In an unprecedented scene, some of the people in the city of Qamishli, in north-eastern Syria, are seen wearing masks, for fears of catching flu viruses, in light of the spread of coronavirus in several countries, the matter that left most people worldwide in a state of panic. The 16-year-old boy Sarmiyan Asaad is keen to cover his mouth and nose with a mask, he said: "I've heard on the news about the outbreak of coronavirus, so I’m wearing a mask while moving outside to keep myself somehow safe."
Sickness in winter season out of the cold weather, is nothing new, mostly the respiratory diseases, but taking preventive measures is of a high importance, and it cannot be denied that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
However, people often resort to take medicines, could be wrong ones, as a preventive action, which could worsen their heath conditions, especially when it comes to specific types of pain killers or antibiotics taken for relief of pain or fever, without consulting a physician.
Pharmacist Daham Sheikhmous, the co-chair of Qamishli Pharmacists Union, and the owner of Daham Pharmacy in al-Kornish neighborhood in Qamishli, said that the failure in following the medical instructions when it comes to medicines could be dangerous and of a negative effect on people’s health. While Sheikhmous reasoned why people resort to pharmacies to get the medicines without getting medical tests or being diagnosed, to the bad economic and living situation.
"The people in the area are of the law-income class, if we have ever had a health insurance system, most of the patients would not have headed to pharmacies directly," Sheikhmous said.
Moreover, Sheikhmous noted that some of pharmacists hire a person, who often has nothing to do with Pharmacology, to do the work in the pharmacy and sell the medicines, which make the patient vulnerable to mistakes could occur in delivering with the proper medicine.
Furthermore, different kinds of accidents have their own share in the city of Qamishli, keeping public and private hospitals in a state of alert to receive various emergency cases.
Surgeon Furat Ilias, the administrator in al-Salam Hospital said that the hospital receives the patients with critical situations that result from traffic accidents and explosions and others. Besides, "patients with respiratory diseases come to the hospital, especially children and elderly, where tests and radiographs are performed for them," Ilias said.
As for the spread of coronavirus in some countries, al-Salam Hospital director, surgeon Furat Ilias excluded the possibility of the spread of the virus in the region, nevertheless, he stressed on using masks and washing hands to avoid being infected by any kind of contagious diseases.
As for the concerned authorities, North-Press made an interview with an official in the Health Board in Qamishli to learn about some issued decisions regarding the health pre-emptive actions. Dr. Ibrahim Massoud, the official in Control Department of Health Directorate in Qamishli, said that the Health Board in cooperation with Health Directorate have activated their committees through administrative institutions, for instructing all the medical centers to take preventive actions during seasonal illnesses in general and winter in particular, by launching awareness campaigns on a constant manner.
"The Health Board along with its committees also overlook pharmacies in rural areas, and medical services in general," according to Dr. Ibrahim.
The immune system plays a fundamental role in containing or defeating diseases.
For his part, the doctor of internal diseases Muhammad Mustafa, who was recently displaced from Sere-Kaniye (Ras al-Ain) and now residing in the city of Qamishli said: "Death cases because of colds and flu are frequent every year, especially patients with weak immunity system or those with chronic diseases.”
He added: "Sometimes it was called bird flu and again it was called swine flu and then it took a new form called coronavirus. It is only those same symptoms of headache and high body temperature, fatigue and then a general weakness for the person to enter afterwards in a case of respiratory failure, then suffers from kidney failure, which later lead to his death."
According to Dr. Muhammad Mustafa, these cases are treated like any patient suffering from chest infection, i.e. with antibiotics and oxygen supply, and then taking an x-ray for the chest area, to show whether the virus has developed and took a fatal form.
Dr. Mostafa regrets the lack of specialized hospitals to treat the advanced cases of flu.
In a press conference held today on Friday, the Vice Minister of Science and Technology Xu Nanping said that the first vaccine for the emerging virus, which has killed more than 2,000 people in China alone will be subject to clinical trials in late April.
Earlier last week, the World Health Organization announced that researchers are working to find a vaccine that treats coronavirus, adding that it is conducting in-depth research to determine the cause of the disease.