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    Coronavirus And Cancer Patients

    Today we can see every individual taking care of his or her health by following necessary precautions against coronavirus (COVID -19). Mainly in hospitals, every visitor, as well as the workers, is following every preventive measure from getting infected by the virus.

    Now, what about the other days? Why do these people do not care about the patients and themselves on other days? The atmosphere in a hospital is surrounded by various microorganisms that threaten the health of the patients. The greatest challenge in a hospital is to suppress and eliminate the hospital-acquired infections that a patient can get through various means. Although it cannot be eliminated, every hospital tries the best to reduce the incidences. Safety of the patients is the topmost priority in every hospital.

    That is why every hospital has made protocols and rules for the visitors and workers to prevent such unfortunate events. Any patient either with cancer or renal disease or autoimmune disease or metabolic disorder, all of them are prone to infections in a hospital. But many of the visitors, attending friend or relatives or family members of the patients do not take this seriously.

    Many of the hospital workers and also physicians take this too casually. Activities like changing shoes, using shoe cover and protective gown, using hand rub frequently, using mask and cap, not using the patient’s bed and linens, evacuating the room while the patient is undergoing any procedure or investigation or during doctor’s visit, gathering around the patients, frequent entries of different visitors etc. hurt the ego and harm the social status of many visitors.

    In case if someone tries to make them realize the fault, it may bring out a violent result. Only a few do understand that these rules and protocols are for the protection of the patients from ant infection.  In many occasions, some physicians and healthcare workers also feel the same if they are corrected by someone. But COVID 19 has made the common mass to take health seriously, particularly in hospitals and its fear has widened that thinking of many.

    Anyone who is involved with the field of oncology knows very well that a cancer patient undergoing treatment are prone to various infections as they develop poor immunity due to the disease as well as the toxicity of the medicines.

    In cancer hospitals, the patients develop high risk to get any hospital-acquired infection through various means. That is the reason they are taken care of in a different and special manner with supportive medications and nutritional therapy during their stay in the hospitals. While staying outside the hospital too, the cancer patient is advised to follow a certain lifestyle to prevent any infection. When the whole world today is suffering from the coronavirus outbreak, the highest risk is also developed by cancer patients.

    Majority of the cancer patients from Assam or Northeast region do travel to cities like Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi or Kolkata searching for a quality and upgraded treatment. They had to travel by flights, trains and even use public transports during their stay in other states. Many of them had to stay in guest houses and hotels and even might need to use unhygienic linens that are used by others.

    Regarding foods, few might need to have it in cafes or restaurants that might be crowded. Therefore the highest precaution against COVID-19 should be taken by such cancer patients who are already struggling with a scared disease. They must be supported by their attending friend or relative.  After their return from outside, that should be monitored and assessed well for their own benefit. We must also try to create a special awareness among the cancer patients regarding this issue so that they can take care of themselves in a better way.

    Staying safe and healthy will not only help us but also everyone around us. It is should not be merely an activity but a culture. If we think to keep ourselves and our loved one away from diseases and infections, we must follow the preventive and safety measures always and every day.

    Healthcare which is often neglected should be given the highest priority every hour. Every nation in the world today is fighting a war against a common enemy. It is nothing less than World War III against COVID 19.  

    But for some people, they battle every day and as responsible citizens, we must provide aid to them to triumph by following safety measures.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for ‘Janta Curfew’ on March 22nd, 2020. He made an appeal to the people of the nation to avoid coming out of their houses on that day. But do we know why? As we have learned from various sources that the life of coronavirus in one place is 12 hours and the ‘Janta Curfew’ is for 14 hours. So the places or points of public areas where coronavirus may have survived will not be touched for 14 hours and this will break the chain.

    It is a step to build a safe and healthy nation.  Everything now is in our hands to support the nation.

    The author is a Chief Operating Officer, North East Cancer Hospital and Research Institute, Jorabat, Guwahati. The author can be reached at gitartharoymedhi83@rediffmail.com and 97065- 69388. The views expressed by the author are personal and may not in any way represent those of TIME8.

    Photo credit: npr.org

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