Dr. Stoycho Katsarov: Don’t panic! Follow a few simple rules

There is a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-19 and it is not a conspiracy. It is neither the only nor the first virus we encounter. It spreads like the flu, the death rate is slightly higher, and the elderly are most at risk.

Like any other infection that spreads through airborne droplets, it cannot be stopped. Its spread can only be delayed. It is estimated that the spread stops when between 40 and 60% of the population develops immunity.

Therefore, if you haven’t been sick yet, there is about a 50% chance of encountering the virus before the epidemic subsides. There is no exact estimate of how many people in Bulgaria have been confronted with the virus so far, but it can reasonably be assumed that their numbers will be between 600 and 800 thousand by mid-November.

The good news is that in 8 out of 10 people the infection is asymptomatic. About 20% of all patients will have various flu-like symptoms, and between 1 and 3% will require intensive care.

It is impossible to say in advance how the disease will develop in you. The risks of complications increase with age and with the presence of other chronic diseases and conditions, especially if they are not treated.

What would be the most useful behavior in such a situation?

You don’t have to do anything special.

Eat as you normally do. It doesn’t hurt to add some more fruits and vegetables to the menu, but the most important thing is to eat different foods. The height of the epidemic is not the best time for different diets.

Physical activity always makes sense, and even more so in the current situation. Regular walks in the park, on the mountain, or even on the street can only improve your general fitness.

Limit contact with many people if possible. If you can miss weddings, funerals, and other household gatherings, do so. Learn to shop in larger quantities less often. Avoid public transport by car or on foot if possible. If that’s not possible, see if you can at least avoid public transportation during rush hour, when there are the most people.

Wear a mask when you are indoors or among many people in the immediate vicinity, wash your hands with soap and water when you go home.

You do not need to take any medicines or supplements beforehand. When you eat rationally, your body has already provided the necessary amounts of vitamins and trace elements. In that case, it won’t harm you, but it won’t help you to take in extra amounts.

Don’t stock up on antibiotics. Antibiotics do not lower the temperature. They do not affect the coronavirus or other viruses. They can be useful in a bacterial infection, but there is no antibiotic that kills all bacteria, nor one that is sensitive to all antibiotics. Taking an antibiotic is effective only after determining the cause of the disease, which can become clinical, and preferably after an antibiogram. Since you are not sure whether you will get a bacterial infection or what will cause it, the chances of stocking up on the right antibiotic are minimal, so buying ahead is pointless. With random use of antibiotics, you can only create resistant strains of bacteria that will kill you or the people you pass them on.

It’s even more foolish to stock up on heparins, fraxiparines and other anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents. They are used only in some cases of severe Kovid, under medical supervision and monitoring of coagulation parameters. You can cause major problems, including death, if you use them alone.

If you have symptoms of Kovid – fever, runny nose, fatigue, muscle pain, loss of taste and smell, cough, and the like, don’t run for a PCR test or look for free beds in hospitals. Whether the complaints are caused by a coronavirus or another virus, the treatment is the same in uncomplicated cases. It usually comes down to resting, taking more fluids, vitamins, painkillers and antipyretics if you have a very high temperature, cough medicines and more. Contact your doctor for advice and possibly a sick report to stay at home for the next few days. In 80-90% of cases this is sufficient. Even if you have had a coronavirus infection, it is unlikely that you will infect someone else 3-4 days after the symptoms disappear.

The presence of a cough and even pneumonia is not an indication for hospitalization. You can also successfully treat pneumonia at home, where conditions are likely to be better than in the hospital, where there is also the risk of catching another infection from other patients. If the coronavirus infection overlaps with a bacterial infection, your doctor will prescribe the appropriate antibiotic.

You may want to consider hospital treatment for breathlessness as you may need supplemental oxygen. Please consult your personal doctor who will be best able to assess when you need it as he will take into account all other illnesses you may have.

Finally, perhaps the best advice in the current situation is not to panic. Don’t worry that you could get infected, as there is a 50% chance that this will happen, and 99.7% of all people infected with the coronavirus will become infected. If you develop symptoms of an illness, don’t panic, as there is a good chance that it will disappear in the same way as with previous flu and other viral infections.

Don’t be afraid to even go to the hospital as your chances of recovery are still very high – 93% of patients admitted to the hospital with Kovid recover.

The panic associated with the spread of the coronavirus can be more dangerous than the virus itself. In addition to having psychological and financial consequences for you, panic can also worsen your health, especially if you fail to monitor and treat the various chronic illnesses and conditions you have.

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