Coronavirus wave 2 – Why 5 to 10 days are so crucial for Covid19 positive patients (All you need to know)
In the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is another facet of the disease that we are beginning to see unfold, with more clarity now than before. Though most cases recover during the 14-day isolation period, some of the seemingly mildest coronavirus cases may go from manageable to worse around day 5-10.
People try to manage mild cases at home. It works well too as getting admitted to a hospital when all your parameters are fine makes no sense – especially since the hospitals are already at breaking point.
But even those persons who have been diagnosed as mild or asymptomatic cases should also monitor all symptoms at home.
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It is only through day 5-10 that the actual nature or severity of the infection can be determined, say doctors. Experts say that this section of your 14-day isolation period can shed light on the likely complications one may suffer post-COVID. It can also hint at the actual severity of the infection.
What triggers the Day 5-10 storm?
The period of illness and recovery from COVID-19 in general terms needs to be split into 3 sections of Day 1-4, Day 5-10, Day 11-14. The first days post the onset of symptoms could feel differently for different people and are generally considered a reaction to the viral infection. However, in the second part of this illness (Day 6 or 7), the immune system in some persons’ cases gets over-stimulated and produces a large number of antibodies to root out the infection, flooding the body with fluids and inflammation. This is the actual beginning of the battle for many people. Suddenly, the illness that seemed to be plateauing or stabilizing around the end of week one, begins to take a turn for the worse, leaving everyone baffled.
According to a research paper from the US Library of Medicine, the symptomatology of COVID-19 indicates that lethal outcomes of infection rely on neurogenic mechanisms. The brainstem autonomic network allows SARS-CoV-2 to trigger a neurogenic switch to hypertension and hypoventilation. This late phase involves a “cytokine storm” (also called macrophage activation syndrome), as observed in various infectious and non-infectious diseases, i.e., an excessive inflammatory response caused by a dysregulated host immune response.
What symptoms should one be on the lookout for?
There are warning signs that make one feel it is time to seek hospitalisation and treatment in person. Oxygen level begins to dip, delirium and shooting fever, fever that won’t go down for long after an antipyretic, distressed breathing, extreme discomfort, heaviness etc set in. Hypoxia, the critical condition when oxygen levels go too low without other visible symptoms could also occur in the second phase of infection.
Which set of patients is likely to suffer this storm?
Patients with known or unknown comorbidities are likely to develop cytokine storm conditions more. Persons suffering from high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, immuno-suppression medication (due to transplant or auto-immune disorders etc), immuno-compromised due to previous infections (like HIV etc) run the risk of being hit by these Phase-Two complications in this coronavirus-driven disease. But that is not the cardinal rule. In the second wave in India, there are reports of early-stage lung involvement even in young and healthy patients. So it is important for all persons to stay alert and get timely chest scans, X-rays and crucial blood work done as and when the doctor advises it.
So what to do if symptoms worsen around Day 6-10?
The severity of the infection can seriously hamper a person’s recovery. Timely action on the symptoms, detection, and quickly taking the next steps is important. Serious cases need hospitalisation and proper care. Therefore, it is important that while one is in home isolation in the initial period, one stays in touch with the medical care provider, keeps tracking all symptoms (even if it does not feel worse than before) and act as the doctor suggests. Depending on the symptoms, the doctor may advise the use of supplementary oxygen therapy, experimental drugs to reduce inflammation or block the virus from causing more damage. Until doctors take over, if one feels short of breath, lie on your stomach instead of on the back. This helps oxygen level to lift and one can breathe easy. This technique is called proning or prone breathing technique.
Meanwhile, one must also realise that the mind and our breath have a small but significant role to play in our recovery. According to a paper presented to the National Library of Medicine (US) through the International Journal of Yoga by Gabriella Andra Biri (Faculty of Pedagogy and Psychology, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary) and others, an advanced controlled cyclic rhythmic breathing technique, provides relief from multiple problems associated with mind, body, and emotions.
This paper extolls the importance of Sudarshan Kriya Yoga
SKY, an advanced controlled cyclic rhythmic breathing technique, that provides relief from multiple problems associated with mind, body, and emotions. Host immunity is an essential tool that enables the body to eradicate microbial infections. A hampered immune system as characterized by lymphopenia is one of the important features in cases of COVID-19 infection. SKY brings about relaxation and results in the increase of total T-cells and their T-helper subsets, the NK cells (Group I innate lymphocytes), and antioxidant defence in the body.
The paper also cites a study carried out at AIIMS, New Delhi, on gene expression profiling in SKY practitioners. This study demonstrated evidence of the beneficial effect of SKY on antioxidant status. The study reported improved antioxidant status both at the RNA level and enzyme activity level in SKY practitioners. This was accompanied by better immune status due to upregulation of antiapoptotic genes and prosurvival genes prolonging the life span of lymphocytes in these individuals.
So, it is never too late to learn Pranayam, or Sudarshan Kriya Yog, and meditation. These can help one recover well from several illnesses while also taking treatment under modern medicine.
Coronavirus wave 2 – Why 5 to 10 days are so crucial for Covid19 positive patients All you need to know
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