UAE: Doctors affirm safety for COVID-19 survivors to fast during Ramadan

UAE: Doctors affirm safety for COVID-19 survivors to fast during Ramadan

UAE doctors have assured that it is safe for COVID-19 survivors to fast during the holy month of Ramadan. However, they have advised COVID-19 survivors to go for a pre-Ramadan medical checkup with the physician as well as consult a pulmonologist and an internal medicine specialist before deciding on fasting during the holy month.

According to the Centre for Evidence-Based Medical Studies, University of Oxford, there is no research indicating any adverse effect of fasting on COVID-19 survivors. The Centre has also assured that people who recovered from COVID-19 can fast for the entire month under expert medical guidance. The Centre further recommended that people ensure able sleep, nutrition and hydration to prevent any ill effects.

For instance, 60-year-old Indian expatriate Jamal Abdul Nasir testing positive for COVID-19 in April 2020. Working as a PRO with a multinational consulting company, he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Abu Dhabi's LLH Hospital after testing positive for COVID-19. He was get treated for his lung fibrosis and delicate respiratory infections at the hospital under the supervision of Dr Shehnaz P Abu, specialist pulmonologist.

Speaking to the media, Nasir stated that he was unable to fast that year due to his battle against COVID-19. He was dealing with severe chest infection, breathlessness and high blood pressure for more than a month. However, he ensured regularity and diligence in his appointments with Dr Abu who continuously monitored his progress and prescribed medications that would stabilise his blood sugar, blood pressure and other vital parameters. The doctor would screen Nasir once every three months with lung X-rays until he was able to feel strong enough to observe fast in 2021.

After his condition stabilised, he went back to his everyday routine and observed Ramadan in May 2021.

“I kept all my fasts diligently and without any issue. However, I was careful to get my pre-Ramadan check-ups done. Moreover, I undergo a comprehensive medical check-up, once every three months. I am looking forward to keeping my fasts this Ramadan. I feel absolutely normal and motivated," he added.


Medical supervision

Dr Adel Al Sisi, chief medical officer and consultant, Intensive Care, at Prime Hospital, underlined that observing a fast for the entire month can be therapeutic as it helps in enhancing the immune response of the body. But, COVID-19 survivors, especially those who struggled with moderate to severe symptoms, might have seen multiple organs impacted by the virus. Therefore, they must keep the fast only after undergoing necessary medical tests under the guidance of their physician.

"This year, daily fasting will be for nearly 13 hours, with barely a 15-minute difference through the month. This means that people will have only a nine-hour window to replenish, hydrate, take sufficient rest and follow an exercise routine to keep themselves energetic throughout the month," Dr Al Sisi added.

Dr Abu underlined that unlike earlier, people are not struggling with severe lung infections which is helping in quick post COVID-19 recovery. She further advised those with co-morbidities such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, pre-existing respiratory conditions to be extra careful after recovering from COVID-19 and ensure to take pre-Ramadan precautions.


Top complaints

Dr Abu further listed top five complaints stated by patients post-recovery from COVID-19. According to expert, patients have complaint of fatigue, muscle weakness, breathlessness, persistent cough, chest tightness, acid reflux and brain fog. She advised people with respiratory complaints to ensure regular screening of their chest, continue with medications throughout Ramadan and follow their physician's advice with diligence while observing fasts.


Top tips for COVID-survivors observing fast

Doctors have encouraged COVID-19 patients to fast, adding that long hours of fasting prove to be therapeutic for detoxing the body and rebooting the system. They added that it is safe for COVID-19 patients to fast. Here are some tips they can follow:

· Conduct pre-Ramadan health screening and assessment

· Once the fasting begins, be mindful of taking medications for ongoing complaints during Suhour and Iftar

· Do not skip Suhour to avoid any acid reflux. Ensure the intake of plenty of fluids, including coconut water, green tea, kefir, sugar-free natural juices, soup to stay hydrated. Avoid citrus fruits during Suhour hours as that result in acidity. Opt for apple and banana as they can be filling and help in managing acid levels.

· Choose nutritious food with high-level of natural fibre and low glycaemic index (GI) such as avocado, fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, healthy grilled or steamed fish, vegetables for Suhour and Iftar.

· Avoid fried, oily, spicy or sweet food along with processed items that can result in rise in blood sugar and distress the organs.

· Choose food from sources that come from beneath the earth. Food prepared from animal meat or dairy as well as processed or refine food must be taken in moderation.

· Once you end the fast during Iftar, consume your nutrition gradually. It is recommended to end the fast a glass of water and three dates initially. Then offer your prayers and consume a cup of homemade vegetable or lentil soup with salad and nuts. For main course, opt for one animal source dish at one time and alternate it daily. Accompany the main course with salads and low-carb accompaniments.

· Limit sweets and consumer them very small portions

· Go for a walk and design a physical activity routine with deep breathing in order to maintain good respiratory health

· Eat a balanced diet with macro and micro-nutrients and minerals and trace enzymes along with following a restful routine.

· It is advised to avoid strenuous work and ensure plenty of sleep to reclaim your stamina.

SOURCE: Gulf News


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