Local ICU doctor shares tips to protect against coronavirus

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)–Throughout the pandemic, more than 500 people have been admitted into Bay County hospitals to be treated for COVID-19. This week, 24 deaths were reported. One local ICU doctor referred to it as a “D-Day” like event. Now he’s making it his mission to share preventative tips with people all around the world.

Dr. Ahmad Rifai is a kidney doctor in Bay County. But he also works in the ICU’S at both Bay Medical and Gulf Coast Regional Medical Centers.

“That has put me in a position to see patients that have acute COVID and are sick in intensive care units, so I see the sickest of the sickest,” said Dr. Rifai.

But Dr. Rifai says there are many steps people can take to make sure they don’t enter the ICU at all.

“Most of the time, 95% of the time, it is a transient virus, you will get sick and you will get better,” said Dr. Rifai.

This notion lead Dr. Rifai to share preventative tips and what he’s experienced first hand on his Facebook page, “The Virtual Nephrologist”.

“It’s not a joke and it’s not a hoax…I can tell you we’re not fabricating the data,” said Dr. Rifai in a video posted to his Facebook page.

Dr. Rifai’s main piece of advice is to take care of your immune system. He says obesity is a huge risk factor for severe cases. He suggests limiting processed food intake and watching calorie consumption if you’re obese.

“Sleep well, exercise, cut your calories, take your vitamin D, and protect your first line of defense of your immunity,” said Dr. Rifai.

He says most people being treated in the ICU are there due to fluid build-up in the lungs, leading him to share a special exercise that people can do from home.

“I want you to kneel on your knees, then put your elbows down, put your head over your elbows, take a deep breath, as hard you can….cough,” said Dr. Rifai. The exercise can be seen in the video above.

The doctor says that will help move fluid out of the lungs and possibly save your life.

“We had a lot of people that were able to do that at home and they called and said they never had to come to the hospital even though they were sick,” said Dr. Rifai.

To hear more from the doctor, you can visit his Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/thevirtualnephrologist/.

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