During an online conference on infections, the specialist warned that the assessment of the patient’s condition at home on the basis of dyspnea alone may be insufficient. It is very important to regularly measure the level of blood saturation so as not to miss the moment when COVID-19 enters the next, more advanced stage, and the patient requires hospitalization.
“A patient with a detected SARS-CoV-2 infection, who does not require hospitalization, is in a difficult situation because he has to be in quarantine, is isolated, cannot be tested or examined”
– said dr hab. n. med. Tadeusz Zielonka from the Chair and Department of Family Medicine at the Medical University of Warsaw.
He emphasized that in such a situation, the patient may not report all the symptoms he feels, even dyspnea, during the teleconsultation.
What are the most common symptoms?
“Some patients may not have a feeling of breathlessness. It has happened that patients staying in the hospital denied that they had dyspnea with blood saturation reaching even 70%.”
– explained the specialist.
The expert has listed the most common symptoms of COVID-19:
- fever (88% of cases),
- dry cough (68% of cases),
- fatigue (38% of cases),
- sputum (33% of cases),
- shortness of breath (19% of cases).
The other symptoms are muscle and joint pain, indicated by 15% patients, headaches (14%), vomiting (5%) and diarrhea (4%). Loss of smell and taste has recently occurred less frequently, the specialist noted.
What should I check while at home?
As he informed, during his stay at home, he should be monitored blood saturation, as well as body temperature, as well as heart rate and blood pressure. Correct saturation should exceed 94%. When in the first week of the disease it drops to the level of 90-92%, special vigilance is necessary, including contact with a doctor, because there is a high risk of the patient’s condition worsening. A hospital stay may be necessary already at this stage, even if there are no signs of respiratory distress yet.
According to dr hab. Tadeusz Zielonka, close monitoring of the patient in the hospital is necessary when respiratory failure occurs. It usually occurs in the second week of illness and is manifested by dyspnoea, as evidenced by a respiratory rate exceeding 30 per minute. It should be remembered, however, that a sick person may be upset by their deteriorating condition, and stress accelerates breathing. However, the decrease in blood saturation below 90-92% is disturbing.
The most advanced stage of the disease is the fourth stage of the disease, in which the patient shows severe respiratory failure, many internal organs are disturbed and septic shock occurs. In such a state, a stay in the intensive care unit is necessary.
“As of yesterday, 1,526 patients required treatment with a ventilator in our country”
– said dr hab. Tadeusz Zielonka. He added that a year ago at this time, there were 2 thousand people under a respirator. sick.
What can you take yourself?
Appropriate treatment is important in the first days of infection, and it is possible even at home. On its own, you can take a medicine called budesonite, a corticosteroid that has anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties. This preparation is usually used by patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but it has also proven to be helpful in COVID-19. It inhibits the symptoms of inflammation, such as mucosal congestion, irritation and itching, increased secretion of mucus in the respiratory tract, as well as swelling and infiltration of inflammatory cells.
According to dr hab. Tadeusz Zielonka, budesonite can be inhaled in all patients with COVID-19 symptoms who are at least 65 years of age staying at home, as well as in younger people from 50 years of age with comorbidities.
“It is recommended that this drug be started early at a dose of 800 mcg twice a day. Its administration can also be considered in all outpatients over 18 years with symptoms of this disease”
The data presented by the specialist shows that from the outbreak of the pandemic to October 22, 2021 in Poland, over 3,357,000 were infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. sick, and 80,830 died (214 people per 100,000 inhabitants). Over 2,901,000 recovered. sick, and 375,133 are still actively ill, that is, still feel the effects of infection, mainly due to the so-called long COVID.
Source: niezalezna.pl, PAP