Ask a Doctor: Why new COVID-19 stains are dangerous

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation and Ukraina TV channel are conducting new online broadcasts hosting leading medical experts. They answer numerous pressing questions of viewers about COVID-19. Our new guest was Olena Kligunenko, M.D., professor, winner of the National Science and Technology Awards, and Vice President of the Association of Anesthesiologists of Ukraine.

According to her, new coronavirus variants threaten the life of critically ill patients even much more.

“Each new COVID-19 strain has its own peculiar effects on lungs. Speaking of Delta, the mechanical ventilation runs quite hard, unlike it was at the onset of the pandemic. Therefore, it is very difficult to synchronize the patient’s lungs and the ventilator. Delta also decreases lung compliance, which worsens ventilation,” Olena Kligunenko explained.

The expert added that COVID-19 patients might have a serious condition for different periods.

“The virus “leaves” quite quickly, in about 7 to 10 days. It vanishes, leaving people with lasting and severe health problems. First, this is lung damage, which can persist for a very long time. We had patients that were on a ventilator for two months. Some were discharged with an open tracheostomy, others with a closed tracheostomy. Unfortunately, some have become semi-disabled,” the professor stated.

Olena Kligunenko advised about counter-indications for patients with severe COVID-19.

“First, it is the self-therapy. Never take aspirin. Use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce fever. Do not take paracetamol uncontrollably, as this threatens kidney damage. Also, you should not take a steam bath, as it disrupts the blood coagulation system. Drink plenty of fluids and no spirits,” the expert explained.

The professor reminded that patients with coronavirus should eat well. In particular, they should have at least 1 gram of protein per kilo of body weight and consume as much fruit and dairy products as possible.

Since its launch on the digital platforms of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation, the Ask a Doctor project has had over 16 million views. Earlier, the project invited such guests as Borys Todurov, a famous cardiac surgeon; Kateryna Amosova, a cardiologist, associate member of the National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine, member of the European Society of Cardiology; Oleh Chaban, M.D., psychiatrist, professor; Serhiy Dubrov, the President of the Association of Anesthesiologists of Ukraine, and many others.

Watch videos featuring versed medical practitioners on the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation’s page on Facebook and YouTube.