Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

Dr Ajay Kumar-resized

In today’s Covid-hit world, businesses need to be extra careful with their every step. On one hand they have to deal with loss of business due to global country-wide lockdowns while on the other they have to make the best use of their workforce that has been disrupted badly.

A company’s core is made-up of its people and given the current Covid-19 situation, with the global death toll crossing 1.15 lakhs, the people are extremely anxious. Apart from the fear of contracting the disease, they have to deal with issues like new work patterns, social isolation, confinement, etc. which is giving rise to several physical and mental problems. Hence companies must be very careful in sending the right communication to them.

While the larger MNCs are taking help of tele-counselling for boosting the employees’ mental health, few simple steps like telling the employees about who are at higher risk from Covic-19, the right precautions and the state mechanisms made available for them is crucial in curbing their panic.  Hence companies should spread the word about people with certain medical conditions like diabetes, cardiac or renal issues are at higher risk of catching the infection. Communicating about the general symptoms of fever, sore throat and difficulty in breathing, although wide known must be re-emphasized.

But most importantly, certain less known facts need to be highlighted more prominently. For example, most people are aware that Covid-19 disease is a respiratory infection spread by air droplets; but what is unknown is that up-to 20-30% of the infected people can have gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea and nausea. The virus RNA has been found in stool samples, even a week after its disappearance from blood samples. Even intestinal biopsies have shown the presence of virus particles.

[box type=”info” align=”” class=”” width=””]It is also suggested that people with gastrointestinal symptoms, can have slightly more adverse outcome in the form of morbidity. A section of such people can also have abnormal liver enzymes; however, its clinical implications are not clear yet. There is no definite answer to the theory of feco-oral transmission as well.

Hence along with these facts, the precautions must also be reiterated:

  • Just because a patient has fever and cough with diarrhea, Covid cannot be ruled out and hence must be tested. Virus is shed in stools even a week after blood clearance. So hygienic disposing of excreta through strict personal hygiene must be reemphasized.
  • Medical personnel should follow due precautions as advised by ICMR and wear proper PPE.
  • Three Indian and numerous international societies have already formulated joint guidelines for endoscopy, now freely available on their website. Hospitals, doctors, nurses, technical staff, ward boys etc. should follow the guidelines for both their own and patients’ safety.[/box]

Gastrointestinal symptoms of Covid-19 is just one example, corporates must take an initiative to spread more health awareness by sending more communications of this nature to their employees. This will empower their employees with the power of knowledge and help in curbing panic and boosting their morale in general.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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