Near East University Hospital, Head of Cardiology Department Prof. Dr. Hamza Duygu said that chronic cardiac patients constitute the highest risk group for Covid-19, which has become an epidemic worldwide and unfortunately started to be reported in our country, and this epidemic can be overcome in a short period of time with the measures to be taken without panic.
Prof. Dr. Duygu emphasized that the speculation about blood pressure medications lately has no scientific basis. Stating that Covid-19 is a member of the Coronavirus family, like the 2002 SARS and 2012 MERS viruses. Prof. Dr. Hamza Duygu continued his statements about the disease, which has a 2-3% mortality rate; “Coronavirus is particularly severe in the elderly and those with a history of heart attack, those with a history of heart failure, diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic kidney failure, chronic bronchitis, asthma, cancer, and those who have low immune resistance, use chemotherapy and shua treatment, or use cortisone. Therefore, those with chronic cardiac disease constitute the highest risk groups.”
Stating that as the number of cases increases worldwide, cardiac disease involvement in completely healthy people has started to be defined. Prof. Dr. Hamza Duygu said that coronavirus has been reported to cause fatal heart muscle inflammation, heart attack, worsening of heart failure, rhythm disturbances, low blood pressure and sudden death.
Prof. Dr. Hamza Duygu; “We recommend our patients not to stop any medicine without consulting their physician.”
Stating that there are rumors that coronavirus may progress more fatally in patients using ACE-I (Lisinopril, Ramipril, Enalapril, Perindopril, etc.) or ARB (Candesartan, Olmesartan, Irbesartan, etc.) medication frequently used due to high blood pressure. Prof. Dr. Hamza Duygu continued his explanations that these speculations came to the fore after experimental studies showing that the virus used the enzyme called ACE2 as it entered the cell; In the announcement made a few days ago, the European Hypertension Association emphasized that these discourses have no scientific basis and that patients using such drugs should never stop their medication and should not respect the news circulating throughout social media. Therefore, we recommend our patients not to stop any medication without consulting their physicians. Otherwise, this can lead to life-threatening situations. In the light of the useful information of the Turkish Thoracic Society Respiratory Infections Working Group regarding the Coronavirus, we believe that this epidemic can be overcome in a short time without major losses just by avoiding panic.”
Prof. Dr. Hamza Duygu also answered questions about Coronavirus and similar virus outbreaks in general; Which viruses cause the most frequent respiratory tract infections? Viruses are the cause of 90-95% of upper respiratory tract infections and acute bronchitis. The most common viruses that cause respiratory infections are Influenza (flu), Rhinovirus, Adenovirus, Parainfluenza and Coronavirus.
Are antibiotics effective against the virus?
In general, there is no effective drug or vaccine for viruses that cause respiratory infections, other than influenza (flu). Therefore, there is no treatment option other than general measures and treatment options other than general health support. Antibiotics are only effective against infectious agents called bacteria. They have no benefit in virus infections. Similarly, a limited number of drugs, such as oseltamivir, effective against influenza virus, do not provide any benefit in other virus infections.
What are the effective factors in the Infection severity of the virus from person to person?
The severity of virus infections may differ depending on two factors. The first is the aggressiveness of the exposed virus (the capacity of the human body to defeat the defense systems) and the number of viruses entering the respiratory tract. With a simple logic, as the number of viruses entering the respiratory tract increases, the possibility of the virus defeating our defense system and reaching the lower respiratory tract such as the bronchi and lungs will increase, causing severe infections such as bronchitis (bronchial infection) and pneumonia (lung infection). The second factor is the strength of the immune system of the person who encounters the virus. In general, the immune system is weaker in the elderly, those with underlying chronic diseases, those who are not well fed, individuals who are physically or mentally overly tired, and virus infections are more severe in these individuals.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus infection?
Coronary virus infection, with an incubation period of 2-14 days, causes symptoms similar to other respiratory infections, mainly causing fever, cough and shortness of breath. Individuals with these symptoms in countries where the infection has been detected in the past month should be evaluated for this infection.
How is the virus transmitted?
Like all respiratory viruses, coronavirus is known to be mainly transmitted by inhaling particles scattered during the patient's coughing, sneezing, or cleansing his nose. Transmission in this way usually develops as a result of close contact with the sick person in less than 1 meter. In addition, the door handle, to which a sick person touches, etc., there is a risk of touching the surfaces and then contacting them with the hand, mouth, nose or eye contact.
How should we be protected?
Similar measures apply to protection from all respiratory infections: Hands should be washed regularly with soap for at least 20 seconds, and if water and soap are not available, alcohol-based disinfectant solutions should be used. In any case, avoiding touching the eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands as much as possible. Close contact with people who have the infection should be avoided. Patients should not leave the house as much as possible and cover their mouths and noses with disposable wipes while coughing or sneezing. If there are no paper tissues, it is recommended to cover their mouths and noses with the inner surface of their arms. Wearing a mask by sick people also reduces the scattering of the virus and transmission. It is recommended to regularly clean the surfaces where the sick person touches with his hands. There is no vaccine for Coronavirus. However, the Chinese government determined the genetic structure of the causative virus in the early period of the epidemic and shared it with science centers around the world. Therefore, efforts to develop a vaccine started in at least three countries (China, U.S., and UK). However, the introduction of any vaccine to people in the most urgent conditions requires a minimum of 6 months.
How can I treat if I have an infection?
As mentioned in the answers to the previous questions, there are no drugs effective for respiratory viruses other than the influenza virus. For this reason, only medications such as pain relievers and antipyretics can be used to alleviate their complaints. People whose fever does not show signs of falling within 48 hours or who have respiratory distress (shortness of breath) should apply to a health center.