To avoid being ill with Covid, the best thing you can do is get vaccinated. However, some persons who have been vaccinated become quite unwell as a result of the disease. Good hospital treatment is crucial, and it has saved countless lives.
Although the science of treating Covid has a long way to go, certain therapies have been demonstrated to be effective, and there are some intriguing new drugs on the horizon. There were also a few that were overhyped and turned out to be disappointments.
Most individuals who acquire Covid won’t need any medications outside paracetamol for pain relief, but a significant proportion of people — the precise percentage is difficult to predict — will become unwell enough to require hospitalisation.
For people in Covid’s hospitals, oxygen has been the most important “treatment.” Of fact, you take in oxygen every time you breathe, but we’re talking about supplemental oxygen when the damage Covid does to the lungs prevents you from getting enough into your lungs and bloodstream. Oxygen is delivered in two ways:
- High-flow, non-invasive oxygen is delivered to the majority of people. They are fitted with a device that allows them to breathe in fast-flowing oxygen through their nose. They also breathe on their own, which is an important feature. The majority of patients survived and progressively recovered their health as a result of the treatment.
- Patients who are really unwell are connected to ventilators that breathe for them. They must be sedated for weeks, if not months. At this point, the majority of patients do not survive.
When do you realise it’s time to go to the hospital? If you are experiencing growing breathlessness, this is a definite symptom.
A pulse oximetry device is also useful if you can get your hands on one. Many of these have been circulating from one household to the next during the pandemic, so ask your friends and relatives whether they have one.
The device is attached to your finger and measures how well your lungs are able to get oxygen into your bloodstream. Peripheral capillary oxygen saturation, or SpO2, is the measurement. A healthy SpO2 level is 95% or higher.
If you have Covid and your SpO2 is less than 94 percent, you may have severe Covid and should visit a hospital for examination and maybe supplementary oxygen. If it falls below 90% on a regular basis, you will need to use supplemental oxygen.
Placing yourself in a prone position
Patients receiving oxygen will be urged to lie on their stomachs (in a prone position). As this study discovered, a modest intervention can make a tremendous difference.
Even though it appears to be a simple task, people must move around. As a result, health professionals must shift terminally ill patients into new postures every couple of hours. It necessitates organisation and forethought.
Steroids were the most effective proven treatment for treating Covid until a few weeks ago.
Patients who are admitted to hospital and require oxygen should be administered a steroid called dexamethasone (or its equivalent), according to South African national standards (6mg per day for 10 days).
If dexamethasone is not available, prednisone (40mg per day for 10 days) – a steroid that behaves similarly to dexamethasone — can be used instead.