Home Article

Dialogue@ZJU: How to reduce risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms during the Spring Festival travel rush


[Editor’s Note: As China continues to optimize its COVID-19 response measures and relax requirements for cross-region travel, the country's 40-day Spring Festival travel rush has begun. What measures should we take to protect ourselves and reduce the risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms during the period? What essential tips should we follow to protect the elderly? Doctors from the Second Affiliated Hospital Zhejiang University School of Medicine were interviewed by CGTN to give their advice.]


Q: Did you see a significant growing trend?

A: We are definitely seeing a growing trend. On December 28th, 2022, there were more than 4000 patients visiting the Emergency Room and Fever Clinic. While on the same day of 2021, there were only 700 patients.

Q: What kind of people are experiencing severe symptoms?

A: We refer to the patients who are older than 65 years old, especially over 80 years old. Other than that, we also concern about people like the pregnant lady, people with certain underlying diseases. As a matter of fact, the more underlying diseases a person has, the higher rate of the severe Covid-19 outcomes he would have. And we may also concern about people who do not have fully vaccinated.

Q: What kind of symptoms they may have?

A: The virus targets on the Respiratory System. It’s one of the first and profound organs to be affected. Patients could be hard to breathe, and they will have an increased respiratory rate. Sometimes you will notice that their breathing pattern will be fast or shallow. Their pulse will fall below the normal range. Other symptoms related to hypoxia, which might cause fatigue, dizziness, headache or even chest pain. We don’t differentiate the patients’ severity based on their temperature, because someone doesn’t have a high fever even at a critical situation. We focus more on like pulse oxygen saturation, blood pressure and awareness.

Q: A lot of people are concerning about the new Covid-19 sub-variant XBB1.5. What are the symptoms and will they cause diarrhea?

A: It hasn’t caused large-scale infections in China yet. Based on the data from foreign studies, we noticed that XBB has the transmissibilities and the immune escape ability. However, it does not appear to be more violent than previous variants. Patients infected with XBB did not come with more common or more severe digestive symptoms.

Q: How long after infection can I get the Covid-19 vaccine?

A: According to the Chinese experts’ consensus, a lot of people who have suffered from the Covid-19 Positive infections will have the immunity to protect themselves. This period will last for at least 3-6 months. So based on this consensus, people may get vaccinated after 6 months.

Q: Will those people who have already recovered still carry the virus?

A: People may get infected again after recovery. We need to distinguish rebound possibility from a second infection. For those who may get re-infected, they may carry small or limited amount of virus but they are not contagious. But for those who get a second infection, they still carry the virus and could contract people around.

Q: For those who can’t go to hospitals, what should they do to protect themselves?

A: The first thing would be everyday precautions. It is during the Spring Festival rush right now, if your relative is not fully vaccinated, I personally suggest keeping social distance. Many elderly people may have comorbidities like diabetes, hypertension and so on. So it’s really important to have a maintenance medication to keep those underlying diseases symptoms controlled. People also need to set up their home environment, for example keep the air refreshing. Nutrition support is also important. Prone position could be really useful.

Q: Any tips for us during the Spring Festival travel rush?

A: We still need to make sure to keep a normal social distance with other people. Besides, make sure to keep our mask on and wear gloves on trains and airplanes. If you are being infected now, do not take multiple drugs at the same time, which may cause very severe side effects. If you stay with family members, especially with elderly people, please pay close attention to their physical status.

Q: Any food suggestions during the Spring Festival time?

A: As always, we should take fresh and healthy foods. Besides, we could take in more foods with high proteins. Drink enough water but not alcohol and try to stop smoking.

For the full version of the interview, click here.


Source: CGTN; The Second Affiliated Hospital Zhejiang University School of Medicine