Don’t venture out, use air purifiers, work from home or leave Delhi-NCR – this is the advice doctors are giving to those who have suffered from a moderate to severe outbreak of Covid-19 disease in the last two years. .
As air quality around Delhi-NCR has fallen into the severe category, with the Air Quality Index or AQI soaring as high as 600 in parts of the capital, people who suffered from moderate or severe Covid are bearing the brunt of the weather. much more than healthy individuals
From fluctuations in oxygen saturation (SpO2) to lung complications, uncontrollable coughing fits, asthma attacks, and even the potential for pulmonary insufficiency – these patients are experiencing or are likely to experience multiple health problems with worsening quality of care. air.
With no relief in sight, patients who had suffered from a Covid infection that required steroids, oxygen and hospitalization – or those who had a prolonged or delayed recovery – will need to be especially careful during these days.
According to Dr. Ravi Shekhar Jha, Director of Pulmonology at Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad, “Patients who had covid in the past, if exposed to increasing air pollution, can have various health effects depending on the severity. of his previous covid infection.
Jha explained that those who have residual pulmonary fibrosis and are exposed to air pollution are more likely to experience respiratory failure if they contract an infection. “Air pollution affects our lung immunity, and if the lungs are exposed to some infection, pneumonia can be complicated. Also, as post-Covid lungs have a lower reserve, patients may go into respiratory failure earlier than usual,” she warned.
Jha said it has been seen in clinical practice that Covid infection has unmasked asthma in some patients. “If they are exposed to pollutants, they tend to have asthma attacks.”
Dr. Rajesh Chawla, senior consultant in pulmonology and critical care at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, has observed a similar trend. “Post-Covid, in some patients, a cough variant of asthma has been noted where patients do not make a wheezing sound but witness an uncontrollable coughing fit.”
What are the symptoms?
From uncontrollable bouts of coughing and weakness to a runny nose, chest tightness, and sometimes even a low-grade fever, doctors are looking at a number of symptoms triggered by worsening air quality.
According to Dr. Animesh Arya, Head of Department of Pulmonology and Respiratory Medicine, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, Delhi, “Former Covid-19 patients are experiencing complications in the lungs, including shortness of breath, shortness of breath, cough, and throat irritation.”
In fact, Dr. Chawla said that patients are not responding to regular medicine and are taking much longer to respond. “We need to prescribe stronger medications like bronchodilators. Generally, patients improve within 4 to 5 days after taking medication, but at this time it takes more than a week or almost two weeks for patients to recover.”
What can be done?
Mayank Saxena, MD, senior consultant pulmonology, Max Super Specialty Hospital, Vaishali, is “seeing cough that is not controlled by home or anti-allergy treatment and requires inhalers and nebulization as a last resort.”
Saxena said that “some patients who had recovered but had signs of pulmonary fibrosis and still have a lower baseline SpO2 of 92-94% at normal resting state show signs of fluctuations in SpO2 levels below 90%.”
SpO2, also known as oxygen saturation, is a measure of how much oxygen our blood is carrying as a percentage of the maximum it could carry. For a healthy person, normal SpO2 should be between 96% and 99%.
As a note of caution, Saxena said, he is advising his patients, who had moderate or severe Covid, to stay indoors, use air purifiers, work from home or even change locations for the time being.
“Air purifiers have a definite role,” Saxena said, adding that HEPA filters and non-ionizing air purifiers in appropriately sized rooms could be helpful in improving respiratory symptoms.
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