February 26, 2020
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How To Beat The Virus

Don't self-medicate with drugs like Nimesulide that lower fever but masks SARS

How To Beat The Virus
Tribhuvan Tiwari
How To Beat The Virus
After many false alarms, the first patient of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) tested positive in Goa on Thursday, even as another suspected case was isolated in Delhi’s Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

SARS has arrived in India. And the message, repeatedly, is not to panic. You must seek medical help if suffering from any symptoms, especially if they are visible after a recent visit to, or contact with someone who’s visited a SARS-affected country.

Tips for the public: Try to avoid contact with people who’ve returned from SARS-infected areas in the past 10 days. The person may be carrying the virus even if he/she is apparently healthy—he/she may be in the incubation period.

  • Once you’ve been in contact with such a person, keep a watch if you develop any symptoms: fever, dry cough, headache, muscular stiffness, breathlessness, chest pain, and in some rare cases, skin rash and diarrhoea.

  • Contact your family doctor immediately if you suspect any symptoms.

  • Except for taking mild fever-lowering agents like paracetamol (Crocin, Calpol, etc), do not self-medicate, especially with drugs such as Nimesulide that can sharply lower the fever and mask the underlying disease.

  • Anyone showing symptoms of SARS should be isolated. Strict hygienic measures should be undertaken: washing of hands, use of three-layered surgical masks, cleaning of toilet seats, door handles and other objects.

  • Kill cockroaches since they are suspected of transmitting the virus, especially in multi-storeyed buildings.

  • Avoid visiting crowded places.

Tips for doctors: Doctors should wear surgical masks, both in their clinics and during home visits till India is declared SARS-free.
  • Refer all suspected cases to designated hospitals which can handle SARS cases in your area. Report such cases to the SARS control room at Delhi’s National Institute of Communicable Diseases: 011-23928700 (day); 011-23971326 (between 6 pm and 9.30 am, and on holidays.)

  • Till the patient is transferred to a hospital, treat him/her at home unless his/her condition is deteriorating. Ensure that isolation rooms are available in hospital/nursing home.

  • Pathology labs can send serum samples to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, Delhi, or the National Institute of Virology, Pune, for the final diagnosis.

  • The patient should be reassured that the fact that he/she is being treated for SARS does not mean the diagnosis is confirmed. The mere mention of SARS is frightening and can harm the patient.

Don’t self-medicate with drugs like Nimesulide that lower fever but mask SARS.

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