Adaptation during Corona: New normal
The spread of any infectious disease can be prevented by number of ways. Since there is no specific cure for this new corona disease or COVID-19 and still there is no vaccine licensed, we could prevent the spread of this deadly pandemic by changing our lifestyles and by following some etiquette. In other words we have to make some adaptations with our behaviour and attitude to cope with COVID-19.
Some specific health rules prescribed by the World Health Organization (WHO) must be followed. For example, washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or to use a sanitizer for 8 to 12 times a day, using a mask, to observe social and physical distance (minimum 3 feet), staying indoors and avoid public gatherings.
Many have defined them as "Social Vaccination". In short, 'SMS' (Social Distance, Musk, and Sanitation) means social distance, mask and hand washing. In addition, we need to be accustomed to more social etiquette: giving up the habit of shaking hands, hugging and greeting with kissing someone's cheeks. These are very important to protect yourself and others from coronary infections.
In my opinion, if the lockdown is prolonged in a country like ours, the poor people will face severe financial losses and the country as a whole will be at economic crisis. In other words, the lockdown will have a negative impact on the economy and livelihood of millions of people. So lockdown alone may not be the only way to prevent corona.
The best way is to avoid public gatherings and quarantine the elderly and vulnerable groups. Only then it will be possible to reduce the mortality rate. At the same time, efforts should be made to formulate proper effective strategies for the already existing service facilities to improve the necessary health service delivery and overall coordination for the treatment of the infected people. It is imperative to have proper planning and implement our existing infrastructure.
In a country with limited resources we can't waste money for building new setups. So we need to identify the clinical COVID-19 cases. Diagnosis should be confirmed through RT-PCR examination and triage to be done for COVID-19. Suspected and non-COVID-19 cases based on clinical criteria should be ensured. Properly diagnosed and identified cases need to be hospitalized or isolated as needed. Everyone else who has come in contact with infected people must be traced and all of them to be quarantined and must be monitored separately.
The time has come to improve our healthcare system to do tracing and tracking to prevent all potential infections. The most important thing is to emphasize the need to use masks in public and to use it in a proper manner. We must motivate the public to do so to eliminate the habit of wearing the mask around the neck or hanging around the ears on one side. Always make sure that the musk is well fitted and it covers the nose and chin. We should never lift our hands above the shoulders. And hands should be sanitized or washed before touching the face, eyes or nose. At the same time there should be strict protocols and implementations of health hygiene in all public transportation, bazaars and shopping centres.
One should try to increase one's immunity in a natural way. It can be increased by:
1. Adequate sleep: In fact, inadequate or light quality sleep quickly weakens the body and pushes us towards illness. Remember that sleep and the body's immune system are very closely linked.
2. Eating fruits & vegetable: Plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and citrus foods that are rich in nutrients and antioxidants will help to fight harmful germs. The antioxidants in these foods help reduce inflammation by fighting compounds called free radicals.
3. Consuming healthy fats: healthy fats are found in olive oil, marine fish and seafood. It can reduce inflammation and increase immunity. Olive oil, which is highly anti-inflammatory, helps control and reduces chronic diseases such as heart disease and type-2 diabetes. Also, its anti-inflammatory properties can help body to fight against harmful pathogenic bacteria and viruses.
4. Probiotics: Eating a probiotic supplement every day is a good way to combat infection. Yogurt is one of these probiotics.
5. Limiting sugary foods.
6. Moderate exercise.
7. Avoiding dehydration and to drink plenty of fluids and water.
8. Controlling stress.
9. Eating some supplements - for example, vitamin C, vitamin D. Spicy cooked food like ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin.
Remember, until the corona virus vaccine is available and the corona is eradicated, we have to get used to new normal lifestyle to cope with corona in a new way. So there is no alternative to obeying the etiquettes and restrictions on habits. Gradually, we will have to learn to adapt the corona virus situation and other emerging mutant viruses in the future.
The writer is president, Bangladesh Paediatric Association, retired professor and Head of Paediatric Medicine & Paediatric Cardiology