There are currently no approved medications or vaccines to cure COVID-19. The virus causing the infections, SARS-CoV-2 seems to be changing and mutating continuously. While extensive research is being carried out to find a cure, prevention is the best solution.
In this article, we will discuss how symptoms of COVID-19 (depending upon their severity) are being managed. To understand treatment strategies for COVID-19, we must break the disease into its stages - because treatment is different at each stage.
(You can watch a video at the end of the article to understand this topic in brief)
Asymptomatic and Pre-Symptomatic patients
The good news or not so good news is that in a majority of patients, there are no symptoms. Such asymptomatic patients have to stay at home and follow social distancing (as much as possible), take adequate rest, eat healthy and stay positive. If patients are not showing any symptoms, they will not require hospitalization and no particular treatment.
Mild symptoms of Coronavirus include fever, sore throat, headache, muscle pain, nasal congestion, and shortness of breath. Patients with mild symptoms can recover at home with prescribed Over-The-Counter medicines and do not require hospitalization.
The following tips will be useful:
- Treat a sore throat with honey & lemon water or throat lozenges
- Use a humidifier. Turn the shower on hot and breathe in steam in the bathroom
- Hydrate, Hydrate, and Hydrate! Preferably drink warm water
- Take plenty of rest and do not leave the house
- Wash bed sheets, towels, and clothes in hot water and iron to disinfect them
These are patients with Pneumonia without any signs of severe disease. Respiratory rate is below 30 per minute and oxygen saturation (SPO2) is above 90%.
These patients will need close monitoring under medical supervision - especially of the blood oxygen levels. Apart from supportive and symptomatic management, they may need oxygen through Mechanical Ventilation.
A very small fraction of patients will become seriously ill - these are usually the elderly, immune-compromised, those with pre-existing illnesses like Diabetes, Hypertension, Heart disease, and Kidney ailments.
They develop Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), Heart complications, Kidney disease, Clotting disorders, etc. These patients will require therapy of some kind, they may also need to be placed on ventilators in case they cannot breathe for themselves.
The various treatment options available for them are:
- Anti Viral drugs like Remdesivir and others
- Immune modulators like Hydroxychloroquine - not enough evidence to support its use
- Convalescent Plasma therapy - using plasma of a patient who has recovered from Covid-19 and has antibodies in his blood
- Anticoagulants and other therapies including kidney dialysis depending upon their requirement
As we can see - on account of lack of any acceptable treatment protocols it is recommended that Prevention is the best strategy - Physical distance of 2 meters from other humans and frequent handwashing with soap and water.
Stay Safe. Stay Healthy.