Syeda Fatima Hasnain
THE outbreak of COVID-19 as a pan
demic has serious consequences for hu
man life, health systems and economy worldwide. Various countries are in major lockdowns to prevent and contain the pandemic but all these efforts are not that fruitful. Health systems of many countries are on the verge of collapsing. No authentic cure has yet been discovered for this contagious virus. A vaccine is still underway in creation. Millions of humans have succumbed to this virus and still there are no signs of the pandemic stopping.
Role of Immune system in COVID-19: A balanced and healthy immune system plays a crucial role in protection against diseases and unknown dangerous foreign bodies. A proper immune system detects and differentiates foreign bodies such as bacteria, virus and parasites from healthy body tissues and attacks these foreign bodies. Food safety is an important practice in maintaining a healthy immune system. Food containing toxins and chemicals adversely affects the immune system. Long-term exposure to chemicals naturally occurring toxins, heavy metals and pollutants infested foods can destroy the immune system. Proper intake of water is also important in maintaining a healthy immune system as it hydrates the body and removes toxins from the body. No proper life saving drug has been discovered yet for the treatment of COVID-19. Many countries are carrying out trials for vaccines but none of them have been successful till now. Greater emphasis is being given on immuno-pathology of COVID-19 as this may help in the discovery of a vaccine or life saving drug. Immunotherapy is considered as a forefront for Covid-19 patients as it provides a protective effect and makes the immune system strong for fighting off the virus.
Preventive health and nutrition practices: To stay healthy during this pandemic, it is necessary to monitor daily health during this medical crisis. If shortness of breath, cough, sneeze, temperature or other symptoms occur, it is necessary to get tested immediately. In case of positive test, isolation of patient is necessary to prevent others in close proximity from getting infected. While dealing with infected patient, precautionary measures must be taken such as wearing gloves, masks and maintaining distance. Masks and gloves should be discarded to prevent further spreading of virus. Excessive trips to public places should be prevented.
According to medical experts immuno-compromised people are more vulnerable to covid-19 as compared to a person with a healthy immune system. It is necessary to keep a balanced immune system for prevention against covid-19. Healthy and proper diet plays a crucial role in maintaining a proper working immune system. A person with strong immune system is less likely to fall victim to COVID-19. It is important to regulate nutrients in Covid-19 infected patients to maintain energy and prevent weakness. Patients that require intubations or ventilators are not able to meet their nutritional requirements properly. During the phase of recovery it is important to supply adequate nutrients to the patient otherwise recovery can be slow leading to other health risks such as weakened immunity, vulnerability to other infections, ulcers and loss of muscle. Preventive hygiene practices: Hygiene plays an important role in prevention of Covid-19. It spreads through droplets produced from the infected person through sneeze and cough mainly. It is contagious and spreads from person to person.
A comparison of past and present: The genetic makeup of the 1918 virus is similar to Covid-19. The mode of spreading of both the viruses is from person to person. The mortality rate of the 1918 virus was 0.5-1.0% whereas of covid-19 is 3-5%. The 1918 flu mostly affected middle aged people but Covid-19 affects mostly old aged people but in many cases younger people have also been affected. In the past, people majorly relied on non-scientific treatments such as herbs and oils extracted from animals and plants. During the 1918 flu, snake oil, tar honey, mandrake pills and different ointments were on the rise as a cure. But after almost 100 years, today people approach a more scientific way of treatment. Even though no cure or vaccine of Covid-19 has yet been found but trials for vaccines and life saving drugs are being carried out.
—The writer is freelance columnist, based in Rawalpindi.
Syeda Fatima Hasnain