Most of us are well aware of the fact that a doctor treating a Covid-19 patient is required to wear a PPE set to keep the infection at bay. These doctors must also wear the PSA kits while they are on the wards. This means that PSA kits are put on for hours without a break. Sweat, suffocation, stress, and fatigue are the challenges our doctors have faced over the months in the PPE, and now the frontline warriors are seeing their "harmful effects" in the form of weight loss.
A majority of doctors in Mumbai who have been actively working on the Covid-19 wards since the coronavirus outbreak have complained of weight loss. “Working in a PPE kit is not easy. The biggest problem is we feel suffocated. We sweat a lot. And to add, we cannot take it off for the entire duration of our shift. You can't even take toilet breaks as that would mean changing all of your kit before re-entering the wards. And towards the end of our shift we are completely exhausted. Of course, in addition to fatigue and psychological stress, there was also significant weight loss. This weight loss is a serious health concern for us as we know that working conditions will not change drastically in the near future, ”says a Mumbai-based doctor.
"A Test of Patience"
Another resident doctor told India Today TV that this has been a test of patience since the beginning of the year. “Yes, we are frontline warriors and patients are counting on us and we are proud of what we do, but another truth is that we have worked in extremely stressful conditions. We have all lost weight over the months. Our families have been concerned about our well-being. The weight loss is visible. For some of us it was drastic. It is the result of hours of putting on this PPE. The shift hours are usually extended. It is our concern for the patient that keeps us going. Otherwise it is impossible to work in stations without AC power. Sometimes we even find it difficult to breathe in these kits. But it is a mandatory safety measure. "
(Photo for illustration: PTI)
The situation becomes more difficult when dealing directly with patients. “The stress is coming towards you. I've lost a few pounds in the last few months, simply under stress and worrying about the patients. You see, it's difficult to sit idle in a chair with PPE on, but performing life-saving measures is even more difficult. Sometimes we need to incubate a patient and keep them on a ventilator, and such processes become increasingly difficult with eye glasses and face shields. Often times, doctors remove these to improve visibility and put their lives at risk, as a delay in inserting a tube can be fatal to wheezing patients. So now you know how to lose weight, ”says another city doctor.
"DEHYDRATION CAN BE A BIG PROBLEM"
Dr. Sunil Jain, HoD Ambulance Service, Jaslok Hospital & Research Center, says doctors using PPE kits should be aware of side effects and steps to take to avoid them. He says there are still many factors that can make PSA exposure worse, including obesity, underlying respiratory diseases (asthma, allergies, COPD, and others), and smoking.
“In addition to putting pressure on the skin, friction and moisture can damage skin and tissue. Friction can occur during normal work movements, including head or face movements, as well as speaking or breathing. Moisture can build up in the respirator due to sweat or moisture that is added to the exhaled air through the airways and lungs during normal breathing. People who wear respiratory masks for a long time, e.g. B. during a pandemic, are exposed to an increased risk of skin irritation due to the long hours of skin contact.
Dehydration can be a significant problem if you wear PPE while working in high-threat environments. The effects of dehydration can lead to physiological stressors such as headaches, dizziness, extreme thirst, and decreased awareness or distraction from the workplace. The more encapsulated the PPE workers must wear, the greater the risk that they will suffer from heat and physiological stress. " he added.