This page is not by any authority / medical organisation. But you may find this article concise and useful!
If you have a cough, fever and difficulty breathing immediately contact nearby corona testing facility.
If you have fever and live in an area where dengue or malaria case are reported sometimes, seek medical care immediately.
Colour of urine indicates level of hydration. Clear to pale or light yellow is ideal. Drink a lot of slightly warm filtered drinking water to avoid dehydration.
In our humble opinion, after becoming aware of some symptoms of COVID-19 one should neither panic (and rush towards overcrowded hospitals) nor avoid qualified medical assistance. Do not remain at home without proper guidance/assistance.
A patient himself/herself may be a competent medical professional but s/he should take help of other qualified person for his/her treatment.
Corona, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2
Wear masks when you are not in your private place. If your private space is having possibility of aerosol containing the novel corona virus then you have to wear mask there also :-(. More on wearing masks later in this page.
Don't remain in a crowd and leave crowded places as soon as possible to avoid infection. Try to maintain a distance of more than two/three meters from others. When outdoors, carry a small bottle of a hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol). Use it when you touch anything others might have touched. After entering your private place, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and water.
Contents / Topics
Corona-viruses are a family of viruses that range from the common cold to 'Middle East Respiratory Syndrome' (MERS). COVID-19 (COrona VIrus Disease) is the name given by WHO to the disease that is caused by a new (novel) coronavirus. This newly found coronavirus is now called ‘Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2’ (SARS-CoV-2). This virus is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or even exhales. These droplets float in the air for some time, and then fall on floors, tabletops or surfaces. An infected person may transfer viruses to objects (like knobs, utensils) and other surfaces s/he touches if his/her hand has traces of saliva, nasal discharge, etc.
One can get infected by breathing in the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), if s/he is near to someone who is suffering from COVID-19 or is a carrier of this virus. In spaces without proper ventilation (like lifts, entrances, corridors), airborne transmission is also possible, as smaller infected aerosols (droplets and particles) can float in the air for hours. One can also get infected by touching a contaminated object or surface (where the droplets containing viruses have landed) and then touching his/her eyes, nose or mouth. This virus can live on surfaces like plastic and metal for at least 2 days. Fomites are things, materials which may carry pathogens (viruses, bacteria, ...), such as paper (currency / bank notes), handles, knobs, switches, personal electronic devices, utensils, arm rests, clothes, etc. One can get enough new virulent SARS-CoV-2 viruses to cause COVID-19 by fomites. Clean or disinfect things / surfaces others (might) have touched. If you touch a surface which might have been touched by someone (who do not share living space with you), either wash your hands by soap or use hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your face by bare hand, when not in your home, use handkerchief.
Since the beginning of this millennium, the world has seen outbreaks like SARS, MERS, Bird Flu, Swine Flu, Zika, Ebola, etc.
There may be many reasons for these outbreaks:
- The world is well connected so the chances of quick spread is greater.
- The pathogens causing these outbreaks are novel and deadly!
- May be lifestyle and immunity are now issues! Enjoying nightlife and spending more time indoors resulting in less exposure to sun. Sedentary life style.
- Time taken to make ‘effective’ vaccines is still not less than a year!
I used to think India being not so resourceful and careful will suffer if a deadly virus spread. Luckily, India avoided major outbreaks of these diseases. So I wasn't alarmed when news from Wuhan started appearing! But some of the air-traveler's brought this deadly virus to India.
Since March 2020, we accepted that COVID-19 is a dangerous pandemic. I never agreed with people who said the pandemic is going to be over in few months. Now I have my doubts that even when most of us get vaccinated it will be over. Newer mutants / variants may keep coming like ordinary flu. Whether this virus is about to stay forever like FLU?
It generally takes more than 4 days after contracting the virus for the symptoms to appear.
More than 80% people develop mild flu-like illness and recover after taking care of themselves at home
As per medical bodies ‘common’ symptoms are:
- shortness of breath (serious symptom)
- tiredness / fatigue
- dry cough
- loss of taste or smell
- loss of appetite
- aches and pains
- mucus / phlegm
‘Some other’ symptoms are:
- sore throat
- a rash on skin
- discolouration of fingers / toes
- nausea / vomiting
Healthy people having ‘mild’ symptoms should manage their symptoms at home (with proper isolation from other family members) or in isolation centers.
Seek immediate medical attention if you have following serious symptoms.
- difficulty breathing / shortness of breath
- chest pain or pressure
- loss of speech or movement
- sudden confusion
Now and then we hear about completion of successful trials of various vaccines. Russia first declared its vaccine called 'Sputnik-V' (claiming efficacy rate of more than 90%). There are some other vaccines that have successfully completed all the trials; these vaccines also claimed more than 90% efficacy rate. India has its indigenous vaccine called 'Covaxin' (BBV152) that has more than 75% efficacy rate!
We need to take vaccines even if they are not 100% safe and 100% effective. We need to take a shot (of vaccine) if our job requires us to meet a lot of people. Medical service providers not only need to interact with lots of people and some of them may be carrying SARS-CoV-2; so they need to take vaccine shots. If the vaccine is a two dose one, remember to take the second dose of the same vaccine.
If a person recovers from Covid, s/he may not need vaccination for at least 2-3 months. Talk to a primary health worker if the person has taken the first dose of a vaccine before getting Covid.
Don't rush for a vaccine, nor avoid one. If authorities or your physician think you should be vaccinated, let them vaccinate you.
Choose a remote vaccination center if it is less crowded than a nearby crowded center. (medical tourism :-)
Side effects of vaccination include -
- local side effects at the site of the injection in the arm — pain, swelling, tenderness / sensitivity, redness, itch, warmth and swollen armpit glands.
- systemic side effects affecting the whole body — headache, fatigue, diarrhoea, chills and shiver, fever, pain in joint/s and / or muscle/s, nausea, ... These effects generally peaks within the first 24 hours after vaccination and lasts upto 2 days. For severe side effects seek medical attention.
Even after taking vaccine we need to follow COVID-19 protocols.
One should get the test done as soon as s/he develops any of those symptoms mentioned before. If the test is negative but the symptoms persist, then repeat the test after 2-4 days.
How a sample it taken for testing?
For testing a nasopharyngeal swab or a nasal/throat swab is used. A nasopharyngeal swab is a special 6-inch cotton swab. It is inserted in each of subjects nostrils and moved around (or rotated) for more than 10 seconds. It is uncomfortable but don't hurt. The swab is then used immediately for a test called RAT or securely put in a special vial and sent to a lab for a RT-PCR test mentioned below.
There are three types of tests.
RAT (Rapid Antigen Test) - As the name suggest it is very quick way to find whether a person is suffering from COVID-19 or not. The swab mentioned before is used along with a kit to complete the test. Positive result of RAT indicates that the person is infected with SARS-CoV-2 viruses. Some times this test is not able to correctly detect presence of this virus. So negative result do not always means that the person in not infected with SARS-CoV-2. This test is more reliable when an individual is showing clear symptoms of the infection.
RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) - This is a better but time consuming test. It is ordered when RAT is showing negative result but the patient is showing clear signs/symptoms of COVID-19. It can be done when a person is not having clear symptoms but is having doubt about having infection.
Antibody Testing - It detects whether a person has antibodies to the virus. A person has antibodies if s/he has contracted virus in the past or is vaccinated. A blood sample is required for antibody testing. It does not indicate whether a person is COVID-19 positive or not.
Remember HRCT (High Resolution CT scan) is not recommended if a person is having mild symptoms. It exposes the person to 400 times more radiation than a XRay. It is not a diagnostic test to determine whether a person is COVID-19 positive or not. It is a suggestive procedure that helps in better prognosis. The RTPCR and RAT are diagnostic tools.
Use a pulse oximeter (cheap small ones are also available; called finger oximeter). Check SpO2 if you have symptoms. Let it work for more than 10 seconds and consider the highest and mean reading. Also check your temperature, and breathing rate.
Tell these readings to a primary health worker if -
- SpO2 is below 95
- temperature is above 99 Fahrenheit
- breathing rate is above 20 breaths per minute or below 10 breaths per minute
One can also use a simple 6 minute walking test.
When genetic material (building block) of a virus (or any organism) changes during replication we get a new mutant / variant of that virus (or that organism). When after mutation/s, behavior of a virus changes we get a new strain of that virus.
Whether this novel Coronavirus is mutating faster than ordinary FLU viruses? Because of favorable conditions (mainly low temperature and lower humidity) generally we have more FLU cases in winter.
Whether some mutants / variants of this novel Corona virus are more dangerous than the other mutants of it? One variant is now proven to be more contagious than the other variant in UK! A double mutant is hurting Indians!
Some viruses can jump (transmit) between species, there are chances of significant mutations from those jumps. Authorities of Denmark say they’ve found some genetic changes in this virus in some minks. They further add that this mutation might undermine the effectiveness of present vaccines.
Some COVID-19 survivors again turned positive. Whether immunity is specific to similar variants (a strain) only? We may not have a vaccine that will work against even the future mutations / strains of the SARS-CoV-2?
Future mutants / strains may require re-vaccination; So, Governments should select the vaccine that is not costly for mass vaccination. Governments should also ensure cold chain distribution.
The most important thing for relative(s)/care-giver of a patient who is seeking home treatment is to find a qualified doctor (at least MBBS; who understand biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology, etc.) to guide them. They should be paying him / her for tele-consultations. Get services of an experienced / qualified nurse / paramedic for ensuring proper medication regimen, setting-up oxygen, etc.
Arrange a small pulse oximeter. Check SpO2 every 3-4 hours. Let it work for more than 10 seconds and consider the highest and mean reading. Also check your temperature, and breathing rate.
To avoid concurrent / secondary bacterial infections, antibiotics like Azithromycin are being used. A flu drug called Favipiravir is currently being prescribed (off-lable) by some doctors.
An antiviral prodrug called Remdesivir was originally developed to treat Hepatitis C. It was also used to treat Ebola, etc. This drug is now used as a 'broad-spectrum antiviral medication'. Remdesivir is not very effective against COVID-19. As there isn't any feasible alternative, it is being used to 'treat' COVID-19.
In India, awake proning is being encouraged in patients needing oxygentherapy.
For moderate to severe cases:
- Sometimes a corticosteroids called Dexamethasone is used.
- Tocilizumab is also used in some cases.
- Roche / Regeneron antibody cocktail is also used in some cases.
- Plasma Therapy may be effective in at least some cases!
2-DG Anti-COVID Drug developed by the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) of India, has been approved for emergency use to treat COVID-19 patients, by the India's top drugs controller. The drug comes in powder form in a sachet and is taken orally by dissolving it in water.
Recently ZydusCadila received emergency use approval from DCGI for the use of ‘Virafin’ (Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b) in treating moderate COVID-19 infection in adults. But WHO is saying "interferon regimens appear to have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or the in-hospital course of COVID-19 among hospitalized patients."
Patients in ICUs should be given "warm" humid air to breath and a warmer to compensate for cooler temperature around them?
Patients after recovering from COVID-19 should take good care of themselves. Other health complications may arise because of weakness and immuno-deficiency, like fungal infection mucormycosis.
Taking following oral supplements (in regular doses) during COVID-19 may help you.
- N-Acetylcysteine (NAC)
- Zinc picolinate / Zinc citrate / Zinc gluconate
- Vitamin D3, if you have Vit D deficiency or get very limited exposure to sun-light
- Vitamin C, if you don't eat citrus fruits (like oranges, lemon, ...), peppers, strawberries, or broccoli for weeks
- Pyridoxal-5-phosphate / Pyridoxine (forms of B6)
- Methylfolate / Folic Acid (forms of B9), if you don't eat green vegetables
- MethylCobalamin and / or Adenosylcobalamin (forms of B12), if you are a vegetarian
- Magnesium Citrate
Copper may also help in few cases.
In all most all the cases of copper overload, additional copper supplements will not be beneficial.
Supplements cannot cure or protect anybody from any disease. Supplements can only slightly help you recover faster/better. These can also improve your immunity to a certain level. Do not avoid medical advice even if you are taking enough supplements.
Some of the lifestyle changes mentioned below (like wearing masks, social distancing and exercising) can help you to some extent in avoiding getting infected.
You may consider supplements like Neem-Giloy, Ashwagandha, Shilajit and Spirulina if you know what you are taking and have extra energy, time, etc.
Remember you should not keep on stuffing yourself with nutrients blindly. Some of the nutrients can interact with other nutrients / medications. If you take more than one nutrient pretty regularly, you should keep a record or diary of it.
Masks (particularly N95) are better than simple cloths like handkerchiefs, scarf etc. >>
Because if side of the cloth gets reversed it will undo the purpose.
If you are using regular surgical masks (which are not N95), you may use a cloth over these masks for better protection. Wearing face-shield (or big goggles) and / or extra cloth over masks is necessary if the ventilation is not proper, particularly in the lifts and narrow entrances of multi-storied buildings. The exhaust of a typical lift may be in the shaft only. Keep the doors of the lift remain open for some time before entering!
As washing hands with soap does the purpose of removing the protective lipid layer of the virus (and killing them), we should put washable masks in water containing detergent after using and before washing it. Sunlight has rays like ultraviolet, which are harmful to viruses. It is better to dry masks and your cloths in sunlight.
If your mask breaths with you it has a perfect fit. Masks are also helpful in keeping our nose warm during winter/air-conditioned environments.
Not only masks but covered (safety) spectacles should also be used while in crowded places. Apparently some pathogens can enter our body through eyes (nasolacrimal duct) also.
We don't know that vaccines which are becoming available now will work on most of the mutations of this virus. One has to improve immunity. Immunity can be increased by doing exercises (how easy it is to preach) and taking supplements some of which are mentioned above. Consult your doctor and get you blood tested for deficiencies etc. Sleeping for about 8 hours is good. It may help in maintaining positive thinking.
Don't let your vitamin D level plunge.Soak some daylight specially in winter. It also helps us keep warm. One study says serum zinc levels lower than 50 µg/dl is problematic. In most cases it is helpful to take a regular doze of zinc as soon as you feel like catching cold. If you are feeling healthy and fit, do some exercise!
Low Temperature helps viruses live longer on surfaces (outside hosts) and low humidity decreases our immune response against viruses. So do not sleep in temperature below 25 degree Celsius and do not use dehumidifying functions of Air Conditioners. If possible do not use ACs at all at least without some ventilation.
If you have been inhaling steam in the past to fight the common cold, you may do that if you feel similar symptoms. If you have never inhaled steam it is better to take medical advice or start with inhaling vapors of warm water. As humidity helps so vapors of warm water may help some. The hot steam from boiling water may be harmful to airways and lungs in some cases. Also, it is not easy to handle boiling water. We have to be careful while using steam inhalers or vaporisers. Do not add oils or balms to boiling water.
If you have been gargling for common-cold, sore throat, etc. you may do that for COVID-19 also. Gargling with lukewarm water (or solutions) may help some! Do not pressurize kids or elderly to gargle.
If you have to go to work in the early morning, you may avoid taking bath before going out. It may be better to bathe after coming home than to bathe before going out. Do not bathe frequently as good bacteria help your skin.
If anything is delivered to your home, ask the person who brought it to put the item in a corner. If it is not urgent please do not touch or open it for a day or two. If it is urgent spray some diluted (0.5% to 1%) bleach (sodium hypochlorite), washing soda (sodium carbonate) or alcohol based sanitizer on to it before opening the packaging. Sanitize your hand after handling the item.
We all will personally (not just financially) get the brunt of this virus.
To console someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19, we can say to him/her: "It is likely that most of us are going to get infected sooner or later like the common cold. So fight it out."
It's better to wash our newly bought food stock in salt water before cooking/using them. Use some cheap unbranded salt. Put lots of salt in a tub full of water, first wash those vegetables (like coriander leaves) and fruits (like grape) that are consumed without peeling. In the end wash roots which contains soil traces. Instead of ordinary salt some people use baking soda. Washing helps in getting rid of other contamination as chances of getting the virus through food items is rare.
If possible pay and receive money electronically. But some times we cannot avoid using cash.
If you are out shopping, take a pouch or small carry-bag with you. Ask the shopkeeper to put change s/he returns in that pouch. The next day you can use that change.
If you are running a shop keep two cash boxes, mark them as 'Even' and 'Odd'. Suppose you start this practice from an even date, put your all your cash in the box marked 'Odd'. Now on this day (with even date), ask your customers to put cash they give in the box marked 'Even', and give them the change from the box marked 'Odd'. Next day (odd date) when you open your counter, transfer the remaining cash from the box marked 'Odd' to the box marked 'Even'. Now accept the cash in the box 'Odd' and give change from the box 'Even'.
Regularly Updated; Initially Published: 13 Apr 2020;
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Authorities in India said that most of those who tested positive for COVID-19 are asymptomatic. What percentage of them might have become carriers?
Fortunately (strangely) during winter, number of COVID-19 infections in India declined day by day! May be humidity wasn't very low or strain(s) in India adopted to normal temperatures! Again since March 2021 there is upward trend in number of infections per day. The events like local and state elections, marriages, religious gatherings, lifting of inter district travel restrictions etc. may be the reasons for the second wave. In some parts of India the UK variant is responsible while in other parts of India the double mutant is responsible. The number of new cases reported per day now have risen to all time high.
Now we know, the HIV drug combination ritonavir/lopinavir is ineffective in treating COVID-19. The Malaria drug HCQ (hydroxychloroquine) is not being used by some doctors.
Is COVID-19 going to eliminate sizable (say 0.5%) population worldwide in 2-3 years? Whether we will have timely and effective vaccination and treatment from all the present as well as future mutants of SARS-CoV-2? Time will tell.
Published by Akhilesh Gupta. First few updates were with inputs from Dr. Surendra Kr. Gupta (MS), Surila (BSc, D Pharm), Sameer and Neeraj-prabha. Recent update was by Dr. Aditi Gupta (MBBS).
Do not copy the text from this page and paste it because this page will be actively updated with useful information form time to come. Also, copying somebody's text is not cool. Lots of people have copied my texts to their Social-media pages and included result(s) of my research in Wikipedia without taking permission or giving credit.
Nutrients are important not only for physical health but also for mental health!