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Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) – Part 2

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Since SARS is a viral infection, antibiotic usage proves futile unless secondary conditions such as bacterial, atypical pneumonia have presented itself. In such cases, strong antibiotics are prescribed to tackle the secondary bacterial condition. Treatments otherwise, are supportive and always done by restricting patient movement in public. Quarantine is essential and negative pressure rooms are recommended. Such rooms suck in air when the doors of the room are opened thereby preventing the germs of the room to spread through the opening.

Other supportive options include treating symptomatic afflictions through the use of antipyretics to keep the fever down, usage of ventilator support to facilitate breathing and oxygen delivery to lungs. Mechanical devices are used to extract sputum and phlegm out of the lungs and airway passage.
Apart from this, antiviral medications such as Ribavirin are also given and steroids may be prescribed to mitigate inflammation in the lungs.

Some complications that may arise just prior or during treatment are those of respiratory, liver or heart failure in severe and acute cases.

Severe and prolonged sequelae exist for SARS treated patients. These include conditions such as osteoporosis, pulmonary fibrosis, depressive disorders and femoral necrosis (i.e scarring of the lung when the air sacs develop fibrotic tissues)

Prevention is best when zero contact with infected individuals is practiced. Other methods of helping prevent the spread of the disease are through:

 Covering the mouth with tissues while coughing and/or sneezing;
 Disposing the tissue after single use into a bin;
 Limiting travel to infected areas and persons;
 Avoiding contact with persons showing signs of cold or SARS for a week after they are ‘normalised’;
 Cleaning hands preferably by washing with soap and water frequently. The next best option is to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
 Avoid frequent touching of lip, mouth and eye without cleaning the hand or fingertips first; and
 Use of the correct mask when travelling or visiting crowded markets etc.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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