The third waves of COVID has passed through the shores of Myanmar. Many have died, many permanently scared and scarred and many run short on finances stocking covid accessories and medicines in panic. The crisis may be over, yet, with the fourth wave looming over our heads, MI gather sources from COVID experts locally and abroad, to advice our readers on survival 101 of COVID in Myanmar.
Covid Survival 101 – 10 Steps to Ensuring Your Survival
1. Improve your Stamina
Build up your stamina and strength. Having a high body resistance is critical. If your resistance is strong, your body can fight minor COVID infection on its own. If you caught COVID at the time your body is weak, it is likely you would face 21 – 28 days battle with the disease.
Take vitamins, do exercises (not in gyms or crowded places please), drink lots of water and ensure you have enough sleep. Do not engage in activities that would weaken your stamina or your lungs, such as drinking alcohol excessively or smoking.
2. Reduce the viral intake
How much success your body will have in combatting COVID also depends much on the viral load that gets into your body. If you are taking in the virus regularly, it is likely you would come down with the disease, regardless of how strong your body resistance is. Medical personal are especially at stake.
If you live near COVID centers, clinics or hospitals, your viral exposure and consequently, the load, is likely to be higher than most of the population. Avoid these known places of COVID accumulation. If you are caring for a COVID patient, alternate the care givers, so that you can reduce your load exposure.
3. Avoidance of crowds
The virus is not visible. You would not know who is carrying the virus. The more people you meet, the higher the probability that one of them has COVID. Going into the crowd also reduce your chance to practice the required social distancing of 6 ft.
Especially if your house has elderly members of the family, you may be unknowingly carrying the virus gotten from the crowd back to your home. Elderly would have less chance of survival than younger adults, due to their lower resistance levels. So avoid going into crowded places at all cost!
4. Living with caution
We must use our basic intelligence in combatting COVID. Err on the side of caution – as they said. E.g., If you can afford, just drive your own car. Own car is safer than car pooling or office shared vehicle. Then office vehicle would be safer than a taxi. A taxi in turn, would be safer than taking a bus or train. If you have people commuting via bus or crowded public transport to work, you have to arrange for alternatives.
Many elderlies have also been infected by maids, helpers or cooks, who carried virus from markets and shops. We suggest you set another layer between the helpers and the wet market, by having another person who just buy the groceries and delivery to your house, instead of coming into the house.
5. Stocking up covid furnitures
Here, we are referring to Oxygen tanks, concentrators, oximeters, etc. Even though the shortage has been more or less addressed at present, many actually died due to oxygen shortage at critical times. One way to safe costs is instead of buying these items on a family basis, form a group. If you are staying in a Condo, management committee can stock these items out of condo funds, for residents use. Pool fund together and buy. It would be a lot cheaper that way.
6. Medicines and their care.
Medicines such as remdesivir, ibuprofen, etc., may be hard to come by when you need them, especially in Myanmar. So it might be wise to stock to cover one complete course, just in case. If you do not want to stock them, it is best if you have reliable sources to secure such medicines.
If you are keeping stock, take note that many of these medicines have storage temperature requirements and short shelf lives.
7. Identifying and contacting care giver sources.
Once you have contracted COVID, you would be too weak to survive alone. Without a qualified care giver, your chances of survival diminished significantly. E.g., you may have O2 concentrator, but power supply (electricity) is so erratic, especially outside of central Yangon that, you be needing a generator or diesel to run the generator, in order to create electricity to run the concentrator.
You may have O2 tanks, but even 60L tanks can run out within four hours, if body O2 levels dropped to a minimum that you are needing more O2 liters per minute. Who will refill these tanks everyday. Even 40L tanks require at least two people to lift up.
You cannot rely much on hospitals and clinics either. Most of them closed their doors to COVID patients during the height of the third wave.
8. Primary care
You need to determine if your current GP or primary care physician, can continue to care for you, or advise you, when you are down with COVID. Most of the clinics were closed during COVID. Most of the physicians from those clinics who continued to support the COVID patients, unfortunately, died after being infected with high viral loads after days of continuous care for the patients.
Even if your physician seems available, it is best to identify a back up GP, who is willing to do house calls, when you are unable to visit the clinic.
You may also need to engage an experienced or qualified nurse, to care for you 24×7 during the days of extreme sickness. She may need to take you to ER. She may need to give you life saving steroids. She may need to turn you around and bang your chest many times, to reduce your reliance on external O2 and to prevent your lungs collapse.
Self cure or in house cure is only recommended when you are not facing life threatening situation. For such cases, hospitalization may be the only option. Earlier hospitalization is advised if the symptoms got worse and worse day after day. E.g., if your O2 levels measured through oximeter do not improve.
Take not most of the private hospitals and clinics do not accept COVID patients. They would always refer them to government general hospitals or COVID care centers.
One final sure way to significantly improve your chances of survival is immunization. There are many vaccines available now, both from public/government and private sources. Foreign missions are also organizing their immunization campaigns for their own citizens. We have not come across any patient who died from COVID after having received the full doze of any vaccine.