest pain and shortness of breath, all of these symptoms must also be written in the checklist. A patient should call to the local physician or call an ambulance, especially, if he is over 65 with chronic diseases.
Tell us the algorithm for at-home treatment?
First of all, drinking plenty of fluids is recommended. Not for nothing they say that the treatment is symptomatic. There are no drugs that directly cure coronavirus. There are simply no such drugs at the moment. Therefore, while at the outpatient stage, that is, at home, the most important thing is to drink warm fluids in abundance. A patient can take ‘Rehydron’ for electrolytes replenishment, fruit drinks, and compotes with currants, rose hips and berries. That is, everything that contains vitamins. If a patient has a fever, he can take antipyretic drugs, but keeping in mind that the time interval between doses should be at least four hours. Physical methods can be used to cool down and lower body temperature. However, it is important to know that if a person tolerates fever well, then it is not necessary to lower the body temperature if it is no greater than 38 degrees Celsius. Fever is a normal reaction of the body. Elevated body temperature means that the body fights and produces immune defense factors. Therefore, a patient should let his body fight against viruses. If there is a vitamin C, D or zinc at home, they can also be used. A patient should have a full sleep of at least eight hours at night. There should be a balanced diet. Restrictive diets are not welcomed at all. No need to breathe alcohol, soda and iodine, which is currently actively promoted on social media. Don’t do it! It is important to learn how to breathe properly, which is breathing with full chest and belly. Usually, men breathe this way, whereas women are more of chest breathers. However, it is important to learn the efficient way to breathe. It is recommended to do breathing exercises, which should be done several times a day. It is good for health to access fresh air and do very moderate physical activity.
Currently, Kazakh population has a tendency to uncontrollably buy up all kinds of antiviral drugs and antibiotics. How dangerous is it? Tell us which of these medicines people can take?
We can say that we are facing a huge problem in terms of what it will result in. First of all, it is important to state that those antiviral drugs that people buy have certain properties. There may be a short-term boost of immune system, but in fact, the body’s resistance depends on the body of a patient itself and on his lifestyle, on whether he has got concomitant diseases or not. This must be remembered. Second, in no case a patient should start treatment with antibiotics. Antibiotics do not work against viruses. People should not use them at the very beginning of treatment. Firstly, they reduce natural immunity, and secondly, antibiotics can have side effects in the form of a rash and diarrhea. When such symptoms appear, the doctor cannot determine whether the patient has a reaction to antibiotics, or it is the way his coronavirus infection progresses. In addition, antibiotics can cause intestinal microflora disturbance. The worst thing that all doctors are afraid of is the development of antibiotic resistance. When time comes for a doctor to have to prescribe antibiotics to a patient, he will not know what drugs to prescribe, because a patient has already developed the antibiotic resistance. In no case should people buy hormones – this is generally a terrible thing. Hormone therapy drugs stimulate a complete hormonal imbalance and they cause a very deep decrease of immune function. These things should be clearly remembered.
In case early coronavirus symptoms appear, what should a patient have in his home first-aid kit? What drugs can be used until the diagnosis is confirmed?
There should be an antipyretic drug. In fact, there are so many of them and the hype surrounding the ‘Paracetamol’ is kind of wrong. The home first-aid kit can have ‘Paracetamol’, ‘Ibufen’, ‘Ibuprofen’, ‘Efferalgan’, ‘Panadol’, or silicone fever-reducing candles and ‘Fervex’ powder. These drugs can easily reduce fever. In addition, people can keep in their first-aid kit vitamins and some absorbable antiseptic throat lozenges and pills in case a patient has a sore throat. They can be stored.
What vitamins would you recommend taking to boost our immune system and not get infected?
Here, it is important to mention that vitamins can affect the immune system indirectly. That is why it cannot be said that if a person is taking vitamin C, he will not get sick. It all depends on the body itself, on a patient’s age and on what kind of viral burden he has received. There is no doubt that vitamin C is the most important vitamin for health. Currently, it is a berry season. Please, make fruit drinks and berry compotes and drink at least three liters of fluids per day.
One of the important questions is about the treatment of children with coronavirus disease. If the child is less than a year old and has a fever, is that a reason to sound the alarm?
Fortunately, coronavirus infection among children is asymptomatic. In half the cases, COVID-19 passes easily with children, damaging only the upper respiratory tract in the form of pharyngitis or rhinitis. Therefore, it can be treated as an ordinary cold. That is, if a child has a fever, reduce it. Drinking a lot of water and light nutrition are recommended. It is important to mention that, according to all world data, coronavirus lets off children lightly, including infants born to women with COVID-19 symptoms. Such cases do exist, but infants, in general, tolerate the disease easily and without symptoms.