The COVID-19 pandemic has put us to face a lot of challenges both socially and in respect to health. We have been experiencing an extraordinary challenge from the novel coronavirus pandemic. Healthcare systems and governments all over the world have been fighting against COVID-19 and there is still a massive surge in the number of case world over. 

The magnitude of the problem has left most of the systems helpless and now probably the only solution lies in individual people rather than putting the onus on the government or the healthcare. 

So what is the solution or measures that we need to take for a safe glide over from this pandemic? The sayings ‘Ignorance is bliss’ and ‘knowledge is power’ are both playing against us. How? Ignorance though is bliss keeps a person at high risk of getting infected and also putting others at risk. The amount of information (knowledge) available on the novel coronavirus is so exhaustive that the more we know about the disease the less we know what to do about it. 

Coronavirus has a varied presentation from being asymptomatic to severe respiratory distress syndrome. The effect of the virus is also very unpredictable causing a severe inflammatory response in even an otherwise healthy individual irrespective of age though children are generally spared. Coronavirus not only attacks the lungs but can practically affect any organ system in the body including the heart, nerves, kidneys, gastro-intestines, liver and skin.

Gastrointestinal symptoms can sometimes be the only presenting symptoms for corona infection. The symptoms can be anosmia (loss of smell), nausea, anorexia (decrease in appetite), abdominal cramps and diarrhoea. Most of these symptoms are self-limiting and patients do recover in a few days. However, a few of these patients may progress to a severe lung involvement needing hospitalisation and treatment. 

So it is very important to be aware of these symptoms for recognition of the disease so that adequate measures can be taken to prevent not only the spread of the disease but also to be wary of the fact that any respiratory symptoms that follow may need an institutional care. 

People with chronic digestive conditions such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), digestive cancers and liver diseases could be at high risk of COVID-19 infection. So they should be more careful and take precautions like maintaining personal hygiene, social distancing, use of face mask, avoiding large gathering is the best way of preventing the spread or chances of acquiring the disease. It is also important to maintain proper gut health and a healthy gut is a key to good health. 

Staying healthy both physically and mentally will surely help us tide over the present difficult times. Maintaining a healthy gut by having plenty of green leafy vegetables, high protein foods (egg, lean meat, fish), fruits, wholegrain, probiotics like yoghurt and adequate hydration will probably give a better chance to fight the disease. 

A healthy mind, body and adequate personal care is the best way to prevent or spread the disease.

Eat healthy, live healthy. Future of a healthy world (Free from Coronavirus) starts with you.

Dr Raja Prasad

MS DNB (General Surgery) 

Sr Consultant Surgical Gastroenterologist 

OMNI Hospitals, Kukatpally



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