Covid-19 patients with moderate to severe symptoms must avoid fasting, doctors say.
Covid-19 patients must consult physicians before Ramadan fasting and only asymptomatic patients should undertake religious abstinence, doctors told Khaleej Times.
Ramadan in the UAE is likely to begin on April 13 and this year marks the second Holy Month amid a pandemic.
Dr Muhammed Shafeeq, specialist pulmonology at Aster Hospital, Al Qusais said, “Most religious authorities have always stated that if a person has problems with ill health, it is better to refrain from fasting.”
He explained, “There is no evidence during the pandemic to suggest adverse effect from fasting on asymptomatic healthy individuals who have previously fasted safely. However, they must be self-aware, and, if they develop any symptoms or changes in physical condition, they should discuss it with a doctor.”
Dr Shafeeq stated those who belong to a moderate or severe category of Covid-19 patients or those who have fever and prolonged illness secondary to Covid-19 risk becoming severely dehydrated if they fast. “They are also at the risk of sudden acute deterioration. As such these patients should not fast, or cease fasting, and ensure adequate hydration,” he added.
‘Covid-19 patients need hydration’
Dr Ali Anwar Mohammed, a specialist pulmonologist at Prime Medical Center, Burjuman branch agreed, “It is not advised to fast while suffering from Covid-19. For quick recovery, one has to hydrate themselves, proper nutrition and rest is required. The impact of Covid-19 will reduce the immunity and lead to considerable weakness which can further aggravate when you fast,” he said.
Dr Mohammed stated the recovery process depends on person to person based on their age, co-morbidities and severity of illness. “Since the recovery process is slow, it is advisable to consult doctors before fasting,” said Mohammed.
Covid-19 recovered patients require adequate hydration, which means they need to take plenty of fluids to compensate for loss during the Covid-19 period.
Fasting tips for those recovering from severe Covid
People facing severe post-Covid-19 health problems should also carefully consider their condition before fasting, said Dr Sadeer Jamil Samara, specialist internal medicine at Burjeel Specialty Hospital in Sharjah.
“People who are suffering from Covid-19 symptoms are recommended to avoid fasting during Ramadan until they are completely free of symptoms. Especially if they are suffering from other health conditions like diseases related to the heart, kidney, and liver or are taking medicines that could affect their immune system,”
However, he said residents who were infected with Covid-19 before and are currently free of any symptoms can fast safely. “There is no reason to prevent them from fasting as long as they don’t have other health conditions and are completely free of symptoms.”
How Covid-19 patients can fast
>The patient must follow a healthy lifestyle that strengthens their immunity during fasting
>They must take proper nutrition with plenty of green leafy vegetables, unprocessed foods and sufficient water during non-fasting hours
>They must sleep for at least seven to eight hours per day to maintain normal immunity during fasting
>They should avoid being in crowded places and try to get more rest.
>They must maintain a balanced diet. This can be done with the help of their doctor and preferably a dietician. They must ask them about a diet rich with proteins, and must have small portions at regular intervals to give energy to the body and prevent fatigue.
>Follow instructions from your doctor and maintain social distancing, wear a mask and wash hands with soap and water
>Drink plenty of fluids like water and healthy juices. Proper hydration outside fasting hours can keep our body’s first line of defence strong against the invasion of pathogens.
>Include a variety of foods and vegetables rich in minerals and vitamins to strengthen the immune system.
>Eat healthy food and avoid sweets and sugar which could have a bad impact on the immune system.
(Courtesy: Dr Shafeeq, Dr Mohammed, Dr Samara)