Chances are, if you have experienced any or all of these symptoms, you too, have found yourself asking the one question that’s on everyone’s mind these days: Do I have a cold or has the new variant of Covid caught me? While the answer to that question is an RT-PCR test (and even that fails sometimes, because we have all heard of false negatives), there are some precautionary measures that can ease your symptoms while you wait for the results to come.
In ‘Demystifying COVID-19’, Dr. Habil Khorakiwala – the Founder and Chairman of Wockhardt Group, prescribes some simple precautions that we can all take at home to protect ourselves as we put on a brave face, and get ready to hear news of more loved and dear ones getting affected by the virus, and pray that we come out of this wave soon.
Dr Khorakiwala first breaks down the difference between Delta and Omicron. The doctor explains while Delta affects both the upper and lower respiratory tracts, including our lungs, Omicron primarily affects the upper respiratory tract – which basically consists of the nasal cavity, mouth, throat and vocal chords. He then proceeds to prescribe six simple steps to follow at home as a precautionary measure.
Step 1 – Gargle deeply with warm salt water, or a medical mouthwash three to four times a day.The effectiveness of salt water gargling has been proven by various studies, and reportedly has the capacity to reduce the saliva viral load for some hours after gargling.
Step 2 – A round of simple steam inhalation can be helpful. Studies corroborate that symptoms of the COVID-19 patients reduced after use of the steam inhalation, and it also contributes in maintaining a healthy respiratory tract that isn’t prone to infection. However, a word of caution, do not overdo it.
Step 3 – Junk drinking cold water and chilled beverages. Try hydrating yourself with lukewarm water.
Step 4 – Practise some breathing exercise for at least five minutes daily. The key is to be consistent with your practice. If you know simple pranayam, opt for it . If not, just focus on deep belly breaths and you would not only keep the anxiety of the pandemic at bay, but will also reduce your chances of getting severely infected.
Step 5 – Get moving! It may sound counterintuitive given that we are all working from home with nowhere to go, so we barely get a chance to walk or do outdoor activities. But indulging in 20-30 minutes of physical activity daily is necessary to stay healthy. The elderlies and infirm can try to do as much as possible without overexerting themselves.
Step 6 – The most important step is to wear the right-fitting mask in the right manner. The doctor urges that people only use government-recommended three ply surgical masks or N95 masks and do away with fancy cloth masks which don’t serve the purpose properly. (However, if you have a particularly pretty mask that you really want to wear, we recommend that you use it over your tightly-fastened N95 mask).
Also, it goes without saying, have you got your vaccine yet?