For the past two years since the inception of Coronavirus, it has shown a diverse spectrum of presentation. It also has a range of symptoms – sometimes asymptomatic, sometimes from the common cold to a more severe condition with pneumonia. Speaking to HT Lifestyle, Dr Ravi Shekhar Jha, Director and Unit Head, Pulmonology, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad said, “Covid pneumonia, being viral, affects both the lungs at the same time, and that is why it Sometimes it is associated with rapid deterioration. Oxygen levels lead to respiratory failure and even death. When pneumonia causes both lungs to fill with a secretion called fluid, air cannot enter the fluid-filled lungs and oxygen levels begin to drop. When fluid becomes too much and even supplemental oxygen cannot meet the oxygen requirement, the patient may require ventilatory support. Another common thing that has been seen with covid pneumonia, especially the second wave, was the speed of its spread. It has the potential to become complicated within 1 or 2 days.”
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He further said that the association between contracting COVID and getting pneumonia also varies on several factors – vaccination status, prior infection, comorbidities and virus load. It also depends on the type of coronavirus. The Delta version of COVID caused fatal pneumonia while the Omicron version did not.
Symptoms of COVID pneumonia include dry cough, chest pain, sometimes sputum formation, high fever, breathlessness, panting, sweating, diaphoresis, tremors, loss of appetite, blood in the sputum, and fatigue. Ravi Shekhar Jha further said that none of these symptoms are specific to COVID pneumonia – however, if a person starts developing these symptoms after testing positive for COVID, it indicates that the person has Pneumonia may occur.
Since covid pneumonia is a viral disease, antibiotics have no role in it. “There is no specific treatment for Covid pneumonia. In some cases, your doctor may decide to use steroids, but again, steroids have their own side effects, so should be used with extreme caution,” said Ravi Shekhar Jha.
If a person tests positive for COVID, it is important to check sugar levels and other concomitant diseases of the body to rule out pneumonia. Keeping a check on the oxygen level of the body and staying adequately hydrated also helps in staying healthy. Ravi Shekhar Jha also advised to take steam regularly to keep pneumonia away.