"We've learned so much," said Valley ER doctor Arya Chowdhury. "At the very beginning, we really didn't know what to do. We hadn't seen this before... We do have certain treatments we're able to provide for patients that we didn't have access to in the past or didn't know if they would work."

Several things have been game-changers for doctors treating COVID-19 patients.

Chowdhury said in the last few months, four protocols have been game-changers when treating COVID-19 patients.

1. Steroid use

She said doctors starting using the steroid Dexamethasone which patients by reducing inflammation.

2. Proning patients

"We also learned proning patients really helped," said Chowdhury. "What that means is placing the patient on their stomach, which removes the pressure off of their lungs, so blood flows, where there's better oxygen for the patient altogether."

3. Antiviral treatment

She said the antiviral, Remdesivir, can shorten the time you have the virus.

4. Using ventilators only as last resort

Chowdhury says doctors are trying to only put patients on ventilators as a last resort.

"You want to try to avoid that as much as possible is what we're learning," said Chowdhury. "You're not using your own respiratory muscles when you're on the ventilator, so when you're trying to get off, your muscles have weakened. That takes a lot of effort, especially if you're an elderly patient. Sometimes you just cannot get patients off."

As doctors continue to learn more about this virus, Chowdhury is hoping to see a vaccine soon.

"The more patients we see and as this progresses, we'll have more studies and find various medications, and we'll see what happens," said Chowdhury.

 

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