A month in lockdown – O is for overwhelmed

O2020The A-Z blogging challenge is quite straightforward, blog everyday in April, except Sundays, with subjects that follow the alphabet. It’s all a bit of fun. My subject is ‘A month in lock down’.

O is for overwhelmed. It would have been easy to write a blog about how overwhelmed I am feeling with the lockdown. The news is very depressing and at times it seems that there is no end in sight. Other countries are starting to ease their restrictions and so perhaps I can see the light.

Instead I wanted to talk about being overwhelmed in other ways. The first is how the virus affects the body and secondly how it can affect our health services.

In an odd way, it is the body’s reaction to the virus that is the biggest threat to your life. If the infection catches hold and spreads to your lungs it can turn into pneumonia. This is an inflammatory condition of the lungs affecting primarily the small air sacs known as alveoli. They fill up with liquid and make it very difficult to breathe. As the liquid increases the surface area to absorb oxygen is reduced to the point that you asphyxiate and die. In effect you drown in your own body fluids. This is why ventilators are required.

As more and more people become ill and suffer from pneumonia, then the more hospital resources are required. Pressure is placed on the doctors, nurses, intensive care beds, ventilators and a whole load of other healthcare resources. Eventually the system becomes overwhelmed and cannot cope, not only with the pandemic but with other complaints as well such as heart attacks, strokes and accidents. The healthcare system breaks down. In effect it drowns in patients.

This is why government strategy has been to reduce the rate at which COVID-19 infects the population. It is almost inevitable that it will continue to creep its way through the people but as long as the numbers affected are within the healthcare system’s ability to cope then we have a chance of reducing deaths significantly.

Stay safe.

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