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COVID-19 is a highly contagious type of viral infection which managed to spread to, as of March 2020, 177 countries across the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) has deemed this disease a pandemic, and all affected nations are currently taking appropriate steps to contain the spread of this infection.

At the same time, doctors, epidemiologists and scientists are conducting research into this novel strain of the coronavirus infection to control and minimize its global impact. There is, as yet, no vaccine or cure available for this disease, which suggests that worldwide and strict adherence of all the preventive measures recommended by the WHO is the best method humankind currently has to limit and fight this disease.

Social distancing is one of the recommended preventive measures, and many governments - including that of India - have enforced partial or complete lockdowns to make sure social distancing actually works. The fallout is that most people are currently either working from home or confined within their homes along with the rest of their families. Such a situation can lead to mental health issues, like cabin fever.

But that apart, one has to remember that there are many seasonal diseases and infections, as well as other health issues that can arise whether the threat of COVID-19 is dealt with soon or not. These issues can plague you even when you’re at home, especially when it comes to diseases like malaria, chikungunya, typhoid and jaundice. Here are a few health issues you should be focusing on during the COVID-19 pandemic, apart from taking all the preventive measures for COVID-19 as well.

  1. Why avoiding health problems is important during the COVID-19 pandemic
  2. Health problems to avoid during the COVID-19 pandemic
  3. Common cold
  4. Malaria
  5. Food poisoning
  6. Injuries
  7. Dengue fever
  8. Typhoid
  9. Jaundice
  10. Chikungunya
  11. Chickenpox
  12. Doctors for Don't miss the signs of these diseases in the panic around COVID-19

There are two reasons why taking constant and good care of your health is of utmost importance right now:

  • People with a weak immune system are generally more susceptible to infections and diseases. During a pandemic like the COVID-19 infection, it’s important to make sure your immunity isn’t weakened in any way, because that would inevitably make you more at risk of having complications in case you are infected by the novel strain of coronavirus.
  • It’s natural for healthcare services to be stretched and overworked during a pandemic, and with COVID-19, this demand on healthcare professionals is huge. It’s therefore your moral and civil responsibility to take good care of yourself and avoid adding a burden on already taxed professionals for a health problem that could be avoided if you’d only taken the precautions.

The months during which the COVID-19 pandemic spread and peaked over 177 countries were January to March 2020 (as of now). These months mark the last stage of winter, the passage of spring and the onset of summer in the northern hemisphere, especially India. These seasons are naturally marked by a number of health issues, especially due to season change. This apart, there are a number of health issues that can arise due to staying at home during a COVID-19 lockdown. The following are all the diseases and health issues you should be paying attention to right now.

Adults can get two-three bouts of common cold every year, and children are even more susceptible to this health issue that has sneezing, sore throat, cough, stuffy or runny nose, etc. as symptoms. Common cold is an upper respiratory tract infection caused by viruses - rhinovirus is the most usual suspect - and can occur if you have a weak immune system or during season changes. 

Because of overlapping or similar symptoms, having a cold during the COVID-19 pandemic can mean stress, fear and anxiety about your state of health. Even if it’s proved that you have just a case of cold and not COVID-19, your immune system would be weakened and people coming in contact with you could also contract the cold from you. This is the reason why taking proper preventive measures against the common cold is very important currently. 

Prevention: Wash your hands regularly with soap and water to avoid the spread of viruses, drink plenty of fluids, get enough vitamins and minerals through your diet (especially vitamin C) and make sure your immune system is strong.

Malaria is a disease that is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium and spread by mosquitoes - specifically female ones. Malaria also causes flu-like symptoms, which include fever, headache, vomiting, shivering and exhaustion. If you have cerebral malaria, the symptoms can be worse. Not only is malaria a disease that can overly tax and drain your immune system, it’s also a disease that might require hospitalisation if too severe. These are the two primary reasons why preventing malaria right now is of the utmost importance.

Prevention: Avoid water stagnation and mosquito bites at all costs. Keep infants, children and older people particularly safe.

Eating or drinking out is one of the main causes of food poisoning, especially if the ingredients used for cooking are contaminated with microbes, bacteria or pathogens of any type. If your food is undercooked, especially fish, chicken or meat, you’re also likely to get salmonella infection or listeriosis. While COVID-19 itself isn’t transmitted through food, getting food poisoning during this pandemic is quite likely if you’re getting your meals delivered or not cooking your meals properly with fresh ingredients at home.

Food poisoning requires hospitalisation in very rare and severe cases, but if too severe, the stomach pain, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea can be quite difficult to manage. Antibiotics and rehydration by intake of electrolytes usually aids in the recovery.

Prevention: The best way to prevent food poisoning is by eating safely prepared. healthy home-cooked meals.

Staying at home during a lockdown can be difficult, and it might inspire you to undertake home cleaning and improvement projects - which in turn can cause injuries. Injuries are anyways likely to happen during everyday pursuits, but you need to be extra cautious during a pandemic like COVID-19, because if you have a serious injury like a severe burn, bone fracture or a cut that requires stitches and tetanus injections, you’ll have to visit the hospital for emergency care. Apart from exposing you to infections at the hospital, a visit to the hospital can also divert medical attention. 

This however, does not mean that you should avoid getting medical aid for an injury once it does happen or ignore it. Instead, your focus should be to avoid all injuries, even a paper cut during a pandemic.

Prevention: Take proper precautions while undertaking any activity to minimize injuries.

Another disease spread by mosquitoes, dengue fever is a type of viral infection which is very difficult to treat currently because of a lack of antiviral treatment protocol. The symptoms of dengue fever include a sudden onset of high-grade fever, severe headache, nausea, pain behind the eyes, joint pain, tiredness, body ache, loss of appetite and skin rash. This is yet another disease which has overlapping symptoms with COVID-19, so if you too have any symptoms, you should contact a doctor immediately. 

Prevention: Avoid water stagnation and mosquito bites, and use repellants, insecticides, etc to avoid the growth of mosquito larvae.

Caused by a bacteria called Salmonella typhi, typhoid is an infectious bacterial disease which is transmitted through the faecal-oral route. Mostly, typhoid occurs due to contaminated food and water, poor hygiene, open defecation, etc. Its main symptoms include fever, stomach pain, loss of appetite, headache, diarrhea and cough. Typhoid is treated with antibiotics, but if left untreated it can cause fatigue, bleeding and even death.

Typhoid is not a disease you should take lightly ever. And while it usually spreads during monsoon, rains during spring and summer can also cause it.

Prevention: Consume safe drinking water, wash vegetables and fruits only after washing them thoroughly, and maintain proper hygiene and sanitation.

Jaundice occurs when your body has high bilirubin levels, and is associated with the yellowish pigmentation of skin, whites of the eyes and mucous membranes of the body. If you’re jaundiced, you’re likely to have pale stool, dark urine, stomach pain, loss of appetite, etc. Newborn babies are particularly at risk of being jaundiced, but even adults can contract this disease. If not treated timely, jaundice can cause complications like sepsis, liver failure and kidney failure.

Prevention: Following a healthy, balanced diet, drinking clean water, exercising regularly and avoiding alcohol can help prevent jaundice.

Chikungunya is a viral disease spread by mosquitoes, and is somewhat similar to dengue and zika - which can lead to misdiagnosis sometimes. Symptoms of chikungunya include sudden onset of fever, severe joint pain, muscle pain, headache, extreme fatigue, mouth ulcers, hyper-pigmentation and rashes. Young children and the elderly are particularly at risk of complications due to chikungunya, so taking extra precautions is necessary.

Prevention: Getting rid of mosquitoes from your surroundings is as important as avoiding mosquito bites.

You might assume that getting the varicella vaccine saves you from ever getting chickenpox, but if you’re exposed to an infected person, you’re likely to get it whether you’re young or old. Chickenpox is a viral infection that has flu-like symptoms and round, itchy rashes or blisters. Usually, chickenpox is a mild disease - especially if you’ve been vaccinated - that can be treated with antihistamines or antiviral medicines, but if not cared for it can lead to complications like encephalitis and pneumonia. Getting chickenpox can expose your immune system to other infections too.

Prevention: Getting vaccinated and staying away from infected persons can help you avoid contracting chickenpox.

Dr. Sarabjeet Kaur

Dr. Sarabjeet Kaur

General Physician
7 Years of Experience

Dr. Anil Sharma Gautam

Dr. Anil Sharma Gautam

General Physician
5 Years of Experience

Dr. Aminul Khan

Dr. Aminul Khan

General Physician
22 Years of Experience

Dr. Kalpana Sharma

Dr. Kalpana Sharma

General Physician
1 Years of Experience

Medicine NamePack SizePrice (Rs.)
AlzumabAlzumab Injection6995.16
AnovateANOVATE OINTMENT 20GM90.0
Pilo GoPilo GO Cream67.5
Proctosedyl BdPROCTOSEDYL BD CREAM 15GM66.3
ProctosedylPROCTOSEDYL 10GM OINTMENT 10GM63.9
RemdesivirRemdesivir Injection15000.0
Fabi FluFabi Flu 200 Tablet1292.0
CoviforCovifor Injection5400.0
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References

  1. National Health Portal [Internet] India; Pratishyaya(Common cold)
  2. Roy, Vandana. et al. Fixed-dose Combinations for Cough and Common Cold in India: An Assessment of Availability and Rationality. Fundam Clin Pharmacol , 25 (2), 258-66. PMID: 20584201
  3. Talapko, Jasminka. et al. Malaria: The Past and the Present. Microorganisms. 2019 Jun; 7(6): 179. PMID: 31234443
  4. Syam, Ari Fahrial. Clinical Approach and Management of Food Poisoning. Acta Med Indones , 38 (3), 174-5. PMID: 17175601
  5. Wangdi, Tamding. et al. Typhoid fever. Gut Microbes. 2012 Mar 1; 3(2): 88–92. PMID: 22156762
  6. Fargo, Mathew V. et al. Evaluation of Jaundice in Adults. Am Fam Physician , 95 (3), 164-168. PMID: 28145671
  7. da Cunha, Rivaldo V. and Trinta, Karen S. Chikungunya virus: clinical aspects and treatment - A Review. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2017 Aug; 112(8): 523–531. PMID: 28767976
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