With the COVID-2019 virus dominating news broadcasts around the world, the coronavirus in Saudi Arabia has become a major concern to all governments, companies and individuals equally. Officials rushed to impose a state of social distancing that resulted in a curfew and taking various actions to counteract that microscopic enemy that is, in fact, too tiny to be seen by the naked eye!
Who said an object’s effect is measured by its size? As a poet once said: “How many mosquitoes perpetrated the lion’s eye!”
In the midst of all the chaos the coronavirus pandemic caused, and since the symptoms are similar to the flu caused by the common cold, people began questioning the information available about coronavirus symptoms and how is it being transmitted. Which lead to countless rumors and misleading information from one place to another.
That is the reason why, in this article, we wanted to recite a real diagnostic case that occurred to a person suspected with the coronavirus and has visited a hospital for examination. In the hopes that this will deliver beneficial information for anyone seeking knowledge about the symptoms and diagnosis of the coronavirus in Saudi Arabia. Until an effective vaccine against the COVID-2019 virus is discovered, everyone should take precautions and maintain social distance as much as possible.
DIAGNOSING CORONAVIRUS IN SAUDI ARABIA
It all began when the patient experienced shortness of breath symptoms during seasonal dust storms in Riyadh. The shortness of breath continued as high body temperature was soon followed! It is common knowledge to everyone that symptoms of the coronavirus are fever and dry coughs which are the initial signs to show up before it deteriorates to shortness of breath, which varies depending on the person’s immunity. Without getting into the midst of medical details, we conducted this interview with a young adult who was examined in one of the hospitals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and transpired as follows:
What were the symptoms that led you to visit the hospital and take a coronavirus test?
“I had already been examined two weeks ago due to experiencing shortness of breath and persistent cough symptoms. I always thought they were temporary symptoms caused by the dust, but that later developed into a fever. After taking one of the antipyretics to reduce the fever, I did not experience any improvement and the fever persisted, and at this very moment I had doubts that I might have been infected with the coronavirus!”
Why did you choose to visit this particular hospital?
“I haven’t given it much thought in choosing which hospital to visit, as the hospital that I was examined at was a private one and close to my home. There is also the fact that it was a hospital, not an ordinary clinic, where health authority standards are applied. A clinic may lack the necessary examination equipment and specialty doctors.”
In regards to the method of testing coronavirus in Riyadh, can you explain the steps to us from beginning to end?
“As soon as I entered the hospital and informed the reception about my willingness to perform the coronavirus test, I was verbally examined by one of the doctors. The verbal exam included a few questions about the symptoms using a checklist, where the score of the verbal exam was within the required threshold to conduct the coronavirus checkup. Based on the results of the verbal test, I was provided with a mask and was entered into the isolation room. I panicked at the beginning, but it did not last long until I was admitted to the examination room at around 8 pm and a blood sample was collected and I was given a fever antipyretic. Only to later find out that the cause of infection was bacterial and had nothing to do with the coronavirus. And because the test result was negative, here I am, thank God! The diagnosis is usually done through chest x-ray images to make sure whether or not there is an inflammation. But the analysis that highlights the final test result is done through mucosal biopsy or blood tests, and there is no special coronavirus detecting device to distinguish the disease.”
How was the staff treatment before and during the diagnosis?
“It is important to bear in mind that the days we are currently living are extraordinary, with countries around the world racing to take measures and precautions against the COVID-2019 virus pandemic, and of course, this applies to all hospitals and health institutions in Saudi Arabia. As for the hospitals, whether governmental or private, are experiencing high facility demand and great medical staff preoccupation. That is why it is important to display a maximum degree of self-restraint during the examination process. There is no doubt that the hospital staff take the situation into consideration and try to display a level of decency and courtesy while dealing with others.”
What about the coronavirus diagnostic fees? Is it within range of most people in Saudi Arabia, and does it vary from one hospital to another?
“The diagnostic fees are reasonable and are often covered by all types of health insurance. As the Saudi Ministry of Health urges governmental and private hospitals to facilitate examination procedures for all citizens and expatriates, recognizing that most governmental hospitals provide free examination and diagnosis.”
How long does it take to perform the coronavirus examination in Saudi Arabia?
“The entire coronavirus test does not take long. It only takes a few hours after entering the hospital and starting with the first verbal examination until the final test result is ready.”
What are your recommendations for anybody experiencing coronavirus symptoms?
“Perhaps the most important advice given by everyone who has experienced the examination process and complained about possible coronavirus symptoms is self-discipline, not to panic, and avoid excessive anxiety and fear. Stress and negative thoughts weaken the human immune system, and its strength is a critical role in increasing the possibility of recovering from the disease. I also advise anyone who has doubts about the possibility of being infected to put effort into strengthening their immune system by eating healthy food full of vegetables, vitamins, and fibers.
Finally, doctors and specialist advice to constantly monitor your body temperature in case it rises in a short period of time followed by the common flu symptoms. In case your temperature consistently rises, you should contact the Saudi Ministry of Health, the paramedics, or visit the nearest hospital in Saudi Arabia.”
It has been reaffirmed by doctors, mass media and social media, the importance of the early detection of any disease. Also, in the event of discovering the coronavirus at an early stage, not only does it increase the possibility of recovering, but it helps prevent the coronavirus from spreading as well. There is no doubt that in the past few days you have heard dozens of stories of people who were infected with the virus and did not care about it, who then, later on, passed the coronavirus to hundreds, and perhaps thousands of people while unaware.
In this article, we sought to narrate a real diagnostic case of a person that was suspected of being infected with the coronavirus in Saudi Arabia and visited a hospital for examination. To find out more facts about COVID-2019, read our interview with Dr. Muhammad Kamal, in which he reveals some facts and opposes rumors about the coronavirus, how it is transmitted, and the stages the corona patient goes through during and after exposure to it.
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