One year of Covid in UAE: 3 residents recall how they beat virus

Dubai - Strong immunity makes all the difference, say recovered Covid patients

By Nandini Sircar

Published: Sun 28 Feb 2021, 6:49 PM

Last updated: Sun 28 Feb 2021, 7:23 PM

It's hard to believe it's been a year since Covid-19 affected almost every facet of our lives. More unbelievable is the number of lives the virus has impacted and taken.


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Of the hundreds of thousands of individuals who have recovered from the disease in the UAE, three residents share their experiences as well as their understanding of how immunity plays a key role in protection from any disease.

Early survivor advocates holistic welbeing

To be among the first to be smitten by a potentially life-threatening virus can be frightening, to say the least.

Thirty-nine-year-old Deenadayalan Sekar’s Covid-19 diagnosis came right at the onset, when the world was just beginning to learn about the Covid-19 virus. He'd been deputed with the task of managing the stay of asymptomatic patients at one of the hotels in Dubai and believes his exposure might have occurred there, leading to him contracting of the virus.

Needless to say, what followed was a difficult and confusing time for him, as he was hospitalised soon after for 10 days.

Deenadayalan reminiscences, “I had pneumonia, continuous cough, diarrhoea and intermittent high fever in June. That went on for some time. In fact, even after I recovered, post-Covid-19, I started experiencing sleep issues. I could not sleep well at night.”

“That’s when I realised I needed to make lifestyle changes. I started exercising regularly and controlling my diet to a great extent. My altered diet plan includes more of a vegetarian diet now. I eat non-veg only once or twice a week. Besides, I have also started resorting to home remedies like keshaya (herbal drink) that help in boosting immunity,” reveals the Indian expat.

Deenadayalan believes that mental well-being is as important as physical fitness in battling the disease and its fallouts. “I am planning to re-register my entire family for swimming, once the summer is here. I feel immunity is a key defence against the disease. Therefore, my advice is: whatever your area of interest may be, take some time out to exercise.”

Immunity key in fighting any disease

Tending to Covid-19 patients, 65-year-old Dr Nazyak Raoof knew that he was in the thick of the fight against the pandemic.

His call for duty superseded all concerns about his own age and health that made him fall into the high-risk category. Although, he took all necessary precautions, he too fell victim to the contagion. Dr Raoof believes his inner calm and outer strength helped him recover sooner than many others his age.

“I was assigned duties in the outpatient clinic in May. I followed all safety protocols while handling my patients, but after a few days, I developed a mild fever. A swab test revealed I had Covid-19 and a small patch of pneumonia on the chest too. I didn’t have any other visible symptoms, but had to be admitted to the hospital for 10 days. Thankfully, the viral load was low and I recovered soon,” he recalled.

Talking about battling the disease and how it reacts differently in different bodies, the veteran doctor further said: “Immunity plays a key role in fighting any disease, not just Covid-19. Taking the vaccine also helps in boosting immunity and keeping the disease at bay as much as possible. So, immunity is connected to healthy living."

Developing a strong immune system while you’re healthy can sustain your body as it familiarises itself with the new virus in the event you get sick, he added. "Taking steps now to boost your immune health can also help you fight other common bugs.”

Covid hit her after first vaccine dose

Like many Covid-19 patients, 35-year-old Asha Santosh Dsilva — who works as a registrar at a Dubai school — isn't sure how she contracted the disease.

Although she started displaying symptoms of the disease about three weeks ago, she's already back on her feet, as hearty and hale as ever. As she had taken the first dose of her vaccine in January, Asha feels that proved to be a saving grace for her, with the disease unable to attack her body severely.

“I had a lingering cough earlier, so I think my immunity was low at that time. That might have been when I contracted the virus. However, my test results returned positive around mid-February. I went into isolation immediately. Although I'd lost my sense of taste and smell, luckily, I regained it by the fifth or the sixth day.”

Asha, who has now completely recovered, feels that she has become even more upbeat about following Covid-19 protocols. This not only includes wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing and following hand hygiene, but she now ensures that she sanitises all public seats before occupying them anywhere.

Additionally, she is robustly campaigning among relatives and friends to get vaccinated at the earliest.

“I feel the first shot of the vaccine dose prevented me from getting severe Covid-19 and I only experienced mild symptoms. People have been petrified due to the disease and, frankly, I too was quite scared. But, over a period of time, I have realised that leading a healthy lifestyle helps to keep many diseases at a distance and I can’t overstate the importance of vaccines and its benefits during this pandemic.”

(Agencies file)
(Agencies file)

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