We know that intensive care unit (ICU) is for critically ill patients. We also know that we have a scarcity of ICU beds as well as specialists in critical care management in Bangladesh. There are approximately three beds for every 1 million population. Needless to say that it is also very expensive. Data states that about 20% of COVID-19 patients need hospital management and out of 20%, only 5% needs ICU management. Unfortunately, 87% of the patients died who received ventilatory support.
If COVID-19 patients do not have any serious comorbidity they do not require hospital management. Home quarantine for fourteen days and supportive treatment as per symptoms, light exercise, gurgling with lukewarm water, and nutritious food intake is enough to cure them. Those who develop pneumonia need broad-spectrum antibiotics, similarly used in community-acquired pneumonia. But those who develop respiratory distress need hospitalisation and high flow oxygen. Nebulisation with bronchodilators may also be needed. COVID-19 is very contagious but it is not deadly if we take adequate precautions. We need mental strength, proper hygiene practice and supportive treatment if affected.
So to avoid the need for ICU care we need abundant oxygen supply, nebulisation machines and timely supportive treatment in case of hospitalisation. COVID-19 does not have any vaccines or specific treatment to date, so stay home and stay safe.
The author is a Professor of Paediatrics at Community Based Medical College, Mymensingh. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org