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A Coronavirus Q&A With a Public Health Specialist

Dr. Waseem Iqbal

4 min read

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Ever since the coronavirus pandemic reached Pakistan, we at oladoc started looking for ways to serve the nation during these tough times. One of our very first efforts was a Facebook group by the name of Doctor Consultation & Health Advice which was aimed at serving as an online forum where people can get doctors’ consultation free of cost and that too while maintaining social distancing. The group got a phenomenal response and in no time our PMDC certified doctors were answering hundreds of queries per day.

A lot of queries that we received on our Facebook group were corona related and among these, some were more frequent than others. We thought that it would be a good idea to make the answers to these queries public knowledge so that majority of the population may benefit from them.

To get authentic answers for these queries, we have approached Dr. Waseem Iqbal who is a Public Health Specialist and a practicing General Physician in Rawalpindi. He is one of the best in his field and has been practicing for more than twenty years now. He is currently giving video consultations via oladoc’s platform. You can book an appointment with him through oladoc.com or by calling at our helpline at 042-38900939.

Without further ado, let’s get into our q&a session with Dr. Waseem Iqbal.

Question #1

If someone is declared corona positive via a PCR test, after how many days should the test be repeated?


The minimum number of days to repeat a test is after 10 days. There is however no need for repetition if you are asymptomatic or you are symptomatic but do not require to meet people and put them at risk. If you are however immunocompromised and have to meet a lot of people because of your job, the criteria are different for test repetition.


Which test should I get for coronavirus diagnosis, some say I should get the antibodies test and some say I should get the PCR one, please explain?


RT-PCR is considered the gold standard of diagnosis for COVID-19. It is the only definitive test that can detect the virus. Antibody testing is only appropriate if you were previously declared corona positive, have recovered, and are now looking to donate plasma as it only tells you that you have been exposed to a virus and you are developing an immune response. It does not tell you whether you are still infectious or not.


How many days should the isolation period be, once someone has tested COVID-19 positive? Is another test required again to finish isolation?


Asymptomatic patients can come out of isolation after 10 days while symptomatic patients should stay in isolation for at least 10 days, and can only come out of it if they meet the condition of being symptomless for three days without the use of antipyretic or cough medicine.


If the 1st test on PCR is positive does that mean that the patient is corona positive or another test should be done?


The probability of false-positive in PCR is almost zero. False-positive as the name suggests is a test result that is positive while the patient actually does not have corona. So, the patient should take it as a positive and isolate him/herself for 10 days starting from the day the swab was taken.


Please tell me about corona antibodies test, who should get it done?


If you are a known corona-recovered patient detected by RT-PCR and you want to donate blood, then you need to go for antibodies test. There is no need otherwise. The blood can be donated after at least two weeks of recovery.


If there are two people in a house and both of them catch corona, can they both stay together in one room or they need to isolate from each other as well?


Yes, they can live in one room if both are positive, but their bathroom should not be used by someone else (who is non-infected) unless it is disinfected properly.


Can you get corona again once you have recovered from it? Can you still be a carrier and spread it?


In simple words, viruses can be reactivated but cannot cause infection. There is no such evidence to date.

The South Korea Centre for Disease Control and Prevention examined 285 COVID-19 survivors who had recovered, tested negative, and then tested positive for a second time.

Some patients tested positive again and again up to 82 days after becoming infected. Virus samples collected from them indicated they were shedding non-infectious or dead virus particles so they were positive but were not at risk of getting sick or spreading the infection to others.


Can we treat corona patients at home with oxygen and oximeter and at what condition we should took the patient to the hospital?


Keep an eye on the warning signs. If oxygen saturation gets below 94% or RR is greater than 20 then call the 1122 Rescue in your area and it’s better to use their ambulance instead of your own conveyance.


How to disinfect the house once the corona patient in the house has recovered?


You can make a bleach solution (5 ml or 1 TSP in one liter of water) and disinfect the room, bathroom, furniture, knobs, switches, and every other surface which they might have come in contact with.


Which vitamin and zinc supplements are good for immunity and how long does it take for them to boost our immunity?


Immunity boost is not an overnight process. A healthy balanced diet coupled with exercise, a good 8-hour sleep, and a stress-free routine boosts your immunity. You can easily get your daily requirement of your vitamins from healthy foods. Unless you are known vitamin deficient, there is no need to take supplements. Spend that money on your diet.


Can coronavirus transfer from the mother to the baby in the womb, given that the mother is corona-positive


Emerging evidence suggests that transmission from a woman to her baby during pregnancy or birth (vertical transmission) is probable. It is important to emphasize that in all reported cases of newborn babies developing coronavirus very soon after birth, the babies were well.

Given current evidence, it is considered unlikely that if you have the virus it would cause problems with your baby’s development, and none have been observed currently.


If a mother is corona-positive, can she still feed her baby?


Yes, she can feed the baby. She should use hand wash and should clean the breast with a disinfectant wipe and should wear a mask during the feed. The mother should keep the child with her all-time during the 14 days of symptoms. The child can be a carrier. So keep the child but no one else in the room.


What can a pregnant woman do to reduce the risk of catching coronavirus?


The woman should wash her hands regularly; Use a tissue when she or anyone in the family coughs or sneezes, discard it and wash her hands again; Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (these symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough); Avoid non-essential use of public transport when possible; Work from home, when possible; Avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces.


Why are pregnant women at high risk if she is corona positive?


Pregnancy in a small proportion of women can alter how your body handles severe viral infections. The decision is made because of caution as some viral infections are worse in pregnant women; however, all available evidence suggests that pregnant women are at no greater risk of becoming seriously unwell than other healthy adults if they develop coronavirus.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Waseem Iqbal - Author Dr. Waseem Iqbal is a General Physician, Nutritionist and Family Physician. He has a MBBS, MSPH and RMP degree along with an experience of 20 years. He is also a member of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC). Dr. Waseem Iqbal practices as a General Physician at Online Video Consultation and Video Consultation - JazzCash Rs. 1 offer and charges 500 and 1 respectively. Dr. Waseem Iqbal is also offering online video consultation and you can book an online doctor video consultation with him by pressing the red video consultation button. Dr. Waseem Iqbal is a very competent doctor who offers a number of services such as Coronavirus (COVID-19) Treatment, Typhoid, Malaria, Dengue, High fever, aches and pains, Obesity & Weight Loss, Diabetes, Hypertension (Blood pressure) management, Obesity Management, Blood Tests, Diabetes Management, Family Medicine, Hepatitis A Treatment, Hepatitis B Treatment, Hepatitis C Treatment, Nutritional Advice, Obesity Management, Pain Management Services, and Sports Medicine etc. On average, his patients have to wait Under 15 minutes before check-up and have a satisfaction score of 100%. Patients are especially pleased with doctor checkups, staff behavior, and clinic environment. You can book an appointment with Dr. Waseem Iqbal by calling us or using the 'book appointment' button or by calling at this number 04238900939. Dr. Waseem Iqbal is a very proactive General Physician who likes to raise awareness about medical issues and uses writing as the main medium to do it.
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