COVID-19 Patients Advised To Get Tuberculosis Tests If Cough Persists

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The government in its new clinical guidelines for coronavirus treatment stated that doctors should advise the COVID-19 patients to get tuberculosis tests done if the cough persists instead of giving them steroids.

This new notification comes days after the chief of the task force expressed regret over the overuse of drugs during the second wave of the pandemic. The new clinical guideline said that drugs such the steroids can increase the risk of secondary infection like invasive ‘black fungus’ or mucormycosis. This can happen if the steroids are given too early or at a higher dose for a period longer than required.

The government spelled out the doses for the drugs needed in three kinds of infections mild, moderate and severe. If a COVID-19 person suffers from cough for a period longer than two to three weeks, they should be tested for tuberculosis and other conditions.

New COVID Treatment Guidelines:

During a press conference last week, the Chief of COVID-19 Task Force and NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr VK Paul had expressed his concerns over the over usage of drugs like steroids. The new guidelines released by the health ministry has categorised the upper respiratory tract symptoms without shortness of breath or hypoxia as mild disease which only needs home isolation and care.

The patients suffering from mild COVID-19 have difficulty in breathing, high fever, severe cough lasting more than five days, then they can seek medical attention. Patients with breathlessness and oxygen levels fluctuating between 90-93 per cent can get admitted and they will be considered moderate cases. These patients will be given oxygen support.

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Those with respiratory rate over 30 per minute, oxygen saturation lower than 90 per cent on room air, breathlessness should be considered severe disease and such patients will have to be admitted to an ICU as they will need support. In case with increasing oxygen requirements, non-invasive ventilation (NIV) should also be considered with the work of breathing is low.

The off-label use of remdesivir should only be used in patients with “moderate to severe” disease and those who have not had any hepatic dysfunction or renal in the span of 10 days of the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. The guidelines warned against usage of drug for patients who are not on oxygen support or in-home settings.

.Those aged above 60 years, or those having cardiovascular disease, hypertension and coronary artery disease, diabetes mellitus and other immunocompromised states, such as HIV, active tuberculosis, chronic lung, kidney or liver disease, cerebrovascular disease or obesity are at high risk for severe disease and mortality, the guidelines said.