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India is under lockdown amidst the pandemic health problem of Coronavirus or COVID-19 situation. The health situation has aggravated so much that it has compelled the national authorities to enforce the lockdown on the whole country so that social distance can curb the growth and the spread of the coronavirus amongst the people.

Coronavirus has become so infectious that all the people in India are constantly being made aware of how and when the COVID-19 can spread rapidly if proper efforts are not taken. One of the main ways of catching COVID-19 is going to coronavirus affected cluster areas or public areas which increases the risk of the virus when many people come out and gather apart from the fact that interaction with those who have come back from abroad and stand a good chance of being infected with the coronavirus.

To combat the coronavirus problem, it is significant that as a moral individual we do our bit to prevent the coronavirus spread as much as possible. While there are a lot of general precautions that are being taken by the people in general to prevent the COVID-19 infection, there needs to be an equal amount of efforts to be put by those who are under severe health problems and issues. In this write-up, we will focus on what all points need to be remembered by the kidney patients.

Before we take up the questions of the kidney patients, let us have a look at the stages of chronic kidney disease so that we can understand the situation better:

Following are some of the questions that kidney patients may have in their minds with respect to their health in this serious situation of COVID-19. The information is provided as answers that can solve the doubts of a kidney patient’s query with regard to the relation between kidney problem and coronavirus.

Q. I have a kidney disease. Am I at a risk or threat of catching COVID-19?

A person who has kidney disease or a chronic kidney disease belonging to stage 3-5 has an increased risk of catching coronavirus and hence, social distancing measures should be taken at first priority. Another point to note is that later the stage of a kidney problem, greater is the threat of having COVID-19 and so are the stringent measures to be taken to keep oneself isolated.

Q. I am on dialysis. Am I at a risk or threat of catching COVID-19?

Yes, a dialysis patient is at an increased risk of having coronavirus but if due precautions are taken in time, then coronavirus can be avoided. As dialysis is an essential treatment, the treatment modality will take place but with some changes in schedule. Some people may be asked to come for dialysis twice a week rather than thrice a week depending on the intensity of the medical situation.

However, between the gaps and otherwise in general, be extra cautious of your health and take measures such as strict social distancing, having a proper and nutritious diet and fluids and extra medical care that you otherwise need.

During this time, it is highly important for people with dialysis treatment to always keep themselves self-isolated even when not availing the dialysis treatment.

Q. If I have to go to the dialysis centre, how should I travel and yet prevent coronavirus?

It is advisable that a patient who is on dialysis and needs to go to the centre uses a private vehicle of the family in order to reach the hospital unit. This will certainly decrease the chance of being exposed to public areas while travelling and hence further decrease the exposure to the coronavirus. One can contact the medical or the hospital unit for vehicle facility but it should be ensured that the vehicle is sanitised.

Q. How should I take care of myself at home especially when I look after others?

  • The precautions stand the same for everyone where the following guidelines should be duly followed:
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
  • Throw the used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards again with soap and water.
  • Do not visit your doctor if you are unwell and make other alternate arrangements depending on the intensity of the kidney problems or disease.
  • Consume immunity booster food items that can strengthen your physical immunity and drink lots of fluids especially hot fluids.

Such recommendations of nutrition should be taken by the doctor. Look after your own well-being and physical health during this time with the utmost care. Report any kind of symptoms of coronavirus if the symptoms persist for a longer time.

Q. I have a caretaker at home for my kidney ailment? What should we do?

Professional healthcare staff have very clear guidelines on how to avoid spreading the COVID-19 infection and protect their clients as well as themselves from the coronavirus.

It is vital they strictly follow the hygiene rules and you should not be afraid to insist that they do so. If you face any issues or concerns, take up the matter with the healthcare worker or with their employer.

Also, it should be ensured that the above guidelines that have been mentioned should be followed by you and your healthcare worker or caretaker. 

Q. What should children with kidney problems do during this coronavirus times?

The general guidelines on the adults for hygiene, social distancing and transmission of the coronavirus will apply the same on the children as well, even if they are having kidney problems. If the children are kidney patients, the above guidelines for extra protection should be followed by them too. 

Again depending on the immunity of every child, precautions should be followed irrespective of the stage of kidney problem they are in. Just like stated above, the later the stage of kidney disease they are in, greater will be the risk of being at threat of having coronavirus. Parents or guardians should ensure that the children having kidney problems are given full time extra medical care during this COVID-19 situation.

Children sometimes tend to do better when it comes to having strong immunity than adults in medical situations when it comes to the length of the illness and the severity of the illness, yet the medical care should be given properly and fully. 

Children in stage 3, 4 and 5 and on dialysis definitely need special attention during this time and all efforts should be taken to prevent them to get exposed to any element that can cause COVID-19.

Hence, these are some of the medical-related information that can be useful for those who are going through the kidney problems. Medical precaution and medical care the two key points to be noted when it comes to preventing oneself from the COVID-19 infection while simultaneously having kidney ailment. However, it is equally important to stay strong and have a positive mind to remind oneself that everything will be fine and that one can get through this whether it is coronavirus or the kidney problem.

By RG Hospitals - India's Best Kidney Stone Hospital

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