My father was tested positive of COVID 19. It was a moment of worry. It all happened when COVID 19 started spreading like fire all over Pakistan, after some relaxation in the restriction took place, since Eid. My father was the one who would go out and bring the groceries and other necessities to home. He admits that sometimes, after making a purchase, he would forget to wash his hands, post cash exchange. He never really sanitised his mobile phone either, as it is also a micro-organism carrier if we use it with cross-contaminated gloves/hands.
My father was not taking the whole wearing mask SOPs as seriously as he should have, in the beginning; when there were quite a few cases of COVID 19 in Pakistan. But then again, we can’t confidently say what caused the virus to enter, there could be so many reasons. That’s the thing with pandemics, you don’t know for sure how and when you can get them and whether you will make it out alive or not if you get it.
The reason why it was a moment of great apprehension when my father caught the COVID 19 virus was the fact that he ticked all those high probability mortality boxes such as:
• Age: He is almost 60.
• Weight: His weight sits well within the range of high mortality probability.
• Other health issues: He is asthma and a heavy sleep apnoea patient.
Once the virus becomes strong enough to get into the lungs, it reduces the chances of survival of such patients with such conditions to minimum. So we hoped and prayed, dearly that the virus may die before reaching the lungs.
Thank God, the test is negative, now.
Our treatment method was, basically a combination of several intakes:
• Doctor’s advice
• Other COVID 19 patients’ experience and SOPs
• SOPs of Saudi Arabia with COVID 19 patients
As per doctor’s instructions, the goal was to stay as healthy and fit as possible and let nature do what it does.
Viruses have a life span. They don’t live forever. The life span of this virus is generally believed to be between one to two weeks, as per Spain’s ministry of health and the doctor from the Shaukat Khanam hospital backs it. Our goal was to keep the patient in good health for two weeks so that his body is strong enough to develop the antibodies needed to weaken and kill the virus.
Before we move on to how we treated the patient, it is crucial to know what sorts of vitamins and minerals are required to fight this virus, as they are the only hope, due to non-discovery of any cure.
As per my study, vitamins A, C, D and E have virus-fighting properties. Vitamin C is believed to be highly crucial, as it is one of the biggest immunity-boosting factors. Among minerals, zinc happens to be beneficial against fighting the virus.
To meet those requirements, we would provide to him the following diet, in the isolated room:
- Mutton yakhni/stew: This consisted of mutton broth, cinnamon, ginger, whole garlic, black pepper, cumin, coriander, cloves, salt and turmeric.
- Nutritions which the ‘yakhni’ provides: protein, fibre, manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin B1, vitamin C, calcium, copper, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, potassium and a few more.
- Fruits: mangoes, apples, melons and bananas. Lesser frequently given fruits: cherries and plums.
- Cherries are good source of instant energy. Apples help in providing oxygen to the plasma and bananas have many benefits, including the benefit of aiding in the digestion.
- Dry fruits: walnuts, almonds and little amount of hazelnuts. All these dry fruits provide zinc, which is an important mineral for fighting viruses, manganese, magnesium, all sorts of vitamin B, calcium, and much other nutrition.
- Oatmeal: Vitamin D is not as common as vitamin A or C. Oatmeal is one food item which is commonly available and consists of Vitamin D as well. But unfortunately, this meal was not given as much as we should have.
- Eggs: Another good source of vitamin D is the egg yolk. Eggs were given as a breakfast item daily. Cow’s milk is another common food item which is a good source of vitamin D, but he doesn’t like to drink milk so it was not given in a sufficient amount at all.
Black Seed: Saudi Arabia’s Trusted Treatment
University in Madinah has declared the combo of black seed oil, chamomile and honey to be its official, natural treatment for COVID 19 patients. This is what they recommend:
“One dose of TaibUVID* consists of:
• 1 teaspoon (2 grams) of black seeds1 teaspoon (1 gram) of [ground] chamomile
• 1 tablespoon of natural bee honey
Mix well. Then, chew well and swallow. It is preferred that you drink juice after this, or eat an orange, a lemon, or a tangerine.”
Although, we simply used to give him the ‘kehwa’ of the black seed, twice a day, by boiling almost one teaspoon of black seeds in water at low flame.
Hence, we covered up all the minerals and vitamins required to fight the virus naturally.
Coincidently, he used to take garlic supplement pills for other health issues, before the pandemic, which might also have played its role. Garlic is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Even eating a raw garlic clove can bring plenty of benefits. Additionally, the doctor did advice to try to go for a walk in the morning as well; as a bit of exercise is also important for the body’s immunity to function well.
The common combination of symptoms
My father, possibly, was fortunate enough to get a relatively lesser severe sort of this virus, as different people catch different sort of coronavirus, in terms of severity.
The following are some of them, as per what I have seen and heard from friends and family:
• Lack of taste and smell sense, along with fever
• High fever, followed by cough
• Sore throat, cough and fever: In my father’s case
• Sore throat, cough, fever and breathing problems
• No fever, tiredness, body aches, followed by sore throat
• High fever, sore throat
There are many different combinations of symptoms, the above are simply those which I have seen and heard.
A couple, who are my cousins, both caught this virus with a different combination of symptoms. The wife lost the sense of taste and smell, while the husband could taste and smell but had a high fever and sore throat. Once the wife was putting on too much perfume and said that she couldn’t smell the scent and that she needed to put more, while the husband was stopping her saying that she had put too much. Both were COVID 19 patients. Thankfully, both have recovered. As a matter of fact, the recovery rate in Pakistan is above 60%, which is a blessing, as our hospitals are not as equipped as that of the west.
Following the advice of other patients
It is said by many people to drink lots of hot fluid or inhale steam. That’s what he did as well. He kept on inhaling steam and drinking lots and lots of water. If these tactics are scientifically proven someday, then it could also have been a major factor for weakening the virus so that it may not spread quickly and rapidly.
Shahzad Khan, a renowned TV host/ex-VJ, made a video called, “COVID ki baten”, when he caught that virus. I shared that video with my father and he also found Shahzad’s bits of advice to be encouraging and sensible. He acted upon on a few of them. He also bought an oximeter, as advised by Shahzad and managed to take shower with warm water. Even the doctor advised purchasing the oximeter.
Shahzad specifically insisted that oximeter is the most important thing. It checks the level of oxygen in our breath, which should normally be above 94. If it is below 90, we need to go to the hospital immediately. Since my father is aged and already has some other breath related issues, oxygen level less than 93 was considered a state of alarm for him, instead of <90, according to the doctor.
Along with many good pieces of advice, another important advice of Shahzad which he adopted was that of mentality. We need to be mentally strong and positive. Our body functions according to our state of mind. If we are not positive, even if the virus, we caught is not severe, it can still become dangerous to us. My father was fortunate enough to enjoy some good company over the cell phone. There were so many phone calls that sometimes, he would get tired. But this sort of gestures kept his morales high.
Do watch the video:-
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
We were probably fortunate enough to be able to afford to provide the comforts and measures required treating a patient at home but there are people who can’t afford it all and there are some who get a severe form of the virus and had to get admitted in the hospital. So it is better to avoid getting this virus by practising the SOPs of wearing mask and gloves, frequently washing hands with soap and staying at home as much as possible. Be smart, stay safe.